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A Legend of a PH – Johnny Vivier

Johnny Vivier entered the hunting industry as an apprentice PH in Zimbabwe in 1978 and has hunted ever since.  Being a PH runs in the family.  Johnny started shooting with a pellet gun, at the tender age of 5 years, under the watchful eye of his father.  He shot his first animal, a Roan antelope bull at the age of 7 with a 30-06 rifle whilst on Safari with his dad in Zambia.  His first dangerous game specie was shot at the age of 10 years – a rouge Buffalo bull in Zambia – that had been mauled by Lions and was chasing the villagers away from the waterhole.  According to Johnny, he knew from that day that he too, will one day become a Professional Hunter like his father.

Dangerous game

“I love hunting Buffalo most out of the dangerous game animals, especially Bulls that are in herds where cows, that have calves, are present.”  Johnny also feels that hunting Kudu bulls on foot is his specialty out of all the antelope species.  He says that he has taken on average about 15-20 trophy bulls per year with his clients spanning over a period of 30 year throughout Southern Africa. The magical mark of 60+ inches being broken only 11 times!!  He uses the same old open sighted .458 Ruger bolt action as a backup.  It holds 3 rounds in the magazine with 1 up the spout.

Family Man

Although he loves his career as a PH, Johnny is also a family man and treasures his wife Beverley and his daughter, Kelly.   “Before Kelly was born, Bev would go with me on every safari, to help transport clients to and from the hunting areas and in most instances Bev would handle the catering and camp for me as we were a team.” 

Hunting Highlights

On the topic of hunting highlights, Johnny had this to say: “I would say the very first time that I actually stalked up to an Elephant Bull knowing that … I … Me … Myself … was about to shoot my first Elephant at only 18 years old. I had only ever viewed these enormous land giants on foot at a distance, or within the safety of my Dad’s hunting truck.” 

Johnny feels strongly about quality hunting and to make the client at ease.  “As a PH, you want to teach the client how to hunt in Africa; to show him the little things in the bush that we as PH’s take for granted, which means so much to the client. Explain to the client why your hunting vehicle is rigged the way it is; teach the client about skinning, salting, boiling of horns and trophy care.  As a PH stand tall that you have completed yet another quality hunt and know that you have just set the stage for a return bout with the same client, which is what it is all about!!”

Johnny – The Legend

Johnny is a PH with vast experience.  “I was very fortunate that back in the early 70’s, I was able to go on safaris into countries like Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. It was during that time, that I was able to view game in numbers unheard of today and see some incredible hunting areas. I fondly recall certain experiences like watching three huge, heavily manned Lions walking together in Mumbwa Zambia.”

Johnny Vivier joined Wintershoek Safaris 25 years ago and has since been an integral part of Wintershoek.  He is currently in the USA to meet new and old clients.  If you are interested in meeting this legend, please let us know, so that we can put him in contact with you! 

(Information used from johnnyvivier-professionalhunter.co.za/about-me/around-camp-fire/).

Wintershoek Hunting Safari Accommodation

At the luxurious lodges of Wintershoek Safaris, hunters can relax in comfort after an exhilarating day.

The best dining experiences are standard at Wintershoek Safaris lodges and all four of our lodges are 4-star.  Here follows some more detail about each lodge:

Thuru

In the local Khoisan language, ‘thuru’ means to cast off skin, to change into another creature. This is what you will experience while hunting in the breathtakingly beautiful red Kalahari sand dunes of Thuru’s Nama Karoo. You will experience solace for your soul in the warm ambiance of the luxurious Thuru lodge.  Thuru lodge specialty lies with the African bush dinner experience between the red Kalahari sand dunes.

Karreekloof

Nestled in the Northern Cape Karoo grasslands of South Africa, Karreekloof is a very large, open area ideal for hunting in expansive territories. This vast 112 000 acre space is a newly developed paradise created by the owners of Wintershoek Safaris to ensure a magnificent, responsible hunting experience for all.

The brand new Karreekloof lodge is a superb development that fits right into this historic part of the country that dates back to 1881 when the first trading post was opened here by the pioneering hand of John William Wright.

Linksfontein

Winterhoek’s hunting enclave at Linksfontein in the Northern Cape forms part of the unique Ghaap plateau escarpment, known as an area of special interest to researchers of human evolution. This mineral-rich rocky limestone area produces some excellent hunting trophies.

The team at Linksfontein has created no less than 18 blinds that blend perfectly into the natural environment. Archery enthusiasts will be in their element bowhunting a wide variety of indigenous species with superb support from our knowledgeable bowhunting professional hunters at this special place.  Linksfontein prides itself on great hospitality and heartwarming food. 

Gamagara

Gamagara is situated in the middle of the Green Kalahari, near the small town of Dibeng. Here your hunting experience is guaranteed to start with a sunrise that will lift your soul above the pull of earth’s gravity, while the most majestic African sunset will ease you into a restful sleep at our luxurious lodge, after a most magnificent hunting day.

Our four lodges have been catering for international hunters for many years and take pride in their professional, yet warm service.  They love what they do and you can feel it!  Facilities at all four lodges are excellent and includes but are not limited to air-conditioning, Wifi, tea and coffee facilities and much more.   Each lodge also provides bush dinners and sundowners, depending on your needs.  We look forward to welcoming you at Wintershoek.

