And we are off to SA.

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
I have been considering a trip to Africa for some years now. In fact ever since I had a customer from Kwa Zulu Natal, who talked about his farm and the land around etc. My parents and siblings lived in Zambia for a while before my birth, which also added a bit of intrigue to the place for me.

So a couple of years back and coming upto my 40th birthday I thought about going over for a plains game safari. Talked to a few outfitters at the shooting show, and read a few posts on here. The following year I very nearly got sorted and made a trip, but things were extremely busy and major investment was being made by me into my business, so it would have been a real stretch of time and money.

I thought it would be better to wait and enjoy the lead up as well as the trip rather than my normal path where I'm still finishing jobs 2 hours before my flight departs.

So now I decided I'll always be busy and just need to get things moving. And as I've hardly done any stalking this year I decided this was time to go. Spend the money I would have on syndicates and the like and book a trip to SA.

We have booked up with a guy who advertises on here, and although it has been a bit of a effort to get everything in place, me and my shooting buddy depart in the near future.
I am determined to get everything organised well in advance so I'm not so stressed the day of departure and still making calls at the airport etc to get jobs organised and customers happy.

We will be hunting on the east coast for plains game from Eland down to Duiker including Nyala, Kudu, etc. The terrain looks amazing and I am very much looking forward to watching some great sunrises and sets over the mountains.

Flights are booked, deposits paid. I only have to make a load up for my .30-06, tweek the sights on my bow and keep practising with it, take rifle for a service after load development, sort out travel insurance, medical insurance, gun insurance, get money changed etc etc.

Really quite a lot!

If anyone is thinking about a trip I would really advise you look into just all the little things which require an answer or need organising. There is quite a bit unless you are a frequent hunter of foreign places.

We will be doing some hunting as 1x1 (so have a guide each) and other times be 2x1 (both stalking with one guide). This will give us time to stalk our 10 animals in 7 days and enjoy seeing each other have some stalks. This way you get the pleasure of sharing the experiences and each others success.
I have stalked with my mate many many times and have been away together for a week at a time on many occasions so we know what to expect of each other.

I'll name the outfit later on when I do a write up of events, so perhaps some of you who are also thinking of a trip can see how things work out. I'm very confident we will be treated very well and the place will be as good as it looks.

I'm a little concerned about all the travelling with rifles and bows etc as we will also be visiting my friend at the end of the safari. This entails a couple of internal flights on smaller aircraft. With different luggage arrangements. But I'm sure it'll work out with some pleasant conversation and no doubt some charge or other.

I have read a book on the subject of hunting in Africa written by an american (called Safari Dreams). Quite informative and certainly helpful IMO.
So if any seasoned safari hunters have any useful tips feel free to share them.
I do wonder if it's normal to tip the PH and camp staff or is this more of an american thing?
Do any of you regular safari hunters know of anything which PH's or other people like estate owners etc like to receive as little thank you gifts, which are not normally obtainable in Africa?

Would you try and stalk your animals in any particular order, or just what make a good stalk at the time?

Any good Bow hunting tips would be very useful.
Thanks.
 

tusker

Well-Known Member
You are going to have a great time and I look forward to your report. I will be taking my bow next time I go.
Best advise I can give you is don't pack to much clothes. You will only need 2 sets of hunting clothes as your washing will be done daily if needed. Do take sun cream, insect repellent and lip salve. Take a good camera and make sure your P.H. takes his time over the photos.
Regards tips your P.H. will advise you on this but it wont be a fortune what is a good idea is take 3 of 4 mora knives and give them to the trackers, skinners they will be over the moon.
Good luck, Tusker
 

NoIDeer

Well-Known Member
Do check your internal flights will carry firearms, a few airlines don't.
Try and get to stalk a bushbuck, one of the truly wild animals.
Take plenty of sweets to share with the trackers as well.

