A testimonial by Spencer Kirton (Hunter)
There is nothing quite like waking up to an African sunrise, looking out the window of your luxurious chalet and seeing roan and springbok drinking from a waterhole not 50 yards away. That was my experience every morning of my Safari at Tinashe Outfitters in South Africa. Tinashe offers everything you would expect from a top notch African outfitter - beautiful landscapes, high quality animals, five-star lodging, great food and good company - but Clayton Fletcher, the owner and guide, is what makes Tinashe truly exceptional.
Hunting Africa is many hunters’ dream. I have been fortunate enough to have that dream become a reality. During my first African safari, everything was amazing and I had a fabulous time. But, after returning home and looking at my experience in retrospect, there were definitely a number of areas that could have been improved dramatically. None-the-less, because hunting Africa is only slightly less addicting than heroin, my plane ride home was spent dreaming of my next safari.
While at the 2017 SCI show in Las Vegas, my brother and I decided to try our luck and bid on an African hunt. Prior to bidding, we looked at the various options and met with a few of the outfitters. When I looked into Tinashe, the hunting area was large, contiguous and offered a wide variety of species, the lodge looked great and Clayton seemed genuinely concerned about pleasing his clients (so much so that he guides all of his clients personally). Also, I was reassured to learn that all the harvested meat is either eaten in camp or donated to the local community (the bulk of it going to an orphanage). Knowing that you can only learn so much from a 15-minute conversation, we decided to roll the dice and bid. Lucky for me, we won the bid and were on a plane to South Africa four months later.
Prior to the Safari, Clayton’s wonderful wife, Sabrina, was very responsive to all our questions and worked hard to take care of the pre-safari arrangements. After a long flight and a long drive, we arrived and were pleased to see that the lodge was every bit as beautiful as the pictures, but, let’s be honest, you don’t go to Africa to sit in a lodge. So, we tossed our gear in our rooms, freshened up a bit and headed out to sight in our rifles and begin the search for game. It felt so good to finally have the dry African air on my face again as we drove through the bush, bathed in the deep colors of the African sunset, with our eyes peeled for game.
I must admit that I was initially skeptical about how this safari would turn out, but am happy to say that Clayton proved all of my skepticism wrong. Clayton’s father was a renown African outfitter and a pioneer in the industry, a heritage that Clayton is proud of and one that he works hard to live up to (quite successfully I might add). Clayton spent the first day of our safari teasing out our preferred hunting style to ensure that he could provide us the experience that we wanted. I cannot emphasize the importance of this more. Many outfitters don’t do this, they hunt their way and if you don’t like it, you are out of luck. But not Clayton, his heritage and lifelong experience has given him a keen ability to quickly assess his client’s hunting style and preferences, which then enables him to custom tailor the safari to suit, leading to a rich and deeply enjoyable hunt. For example, Clayton could tell that I wanted to gain as much hunting experience and knowledge as possible. So, throughout the safari, Clayton shared as much of his expansive hunting knowledge with me as he could. By the end of the trip Clayton felt like my hunting mentor.
Over only six short days my brother and I took a kudu, an eland, four gemsbok, two blue wildebeest, a black wildebeest, two red hartebeest, an impala, two springbok and two warthog, each tied to a unique and unforgettable experience. One of my favorite experiences was the early morning stalk on a herd of red hartebeest prancing through the tall African grass, locking onto the heard bull, imagining how his body continued down through the grass to his vitals, and gently squeezing the trigger - a positively picturesque hunting experience. We truly had the time of our lives, even in retrospect.
So, what do you get when you book with Tinashe? Stunning landscapes, absolutely spectacular animals, five-star lodging, great food, great company and a promise that your hunting experience will be better than you could possibly have expected. Hunting Africa is a large investment of both time and money, so it should be done right and with an outfitter that you can trust will work hard to provide you with the experience that you want. So, if you don’t want to take a risk, book with Clayton Fletcher at Tinashe, he’s a standup guy and you won’t regret it.
The only thing weighing on my mind now is how to get back to Tinashe...