Tino & Amanda
I would like to thank you for an amazing experience! We enjoyed every moment we were in South Africa. Your lodge is amazing, the food is five star, everyone involved in your operation made us feel like we were part of the family, and the adventures we had will never be forgotten.
The hospitality was amazing. The family style meals were not only some of the best food we have ever had, but also allowed for getting to know the others in camp and to hear each and every story of the days hunts.
My wife had never been far out of the country, so this was quite the adventure for her. She had only ever shot one deer back home with her father, and after the very first morning stalk she was hooked. That was no cake walk of a stalk either. That stalk was well over four hours and we switched animals at least four times. We walked up and down, through thick brush, and over abstacles and when we finally stopped about four hours in she whispered “Can we hunt like this back home?”
I really appreciated the approach to each individual hunters experience. Your team took the time to get to know each of us, our style of hunting, our preference for animlas, and even our fitness level. Your guides took that information and partnered it with their knowlege of the local wildlife and we started on our adventure. They were quick to point out to my wife that she did not travel all the way to South Africa to sit in the truck and got her right into the thick of the hunting experience.
When I planned this trip I was concerned a bit about whether or not to take my kids along. Having just gotten married in March I decided to play it safe and just bring Melodi. At every turn we saw and experienced things that we would look at each other and comment on how much one or both of our kids would have enjoyed it or loved to see what we were experiencing. With that in mind our next trip to South Africa to see Tino and Amanda will include one or both of our kids!
Thank you again for the experience, the hospitality, and the memories!
Thank you for a fantastic week and dedicated hunting experiences.
Dedication is your trade mark. We did some hard work and were rewarded.
Tino, Amanda, Arno, Ruan & especially Tianda. Thanks for making my 1st trip toAfrica one that I will never forget. I’m leaving with six truly outstanding trophies, at least 10 extra pounds and a suitcase full of memories. I will see y’all in Feb inNashville,TN. And I will see you back here in a few years. Totsiens.
Thanks for the great time, we made memories for a life time .
Thank you so much for a wonderful 2 weeks. We really feel like a part of the family and had a great time.
I had the time of my life great people, great hunting.
I’m so thankful I bought your donated hunt at the 2008 NWTF Convention. Everything you promised as fulfilled – excellent hunting, wonderful food, comfortable housing, and most importantly warm & friendly hosts. I had a great time hunting with Arno and Tino and appreciate the excellent trophies. I will be happy to recommend TG Safaris to anyone who asks. I hope to see our new friends soon.
Without a doubt the most amazing hunt I have ever been on. Tino & Amanda are the most gracious and fantastic hosts that we could ever have imagined. They are totally adaptable to our ever changing schedule/list of animals. We will definitely call them friends/family and be going back soon.
Great food. I will be back. We had a great time for Craig’s 40th birthday. One of my favorite vacations. Thanks for the hunt and hospitality – Lisa
It was a great week I’m already looking for a way to come back – Craig
Was this my 8th trip? Time flies when with friends! Take Care!
Thank you for a wonderful and most enjoyable week and hospitality. Thank you for everything .
What a wonderful place. We had a great time. The game drives were special. Arno is the best. The berry spit way our favorite. Amanda’s food was some of the best ever. Tino I appreciate your passion for what you do.
Thanks so much for a terrific “African” experience. We had a great time.
Wonderful experience, very professional, Arno was the best1 I’d love to come back .
Thanks for your hospitality – very thankful for the hunt – Leopard.
What an incredibly awesome trip – from Blyde River, Kruger & Tangala but our favorite was coming “home” to Sand River Hills, Tino& Amanda are an amazing couple & Tianda stole our hearts. This place is like home to us, and you all are like family. We’re looking forward to our third trip back. Love you all!
Thanks so much for a awesome trip that exceeded my high expectations. The friendships we built will last forever. Your family was a pleasure to spend time with. I will be coming back with my family
We are so happy and thankful to have found you guys thru Turkey federation. You have a wonderful family and I can’t say enough about how welcoming and at home you made us fell. Had an .absolute wonderful vacation! Can’t wait to see you all when you get to the states! Love yall.
Thanks to all the staff & especially the guides. Tino and Arno, Thank you for all your efforts, hard word and hospitality. Beth and I were very pleased with our trip. We felt right at home. I will recommend the trip to all our friends. Thanks again for everything we feel we have some new friends here. Take Care!
Thank you for your hospitality and family spirit. We have had a wonderful time. Thank you Amanda for the very good food. We will see you another time here in South Africa.
We had a great week with you! Thanks for everything, especially for a great hunt for Leigh. It was wonderful to be part of your family. Now we have to go on a diet after all the delicious meals!
This has been an experience of a lifetime and I shall always remember this week with great happiness. Great hunting, even for a non-hunter! An impressive staff made our visit especially perfect. Thank you.
Once again thank you for an excellent trip & meaningful friendship. We look forward to coming back in the future.