Have a great trip.
 

zambezi

Well-Known Member
...I'm a little concerned about all the travelling with rifles and bows etc as we will also be visiting my friend at the end of the safari. This entails a couple of internal flights on smaller aircraft. With different luggage arrangements...
I did an EC safari January 2018 and echo advice above that you should check whether your specific internal flights can take firearm. SAExpress do, in principle, but run tiny planes on some routes which have an upper limit on storage assigned to firearms. So pre-arrange passage in all cases. [Mango and Kulula are examples of internal carriers that declined to carry my rifle under any circumstances]

In terms of safe storage whilst at a friend's house [or hotel] in South Africa, the company that completed my SAPS520 paperwork stated that reasonable precautions suffice: lock rifle in cupboard, keep ammunition separate, keep bolt on you. A Cape Town firearms dealer said it might be better to leave fire arm with a dealer when not on safari premises. That would not have been expensive, and I was tempted. But as I was also doing a road trip, doing a dog leg back to CT to retrieve firearm was not best.

My solution? I locked ammunition in the boot of the hire car, kept bolt on my person and locked the [locked] rifle case to the toilet U bend + cistern plumbing wherever we stayed] by threading a double-eyed cable round all pipework and then secured to case by its own padlocks. I then threw hotel towels over firearm case to hide what it was. Carrying that doubled eyed cable added very little in terms of weight, but gave me a portable security solution and some peace of mind.

cable.jpg
 

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
You are going to have a great time and I look forward to your report. I will be taking my bow next time I go.
Best advise I can give you is don't pack to much clothes. You will only need 2 sets of hunting clothes as your washing will be done daily if needed. Do take sun cream, insect repellent and lip salve. Take a good camera and make sure your P.H. takes his time over the photos.
Regards tips your P.H. will advise you on this but it wont be a fortune what is a good idea is take 3 of 4 mora knives and give them to the trackers, skinners they will be over the moon.
Good luck, Tusker
Thanks Tusker. I will only be taking what fits in my bow case along with the bow as this will have to me my checked in baggage. I will also have my carry on which I will likely have my bins and one set of clothes (incase bow etc goes missing).
Had though about taking some mora or such like but wonder if everyone does that do they actually want anymore. However I don't think where I'm going has much foot fall so they may appreciate them.
Will pack the insect repellant and my beatons midge jacket as the biting things seem to like my blood.
 

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
I did an EC safari January 2018 and echo advice above that you should check whether your specific internal flights can take firearm. SAExpress do, in principle, but run tiny planes on some routes which have an upper limit on storage assigned to firearms. So pre-arrange passage in all cases. [Mango and Kulula are examples of internal carriers that declined to carry my rifle under any circumstances]

In terms of safe storage whilst at a friend's house [or hotel] in South Africa, the company that completed my SAPS520 paperwork stated that reasonable precautions suffice: lock rifle in cupboard, keep ammunition separate, keep bolt on you. A Cape Town firearms dealer said it might be better to leave fire arm with a dealer when not on safari premises. That would not have been expensive, and I was tempted. But as I was also doing a road trip, doing a dog leg back to CT to retrieve firearm was not best.

My solution? I locked ammunition in the boot of the hire car, kept bolt on my person and locked the [locked] rifle case to the toilet U bend + cistern plumbing wherever we stayed] by threading a double-eyed cable round all pipework and then secured to case by its own padlocks. I then threw hotel towels over firearm case to hide what it was. Carrying that doubled eyed cable added very little in terms of weight, but gave me a portable security solution and some peace of mind.

