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Outdoor News – Safari Outfitter and Guides Visit Greenwood
Harold Smith (L) with Andre Nel and Drum Beukes of Somerby Outfitters of South Africa. Harold hosts annually and event where forty or so can visit one-on-one with these expert guides to plan custom designed safaris. Nel and Beukes are in the US for six weeks making presentations to potential clients who are gathering information about safaris.

Outdoor News – Safari Outfitter and Guides Visit Greenwood

Harold Smith hosted an event last week at Bell Park’s Senator Ed Wilkinson Pavilion to introduce friends and potential Safari enthusiasts to his guide and outfitter of choice-Somerby Safaris of Kestal, South Africa.

Some forty outdoorsmen, adventure seekers and potential travelers attended the event including several who have hunted dangerous game with this service before.

Drom Beukes, owner of Somerby and one of Somerby’s five professional hunters-Andre Nel were on hand to present scenes of recent hunts from 2014’s extraordinary hunting season and to offer suggestions about travel to South Africa.

Harold Smith (L) with Andre Nel and Drum Beukes of Somerby Outfitters of South Africa.  Harold hosts annually and event where forty or so can visit one-on-one with these expert guides to plan custom designed safaris.  Nel and Beukes are in the US for six weeks making presentations to potential clients who are gathering information about safaris.

Harold Smith (L) with Andre Nel and Drum Beukes of Somerby Outfitters of South Africa. Harold hosts annually and event where forty or so can visit one-on-one with these expert guides to plan custom designed safaris. Nel and Beukes are in the US for six weeks making presentations to potential clients who are gathering information about safaris.

They explained prices and displayed photos of accommodations and the varieties of travel packages available to interested customers. Luxury lodging, meals and even laundry service is included in the package. There are also prices available for photo safaris and fees for special excursions to animal sanctuaries, day trips to national parks, tribal cultural villages and tours of South Africa’s diamond mines.

The Greenwood Tradition editor was allowed an interview with Beukes and Nel before the Greenwood event. They and Harold Smith shared photos for this feature segment.

Across South Africa’s nine provinces and Zimbabwe are hunting preserves, many of which contain as much as 250,000 acres. Though most are smaller and are best suited for hunting specific game-different preserves for different animals, as many do not peaceably co-exist.

With a combined fifty years of experience in safaris, Beukes and Nel have successfully led Smith on safaris for lions and elephants as well as for plains game animals like elands, impalas, kudu and gemsbuck in addition to lions and leopards.

Drom Beukes explained that many hunters set goals for taking animals from different categories like a list of all the plains games animals or the “Dangerous Seven” which includes the Crocodile, the Hippo, the Elephant, the Lion, the Cape Buffalo, the Leopard and the African Rhinoceros. At least one hunter from this area has nearly completed that list, lacking only the crocodile and the Hippo.

Greenwood’s Harold Smith has taken the elephant and the female lion from that list of the “dangerous seven” and the lion is on display in his home office. The elephant and the lion Smith took have been the subject of features in our “Outdoor News” segment.

Guides and professional hunters who work for Somerby spend the day scouting the preserves and hunting ranches locating the best places to take one of these trophy animals. When hunters show up, that preliminary work lessens the travel time across hundreds of thousands of dusty acres on trails and windswept grasslands featuring few if any roads.

The Greenwood Tradition

Harold Smith is seen here visiting with Zimbabwe native Ivan Carter, host of “Tracks Across Africa” and “Hornady’s Africa.” Carter has spoken throughout the world on elephant management including Stanford University and numerous television programs. Smith says, “Ivan is world renown for his expert knowledge of Africa’s flora and fauna and offers a refreshing look at today’s African big game hunting. The two visited at the Dallas Safari Club Expo this last week where thousands gather to learn the latest in planning, pricing and scheduling safaris.

Conservation Efforts

This Outdoor News segment reminds readers in almost every issue that the hunter is the money behind the conservation programs. If an animal has no value to the hunter, then, no monies will be spent protecting its species from extinction. No measures will be taken to insure that older non-breeders/non-producers of the species will be removed insuring propagation of game if no one is interested in hunting, prizing and trophy display of that animal.

Hence, it is not at all ironic that the hunter who seeks to kill wild game is the best friend of the species. It’s just as true in Africa as in Arkansas that conservation movements follow the dollars generated by the hunter and not the picket sign toting protestor.  The money spent in Arkansas each year to protect wild game herds, fish and waterfowl is generated by license fees, taxes on ammunition, taxes on motorboat fuel and appropriations by hunting and wildlife sensitive legislators.