This has been an amazing hunt/vacation for both of us. Afraid you have spoiled us with the great food & Kindness. We will be back!
Wonderful trip. I would recommend it to everyone.
Thank you for a wonderful trip. It was a trip of a lifetime. May God bless your family always. Love ya – Michelle
Absolutely a trip of a lifetime. Will be back and can’t wait. Thanks for everything – Steve
Words can’t begin to describe our appreciation. You opened my eyes. See you next year.
This was an incredible experience and the overall treatment was 1st class. I enjoyed the week and the opportunity of being part of your family. The food and hospitality was above all expectations.
Thank you for everything & the memories of a lifetime. Enjoyed every minute! Will bring Lilly, Debbie, John Back with me next time!
What a trip!!!!!
Tino and his staff and family treated us like royality. I hunted for the first six days while my wife relaxed and sometimes joined me on the hunt. Every day was an adventure and an unforgetable experience. Not only were my hunts succssfull, they were full of excitement. Even when the weather turned on us, Tino new exactly how to deal with the situation to make the hunt enjoyable and successful.
The nights were filled with great food and fun supplied by wonderful hosts. After the hunt was over Tino and Amanda guided us on a terrific andveture to the mountians and Kruger Park with some surprising stops on the way. All and all it was an unforgettable experience. This was my second adventure with T.G. Safaris and I plan on taking my Boys with me next time to enjoy the great experiences provided by Tino and his wonderful family and staff.
With 3 African safaris under my belt I can say that Tino and Amanda offer the best hospitality and plains game hunting I have ever experienced. Tino and his apprentice PH nephew Arno offer an exceptionally experienced and professional hunting safari. This past July I took a breathtaking sable, nyala, bushbuck, giraffe, and a likely Rowland Ward tsessebe. Amanda’s food is delicious and generous (I eat a lot!!) and the fellowship is well….I just didn’t want to leave! The entire staff is friendly and accommodating and Tino’s superb tracker has been with him for many years. In addition there are some of the most beautiful vistas from Tino’s main camp and his other concessions as there are in Africa. I think you should join them for a wonderful time.
My Father And I Had Drempt Of Hunting Africa Since I Was A Small Child. As Part Of A Southern Working Class Family In The United States My Father Enjoyed The Dream. Myself, I Was Young And Didn’t Catch On That It Was Just Supposed To Be A “nice Thought.”
Many Years Later And Stubbornly Refusing To Let It Go, I Was Led To Tino And Tg Safaris In South Africa By A Pastor Of Our Church. He Had Hunted With Tino Several Times And Africa Many More. Tino Came With His Highest Recomendation And It Wasn’t Long Before I Understood Why.
Tino Is The Genuine Type Of Person That You Can Warm Up To And Trust Immediately. His Wife Amanda, Family And Employees Follow Suit And Have The Ability To Make You Feel At Home And Comfortable From Arrival To Departure. They Made Us Feel Like Good Friends Instantly And It Was Refreshing.
Tino’s Accomodations Were Excellent, We Wanted For Nothing. Don’t Plan On Losing Any Weight On Your Hunt As Amanda’s Cooking Is Top Shelf.
As For Our Hunting, Well I Was Busy Taking 7 Animals With Tino With Bow And Arrow And Then 3 Trophies With My Rifle. My Father Also Had The Trip Of His Lifetime Taking 5 Beautiful Trophies With Arno,
Tino,s Nephew. The Hunting Was Incredible! I Have Hunted In Some Extreme Places And I Have Never Had A Guide/ph Work Harder Trying To Make My Hunt Successful.
Tino And His Family Created Such A Special Experience For My Father And I That My “once In A Lifetime Hunt” Just Can’t Be Over. I Am Already Saving For A Return In 2010 And Planning On Returning As Often As The Good Lord Will Allow Me To.
I’m Sure There Are Great Ph’s All Over Africa But I’ll Never Meet Them. If I’m Hunting In Africa, I’m Hunting With Tino And Tg Safaris. Afterall, When You’ve Found Someone You Can Trust, Enjoy And Will Work His Tail Off To Get Trophies In The Salt…why Would Go Anywhere Else?
Thank You Tino, Amanda, Arno, Ruan, Tiny Tianda And My New Friend Curt West. You Made My Dream An Even Better Reality!
how A Visit To A Game Fair In Denmark Turned In To A Wonderful Hunt In Sa.
My Good Pal Ove And I Decided To Visit A Game And Fishing Fair In Denmark. Spending Most Of The Day In Section One And Two Of The Fair We Decided It Where Time To Head Home. However When Passing Section Three We Just Had To See What’s Going On In This Section. When Entering We Where Handed A Piece Of Paper By Someone At The Entrance, But Didn’t Pay Much Attention To Its Substance. We Soon Realised That An Auction Where Going On And As A Joke To Ove I Stated That I Would Buy What Ever Where Auctioned At This Time. I Raised My Hand With The Paper, And In Horror I Realised That I Where The Highest Bidder But I Had No Clue At All What I Where Bidding For. Stupid You Might Say, And I Couldn’t Agree More!! So, What Did I Buy: A Hunt With Tg Safaries.