Traveling to South Africa

 

A trip to South Africa must be on every person’s bucket list.  Nowhere else in the world, will you get to see the same magnificent wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and a variety of cultures rich in art and history.

Enjoying your visit to South Africa is paramount and your safety is therefore a priority to us.

Luckily, the Northern Cape Province, where the four areas of Wintershoek Safaris are situated, is a malaria free area.  This means that you do not have to worry about extra medication that might make you feel bad on your safari trip.

When touching down at OR Tambo Airport, remember that you are now in Africa.  Here are some general safety tips to help you ensure an enjoyable trip.

 

General Safety Tips

Like many places in today’s world, crime may be a problem.  By taking the necessary precautions and following some basic safety guidelines, you can make your trip hassle free and super special.   You can decrease your chances of becoming a target by not being flashy.  It is advisable to leave your jewelry and valuables at home.  Try to avoid walking alone, especially at night.  Some people have a dummy wallet, with only a small amount of cash.  Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts!

As a driver, be on the alert when coming to a halt at traffic lights or stop streets, as well as when arriving at or leaving any premises. Car doors should always be locked, and valuables are better kept in the boot or under the seats.  Plan your route beforehand. Make sure the map you consult, is a current one.
When parking at night, choose well-lit or security-patrolled parking areas. Street security guards will usually ask whether they can watch over your car, and in return should be paid a small fee – anything from R5 upwards.

 

Travelling to the Wintershoek Hunting Areas

O.R. Tambo International Airport is Africa’s biggest and busiest airport, facilitating approximately 19 million passengers a year. More than 50 percent of South Africa’s air traveling passengers are facilitated through the airport.

Kimberley Airport lies at the heart of the Northern Cape, in a town most famous for the ‘Big Hole’, a landmark carved into the earth by early diamond prospectors. When your safari starts at Karreekloof or Linksfontein, you need to take a domestic flight from OR Tambo International airport to Kimberley airport.

Upington airport has three runways, the primary one measuring 4,900 meters (the longest civilian runway in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the few able to land a space shuttle).

When your safari starts at either Thuru or Gamagara, you will need to take a domestic flight from OR Tambo International Airport to Upington Airport.

When your safari starts at Gamagara and you are not traveling with rifles, you can take a domestic flight to Sishen Airport. Sishen airport is a mere 10-minute drive from Gamagara.

There are landing strips at Thuru, as well as Karreekloof. If you take a private charter from OR Tambo Airport, you can fly directly to these areas.

It is recommended that you do not travel without travel/medical insurance.  One never knows when an accident can happen.  It is better to be prepared than not!!

When planning the traveling part of your next Safari, we recommend Jill Potash of Esplanade Travel from Boston USA.  Wintershoek Safaris have been using Jill Potash & Jacky Keith for many years and find them to be the best when it comes to traveling to Africa.

Wintershoek Safaris will help you every step of the way to tailor-make your safari to suit your needs, meet your trophy requirements, your preferred length of stay and most importantly, your budget! So take a deep breath, relax and enjoy South Africa!

Hunting Rifle Regulations in South Africa

Every hunter who has travelled to South Africa will tell you that it can be quite a task to import your rifles. If you follow the correct steps and know what the firearm regulations in South Africa are, then this process can be a lot less daunting.  Here follow some of the most important regulations that you should be aware of:

Firstly, if you decide not to hassle with the exportation and importation of your own firearms in and out of countries, Wintershoek Safaris has a battery of firearms available to hunters to rent.  The firearms available to rent are of good quality and under the personal care of the Professional Hunters (PH’s).

It is highly recommended that you apply for your temporary importation permit or in-transit permit prior to your arrival.  This will not only save you time, but your arrival will be much more hassle free.  There are various service providers that you can use to assist you with this process.

The most important regulations that you should be aware of:

  • You may only import a maximum of four firearms or shotguns per applicant.
  • You may not import more than one of the same caliber or gauge.
  • Only 200 rounds for each permitted firearm or shotgun will be allowed.
  • No ammunition for other firearms (not accompanying you) is permitted.
  • Firearms must bear the manufacturer’s serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified.
  • The identification number must be stamped and the mark affixed in the prescribed manner on the barrel, the frame or the receiver of the firearm.

By law, a minimum calibre of .375 is to be used to hunt any of the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant). A .375 is also a very versatile calibre and can also be used on every plains game species.  Good soft-nose ammunition is always recommended, but especially for Big Five species. As recommended for all plains game species, calibres such as .300 Win mag, 338, 7mm, 30-06 and similar are best suited for African antelope.

We strongly recommend the pre-arranged firearm import service that Africa Sky Guesthouse offers. Africa SkyGuest house will pre-arrange your rifle permit. They will also meet you in the arrivals hall with your pre-arranged permit and assist you with the collection of your rifles.

Most importantly, bring the rifle that you shoot with the best and feel most comfortable with.  Professional Hunters prefer good shot placement over and above any high power firearms.  Please contact us at info@wintershoeksafaris.com should you require any more information in this regards.