A few years ago I scheduled my first African hunt with Craig Maartens of Maartens Safaris. I had researched over 15 outfitters and the decision was not easy. They all sounded good and made promises that I wanted to hear. Craig Maartens only promised that he would take me to good hunting areas and that I would have the opportunity to get the trophies I desired. I liked his approach and through e-mails I learned to trust him and believed he could deliver. I contracted with Craig in May 2010 and my daughter and I flew to Johannesburg to meet him. We then ventured on to Vaalwater in the Limpopo Province in the northern part of South Africa. It was picturesque and what I imaged Africa to be. We saw several animals that I thought would be good, but he had me hold out until he located species that were older and more spectacular trophies. He, along with his superior trackers, tracked them until I was in a position to shoot. It was then up to me to bring in the trophy. I can say I also did my job and was able to get a Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Common Reedbuck, and a Bushbuck. These were the trophies I wanted and he did deliver.
I enjoyed my first venture with him so much that I wanted to do it again and this time for different species. I did not hesitate to contact Craig to find out his availability and see if his fees had changed. I found his prices to be very comparable with many other outfitters, so I booked my next adventure for October 2015. This time we went to the southern part of South Africa to Game Reserve near Graaff Reinet. There, through his ability to spot and track the animals, I was able to get some great trophies. I shot a Lechwe, Blesbuck, Gemsbuck/Oryx, Zebra, Common Springbuck, Black Springbuck, and a Red Hartebeest. Yes, I did get carried away but when I saw what he could deliver I couldnít resist. Every animal I shot was a great trophy. We next drove several hours to a new hunting camp that was near the town of Grahamstown, just north of Port Elizabeth. At this location the lodging was once again superb and the food was also fantastic. The lodge/sleeping quarters were very comfortable and the area we were in was scenic and very Africa. Within just a few minutes of the lodge we saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, springbucks and a variety of other animals. The next day we took a short ride in Craigís Land Cruiser to the hunting area where I was able to get a great trophy Waterbuck. This entire hunt took 10 days and those 10 days were filled with excitement and a new adventure every day.
Craig and his team were not only professional, but fun to be with. The camps at both locations were extremely comfortable and the food was extraordinary. Each night we sat around the fire pit with a few drinks and talked about the dayís events. The next day we were up and moving at the crack of dawn to get to the next hunting area. Forget what you hear about South Africa only being on hunting reserves. The areas we hunted were 30,000 to 40,000 acres. It felt like I was hunting in Arizona or New Mexico and never felt closed in or trapped into a specific area. It was not only a great hunting experience, but a good time spent with good friends.
If hunting in Africa is on your bucket list then Maartens Safaris is the place to go for good trophies, good memories, and a great adventure.