View attachment 99883
Thanks for the heads up. I had already found that mango won't take rifles at all. So will be using Airlink who do. As you say I have to book them in 3 days prior to departure. I will do this next week so in plenty of time.
I have also found that if the main carriers (SAA in this case) baggage allowance is honoured by the onward carrier but only if you are using a connecting flight. So 2 of my internal flights will have no excess baggage charge, but one will as it is not directly before or after a SAA flight. Something I hadn't considered.
My friend is a farmer so will have security for the rifles while at his premises and is collecting us from Durban to save us hiring and driving etc. We may get to shoot on his farm but to be honest I'll probably be ready for a rest by then.
I have yet to sort the saps. I think the outfitter will be doing this for us.
Thanks for the advice I am learning all the time.
 

norma 308

Well-Known Member
Look forward to it John me and a mate have the same thoughts for April /May but the £4k +is a Bit scary when you dont know the guide or destination so I look forward to reading this post good.hunting
Doug
 
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woodmaster

Well-Known Member
Hi Doug.
I'll give you a call in the next few days re february stalking. I have plans afoot. I bet you thought I'd forgotten?
Do you mean you are looking for a trip to Africa but don't know where you would be going?
I must admit this trip has taken a bit of organising, and many question asked. I think many UK outfitters seem to have a real relaxed attitude to what they are offering, and do expect us to just "put some faith in them" send the money and hope we will have a good time.
As you say with the total cost of a trip coming in at 4k or so it's too much of a risk for me to just "hope" it all works out.
I have asked a lot of questions in a very straight forward format, which I have agreed is my contract that I will expect fulfilling. I do have faith that the guy I am using will ensure we have a great time, and doubt very much that I will need to refer anyone to my contract. But it is there plain to see just in case.

I'll write abit about the process later on, as it may be useful for others both hunters and outfitters to hear my experience and how it could perhaps be made easier.

Look forward to it John me and a mate have the same thoughts for April /May but the £4k +is a Bit scary when you don't know the guide or destination so I look forward to reading this post good.hunting
Doug
 

zambezi

Well-Known Member
"A program of land seizures in nearby Zimbabwe in the 1990s sent the country into an economic spiral from which it has never fully recovered."

Mandela's constitution of 20 years ago allowed for land redistribution for fair recompense. The ANC failed to enact that provision. The vast sums of money the ANC wasted at Eskom, SAA, local and central government is now legendary. 20 years ago they had the money to precipitate CPO land redistribution equitably. Heck, right now the single biggest land owner in SA is the government, but can they manage to assign that land? Can they hell. Violent demonstrations in the Cape over the last 12 months were due to ANC dragging its feet on re-assigning govt owned land there.

Perhaps past injustices need to be balanced/reversed. Perhaps more radical expropriation measures need to be found. [the late Morgan Tsvangirai devised a near perfect plan IMO: exponential taxation on amount of land owned. It works both ways: If you are productive, you can afford the taxes and stay. Cash reserves generated by taxation fund CPO of land coming onto the market. If you are not productive, taxation rate incentivises sale]

But to destroy the notion of property rights [as Mugabe did] is to drive a stake through the very heart of capitalist investment. To say otherwise is manure.
 

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
Thanks Tom. Been a couple years of hard work with a lot less stalking than normal, so I am very much looking forward to it.
I do hope it goes well, as I just can't be bothered with loads of hastle. I think we will have a great time though.
I'll give you a bell about a trip on the hinds I'm arranging with Dougie.
 
.

Pack light - all the places have daily laundry. Enjoy and take each day as it comes and remember in Africa
the clocks tick differently!

Are you planning on getting taxidermy work done? Some great animals you have listed there.

Enjoy !

.
 

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
Just a couple of weeks to go now. Been practising with the bow which is looking good. Had a great afternoon at Long Eaton field archery last weekend. Very helpful guys and a great set up. Will try to get back next weekend for a final session before packing the bow case.
Just put a few things together for the trip as I will be working right up till I go so could become a bit of a rush if I don't start now.
Got my insurance done. Just the rifle and equipment to insure next week but have that in hand.
Some paperwork to fill out.
Todays job make a second batch of ammo up to test as I still don't have a load for the 30-06. Done initial loads and have a front runner so just need to improve it a bit.
Then just hope the paper pushers at the airport don't cause any problems, and the hunting gods are on our side.
 