My Wife Where Not Too Surprised When Telling Her What I Had Done, And Fortunately She Just Stated: Sounds Good To Me, I Have Never Been To Sa!
One Week After Returning From Our Combined Holiday And Hunting Tour To Sa We Are Still Digesting All The Impressions. We Spend Six Days At Tg Safaries And Where Lucky To Do It At A Time Where No Other Guests Where At The Farm. We Drew Big On The Hospitality Of Tine And Amanda But They Seem To Care Endlessly For There Guests. The Atmosphere In The Camp Where Great. Always Tino Asking: Are You Guys Ok ? Need Something Just Let Me Know.
The Hunt Where Very Good. Tino And His Guys Did An Outstanding Job In Their Aim To Present The Best Opportunities And Trophies For Me And They Succeeded Every Time. My Whife Have Never Been Much Impressed About My Hunting But After Joining Us On The First Stalk She Spontaniously Stated: Now I Understand Why You Love Hunting. She Joind Us On All The Stalks We Had, And Tino Patiently Helped Her When Needed. Thank You Tino. I Came To Sa With My Whife But When Returnig I Also Had A Hunting Buddy!
I Would Love To Return To Tino And Amanda And Their Creaw.
Wow I Can Hardly Believe It, Originally Thinking A Hunting Trip To Africa Was Only A Dream And Now I Have Been Twice And Planning My Third Trip In 2008.
October 2007 And I Am Again In South Africa And Enjoying Tino And Amanda’s Hospitality.
It Does Not Take Me Long To Recognize The Sounds And Smells That Captivated Me On My First Trip To South Africa. The Smoke From The Fire, The Red Sandy Earth, The Faces I Recognize From The Staff, Whose Names I Now Know, And Of Course The Wildlife And Atomsphere.
Enjoying A Sundowner At The Fire With My Feet Propped Up Thinking Of Absolutely Nothing Except That There Is Nowhere Else I Would Rather Be At The Moment.
There Are So Many Memories That You Take With You When You Leave. The Desire To Relive These Memories Are What I Believe Will Drive Us To Return Again And Again.
Thank You Again My Friends, Tino And Amanda, For Just Being You And Can’t Wait To Get Back Next Year!
My Life With Tino And Amanda
I´ve Been Trying To Write Something For Tino´s Storyboard For Years Now But Somehow I´ve Always Put It Off –mostly Because I Wanted To Write Something Really Good Without Writing A Novel.
So Now I´ve Compromised –my Second Book On My Stays With Tino Will Published This Fall So Now I Can Write Something Less Complicated For The Board.
I Visited Tino For The First Time Five Years Ago And As I New Nothing About Booking A Safari I Just Started Surfing On The Internet And Pretty Soon I´d Narrowed The Field Down To Two Places: Tg Safaris And A Place In Zimbabwe. It Sort Of Looked Like I Was Going With The Outfitter In Zim When Tino Asked Me What My Budget Was And To Let Him “see What He Could Do”.
Tino´s Offer Won Hands Down.
But The Hunt Was Only Meant To Be A Short Part Of My Trip, The Rest Was To Be Spent On A Cultural Project In Congo Brazzaville Working With Pygmies.
The Pygmies Were However Attacked By Bandits And It Was Deemed Unsafe For Me To Go To That Area And I Tried Making A Plan For Teaching In Namibia But Nobody Could Come Up With A Decision So I Had To Drop That Idea.
So Here I Was With A Cultural Grant And Seven Weeks Time To Spend And Nowhere To Go!
That’s When I Contacted Tino And Asked Him If He Knew Of Anyone Who Needed Help With Anything –and I Seriously Meant Anything.
He Then Spoke His Famous Words: “take A Plane To Jo:burg And We´ll Make A Plan”.
I Ended Up Staying With Tino And His Young Son Ruan For Seven Weeks And Having The Time Of My Life! I´d Never, Anywhere, Met People With Such Hospitality. We Hunted Kudu (which Was Unforgettable), Wildebeest, Blesbuck, Impala, Duiker And More (every Trophy Meeting Record Book Standards).
But Hunting Was Only A Small Part Of What We Did. Tino Let Me Follow Him Around Talking To Farmers, Getting To Know His Friends And Family And Arranging For Me To Go Game Catching A Week Up Near Kruger Park.
I´d Never Felt So Welcome In My Whole Life! The Funny Thing Was That Tino Was Then In His Twenties And I Was Forty Two But We Still Got Along Grandly –no Generation Gap Whatsoever.
