An experienced and well-seasoned Professional Hunter (PH), Jess comes to the Foundation with over 20 years of professional game hunter experience on several continents. His philosophy and efforts center around offering the client-hunter the highest quality safari adventure, be it gun or camera, and tailored to that individual’s skills and needs. His personal choices in life are to leave things better than he found them and Jess strives to give something to everyone he guides in the field – “They arrive as clients but depart as friends” is his credo. As owner-operator of the Witkop Lodge and Safari he manages over 26 species of plains game in a fair chase environment that will challenge hunting skills while providing a world-class safari outing. In the evening he puts on his chef’s hat and cooks the harvests at the lodge’s campfire, recounting the daily activities in the field.
Prior to his PH career Jess served in the South African 44th Parachute Brigade, 1st Parachute Battalion, retiring at the rank of Captain. This is where his sense of brotherhood and camaraderie with the men and women serving their country stems from. Jess is actively involved in his community and is a member of many Non-Governmental Organizations including PHASA, South Africa’s Professional Hunters Association, Safari Club International and Wildlife Ranching SA.
The close personal friendship formed between Don and Jess began in 2013 when as a client they were introduced to one another by a mutual friend…over the years their belief in God, Country and family formed an even stronger bond. When Jess asked Don how he could “…give back and say thank you” to the men and women who stand up to tyranny and terrorism around the world the concept of a Safari-based foundation sprang to life. In 2017 with Dianne Dinkel the three of them formed the Witkop Foundation where today it stands ready to honor all who have served.