Honey, We’re Going to Africa! | Planning the Perfect Couples Hunting Safari

By: Peyton Merideth

Hunting with your spouse on the Dark Continent can be both enjoyable and rewarding…as long as you take the necessary steps to keep her happy!

I should have just kept my mouth shut.  The moment I whispered, “ Wait, don’t shoot, here come some zebra,”  I knew I had screwed up, and the look on Nico’s face confirmed that.  Up to that point I had done everything right.  I had followed all of the self-imposed rules on this safari I had formulated to keep Kristi happy and entertained.  Now here we were, on the second-to-last day of our safari, and Nico, our professional hunter, had just given Kristi the go-ahead to shoot the biggest eland I had ever seen on video or in person, and I was telling her not to shoot.
                 I could have sworn she had told me she wanted to shoot a zebra, so I thought I was doing the right thing when I saw the zebra out of the corner of my eye.  Of course, the eland turned and walked away from the waterhole where he had been standing broadside for an eternity.  His cows followed suit, and of course, so did the zebra, never offering Kristi a shot.  I looked back at Nico who was covering his face with his hat.  Lesson learned – if your wife agrees to go with you on a safari, probably because you can’t go if she doesn’t, let her shoot whatever she wants!
                 Personally, I could never imagine traveling to Africa without my wife.  Bowhunting in Africa is an adventure and is downright addictive.  Just as soon as you return from safari, you can’t wait to get back.  I’ve been fortunate enough to make two bowhunting trips to South Africa, the last trip occurring in 2007 when my wife and I hunted with Ken Moody Hunting Africa.  Kristi and I were married in 2006 so this was her first trip to Africa, and I had no trouble convincing her to come along for the ride.  However, I knew the challenge that was ahead of me.  If I wanted her to make return trips to Africa with me, I’d need to show her a great time on this first trip.  The secret would be keeping both of us happy, comfortable, and entertained throughout our safari.
                 Fortunately, there is no shortage of safari companies in South Africa that offer the conveniences and amenities of a luxury resort but still manage to capture the Africa ambiance and spirit that hunters seek.  If your wife will not be hunting, choose a safari company that offers observers a range of activities should they choose not to accompany you to the blind for the day.  Local shopping in native bazaars or simply lounging around the camp swimming pool may be just the ticket.  Yes, many South Africa hunting lodges do have swimming pools.  And don’t think that the swimming pool pictures on the outfitter’s website won’t help your wife decide to come with you in the first place.
                 Like most blue-collar bowhunters that travel to Africa, I’m forced to be a realist.  Rather than the Big Five, which can be outrageously expensive to hunt, I’m more financially inclined to hunt what Africans call the Little Five.  On our recent safari I informed Nico early on that I wanted to harvest both a duiker and steenbok, Little Five miniature antelope member that had eluded me on my first safari in 2003.  Nico told me duikers would not be a problem, but the steenbok don’t water as frequently so I should not pass up any opportunities on these little creatures.  Our second hunting day found Kristi and I in a blind overlooking a waterhole where the nearest point of water was a mere 10 yards away.
                 When we climbed in that blind, I drew my bow to check for any limb clearance.  In doing so, I touched my relief trigger at half draw, causing my hand to smack me in the mouth and my arrow to flip out the blind window.  Kristi burst into hysterics, my mouth swelled up and I had to climb out and get my arrow.  At least Kristi was happy.  Not two minutes after I climbed back into the blind, a nice male duiker came into drink and offered me an easy 12-yard shot.  That’s Africa.  While Kristi operated our video camera, my arrow found the mark and Kristi was able to capture the sequence on video.
                 Several hours later and just before dusk set in, Krist and I heard what sounded like a loud thumping noise coming from our left.  Krist, who had a better view in that direction than I, looked out and observed five large bull giraffes coming to water.  About the same time, a huge giraffe knee passed right in front of the shooting window of the blind.  We both gasped.  For the next twenty minutes or so, we watched and filmed the giraffes as they, some not 10 yards from us.  They were so close that we could hear a “whoosh” as they swung their tails from side to side. Kristi was ecstatic.    One of her goals for the safari was to see a giraffe.  Her wish had been granted up close and personal, and the look on her face was priceless.  
                 As the giraffes were watering, a herd of blue wildebeest galloped up but stopped short of the water because there was literally no room for them.  Finally, the giraffes sauntered away and their way to the water, with one nice animal offering a perfect 15-yard quartering-away opportunity.  My shot was perfect, and the wildebeest ran directly away from the blind and died in seconds, still in view of Kristi’s camera.  After radioing for assistance, we walked up to the wildebeest while the largest of the five giraffes curiously watched us from 100 yards away.   We tried to take some pictures of the wildebeest with the giraffe towering above the trees in the background, but it was too dark.  No matter – the picture of that spectacular scene is ingrained in both our memories.
