A Profile On Us
Short Profile on the Erasmus family by Tino Erasmus.
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 older brother Dries whom is eight years older than me and served in the military really gave me most of my exposure to firearms. Due to this my father entrusted me with a .22 by myself from age thirteen 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 hunt.
Many of my first targets were just guinea fowl, common duiker and steenbok after which my confidence was built to go after 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 in 1975. He was an exceptional tracker and accompanied me many times sharing his knowledge. It is here where I developed my skills in tracking over my youth years.
It was when I was fifteen, the big day came and I was allowed to go out hunting on my own with my tracker Petrus… and had a 30.06 (large caliber) 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 (Soutpansberg) and have tried to hunt a kudu the previous afternoon for meat. The next morning, he did not feel well and I offered to go out to try and get a kudu to stock our freezer. 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 successful hunt only weeks later. Needless to say, there is much more to this story!
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 matured and pretty much took over all the meat hunting. Probably because I was always out hunting that my father never got a chance again. I was a great honor for me though and I wanted my dad to be proud of me providing. Today having my own son Ruan mature in front of me I realize that it is more fun to see him going through this experience. Looks like I am heading down the same road as my father in personal hunting.
I graduated high school at eighteen years old in 1993. I loved accounting and was pretty good at it if you ask me. I was headed for the formal corporate world since South Africa was still under sanctions from the international community. By the time I turned twenty-three the freedom of the bush was calling on me. I had to turn back. There where I could experience a freedom you can only experience in nature. There is no equal experience sitting on a “koppie” (hillside) watching the animals on an early morning sunrise and hearing a choir birds greet the day. I love the animals and realized what great part hunting is in conservation of our species. I had been doing guided local South African hunts for quite some years by now. After doing my professional hunters license and doing two hunts for a company Shiawela Safaris owned by Kenny and Joan Ball, I started TG Safaris in early 1998. TG Safaris initially represented my initials TG (Tino Gordon) and later was renamed Trophy Game Safaris after a dear friend of mine in the states, Mike Russo came up with it when we were looking to extend the reference for TG. It just had a bigger bang on representing SAFARI!
Our Lord has always played a huge 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 being able to pursue these magnificent animals and enormous respect for them, 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 try to do this with every safari and I believe this is what builds such a great reputation for TG Safaris.
In April 2003 Amanda came into my life. As my life partner she 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 share this dream with me. This being the reason that the Ivory Spa was born in 2010. This has been very well received under our observers joining the hunters on their safaris. In 2012 Amanda took another step and did her Professional hunters license and became partner outfitter in Trophy Game Safaris.
Our son Ruan had the privilege to be raised in this environment. He was three years old when he got his first scratches form the thorns chasing a wounded waterbuck with me. At 10 years old he was driving the safari trucks for clients and at fourteen he had experienced what most adult professional hunters have never experienced. At 18 years old he received special clearance from our wildlife authorities to get his professional hunters license. The legal age is 21, but they do have exceptions for experience and knowledge. Ruan had his big five license by age 20. Many hunters arrived to doubt having given such a young guide but left stunned by the maturity and knowledge he had offered them. This shaped right into the experience and lifelong friendships we aim to build here at TG Safaris.
Tianda, our daughter is growing up travelling the world with us. Being home schooled by Amanda and being around clients all her life she is gaining great knowledge and experiences. We are excited to see what her life choices will be and how TG Safaris will benefit from her presence.
Being so blessed in life, having a beautiful family and successful business 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!
David Tenney, brother in law and USA Operations manager.
I met David in 2002 on a convention while travelling the USA. David visited us in South Africa in 2002 where he fell in love with Africa which became a stop on his travels every year. We shared many experiences and memories building a friendship that turned into a brotherhood.
David grew up in the south eastern US and has always had a love for the outdoors. David had such a love for this that he always wanted to be more involved in Africa and assisting other people on their safari. In 2007 David became our USA operations manager and has accompanied or assisted many a hunter over to Africa since. He has over 43 years of hunting experience in the US and has been hunting in South Africa since 2006.
In 2018 David married Amanda’s sister Carina and she resides in TN with him. David has extensive experience in outdoors, firearms/reloading and travelling to Africa. Anyone can contact him regarding our safaris and he will assist you with knowledge and professionalism.