“There was a time in the not-to-distant past when cattle ranchers in South Africa shot lions, leopards and Crocodiles that threatened livestock” says Beukes. “There was no value in the animal. Advancement in travel, accommodations and increased interest in hunting has changed all of that. Now conservation efforts maintain population levels of all the animals hunters want to shoot. Between 1890 and 1900, the  black wildebeest got done to numbering in the dozens in South Africa. Now, due to the interest of the hunter, the black wildebeest is plentiful and popular with American hunters.”

To that end, Harold Smith relates his story of the elephant he took in South Africa. “It was much older and large enough to run off the younger breeders and thereby hindering reproduction of the herd. It had to be taken out for the benefit of the breeding program. In addition to that, any overpopulation of elephants causes problems for tribal farmers. The elephant takes down a tree, gulps a few tender branches of leaves and moves on to the next tree. The wind then erodes the farmland and a tribe starves because of the lack on good farmlands.” And Smith adds, “This takes place in just a few years’ time and is happening all over Zimbabwe.”

Packages Available for the Family:  Design your hunt

Drom Beukes encourages hunters to bring their families to this educational experience. There is so much to see and learn, from tribal rituals, cultural centers, diamond mines and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. “We like to take only Americans on safaris. They are from a Christian background much like our own. They appreciate and respect wildlife and there is less of a language barrier. Thus, we are very ‘pro-American’ and like to make these presentations to as many potential hunters as possible during our six weeks in America each year.”

Beukes and Nel will spend that six weeks making presentations in Missouri, Kansas, New Jersey, California and in Texas and will make at least 20 flights back and forth across the United States to those locales before their return to South Africa.

At the Dallas Safari Club Expo, Greenwood’s Harold Smith took time to visit with Craig Boddington, a former U.S. Marine, Executive Field Editor for Guns & Ammo as well as Petersen’s Riffle Shooter Magazine, Co-Host of Guns & Ammo TV.  Boddington has published over 4,000 articles, authored 23 books and appeared in over 500 television shows about the great outdoors.

At the Dallas Safari Club Expo, Greenwood’s Harold Smith took time to visit with Craig Boddington, a former U.S. Marine, Executive Field Editor for Guns & Ammo as well as Petersen’s Riffle Shooter Magazine, Co-Host of Guns & Ammo TV. Boddington has published over 4,000 articles, authored 23 books and appeared in over 500 television shows about the great outdoors.

Beukes shared stories about the professional hunters on their staff and their respect for the animals and their success rate. “We can assure you that you will get the animal you are seeking. That is the job of the guide and they take their jobs seriously. We offer hunting areas all across South Africa. We have never had anyone hurt on one of our safaris. Our safety record is excellent. There are guides and professional hunters who accompany each hunter. That‘s the law in South Africa and our reputation as an outfitter and guide service is on the line with each hunt.”

In addition to that, Harold Smith says it is critical for good outfitters and hunters to hear of any negative experiences hunters have on safaris so as to keep standards high, avoid mishaps and make corrections throughout the industry that is infusing hundreds of millions of dollars into the South African economy each year.

Firearms are surprisingly easy to transport to Africa for the hunter so long as the rules are followed and the necessary arrangements are made. Weapons are also available to rent from the outfitter.

On recommending Africa, Drom Beukes and the overall experience he has enjoyed with this outfitter and guide, Harold says, “I’ve met lots of people who don’t want to go to Africa, but, I’ve never met anyone who has been who didn’t want to return. My wife, Patti did not go with me on my first safari, but after I told her all about it, I have never been back to Africa without her. She goes with me every time and loves the adventure, the scenery, the luxury accommodations and the vast array of cultural experience as well as the thrill of the hunt.”

Somerby’s webpage is: www.somerbysafaris.co.za or by contacting them on their U.S. mobile phone at 1-469-919-9900 or 1-810-429-0635.

Harold Smith advises anyone interested in African safari to spend this time of year getting to know the outfitters and the travel packages available to the consumer. They come in all price ranges and now is the time to investigate that. Harold has just returned from the Dallas Safari Club Expo-one of the two largest shows that feature various hunts, trips, outfitters and guides as well as famous personalities in the outdoor and wildlife show industry. The other the other large show is annually in Las Vegas.

These expos are the places to learn what travel packages are available, the cost of your specific hunt  and what outfitters and guides have to offer in the way of accommodations, side trips and levels of experience.

*Editor’s Note: The Greenwood Tradition thanks Harold and Patti Smith for their time and energies as well as their memories and photos to make this Outdoor News segment a success so popular with our readers. The Smiths’ have traveled the world in search of wild-and often deadly-game in exotic locales across several continents including Australia, New Zealand and numerous trips to Africa for safaris and sightseeing. I interview them for this segment as they share their experiences about travel, foreign governments, tribal customs, and guide services. Harold has also shared his knowledge of local hunts, Rocky Mountain experiences as well as insight into hunting and fishing throughout Canada and Mexico.
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