May 2018 Issue – Mike Bodenchuk Editor-at-Large
Mike Bodenchuk checked in with several operations during his nearly three-week wildlife teaching tour in South Africa this past March. You can see his report on South Africa and his hunt with Kolobe Safaris on pages 4-6 of this issue.
Among the other operations Bodenchuk visited was Peter Knipe’s 8,000-hectare Makapalalo Game Breeding Farm (011-27-82-947-0779; Rpjknipe@gmail.com) located along the Botswana border in the South African Kalahari. Bodenchuk writes, “Peter is a conservationist first and a small-scale hunting outfitter second, and his land shows the care he gives. About half of the property is high fenced with some smaller breeding pastures (called ‘camps’ by game breeders) and other larger pastures with typical Kalahari game- red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, blesbok, springbok, impala and kudu. On the low-fenced portion of Peter’s farm, he has the same game, plus eland. While there, I actually saw more and bigger kudu on the low-fenced areas than on the high-fenced areas. Peter takes pride in the fact that his property also hosts a full complement of wild cats, including leopard, cheetah and caracal. While we didn’t see the cats, we did see their sign and evidence that they were actively hunting game even inside the fence.”
Bodenchuk rates the accommodations as excellent, with guest quarters under a thatched roof offering separate rooms and an outdoor braai area. One of the highlights of the trip, however, was the “…evening sundowners at a rondavel right along the border, where we all enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Kalahari bush settling down (or in some cases starting up) for the night.” He notes bird lovers will find exceptional bird life in the area with Kori bustards (the heaviest of the worlds’ flying birds), red- and yellow-billed hornbills, go-away birds and many more.
Bodenchuk rates Knipe as an excellent host and PH and says he and his hunting companion each took blue wildebeest on the same day. They also passed on several exceptional gemsbok, (“We each had a good gemsbok and didn’t need another.”), and they tried unsuccessfully to bag a couple of outsized warthogs.
Bodenchuk reports, “In every country there is a small operator who provides exceptional service, great accommodations and an interesting experience. Peter is one of those. He’ll never get to the point that he’ll market to the SCI crowd, as he concentrates on hunting only a few clients, but that doesn’t mean he’s a second-class operator. If you’re looking for a unique Kalahari experience with something for a non-hunter to see and do, Peter is exactly that kind of operation.”