kieran222

Well-Known Member
Good luck with your trip and I am sure you will be happy with the outcome. Some last minute advice, I went to the EC last year about this time and it was quite cold in the mornings and when out lamping at night so bring a warm jacket. I booked my trip with an agent on here and only had one issue. I went on what was mainly a cull package with a few trophy animals added to it. The hunting & trip was good value. The only issue I had was shooting a blesbok which was on a small farm, felt like it was in a small field, and wasn't a hunt. If I went again I would stipulate minimum farm sizes up front. However I must say that was out of character for the trip as all other hunts were as I expected. With regards to tipping, it is usually paid to the PH in GBP between 5 and 10% of hunt but it is purely at your discretion, then 500 rand for the tracker/skinner and 500 rand for the cook/cleaners. This is approx £30.
 

woodmaster

Well-Known Member
Hi Guys and Gals.
Not got ages to write the trip up, but perhaps a little start should be made to keep you interested.
I've got to say it was not a very easy process getting the trip booked up. Alot of simple information was missing from the agent and I really felt I was in the dark regarding what was meant by a cull hunt rather than a trophy hunt.

Turns out that there was a grey area between cull hunting meaning you go, shoot animals which are old, poor, or not quite good enough to be left in the breeding line. So some animals could be real nice but not the best so they can be culled. However if you then want to take its horns home, or have it mounted because you want to keep the memory and it's still a worthy animal then you are taking a "trophy" and will be expected to pay the "trophy fee".

I had a problem with this as over here you can go hunitng and shoot a "representative" animal and keep the antlers/skull/cape for no extra fee or very little. You don't have to pay gold medal price just because you want to keep it.
Eventually I negotiated that I required to shoot "representative" animals and would expect to keep any "trophy" I wished for no additional charge. I would only pay trophy price if I specifically wished to hunt an animal of that quality, and was lucky enough to shoot one.

We had a few paperwork issues as it was my understanding that the agent would sort this out for us. Turned out I ended up doing it myself two days before we flew out of Heathrow. Got the temporary export permit at 10pm 2 days before.

Arrived at Jo'burg with no SAPS520, which we smoothed over. Until they noticed out invitation to hunt had no named PH's on it and no outfitter's signature.
A phone call to the outfitter put this straight and the lady in customs was very helpful and didn't even ask for any "help". Turns out "help" is code for a bribe which due to my Englishness I was not prepared to pay.

You would think that we were the first people in the world to travel with firearms, as both in the UK and SA no one wanted to take responsibility, and they all had a different idea on if ammo should be in hold luggage or seperate. Then there was my bow, which was in a proper case and included my clothes etc. I did this so I only has 1 piece of checked in luggage and the rifle.

Trying to tell them that a bow was not a firearm, required no licence and was not a prohibited item took a little convincing at Heathrow.
So although I ended up doing more leg work than expected, I did at least know exactly what I was getting myself into.
To be fair to the agent, I think he was so keen on getting some guys out to this place that he didn't have time to sort out all the details, rather than just not being bothered. We will both have learned a little from the experience and all ended ok.

Now before you get bored I'll move onto the hunting. After many hours in transit we were collected at East London Airport. Quickly through the customs and in the car.
A couple of hours later we arrived from along the knackered roads to the hunting concession and lodge.
A line up of all staff were there to greet us and after a nice warm towel to freshen up and a cool drink we made our acquaintances.

