During last year’s worldwide Covid-19 lockdown, I stayed in close contact with Grant Taylor, owner of Mashambanzou Safaris, to see if Mozambique would open so I could undertake my scheduled hunt. The country finally opened to visitors in November – but the hunting season was scheduled to close at the end of November! I had a very narrow window of opportunity as I had to get a Covid-19 virus-free certification no more than 72 hours before departure. This was accomplished, and I arrived in Maputo – but minus a rifle. It seemed that United Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines were pointing fingers at each other for that “oversight”.

I overnighted in Maputo and flew to Beira via Tete the next morning. Grant met me and escorted me to a Cessna, with the pilot waiting. The pilot took off and we got clear of Maputo. He then gave me the controls and pointed out the course on a GPS, and I flew much of the way to wherever it was we were going. I guess the assumption was that if I could get to Mozambique despite the Chinese virus, I could do anything! Fortunately I was never called on to walk on water, so I didn’t disillusion anyone.
After an hour of modest turbulence and a strong crosswind, we arrived at an airstrip where my PH, Martin Snyman, was waiting. We drove half an hour to the camp in the Zambezi delta, had lunch, zeroed a loaner .375 with my ammo, and went out to find buffalo.
An hour or so later we sighted several small groups of buffalo grazing on new grass coming up on recently-burned areas. Leaving the truck, we walked to the edge of the scattered timber. We left the trackers there, and Martin and I crawled to within 30 yards of five bulls. One had a decent spread but was immature. Another had a great boss but nothing else. So we left them to their snooze and checked out a mixed herd of about 30. The herd bull and his buddy were not noteworthy, so we left them and circled around the burn to another group of bulls, six in number.
We crawled to the last clump of grass and looked them over. One looked like a shooter. When we stood up and I got on the sticks, the targeted bull ran about 10 yards, stopped and looked back, probably wondering “Why did I do that?” I plunked a 300 grain Barnes into his shoulder and he went down, never to rise again. A few more Barnes bullets insured he would stay down.
When it came to cameras, Martin was trigger happy. Perhaps it was fortunate that I forgot to put the recharged battery back into my Canon. That left only his Nikon and cell phone, and my Kodak. The bull went down at 5 p.m., so recovery of the animal would have to wait until the next morning.
It actually got a bit chilly during the night but the days were hot. We recovered the bull, made the vultures happy and had some croc bait. We went back to the camp for lunch, and spent the afternoon zeroing a different .375 with my ammo. We then went out and stalked dagga boys just for entertainment.
Next morning we drove two hours to Catapu Camp, where we would hunt nyala, croc, bush pig, red duiker and suni. We had lunch and went out hunting. Within a short time a nyala presented itself. We set up the sticks and I placed a 270 grain Hornady into a vital area. Per-haps the heat had made the nyala rather groggy (we had had coffee just before heading out, so we were on the ball) or perhaps he was just tired of battling whatever his problem was. He was emaciated and his coat was quite dull. His teeth showed he had a few years of life left, so his condition was not due to just age. Martin speculated that he may have got pretty badly beaten up during the rut. Or perhaps he had an internal parasite. In any event we got an easy trophy. Certainly his horns left nothing to be desired as a trophy.

Next morning we were up at 3 a.m. to go hunting for crocodiles on the Zambezi. Our chunk of buffalo spine and ribs was nicely ripened. The trackers didn’t seem to mind riding along with the bait. We arrived at the river, took a boat and went looking for some crocs. We found a nice sand bar with a couple of decent crocs. They left, and we put up the bait and a blind. A long wait began. However, some local fishermen showed great interest in the bait, thus keeping any croc away from it.
Late in the afternoon we started cruising for crocs. A couple were spotted and the stalk began. We landed the boat behind an inlet, and waded ankle-deep in mud across to the island. We then waded hip-deep in the Zambezi to another inlet, and set up to wait for the crocs to emerge. The smaller crocs co-operated and came out to perch on a sand bar.
The big one was reluctant to leave the water but he finally emerged partially. I got a shot at the brain but missed and clipped the spine instead. He thrashed his way into the current and was gone.
I was really missing my Leupold scope, as the one on the borrowed rifle had really fussy eye relief, which gave me fits at times. At 6x it was completely unusable for me. At 4x I could usually manage it but it was sometimes totally incompatible with my old eyes. Old age sucks! The alternative does not allow hunting in Mozambique, so suck it up, buttercup!
Early to bed and early to rise catches the bush pig dawdling near the road. NOT! We did, however, see a variety of game I wasn’t interested in. As usual we took a break of 3–4 hours during the worst of the day’s heat. We had our wake-up coffee and headed out in the late afternoon. We drove past a sawmill and spotted a red duiker that usually hung out on the logging-area side of the road – where hunting was not allowed. A short stalk, and he was my second, and last, easy trophy.
Shortly after the duiker photos were taken we came upon an old female warthog with a crippled back, and I put her out of her misery.