                 The seventh day of the safari found Kristi and I in a different blind where a steenbok had been seen and missed by another bowhunter in camp.  Because steenbok are very territorial, Nico believed we’d have a fair chance at seeing that steenbok again.  Telling the difference between a duiker and a steenbok shouldn’t be all that difficult. But if you have never seen both species standing side by side, it can be a bit confusing.  On that day, Kristi and I had spent a lot of time trying to turn several duikers into steenbok.  The process reminds me of trying to wish a not-legal third quarter-curl Dall ram into a legal full-curve ram.  It can’t be done.  From where I sat in the blind, I could see to our right out of one large window.  Kristi had the same view to the left.  Throughout the morning, I observed a male duiker coming and going from the waterhole several times.  Just as the same thirsty duiker came in once more, Kristi spotted another animal coming in from the left.  Just as my duiker began to drink on the right side of the waterhole, Kristi asked me if I was sure her animal was a duiker as well.
                 “Sure,” I replied after a quick glance.  “He has a black tail, a black mark down his nose and a little tuft of hair between his ears.”
                 “Yes, but honey,” she whispered back, “that one doesn’t have a black mark down.”
                 “Yes, baby, he does,” I said, a tiny bit annoyed.  How could Kristi know more than me when if came to African duikers?  Then I looked up to double check, and holy cow.  Kristi’s animal was a genuine steenbok!
                 There was now a steenbok drinking on the left and a duiker drinking on the right.  I drew my bow just as Kristi hit “record” on the video camera.  My arrow passed right through the steenbok, and he sprinted out of there lie he was on fire only to go down within sight of the blind and about 100 yards away.
                 The main recounting these two-safari tales is to make the point that you need to involve your wife as much as possible in your safari.  Yes, give her all the time she wants to hang out in camp, go shopping, and lounge by the pool.  But if she’s so inclined, the memories you two can make together while sitting and hunting in the blinds can last a lifetime.  Kristi ran the video camera, took still pictures, chased away lizards and helped me spot game every time she hunted with me.  I really wanted a steenbok, and Kristi was instrumental in making that happen.  I might never have seen that special little antelope had she not made me take a second look.  Every time I look at photos of that trophy, I think of Kristi.
                 On our eighth hunting day I learned something about my wife.  She had a knack that I never would have guessed –she’s an eagle-eyed natural on a blood trail.  We were seated in a large pop-up blind with a shoot-through mesh window overlooking another waterhole.  About midday three male warthogs came into drink, and one was a shooter for sure.  
                 With Kristi again running the video camera, I waited patiently for the tusker to finish drinking and turn broadside.  The hog finally turned, and I took the 20-yard shot.  The arrow passed completely through the warthog, which took off running dead away from the blind.  I radioed Nico who arrived shortly thereafter with a tracker.   Nico found my arrow which was almost completely devoid of blood.  Nico thought the shot might be high, but I insisted that it had been on the money.
                 After following the trail for about 70 yards, the blood trail simply ran out.  Kristi was filing the recovery and watching Nico, the tracker and me scour the area for blood.  I finally located a single drop on a rock, which I was quite proud of because I had spotted the blood before Nico or the tracker.  That’s when Kristi nonchalantly walked over and expertly pointed out more blood spots, leading to a large pool of blood and eventually the downed warthog itself.
                 Many safari companies offer side trips during your stay to various tourist destinations such as shopping markets or national parks.  On our last day in camp, we traveled to Mapungubwe National Park, where we spent the day photographing and videoing several species of game, including elephants.  We also spent time at a visitor’s booth that overlooked the Limpopo River at the point where the borders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana come together.  The view was spectacular, and it was easy to take in the sights and history that surrounded us.  We were both glad we could share that moment together.  
                 The last night in camp was Kristi’s birthday.  I had secretly arranged through Ken Moody to have a group of local children dance for us, something they occasionally did to raise money to buy computers for their rural school.  The children were simply amazing, dancing for a solid hour while we videoed them and enjoyed our last night in camp.  They even sang “Happy Birthday” in English to Kristi.  It proved a perfect ending to a marvelous man-and-wife safari.
                 Taking your wife on safari can be a rewarding and very special experience, something that the two of you will always share.  I assure you she will have a wonderful time in camp, in the field, in the blind or on the trail as long as you think about your needs as much as your own.  Enjoy every moment you spend together in Africa.  
                 Nico said my wife set a record for the number of days spent sitting in a hot blind with her husband.  I guess I’m just lucky!

Note:  This article, written by Shoshone Chief of Operations, Peyton Merideth, was originally published in the October 2010 issue of Bow Hunt America Magazine.
No items found.
Back to all posts
Back to all posts

Ready for your next adventure?

Sign-up to our E-Newsletter for exclusive offers and featured adventures.