While Leaving For Home I Already Had A Plan For Coming Back (and The Beginnings Of A Book In My Suitcase) The Following Year.
A Year Later I Returned With My Wife And Kids And My In-laws! Amanda Was Now Also A Part Of Tg Safaris And She Made An Already Good Thing Even Better –great Cooking And A Rest For Sore Eyes…
The Trip Was Again Perfect –i Hunted While The Family Did Daytrips And Together With Tino, Amanda And Arno (tino´s Nephew) We Had A Nice Tour Of Kruger, Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrims Rest And Many Other Places.
Since Then I´ve Been Back Yearly, Sometimes With Family And/or Friends. Next Week A Friend Of Mine Will Be Staying With “us” For Ten Days But Before That I Want To Get Started On My Next Book.
To Sum This Up I Can Recommend Tino And Amanda´s Operation For Anyone Interested In Seeing A Very Interesting Part Of The World.
And If You Happen To Be A Hunter You´ll Leave With Even More Memories…i´ll Never Forget The Kudu Hunt Or The First Wildebeest, The Brown Hyena, The Eland, The Duiker…my Two Boy´s Hunting Their First Impalas…
The List Just Goes On And On.
Because They´ve All Been Good Hunts.
Tomorrow We´ll Be Going For Waterbuck (i´m Writing This From In Front Of My Rondavel Having Just Enjoyed An Impala Omelette For Lunch) Which Will Be Fun But The Most Exciting Thing Is Waiting For Us: The Newest Member Of Tg Safaris.
You See Amanda Will Be Having A Baby Any Day Now And I Feel Like An Expecting Grandfather!
I Met Tino Sometime Around 2002-2003. I Was Married At The Time And My Wife And I Were Involved In The Outdoor Retail Industry. At The Time I Actually Was Not That Interested In Going To Africa Because I Thought It Was Out Of My Price Range And Only Something For The Wealthy. After Talking To Tino And A Few Other Outfitters I Realized That Going To Africa Was Actually In Reach And Actually Quite Affordable When Compared To A Guided Big Game Hunt Here In The States.
Well 2004 Rolls Around And A New Family Member For Me Is On The Way So No Trip This Year. 2005 Comes And Due To Family Issues Still No Trip. Tino Through This Whole Time Had Stayed In Contact With Me And Through Some Similar Life Experiences We Had Developed A Friendship.
In Early 2006 Tino And His Wife Amanda Were In The States And Took Time To Come And Visit Me Here In Tennessee. I Have To Figure Out How To Get There, Have To Do It, I Kept Saying To Myself! Well In 2006 All The Pieces Fell Together And With Tino Working With My Budget I Was Able To Make My First Trip To Africa. What An Experience And I Realized What I Had Been Missing Out On! The Scenery, The Hunting, And The Feeling Of Belonging In Tino And Amanda’s Home Is Beyond Compare. When Tino And Amanda Speak Of The Tg Safari Family, They Mean It! I Am Planning On Going Back This Year And Can’t Wait To See Everyone.
Thank You My Friends For Helping Me Make A Dream Come True!
We all had a wonderful time. When people have asked me what my favorite part of our trip was, my answer is it was all terrific but, the people we met were the best part. I will send you pictures very soon. We have been so busy getting back to our normal lives I haven’t had much time for anything else. The mailing address to ship my things to is
– withheld –
Novi Michigan 48374-4019
My telephone number is – withheld –
Thank you again for a wonderful trip. I always dreamed of going to Africa and the trip you set up for us exceeded my expectations.
My wife and I recently enjoyed a wonderful hunt in South Africa with T.G. Safari. To say we had a hoot is an understatement.
One of the great traditions of the hunt is the tradition of the “expanded hunting tale”. This is where the 4-point white tail buck continues to grow after death, and adds an additional 6 points. Oh what a monster buck he was…..And I shot him at 300 yds with a shotgun-while he was running!!
When I was young I used to guide in the Adirondack mountains of New York for white tail deer. Most of the individuals we guided were from New York City, and our first job of any hunt was show and tell; this is cow (one of the guides would come out dressed as Elsie the Cow and singing mooo-moo), this is a sheep (OK for sex but not to shoot) ect, ect. Until all of the likely domestic and wild animals were vividly demonstrated. We then provided color photos, all appropriately labeled.
One year I shot a fairly good buck. My lawyer says the crime is limited since the statute of limitation has expired, so I will tell you that I sold the animal to a very unlucky and unhappy hunter from NY City. Over the ensuing year the traditional “expanding tale” reared its ugly, syphilitic head. The hunter returned to our Adirondack hotel that next year. The deer had grown 4 additional points, which could not be seen on the proud post hunt photo-the head was turned the wrong way! That hunter now absolutely swore he pulled the trigger, and indeed shot that deer from ¼ mile!!
