Reviews And Stories

Hunted my first buffalo with Derian Koekemoer Safaris and it was a great experience. Derian and his team are extremely professional and the hunting area is truly exceptional. Already booked my next buffalo hunt with Derian. – Jaco van der Westhuizen, hunted 10/2023

Our wonderful client from Denmark wrote this, in detail review about his hunt in March 2024. This is truely worth a read:

Cape Buffalo – Hunt or you are hunted.

 In the autumn of 2023, we decided to visit South Africa again as a family. Our children had grown up enough to experience the fantastic country. I traveled with my wife Anne (48) and our boys Mikkel (15) and Mathias (11).

February 2024 we were in a tent camp in Manyeleti, which is found in the Greater Krüger NP. I had made contact with a local outfitter from home, as hunting in Africa has always been a dream scenario for me to live out. However, the requirement from here was that it should be a hunt with a fully registered and organized outfitter and the choice fell on a PH in Hoedspruit.

DERIAN KOEKERMOER SAFARIS is locally situated in the northern part of South Africa, and it was obvious to book a hunt here, as it is less than an hour’s drive from our tent camp in Kruger. Derian Koekemoer and his staff have extensive experience with sustainable professional wildlife management. They primarily deal with dangerous game and Big five hunts, where selection and troublemakers are the obvious targets. Ordinary trophy hunting on plain games is of course also possible.

When we had a day off in our planned schedule from our photo safari, I arranged a deal with my desire to put down a cape buffalo cow. Derian was the only safari operator who was willing to take clients hunting for a single day.

March 4, 2024, was the day we were going hunting and Derian and Christian from DERIAN KOEKEMOER SAFARIS, picked me up as we agreed at Orpen gate at Greater Krüger at 6.00, and the sun beat down solidly from the morning.


A perfect match..

I quickly felt a “perfect match” and the atmosphere was good before we reached the first few kilometers. It is important that we are all completely in sync and balanced when you must spend several hours in each other’s company. I have that experience from previous hunts in Europe.

In particular, this mutual understanding and respect for each other is a matter of course if we should get into situations that can put even the best of friendships to the test. It can happen with dangerous game, although it not became an item on the agenda..

We quickly reached the Limpopo Province as the conversation went well, and when I came to the hunting lodge, I was nicely equipped by DERIAN KOEKERMOER SAFARIS.

Subsequently, I received an easy-to-understand information of shot placement on buffalo and vital knowledge about the importance of delivering as effective a kill as possible. A wounded buffalo and the rest of the herd can become an unmanageable acquaintance, especially if you are not ready to follow up on the buffalo’s reaction after the first shot.

We decided to take a few shots with the rifle I intended. A Japanese HOWA 1500 rifle in cal. 375 Ruger with a Leopold scope. A rifle that is very similar to my own Sauer 202, which I use home back in Denmark. Maybe a bit harder at the trigger.

I passed the “shooting test” and we could begin one of my most exciting hunts I have yet attempted.


“-..By the banks of the great, grey-green, murky Limpopo River, where the fever trees grow thickly…”

The hunt works by spotting the game from the seat of a Pick-up truck and landscapes quickly emerge, exactly as the writer Ruyard Kipling describes it in his memoirs about Limpopo.

During the drive we cross a river. However, it was the Klaserie River that flows to the northeast and is a tributary of the Olifants River that continues through Krüger NP and Mozambique.

It was as if you had stepped straight out of Kipling’s story, as the scenery was exactly as told in the children’s book. Rivers, dense bush, open savannah, waterholes, rocky landscapes and the red African soil. Varied and incredibly attractive, as there were constantly different species of animals with huge trophies taking turns. Nyala and bushbuck impressed several times and impalas at every moment the road took a bend. Wildebeest and giraffes were not in short supply and great spotted hyenas and African wild dogs appeared in the earlier hours. Sporadically we saw warthog, steenbuck and duiker, but due to the high vegetation, the small game species could easily hide in the 9,500 acres large hunting area.


-Rather safe – than sorry!

For me, buffalo hunting is not surprisingly a dangerous game, as it is repeatedly told by the rangers at the previous photo safaris I have been on.

An erratic animal that is impossible to decipher in relation to its stature and mood. There is only an on/off button on the “Black Death” animal.

Buffaloes counts for more deaths in South Africa alone throughout history. Especially when you aim for an individual in a herd. You have to focus on all movements in the corner of your eye, as there are just more ears, eyes and muzzles to reveal you, and this gives the hunt an extra dimension. Hunting for Dugga boys is probably more manageable, as they go alone or only a few together, but certainly not harmless either.

