When his grandfather put an air gun in Dewald’s hand, it was the beginning of a lifelong love and fascination with hunting. He had the opportunity to work on a private nature reserve, Heritage Safaris, enabling him to complete his professional hunter certification.
Though Dewald specializes in hunting the Big Five, he shares his view on other species. “I regard all species as a special hunt. Each species has its own hunting procedure whether it be a clever little steenbok in the tall grass or a big old tusker in the thick bush. My favorite animal to hunt will always be the Cape buffalo. I have hunted well over a hundred of them, and not one has been the same.”
Many qualities make a good outfitter, but Dewald regards integrity and adaptability as the two most important attributes. He states his philosophy: “The client must have full trust in the PH, not just on the actual hunt, but from the first inquiry to the day he/she leaves his presence. The PH must be able to adapt to each client because they have diverse personalities and needs. Adapting to their needs will provide a comfort level thereby producing good results and unforgettable experiences.”
Depending on the species being hunted, Dewald uses a wide range of calibers. “On bigger animals like eland, sable and roan, I use a .375 H&H,” he says. “When I know I might need a long distance shot, like hunting zebra on the grass plains, I take a .338 Win. Mag. On Big Five hunts, I prefer to have clients use a .458 Win Mag. That rifle has very rarely let me down. I have a trustworthy companion in a .500NE double that I use as a backup rifle and rarely go on a hunt without it.”
Most of Dewald’s hunts take place on privately owned reserves in the Free State, close to Kimberly. He specializes in lion hunts in the Kalahari. Elephants are hunted in Limpopo and Big Five hunts take place in the Selous, Tanzania.
Years afield provide many memorable experiences, but the first wounded Cape buffalo charge is etched in Dewald’s memory. “It was with a bowhunter, and I will never forget the look on his face when the buffalo lay dead three meters from us. Another time, a client came to hunt and produced a .460 Smith & Wesson revolver as his firearm of choice. We shot a number of species, including a buffalo, on his safari, which turned out to be one of my best hunting experiences.”
In addition to hunts, Heritage Safaris offers wing and pigeon shooting. Photo safaris include a wide range of animals on the reserves. The lodge is situated next to a river where fishing for carp and catfish is amazing. In business since 2008, Heritage Safaris operates in South Africa and Tanzania.
Heritage Safaris supports sustainable hunting and believes it must be accompanied by conservation. There is a breeding program for rhino and other animals. Two full time guards provide security against anti-poaching. On their private nature reserve, Heritage Safaris has a functional school for children in the surrounding area. Stephen Stamm, Heritage Safari owner, a Lifetime member of Safari Club, has made donations and is a proud supporter of all of SCI’s projects and programs.