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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.
“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.
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.”
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/).
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org should you require any more information in this regards.
From a Professional Hunter’s point of view – Hunting at our new area, Karreekloof.
Over the past two years, a lot has been done with regards to making a dream come true for Wiaan van der Linde and Wintershoek Safaris.
This has been done in the form of the famous and historical Karreekloof that has been bought by Wiaan from the Wright family that owned the land since 1882. What first struck me, was when I realized that Karreekloof was the first and only trading post between Cape Town and Johannesburg (1000 miles apart) before the Boers and English started developing central parts of South Africa. Talking about some history…!!
Over the last couple of years, a lot has been done to recreate what was then a sheep farm into an expansive piece of wilderness area teeming with wildlife. A total of 6300 + head of game has been reintroduced from large game reserves to recreate what it used to be before development took place in 1881.
A state of the art lodge has been recreated out of the original buildings that were on the farm. Because of the great amount of history and the fact that most materials were imported from England by sea, Wiaan decided to renovate the old buildings by keeping the original Dutch Holland style.
From a Professional Hunters point of view, I think we would all agree with the fact that we want to give our clients a “Wild Africa” experience. Unfortunately, that is not always the case with smaller game ranches all over South Africa and Namibia. That is most certainly not the case at Karreekloof as you’ll have the opportunity to hunt on 112 000 acres, that is teeming with wildlife. (The long-term plan is to expand it to 250000 acres.) The trophy quality is unsurpassed to most areas I’ve had the privilege of hunting before… by far!!!
The whole idea behind Karreekloof is to create something that is unique! Unique with regards to the size of the hunting grounds as well as trophy quality, overall numbers of game, the quality of lodging, great food, the road infrastructure that’s been put into place and the overall traditions that has been kept since the late 1800’s as well as the total experience one will have whilst on safari at Karreekloof. From the serious and avid hunter to a Mom and Dad that wants to bring their kids/family on their first safari, I strongly believe that Karreekloof has what it takes to create those special moments and memories.
Combined with what we already had, Linksfontein Lodge, Gamagara Lodge as well as Thuru Lodge, I now believe that we, as a team at Wintershoek Safaris, are running one of the largest, most diverse and highly respected Safari Outfits in South Africa.
To end this letter, I would like to encourage everyone that’s interested in coming on a hunt of a lifetime to make Karreekloof your first choice.
Once again, I walk with my head held high and wear the “W” with pride on my chest.
Yours in hunting and conservation,
Yvan Nieuwoudt (Professional Hunter)