After a little hour’s observing drive, we suddenly surprise a herd of buffalo who are out to graze at the edge of the thick bush. As if by magic, they stand right there in the borderline to where the savanna starts with its thin sun burned grass.

They clearly sense our presence, and generally retreat a bit behind the outer row of mopane and acacia trees in the bush. We thoroughly examine the herd with binoculars of approx. 100 meters distance. There are enough + 30 pcs.

The binoculars reveal the sexes, and Derian and Christian quickly select the herd to spot any shootable individuals. And there it was! I get a briefing on their observations and intelligence, at which cow we decide to try to take out of the herd..

Christian starts the car, and we calmly roll past the herd, which has pulled into the edge of the bush. Now we annoy photo tourists and enjoy the view. The herd has registered our presence, but does not seem frightened and we continue with the typical African push where we drive past the game.

We come around the bush in question that we noted the buffaloes pulled into, and park approx. 1 km. From them. Here we start on foot. Christian stays in the car together with the tracking dog “Duke”, a good-natured Belgian Shepherd puppy of 4 months.

Derian has radio contact with Christian, who is called as back-up if we get into a stressful situation.

All 3 of us are armed with rifles in big game calibers. My borrowed .375 has filled the magazine + 5 shots in the stock racket. I will be shooting with a 9.3mm. Peregrine VRG3 bullet, loaded with 300 grains. A good bully that is only manufactured in South Africa.


– They stood almost like they had expected us to join them!

Derian kicks the red sand in the rut to get an idea of wind direction. No wind at all! We start walking in the direction of the buffalo herd, which we still suspect must be standing at the edge of the bush. I’m right on Derian’s heels. As close as possible, as we were fused together in one single unit.

I distinctly remember my thoughts roaming the scenario; -What if we don’t see the pack before they notice us?? Derian has a lot of experience, and you can feel that in his calmness, which creates security. Security gives confidence and that is good medicine in such an intense and focusing hunt as dangerous game is.

Suddenly we bump into herds again. Just as suddenly as we did with the car! From one moment to the next, our movements were completely stopped. The buffaloes had noticed us. We could see that with binoculars. They stood almost as if they had expected us to join them.

The bottom meter of the thick bush were not all tree trunks, but legs from buffaloes and there were many inside the bush. Most were looking directly in our way and I could hear their snorting breaths. The buffaloes already seemed angry and the evil shone out of the eyes in the drooping heads with the lyre-curved horns. They looked directly at us out from under the bush top..

There were large bulls, calves and cows in a large stationary “black-death sign” that could not be misunderstood. That was the last warning!

In slow motion, we get into position, and Derian combs through the outermost animals at the edge of the bush with his binoculars. I don’t think he sees how extensive the herd really is. They now stand in an approx. 60-degree fan in front of us and continues to widen. He whispers to me that there is a shootable buffalo cow as 3rd on the far-left side of the herd. I put the rifle up against the thorny acacia tree behind which we take cover. I find her quickly in the rifle scope. She is too pointed at us and there are young animals behind, so we have to wait until she is free by those standing behind. Quietly, the movement takes place which causes the cow to stand completely free, alone at the front of the herd, and Derian gives the final permission to unleash the fire. The distance is approx. 80 meters, and I am completely calm with full focus on the cow. The rifle is off secured and I move my index finger into the receiver and squeeze the trigger. The shot blasts through the quiet morning. I manage to register that the cow has taken the bullet hard, as it rolls over on its back and with four black legs stretched straight towards the sky. Just like as in the cartoons. Pure reflex, there is a new bullet in the chamber, which I am used to from driven hunts at home back in Europe.


The death roar.

It quickly gives a death roar to warn the rest of the herd, and we watch how the buffalo herd behaves and we are extremely aware that we maintain our distance to the rest of the buffalo herd. Now some chaos takes among them. Some run into the bush others towards the dying cow and towards us. They change places and it seems to look like they just can’t find the “lion” that has killed one of their fellow species, because it must be avenged.

Derian whispers that I should just stand still, but in the seriousness of the situation, it is not easy, as there is intense movement inside the bush of the herd. Our situation is completely different compared to what we experience here in Northern Europe by shooting an individual out of, a herd of red deer. There the herd will flee beyond the parish border, but with buffaloes it is the other way around and they stay to avenge the kill.