We finally spotted a good suni at about 5 p.m. Most of my kills occurred at about 5 p.m. – so why get up at 4 a.m.?
We had to stalk this little rascal for a while before get-ting a shot. Then the little beggar got up and ran. We figured that he was identifying as a rhinoceros that day! We were lucky he didn’t attack the truck! Anyway, a tracker spotted him again and I put a round into his ham, which was the only part exposed. This could be a top ten suni as the horns were over 10 inches (SCI) and very heavy. My 2005 suni was #13 and a bit shorter, and definitely thinner.

We hunted bush pig again the next morning, and then moved to Mupa Camp. This camp was crawling with reedbuck, and had good numbers of waterbuck, oribi, warthog and sable. The only sable we saw during the first two days were young bulls and a herd with a mediocre herd bull.
The usual early start in case the bush pigs were out and about, was peaceful – until it began to get light. Then the tetse flies attacked in earnest. The two trackers and I in the back of the truck were doing more back slapping than politicians at a convention after the third round of martinis. Thus began my war on the little devils. I ended up with 38 confirmed kills. To get a confirmed kill you must secure the body, perform halal, get it made kosher by the local rabbi, get it blessed by the Pope, and then plunge a silver dagger into its heart. We have rigorous standards!
Shortly after, it began to rain, which it did off and on throughout the day. Around noon we located a herd of sable and began stalking. I eventually got a shot but it was not too well placed. I was too focused on the critter and let my subconscious deal with the trigger control. Alas, this rifle had a crisp three-pound pull, while my subconscious is geared to a long, smooth 1½-pound pull. Rather poor shooting resulted.
Eventually the sable was swaying on its feet about 50 yards away. I was down to one round. He went down. He got up! I put my last round (a solid) through the shoulders and he finally admitted he was dead. And I thought I was hard to convince! I’d met my match!
We were up at 4 a.m. the next morning. We were going to the far end of the concession to find a Lichtenstein hartebeest. We first spotted a lone bull, which departed post haste. We then came upon a trio of different-sized bulls, which were super spooky. We decided to give the area a rest for a couple of days and see if they would calm down.
We spent the next few days hunting bush pig. We tried drives through the tall reeds where they liked to hang out. The pigs were adept at cutting back through the drives. We then tried burning patches of reed but the pigs were on to that tactic, too. For a while we tracked one with an injured leg that went into the forest. I finally called the search off as the pig was faster and quieter than we could ever be.
Upon our return to the hartebeest area we picked up tracks early and tried that technique. A couple of times we were closing in but they moved before we reached shooting range. This turned out to be an unusually hot day. The trackers were already sweating by 8 a.m.
We found a shady clump of trees and hung out for about four hours until it cooled down to merely scorching. Martin tried vehicle stalking but the animals were as spooked by a vehicle as by people on foot.
The trackers asked Martin to stop and wait for about 15 minutes. We were then led on a mile-long march through the grass, a narrow belt of timber, a half mile of grass, another

short belt of timber, a quarter mile of grass – and then the local tracker indicated the big bull was just down a low slope and past a small stand of timber! And so it proved to be and I ended the chase. Martin was skeptical of this stalk but didn’t argue with success. Of course, the kill occurred around 5 p.m.!
With bush pig all that remained on my wish list, we burned some more reed patches and did more spotlighting after dark. As usual, it was an exercise in futility.
The last afternoon we tried hunting along the river, nearer to the camp. Shortly after the magic hour, a tracker saw some pigs off to one side. We circled around and got ahead of them. I got in a quick shot at the boar, which did not appreciate the attention. The next shot, at a black blob in the brush, did not improve his disposition.
As the trackers succeeded in relocating him, I renewed my acquaintance with those little saw-toothed, high-tensile strength vines that love to trip you up, while lacerating your shins. If you managed to spot these vines and stepped on them, it lowered some of the higher vines to face level, of course. This surely must qualify as abuse of the elderly!
Martin insisted that another black blob was truly the pig. I reminded him that I was on my last round of ammunition, and that we had left his spare ammo, the spear, and the flashlights in the truck, which was not near at hand. He reiterated that the blob was truly our pig. It was. A bayonet attack was not necessary. This was good, as I did not have a bayonet.
It surely must be immoral to have this much fun when my contemporaries are in assisted living, or doddering around their yard in fear of the Covid-19 virus. Well, somebody has to do it. And then, in penance for my “sins”, I had to endure traveling by air to get home.
I have enjoyed many African safaris but this one in Mozambique surely ranks as one of the best I have ever had! A very big thank you to Grant Taylor and his crew for being patient with me, and helping an old man to keep pursuing his passion for the outdoors. ASM