Now I am not here to tell you that the “expanding hunting tale” is at work with our African hunt but we did see a tremendous number of animals, laughed a lot, drank some, eat very well and had a blast. Two of my animals made book, not an easy thing to do. And every animal my wife and I took was well above the average for that species. The guiding was tremendous, and that is from someone who has hunted in much of the world. Tino and his guides never give up and hunt for you every moment of the hunt. They went out of their way again and again. If you want to hunt Africa, which is much. much cheaper that a routine USA outing, hunt here with Tino and his team at T.G.Safari.
But I digress. Guinea fowl are a native bird to Africa. They are of course a domestic bird here in the US, used as a guard and foreating. On our hunt we would routinely see flocks of 25-75 birds. That is too much for an old turkey hunter to take! One evening I decided we should have a Guinea Hen for dinner. I had once seen one of my friends take a beautiful Texas turkey on the fly with a scoped 7 mm mag. That bird had only a small But lethal hole in its chest.
I could do this. Unfortunately we had only my wife’s scoped 30-06. No small caliber rifle, and we had not brought one of our shotguns that day. I briefly considered attacking with my knife, maybe a medium caliber rock, a spear in true Swahili African fashion? But no I was too lazy to try running down an Italian Hen, sorry Guinea hen (I can say this since I lived in Rome for 5 years and I am married to a wonderful Italian lady!) Medium caliber rocks are not my best weapon, and the bird would be gone during the two days that would be required to build a spear. Anyhow where would the feathers come from to decorate the spear? That would still require me to run down and decapitate some poor African equivalent of a blue jay before I could decorate the spear, which then would allow me to chase down the Guinea Hen and spear it through the chest thus ruining my evening meal of Guinea Hen barbequed breast. (My 8th grade English teacher always warned me of that dreaded disease “The run on sentence”.)
Besides all of this bloodletting might possibly end with an acute case of HIV poisoning.
I did the manly thing. Pulling that old faithful 30-06 to my shoulder I took aim and pulled the trigger. There was a tremendous sound, a billow of dust rose from the vicinity of that luckless bird.
Our faithful tracker ran to gather our meal. He ran back, it was only 80 yards. It was obvious that we had come upon that rare beast-the exploding Guinea Hen. Mr. Nosler had won again. I was hungry. I jauntily puller a feather from the 4 presented and placed it in my hatband. Then I turned saying “Home McDuff”. Any way I like Kudu better than Guinea Hen.
My father came up with the idea of an African Safari for plains game about two years ago. We decided to attend the Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in February of 2004 to interview potential outfitters. After visiting with five or six, we discussed the merits of each while having lunch. While some of the outfitters had slicker brochures, more ornate displays or slightly lower prices, we chose Tino and Trophy Game Safaris because of his enthusiasm and the feeling he would work hard to give us the best possible experience. Our instincts would prove to be right on the money!
The months between booking and our September 2004 departure passed very slowly, even though there was much planning and preparation to be done. Tino had recommended we make our air arrangements through Custom Travel, which proved to be an excellent choice as they provided a great deal of information regarding the transport of our rifles and general information about our destination. Every few weeks we thought of more questions, which were patiently answered via e-mail by Tino or Amanda – his fiancée. With the warmth and informality of the e-mails, I felt as if we had developed a friendship before we even arrived.
Freddy greeted us at the Johannesburg airport after a long, but rather pleasant flight. It was later decided he would be my “PH” for the week. He would quickly become my friend as well. The ride to the main camp was filled with many new sights and pleasant conversation. The main camp and our accommodations were attractive and comfortable beyond our expectations. After settling in to our cottages, we enjoyed cocktails and our first African sunset while seated on the patio next to a warm fire. That was followed by the first of many delicious and bountiful meals. Not surprisingly, I slept better than I had in ages.
As someone who enjoys food and drink far more than I should, I simply must spend more time writing about the meals. When you make your reservation, Tino prepares a comprehensive list (with your input, of course) of your party’s food and beverage preferences. In our case, we were anxious to sample the local game. We had the opportunity to enjoy impala, kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest and eland. Amanda prepared each with great care and creativity, whether they were grilled over wood coals, baked in a conventional oven or in the wood-fired oven in the stunning bar/lounge. For the less adventurous, they also served chicken, beef, pork and lamb. If you have even a passing interest in wines, South African Wines are quickly earning a worldwide reputation as some of the finest. Is there any better way to end a successful day of hunting than fireside cocktails to discuss the events of the day, followed by a splendid meal accompanied by world-class wines and the gracious company of your hosts and newfound friends?
