South Africa: 2016
Family Vacation at Impisi
By Nicole Kelly
So my dilemma was to plan an African hunting vacation for my non-hunting family. I know there are worse things to deal with, but the problem was how to keep my 12- and 14-year-old daughters occupied without cell phones, iPads, snapchat, and whatever other social media things they use that I don’t understand.
Our first day in South Africa included a trip to the Lion Park in Johannesburg. I would highly recommend this if you are travelling with kids – the girls loved to feed the giraffes and we were able to pet the lion cubs in a supervised area. During our guided tour ride through the park we saw zebra, sable, nyala, wild dogs, and a very large pride of white lions. At one point the guide stuck a water bottle out of the truck and one of the female lions decided she wanted it. It was amazing to be that close to her.
The next day we were picked up by Jan Taljaard, the owner and operator of Impisi, located in the Limpopo area of South Africa. It is 1300 acres of beautiful bushveld. I can still picture the contrast of the green bush against the dark red sand. Our accommodations were located on a large quartz hill, which gave us panoramic views of the entire expanse from every place that we stood. Spectacular! The attention to detail in the decor of the luxury tents was second to none, right down to the leather couches made from local hides. We could not have asked for anything more.
Now for the hunting part of the trip. Joel had never hunted before, so I asked Jan if there was something easy he could shoot – something like a warthog. It’s like a big, slow pig. Right? WRONG. Joel, and his amazing tracker, Sully, spent the next four days trying to get a warthog. I’m not sure who was more determined…Joel or Sully.
On the last day at Impisi, the four of us took a drive through the bush for one last look before we headed home. As we turned a corner, there was a very large warthog directly in front of us. He had just finished rolling in the red mud. I thought: “This is it! He will get his warthog!” As I kept my eyes on the pig, Joel got out of the truck. He took the gun out from the back of the truck…
He unzipped the gun case…
He put the bullets in the gun…
OMG! I think the pig actually got bored with the whole thing, so he just walked away, never to be seen again. Joel learnt a very valuable lesson when it comes to hunting…BE READY! But In the end he did take a very nice bull impala.
After the hunt we got to see Joel’s impala hanging in the state-of-the-art abattoir. It was evident that Jan and his team take great pride in processing their own sausages and steaks. The facility is pristine and sanitary, and abides by all the strict regulations on handling and processing game, right down to the exact temperature. He employs a full-time butcher who is ready to turn a hunter’s trophy into an unforgettable dinner.
Speaking of unforgettable dinners, the evening braais were amazing. I have never tasted food so flavorful. Every time we ate something Joel would turn to me and say, “You need to get the recipe for this!” I actually did buy a braai cook book at the airport, but I’m still trying recreate the food.
In the end, my girls didn’t miss their phones or iPads – but they regularly say that they miss Africa. Me too! (Oh…and Joel did get his wart hog…it’s a wooden sculpture on our mantle.)
Nicole worked as subscription manager and tradeshow coordinator for AHG for six years. She is on a different career path now, but is grateful to Richard Lendrum and the AHG team for giving her the opportunity to meet the great subscribers and to travel to Africa.