Salt Of The Earth South Africans


Here’s Kobus — the man, the myth, the legend — standing in his living room
with some of his trophies while holding his 7mm Mauser, which saw use in the Boer War.

Nothing’s better than meeting the “real” people inhabiting the faraway lands we travel. I love picking up local customs, foods or drinks from them. Upon returning home, I fondly remember my new friends while enjoying these new habits. It’s been a few months since my trip to South Africa and figured it was time to share a few memories with you.

I was invited to the Buffalo Bore Game Preserve in South Africa by Tim and Kim Sundles for a cull hunt and product field test this past February. It was a most memorable trip, far exceeding my expectations. You’ll be reading more about the trip in future articles, as one article could never do the trip justice. During my visit the Sundles’ hosted a braai, Afrikaans for barbeque, or cookout.

It was here I first met Kobus and Elise, neighbors living on the other side of the mountain. Just hearing the name Kobus, pronounced Qwi-biss, conjured visions of a colorful character in my overimaginative mind. Kobus did not disappoint, living up to my expectations.

When first seeing Kobus, you notice his ruggedly handsome face full of character from a lifetime of working outdoors. The weathered look is testament to years of hard work tending his flock of sheep and goats while working his farm to support them. Like farmers everywhere, Kobus is loyal to his land, work and family. Being married 40 years is further proof of his loyalty.

Unfortunately, rain forced the braai indoors. A lovely meal of pork ribs and several side dishes were devoured as we adjourned to the fireplace for cocktails. Young Chris Jonker, the impressive Game Preserve PH and farm manager was also there.

As expected, the conversation steered towards guns, hunting, local animals, past hunts and funny stories. It was an enjoyable evening to be remembered, so much so, Kobus invited us for a quick visit the next day to show us his guns. Oh Boy! What a treat!

Going over the mountain you never know what you’ll see, like this Roane antelope.

Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain

Mid-morning, we loaded into the “bakkie” — the Afrikaans word for small truck — and headed for Kobus and Elise’s farm. We drove up the rough and winding roads to the top of the mountain. There, an adjoining fence separates the two properties. What used to take a two-hour drive for visiting now takes a mere 45 minutes because the Sundles’ and Kobus agreed to put in a gate to shorten the drive.

Fine China, coffee and guns … what else is there in life?

Coffee & Guns

Kobus is a third-generation sheep/goat farmer and still drives his ’81 Toyota pickup. I told you he was loyal! He’s also a dedicated hunter and fisherman. His living room is full of trophies proudly displayed on his walls. He also has numerous photographs of successful hunts and fishing trips. As Elise served coffee, Kobus would go to his gun room and return with a different rifle.

It should have been no surprise to me, but Kobus has a wonderful collection of top-grade rifles. What really impressed me was the glass he had mounted on them, for he spared no expense. Brands such as Leupold, Swarovski, and Schmidt & Bender were represented, displaying Kobus’ knowledge for quality guns and scopes.

Kobus’ sporterized Mauser in 9.3x62. Look at the detail in that rear sight — beautiful!

German Roots

Two of Kobus’ older rifles really caught my attention, both being “sporterized” Mausers. One was a 9.3X62, showing extremely skillful metal work, especially on the rear sight. The other was an older Mauser chambered in 7×57, aka the 7mm Mauser.

This gun was used in the Boer war of 1899-1902. It’s said the British knew the Boers to be accurate out to 800 meters but were deadly out to 1,200 meters. Looking at the precision rear sight, long sight radius and fine sights on Kobus’ rifle, it’s easy to understand how this was accomplished.

It was a wonderful visit. Seeing classic, vintage rifles, as well as Kobus’ modern rifles were icing on the cake. His mounted trophies are a testament to his hunting skills and knowing how to shoot his rifles.

True Hunter

Kobus told us he hunts every season for each species during the allowed season. He also hunts other species on farms having a fencing certificate, so he is allowed to hunt year-round. One of his most memorable experiences was hunting in the snow in Hungary.

It came about when a friend brought a Hungarian gentleman and his son to shoot a Mountain Roebuck on Kobus’ farm. They ended up spending three days shooting kudu, impala and a blesbok as well. When it came time to pay, Kobus refused any money.

A typical traffic jam of blue wildebeest on the way to Kobus’ farm.


The father and son were so taken by Kobus’ gesture they invited him to Hungary for a hunt. Kobus really wanted to shoot a red stag, which he did, along with a fallow and Roe deer, Mouflon sheep and several beautiful pheasants.

Kobus told us he had a wonderful time! Being January, it was mid-winter and was -15 degrees most of the time, but the tough weather only added to the adventure. It was a trip to remember — one he thoroughly enjoyed! Kobus has also been fishing for tiger fish in Zambia.

Rusk Baker

Besides running the household, Elise bakes rusks (coffee treats) every day, supplying five home industry shops in Port Elizabeth, plus supermarkets in Cradock, and supplementing the family income.

A rusk is the anglicized term for biscuit and is a traditional Afrikaner breakfast meal or snack. They have been in South Africa since the late 1690s as a way of preserving bread, especially when travelling long distances without refrigeration, having a 16- week shelf life. Rusks are popular in coffee shops around the world.

Tim Sundles, Elise, Kim Sundles, and Kobus (left to right) — nicer people do not exist.

Make New Friends

Take time out to travel to the places you’ve always dreamed of. You’ll never know who you’ll meet along the way. As for me, my 1998 Chevy Tahoe has become my bakkie and I now have braai’s instead of cookouts. Rusk’s have become a staple with my morning coffee as I re-live the fond memories of my visit to South Africa.

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