It is difficult to sum up the hunting in several pages, let alone one paragraph. To call it “memorable” would be a gross understatement. It was among the most exhilarating things I have ever experienced. The game you wish to pursue on a given day will determine where you will hunt. Tino has 3000 private acres at his doorstep and has access to several other excellent concessions as well. Freddy was my PH (professional hunter) during my stay. While a relative newcomer to Trophy Game Safaris, he was nevertheless knowledgeable, enthusiastic and blessed with boundless energy and patience. I just cannot say enough about how hard he worked for me. He climbed trees, rocks and scrambled to the edge of cliffs to glass for game and painstakingly tracked animals for hours. With his guidance, I was able to take an impala, gemsbok and a magnificent waterbuck. The waterbuck itself is a special story. Freddy positioned me on a cliff overlooking a dry riverbed below because he felt it held great promise. He did this even though he knew success would mean several hours of backbreaking labor in sweltering temperatures to prepare the animal and pack it out to the nearest access road. This is typical of the commitment you can expect from Tino and his staff. One day my father and I hunted together with both Tino and Freddy for gemsbok on a nearby farm. The teamwork and coordination between them and their helpers was superb. Through their considerable efforts, my father and I were able to take two, fine gemsbok. It was especially pleasing to see how devoted they are to recovering wounded animals. From PH’s to trackers, skinners, kitchen and housekeeping, Tino has surrounded himself with the best people.
As much as I was looking forward to touring Kruger National Park with Tino and Amanda, it was hard to leave the main camp. I was already thinking about how awesome it would be to come back. The drive to Kruger took us through mountainous areas that were breathtakingly beautiful. I had read my Lonely Planet Guide to South Africa, but was still overwhelmed by the scenery. Somehow, I did not expect to drive through seemingly endless forests of eucalyptus and hillsides covered in banana trees and tea plants. The accommodations at Blyde River Canyon were spacious and comfortable, the resort itself perched aside the canyon with stunning views.
Taking a few extra days to tour Kruger National Park is something I would recommend for every visitor, particularly first-time visitors. A common goal for visitors is to spot “The Big Five.”(Elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) The variety and abundance of wildlife is staggering. We saw zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, buffalo, hippo, elephant, nyala, impala, jackal, lion, warthog, crocodile, ostrich and a multitude of other bird species. The lodging at Letaba and Satara was clean, modern and would no doubt be a pleasant surprise to many other first time visitors. Some of the rooms were larger than those in my house!
The most difficult part of the trip was bidding our hosts goodbye at the Hoedspruit airport. I left with the feeling I would always have friends in Africa and I would like nothing more than to visit them again someday. Thank you Tino and Amanda!
“Where do you think you will go for your next hunt ?” – “Oh I don’t know, out west for Elk sounds really great, or maybe up north for a caribou, I hear you can take two of them.” – “How about Africa ?” – “No, I really don’t want to travel that far.” – Well that’s something like the conversations I’ve had in recent years. Yes, Africa would be great but there are a lot of places closer to home I’d like to go and Africa has got to mean big bucks (and not the kind of bucks you shoot).
Well things all-of-a-sudden changed for me while at a Ducks Unlimited dinner last year. A good friend who had bought an Africa hunt at the auction several years ago, announced that he was going back again in spring of 2003. Not only was he going again, but he was going back for his third time in four years. Well, this certainly sounded like opportunity knocking. A chance to go with a good friend, knowing that I’d be hooking up with a quality guide, and going with someone who knew the ropes with travel plans. I said Mike, whatever plans you make, just double them.
And so our hunt was on. As it turned out. a third hunter joined us also. He had gone with Mike on Mike’s second trip and now was returning for his second time in three years. The kind of return rate this trip was getting was unbelievable and spoke for itself. The other two hunters were gun hunters, but when I spoke to the guide (who usually visits Rochester in January) he said that he also guides bowhunters and it would be no problem.
Now, where we actually hunted was South Africa, the northern section. Depending on exactly what you want to hunt that might vary though. Being in the southern hemisphere, our spring-summer is their fall-winter and typically the time you would go for a hunt (so it doesn’t mess up your whitetail season !). Going in May or June is when the animals are at their best, heading into the rut and you get first crack at trophy animals. Going in July or August gets you further into the dry season and will give you the most animals coming into water holes (most archery hunting is from blinds at water holes). We went the first half of May. When I do it again, I’ll probably go in June. I don’t think it’s critical. But I won’t miss turkey season again.
Well, I had a perfectly good Matthews bow, it’s a five-year-old Ultra Max. It’s been a great bow, but with a trip like this coming up. I got the itch. I checked out several of this year’s new models including the Matthews LX, Hoyt’s new cam 1/2 and Bow Tech’s newer line of bows. I was extremely impressed with Bow Tech’s new Extreme VFT. It’s smoothness to draw and quietness to shoot are what sold me, it just happens to also be one of the fastest bows out there. It’s just a bit touchy to shoot (6 5/8″ brace height), but as a package I think it’s great. As a testament to that, the bow came in only weeks before I left for my trip; I elected to go with it anyway and I have no regrets. Of the five animals I took, one travelled a little over 110 yards and the rest were under 50 yards.
There were places that didn’t look all that different from the sage and semi-desert of the American west, but when your driving along and a rhinoceros comes out of the brush and crosses the road right in front of your vehicle, your jaw just drops and you know something is different. The hunting itself had some ups and downs. I started out very hot. On the first day I shot a beautiful Blesbok in the morning and a herd bull Impala in the afternoon. I then hunted 4 1/2 days before I shot anything else. I actually hunted nine full days days in all and ended up taking six great animals (Five with a bow. two Impala, one Blesbok, one Red Hartebeest and one Kudu, and one with a gun, a Blue Wildebeest). Most bow shots were in the 20-to-30-yard range. When’s the last time you went on a hunting trip and came back with six trophys ?
The all important question. I hunted with Tino Erasmus of T.G. Safaris. His base package for three animals; an Impala, a Warthog, and a Kudu is about $3000.00. That includes everything short of taxidermy. You are treated like royalty, stay in first class accommodations. There’s a warm bed and hot tile showers. They even do your laundry every day. Dinners are comparable to a fine restaurant and drinks are on the house. If you’re like a kid in the candy store and want more than three animals, things can be worked out. The cost of additional animals ranges from $500 to $2,000. There’s plenty under $1,000. The air fare will run you around $1500 and it’s a long trip. Taxidermy can be arranged there for a lot less than you’d pay here. I guess you can’t complain about taxidermy bills; at least that means you were successful. You complain when there’s no taxidermy bill.
Hey, the trip isn’t for everyone. You’ll spend a few bucks, but you’ll come back with three hunts worth of animals, see a whole new part of the world and have an experience you won’t soon forget. Think about it !
Bow – Bow Tech VFT (excellent)
Arrows – Beeman ICS 400 carbons (very good)
Broadheads – Thunderhead 100’s (excellent)
Range Finder – Bushnell Yardage Pro Scout (excellent)
Sight – Trophy Ridge Marix (sight pin broke on me while I was there, disappointed)
The guides all speak english, they have an accent somewhere between British and Australian but there is a strong German-Dutch influence. They drive on the left hand side of the road and even hot-cold water handles are backwards. It’s about 8300 miles away but you can e-mail messages back and forth while your there. Temperatures are generally between the 40’s at night and 60 to 70 during the day. I only needed to get one booster shot for the trip. There were very few bugs. There were really no hassles once we got there, but the trip is long. Side trips to some of the national parks [such as Kruger] are a great idea and can be arranged by your guide. I would plan on 10 days total for the trip, a little longer of the budget allows.
You’ll sleep in one of three beautiful little “cottages” they have. Each has four very comfortable single beds, all bedding provided as well as a very nice bathroom with hot showers, towels and flush toilets. He doesn’t overbook so your party will probably be the only one in camp.
P.O. Box 44
+27 15 516 3446 [phone]
If you have any further questions you can contact the author:
127 Basket Rd.
Webster N.Y. 14580
email: on request
Thank you! Thank you! The best trip ever. Hope to see you all soon!
We are crying our eyes out and so sad that we must leave our Africa family! Love you all!
Tino & Amanda – Words can’t express how thankful we are for both of you & your generosity! We have had such an amazing time & can’t wait to come back! Ya’ll are amazing people & have a wonderful family. Thanks for everyting! May God bless ya’ll!
Thank you so much for everything, we had a great time. We will keep in touch.
Thank you for the trip of a lifetime! We plan on doing it again very soon!!
Tino & Amanda – Thank you for another memorable trip to South Africa. You truly make it feel like home away from home. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Tino, Amanda & team – Thanks so much for a sweet hunt, beautiful place, fine people… and at long last a brown hyena! Hope to visit again soon!
Tino, Amanda, Tianda & Ruan – Thank you so much for the wonderful hunt, and the trip to Kruger. It was so much more than we dreamed & expected. We come here as clients and we’re leaving as friends. God bless and hope to see you all again soon!
I could go on and on about how great everything was but all I can say is WOW! WOW! Hope to see you next year. Thanks for opening your home for us. I feel like I have made very good friends!
Trip of a lifetime. Thank you for everything. Could not ask for better people for hospitality. Hope to see ya’ll again.
Awesome experience! Tino, family and staff you’re wonderful. Hunting was exceptional, what a perfect hunt should be. We will be praying for you guys. You have an amazing place here. You can’t even imagine what you guys have done for us. First time shooting& kill for Johnnie, how much better does it get!
Amanda – thank you so much for the food and the spa best ever!
Ruan – You are a great young man… so patient and willing to serve. Thank you for all your help.
Tianda – You helped providing me from missing my grandkids so much! You’re a precious little girl!
Thank you for a great time!
Tino & Amanda. Thank you for a wonderful time in Africa. “ Home away from home”- God Bless!
Thank you Tino and Amanda you have a beautiful family and everything was more than we ever expected.
Lifetime experience is what I hoped for but my expectations were exceeded. Thanks Tino , Amanda, kids and your parents!