Bags were taken to our rooms while we talked to the owner and the PH's a little, before enjoying the camp fire and some beers. It had been 30 hours since I left home with hardly a wink of sleep, but we still stayed up chatting till late. Made a plan for a leisurely 7am start.
P1020145a.JPG P1020146a.JPG

So the first morning we were to hunt 2x1, so as the gent I am I thought it only right my hunting buddy who I invited with me should get the first shot. A little drive into an area which was likely to hold all sorts of game as the sun began to warm up.
Then some stalking, just looking about to see what was out there. Eventually we spotted some impala way out in the open, so no chance of getting onto them.
Continuing to stalk on we came to a vantage point where we could see game out in front. Rather unexpectedly we then saw Impala down below us and there was a fair mob of them. A suitable animal was spotted and K was happy he knew which one was the target. These animals are sharp so we had to stay very still and wait on the sticks until the animal presented a shot. To be honest K probably should have moved the sticks to a better position, but I think he felt a little shy and took the shot from a aukward stance. None the less the animal was hit and ran into the bushes.
A short track found the animal dead in the bushes. First one down and we could all feel a bit easier around each other.
A decent representative Impala ram.
P1010934a.JPG The afternoon saw the second PH arrive in camp. He was early as we hadn't booked him till the second day, but he was keen and wanted to get out. So the afternoon saw K and I split up and go with our own guys. I was allocated Mark who turned out to be a great guy and we got on very well from the off. Mark was with Matt who is a student doing a year experience in African ecology and management or such like. young bloke but a keen hunter and very clued up.

We got into a group of Impala as I had requested to start with smaller game like these or warthog. We stalked into a small group well hidden on the hill side, which contained a nice ram that was not a trophy quality animal. He was not too far off at 150yds and I duly got into position on the sticks, waited for a gap in the bushes and took the shot. I saw the animal hit and run down the hill, where through the scope I could see him behind thick bushes. He fell over, however at the same time another buck ran from the bushes which mark and matt were convinced was my ram.

They had lost the first one when it ran. I did tell them that he was down but they were not to be convinced, which left me doubting myself. So I had seen where the ram had run up the hill and then caught a glimpse of him well hidden at 300yds. I told the boys where I could see him, but they couldn't locate him. I could see head and neck clearly and just the top of the shoulder.

The order was given if you can see it put some lead into it we don't want it running. So I got comfy leaning back against a large rock, took a steady aim and let the round off. A good solid report came back and the impala ran down the bank 50yds until out of sight. After a while all was calm and Matt set off to find the ram at the top of the hill. I suggested he go via the first location. He did and to his amazement found an Impala. Further up he hill he found the second, both stone dead and good shots.

I think this left the boys feeling a bit embarrassed, but was a good thing as they then knew I was not a total novice and had watched the shots closely. I was very pleased with myself as I've never shot beyond 260 yds before so was happy to have pulled the second shot off well.P1010946a.JPG

Day 2. To follow.
 
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kieran222

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you had some issues getting things sorted before hand but have gotten off to a good start on the trip. I have been to SA and have to say that the agent I used was very helpful, and everything made very clear before I went out. He also pointed out that the skinning of any animals (cull animals included) was included in the price and if I shot anything that I later wanted mounted I only had to pay for the taxidermy. I shot a cull warthog which I decided to mount and an impala ram that I decided to keep the head of as it was a good cull animal. At least you had the sense to get everything agreed before you went out as it is the type of thing that could sour the trip. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the trip. I have just been told today that my taxidermy should have been shipped from SA yesterday so getting excited again.
 

zambezi

Well-Known Member
...You would think that we were the first people in the world to travel with firearms, as both in the UK and SA no one wanted to take responsibility, and they all had a different idea on if ammo should be in hold luggage or seperate.
^^^This. It is truly incredible that every trip should be attended by a different firearm handling protocol interpretation. I suspect there is scope for a Heathrow based business delivering a service akin to Hunterspermits Africa - Welcome to Hunters Permits Africa, your map to all your needs to hunt in South Africa! They provide excellent SA paperwork handling for visiting hunters.
 

NickJ

Well-Known Member
A good read, thanks. Indeed I wasn't used to the ranges when I first hunted in the Eastern Cape a year ago this week. I know I will take my quad sticks next time as that will give me more confidence than a tripod over 200+ yards.
For my trip to Huntershill 'cull' animals meant just that, if you wanted to keep the cull head/skin you just pay for dipping/packing/transport.
Look forward to the tale of day 2.
 

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