A Profile On Us
I am not able to remember which really was the first day that I held a firearm in my hands, but I remember it being when I was very young of age. My father entrusted me with a .22 by myself from age 13 which is very young by South African laws. I roamed the bush day and night to see what I could find for fresh meat and the thrill of the kill.
Many of my first targets were just guinea fowl, common duiker and steenbuck after which I got confident to take larger animals such as impala and kudu with the .22 Long rifle. I had lots of fun hunting the small game and they always provided a challenging hunt. My dad had a tracker that has been around at the time since before I was born. He was an exceptional tracker and accompanied me many times. This is how I developed my skills in tracking over the years.
It was when I was 15 when the big day came and I was allowed to go out hunting on my own with my tracker Petrus… and have a 30.06(large calibre) in my hands. I will never forget this day, I have never shot this large a gun before and here I was to go hunting with it. My father and I were out in our bush camp at Queens Dale (Princess Hills) and have tried to hunt a kudu the previous afternoon. The next morning he did not feel well and I offered to go out to try and get a kudu for meat purposes. I was really surprised when he decided to allow me. But this was to be a big day in my life which I will never forget. From the fresh crisp morning air and the sun rising over the cliffs of Queens’s dale as my tracker and I broke over the edge of the cliff scouting for kudu to the point of my first kill.
My father (Andre) never did pick up a firearm again to go hunting after this. It is sad coming to think of it. But his youngest son has finally matured to where he can do most of the hunting needed. Maybe it is because I was always out hunting that my father never got a chance again. I was a great honour for me though and I wanted my dad to be proud of me. Today having my own son Ruan mature in front of me I realize that it is more fun to see him hunt and I am probably somewhat heading down the same road as my father.
I finished school at 18 in 1993 and loved accounting too. I was going for the formal corporate world, but by the time I turned 23 the freedom of the bush was calling on me. I had to turn back to nature where I could experience the freedom of it. I loved the animals and realized what great part hunting is in conservation of our species. I did my professional hunters license and started TG Safaris in 1998 after doing two hunts for a company Shiawela Safaris owned by Kenny and Joan Ball who are very nice people. TG Safaris initially was after my initials TG (Tino Gordon) and later was renamed Trophy Game Safaris after a friend of mine in the states, Mike Russo from Rochester NY came up with it. It just had a bigger bang on it saying SAFARI!
The Lord has always played a big role in the path I took and I remember many a time getting on a plane after a visit to the states or Europe the gratitude I felt after seeing his work in my life. I was truly blessed in many ways. Great friends in our clients paved the way for our success.
A strong commitment in an oath I took on myself that I am doing this for the love of hunting and an enormous respect for the animals, to always give my clients a fair chase hunt with the best possible experience I can offer them. So that they have a true African experience while I enjoy what I do so much and create purpose of more and more cattle land being converted back to game. Not to grow commercial to the point where I cannot be involved with my clients experience. I have over the past 16 years managed to do this with every safari and I believe build a great reputation.
In April 2003 Amanda joined me in my personal life and became a new driving force behind many developments in the company. End of 2003 came and we acquired SRH (Sand River Hills). It was very basic and we had to build over the festive period just to have a basic facility for the start of the season in March 2004.
Amanda took TGS (TG Safaris) to new levels in our cuisine and we almost started getting more returns due to the food than the hunting. It became a signature trademark for TGS to offer the highest quality food and hunting combined. She truly brought a new aspect to what TGS were to become.
Amanda is a beautician from profession and gave up having her own salon to be with me in this. This being the reason that the Ivory Spa was born in 2010 and after the final building was erected a year later than planned in 2011. This has been very well received under our observers joining the hunters on their safaris.
ith such blessings in life, having a beautiful family I am just hoping to have the privilege to share this beautiful country with many more clients that becomes friends over years to come. In God we trust ad believe and praise Him!