Word class hunt, thank you!
Great family, great food, great hunting = Good times
Wonderful people + Wonderful hunt= Awesome vacation!! Thank you Tino & Amanda
We had a great time and a great hunt. Lots of fun. Looking forward to our return. Thank you for a great week!
Thank you so much Tino & Amanda, it has been a wonderful trip, I can’t wait to come back. Thank you for having us as a part of your family. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!
Another fabulous trip to TG Safaris and your welcoming home. Words can’t really express how much we appreciate all you have done to make this hunting & sightseeing trip such a memorable experience. Thank you!
Thanks for the awesome trip!! You have set the bar high my friend. I will be back!
Thank you all so much for the experience of a lifetime. I will never forget the sights of South Africa or the amazing people that shared it with me. Ya’ll are absolutely amazing.
We had a great time, thanks for welcoming the boys & I like family, the hunting, food & hospitality where awesome!! Looking forward seeing you guys again soon!
Thank you again for everything you do! This is my favourite place on earth and cannot wait to have my feet hack into the red sand again.
Each wonderful visit here gets better and better!! The safaris and rides taken were magnificent and the hospitality. This family and staff is unsurpassed! Thank you Tino. Hope to return!
Thank for such a great trip! The memories will last forever. Have never seen such great animals, we all had such great time! God bless you and your family Tino!
Awesome experience from start to finish. Thanks for making us feel so welcomed here. Your camp is amazing and your staff is wonderful. The boys will never forget the hunts. So glad we brought the kids. They will have so many great memories. We felt like a part of your family. We are already talking about coming back. On a scale of 1 – 10, we think you’re 100! The food was fabulous too!
Thanks for a great time, thanks again and will see you soon!
Thanks for a tremendous time. Outstanding hunt, food and hospitality. See you again soon!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your place, people & hospitality are amazing and I look forward to come back someday.
Everything was great. I had the best time, I really appreciate all the help & service you and you staff provided.
Second safari with T.G. Safaris, another fantastic awesome experience! Thanks for making my African safari dreams come true!
Great food. Great Trophies. Fantastic people!
Had an awesome time with TG Safaris, an excellent hunt with good friends & great food.
What a great hunt!! Ya’ll put on a wonderful time – that includes food, the hunt & people!
Great trip!! Had a wonderful time!
HUGE LEOPARD! Thanks again for letting me be part of the family again. Had a great time. 5th Memosa drive! 1st in the “Memosa Wagon” Ha! See you soon!
Thank you again to Tino : Amanda for a wonderful experience. This was my 5th trip to TGS & as wonderful as the first including sushi! I am still going to use a fork. Your friend always!
Tino, Amanda & Staff. We are very grateful for the hard work, good food, great personal service and exceptional accommodations that we have enjoyed these past eight days. It has been a great experience we will never forget. Expect to see us back. Our sons will love to come next time. What great trophies! I am very pleased. Now we have to rearrange our North American mounts. May God bless you and keep you all safe!
Tino & Amanda, thank you so much for taking care of us and opening up your home. We had a great time. Your place is awesome. Hope to see you in 2014. With love Mark and Kathy!
It is always great! You are family. Peace and love.
Lion and buffalo, unforgettable hunting! We really enjoyed our stay here!
We could not have asked for a better beginning to our honeymoon. The hunting was just as wonderfulas the friendships we made. We leave this beautiful place with much love and respect for the amazing people we met during our time here. Cannot wait to return for the sable! All our love!
I’ve felt like we were staying with family. We enjoyed every second that we have been in South Africa thanks to you. Your home, grounds, staff and family couldn’t have been more incredible! Our memories of these past two weeks will be cherished for a lifetime. So glad Gracie’s fist hunt was with you y’all!
Once again – A Blast! Great hunting, great friends. 4th Memosa drive. See you all again soon!
We had a wonderful time with your family and an unbelievable hunting experience.Best to all of you and your staff – We were very happy with all you did to make our trip great! Thanks for everything!
Great time, wonderful people. Everything top of the line!
Trip of a lifetime for my dad and I. Very gracious host and wonderful people. Will miss it!
Thank you! What a donderful trip of a lifetime! We enjoyed the great hunt and meals, did most the company. We were truly treated like family. Tianda you are very special little girl. What a beautiful camp filled with wonderful people.
Tino & Amanda thabnk you so much for tending to our every whatever it be a special request, a special trophy or just a favour! Your camp and staff are wonderful. Best of luck with the rest of the season. Can’t wait to return. PS! Thank you for sharing everything with us Ms, Tianda.
This time we spent here in your camp will always be in my heart. I can’t begin to write everything I was impressed with. Amanda food was awesome. All the staff was friendly. I am amazed at how well and smoothly you all work together. Tino I will always think of you as Tito! Love you all and thank you!
Everything exceeded our expectations. Thank you Tino and Amanda for Awesome memories. We will be back!