We are now stage players in a film which depends on our movement and drift to the herd. We cannot get to my desired buffalo, as a large herd of buffaloes do not immediately want to let go of their dying ancestors. The others in the herd stay with the cow and sense “something” in our direction..


Seconds feel like minutes, and minutes like hours..

The remaining buffalo begin to move towards us as a faint breeze from us fully reveals our presence. We are deeply focused and Derian has contact with Christian in the Pick-up.

He repeats to me: “-Just stand still!!” I must have made an inadvertent movement. We note the pack is quietly advancing towards us, and must announce over the radio to Christian that he must come to our rescue.

Seconds feel like minutes, and minutes like hours.

We only look straight ahead, and the shirts have turned dark with sweat on the back. The sun really burns through, when it is only 8.05 in the morning.

I hear a rustle in my hearing protectors that have the amplifier turned up to max. I turn my head backwards for the first time, and with that sigh of relief I see the pick-up truck with Christian dusting off the African red sand behind us.

The hunt is over and we can now break free from our hiding place behind the thorny trunk of an acacia tree. The buffalo herd notes just as much activity. The car, the dog Duke and us 3 hunters become too much trouble for them, and they retreat to the edge of the bush again. I grab a water bottle from the cooler as my throat is dry as the desert. Christian congratulates me, although it might be a bit early, as we have not yet been even close to the dead buffalo. It takes time.

Derian walks in a circular arc away from the bush, towards the buffalo where he studies it closely with his binoculars and checks the herd to see if it retreats into the bush.. I stay with Christian in the car. Derian waves with facts that we should come over there to him. Me on foot and Christian behind by car. The car will be a good escape if the buffalo herd comes back and when I reach him, we go to the buffalo which is united in a small depression. Now I get a congratulations from Derian 15 meters from the animal; “- Well done, it’s a beautiful old girl..”.

He goes straight towards the cow and pokes the rifle barrel in its eye. My biggest piece of game to date that I ever had managed, just lies there stone dead with one shot. One shot-one kill!


Derian and Christian know something about buffalo. They find that the cow is about 12 years old, and is a “right”.. that means when they reach a certain age, one of the horns starts to curl. That is, in this case it is the right horn tip that gives an extra twist. It’s quite noticeable on this one. Another observation I make is that the skin bears the mark of the cow having walked into the thorn thickness. It is full of scratches in the leather which you can easily see through the coarse and thin fur it wears. It is carpet-bombed with ticks, but it completely drowned out by my achievement. I see a happy team, as everything has been run on a leash, with small bumps in the road. The mood is top notch, and it gets better Derian’s wife, Johlene arrives with their 2 kids.

I put the rifle up against the car which is backed up to the buffalo. However, still with cartridges in the magazine. I can now really “feel” the animal. A giant colossus – so massive and strong. It seems completely unstoppable even though it is stone dead, and it will give us its last fight to load it onto the car. Before then we must have immortalized its earthly remains together with its overlord. All 3 of us were photographed with the buffalo, – even with the young dog “Duke” who also got a bit of an “arranged search” on the buffalo, now that he was in the car.

After the menagerie of getting the buffalo, unbroken, preyed onto the barn, we head towards the slaughterhouse, where a skinner welcomes us. The animal’s rumen has now swollen violently, despite the fact that she is a small and frail representative of buffaloes in general and has therefore fallen for a selective shooting which is common management. She is no longer wanted as one of those who must pass on the genetics to a large and strong tribe that she could not contribute to.

My biggest fear about going hunting abroad, of which I now have a lot of experience of, is the sum of what you end up with? Does it look like a money machine? Are the agreements made kept? – Or will it be labeled as “farm hunting”, where the game is not really wild game? After all, you don’t know until you’ve tried it yourself.

At DERIAN KOEKEMOER SAFARIS, the people behind have a great understanding of the client’s wishes and are willing to go the extra mile to meet expectations. When you fight a little extra to seek out the necessary luck, the results come a little easier in the end.

With my hunt at DERIAN KOEKEMOER SAFARIS, I am very impressed with their knowledge and expertise about Big game hunt in Africa, which I tried at for the first time. I learned very much of my stay. Derian and the rest of the staff will get my warmest recommendations from here. I hope that I can get back as soon as possible, returning back to DERIAN KOEKEMOER SAFARIS in the Limpopo province.

***** of *****

Søren Lauritsen, Denmark.

Link to Youtube video of hunt: