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Hunting in Africa. What is it really like?

Trophy Kudu hunt in AfricaAfrica has always been a popular destination for big game hunters. Lately, though, there seems to be some hesitation in travelling there. Whether it is the cost, the safety, the hunt itself that you have questions about, people are looking for more information before they take the plunge.

We have put together this list of questions that you have asked us on Facebook and Instagram. If you have a question that we don’t answer, please let us know in the comments below.

Questions:
Q: Is it safe (particularly for women)?

Women hunting in AfricaA: In short, yes. We have just returned from a month in South Africa ourselves with no issues at all. We chose to hire a car at the airport and drive ourselves around the country, visiting friends and travelling to the various concessions we hunted on. That being said, there is no need to hire a car to go hunting in Africa. Most outfitters include airport transfers – all of our African hunts certainly do, so you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere yourself.

Like anywhere, your safety largely comes down to common sense. Petty theft and burglary are more commonplace in Africa than here in Australia, but is likely to be more of a problem in cities than in rural areas where hunting takes place.

Here are some common sense precautions to keep in mind when travelling for a hunt:

  • Keep your car doors locked, particularly at stop lights. Hawking is very common at intersections, especially in the cities. It is a good idea not to open your windows or doors to purchase anything roadside.
  • Be vigilant of your personal possessions. Don’t leave your handbag or wallet unattended and in plain view (e.g. on the seat in the car or hanging on the back of a chair in a restaurant).
  • Don’t travel alone. It is a good idea to take your hunting guide, or someone you are travelling with, along with you if you decide to venture out of the hunting camp. Mum, Jack (4) and I made a few trips out to the local mall to do some shopping between hunts and did not have any issues.
  • Don’t stop to purchase souvenirs or other items from roadside stalls. Everywhere you go in Africa you will see roadside stalls selling anything from little knickknacks to cans of soft drink to bags of fruit. Although it might be tempting, stopping in these areas can put you at risk. Your outfitter should be able to take you to a shop or market if you would like to purchase souvenirs. We visited Chameleon Village to purchase ours.

Remember, your hunting guide lives in Africa and will know how to get around safely. They will be able to help you with any tips or advice to stay safe on your journey.

Q: What is an appropriate calibre to use on African game?

A: This really does depend on the game that you choose to hunt. If you are hunting any of the small antelope species, such as the duiker, steenbok or klipspringer, you can use a calibre such as the .243. The more common trophy antelope species you can hunt in Africa fall between a Red Stag and an Elk in body size.

For most of the African big game (kudu, nyala, waterbuck, gemsbok, blesbok, wildebeest, warthog, even lion etc.) you want to be using a .308 or larger. For the big 5/dangerous game (elephant, hippo, Cape buffalo, giraffe), you want to take a .375 or larger.

Although taking your own firearms is not difficult (we can help you with the paperwork if your hunt is booked through us), most reputable outfitters will have rifles available for you to use (though this may incur a hire fee) if you would rather not have the hassle.

Q: Will I need to sell a kidney to be able to afford it?

A: You’re welcome to try. But no. Hunting in Africa is actually quite affordable, and you should be able to take several animals for the same amount that you could hunt one trophy in Australia, New Zealand, or the US.

Q: Can you eat the meat from the animals you shoot in Africa?

A: Most definitely. The South Africans are pretty similar to us Aussies in that they love to BBQ – the only difference is that they call it a ‘braai’ (pronounced ‘br-eye’). Just let them know before you head over there that you would like to eat the meat from the animals that you shoot. If you don’t want to eat it yourself, your outfitter will make other arrangements to donate or sell the meat – in Africa, nothing is wasted!

Breaking down Blue Wildebeest

We have eaten many different species of game in Africa including kudu, blesbok, gemsbok, zebra, duiker, waterbuck, wildebeest, warthog, ostrich, sable, hartebeest, and even crocodile. Our favourite African game meat (so far) is Sable.

Q: How many animals can you expect to shoot in one trip?

A: If you are spot and stalk hunting (like we do) as opposed to shooting out of the back of a truck, it takes a bit of time and effort to get an animal. We allow 2 days per animal on our African hunts (e.g. for a 10 day hunt you could expect to hunt 4-5 animals). The same goes for bowhunting whether on foot or out of a blind. That being said, it did take Tash 4 days to bow hunt her Nyala. The herd animals (impala, springbok, wildebeest) can be easier to get onto because they hang out in large groups and often on large grass flats. The smaller species (steenbok, duiker, klipspringer etc.) are quite difficult to find and often have to be hunted at nighttime. Again, you should expect that your outfitter knows all there is to know about the species you want to hunt including how much time you can expect to spend hunting them.

Q: Is it true Rod uses beard oil before every hunt? 

A: Every. Single. Hunt.

Rod's beard

Q: Are there a lot of species to hunt? Are many species protected?

A: There are so many species that you can legally hunt in Africa. The diversity of animals is one of the truly beautiful and unique characteristics of hunting Africa. There are however a few species, which are legal, but do require a special permit to hunt. Depending on the species, this can be applied for while you are hunting in Africa or it may need to be granted before you arrive in the country. Generally, the process is handled by your outfitter (just be sure to ask).

Our Hunting in Africa page has a gallery with some of the species you can hunt with us. This is not exhaustive, so please contact us if you would like to hunt a species that you don’t see in our gallery for more information.

Q: Can you bring the trophies back?

A: Your trophies can generally be brought back to your home country. There are a few exceptions though. For example, although a lot of the cat species can be legally hunted in Africa, Australia does not allow the importation of any trophies from the cat family (this includes lions, leopards etc.) You can check the relevant regulations for your country through the CITES website.

We have all of our African trophies done by Highveld Taxidermists in Johannesburg. They have a very cool workshop where you can see the entire taxidermy process from start to finish. We can organise for our hunters to visit Highveld on their way back to the airport after their hunt.

 

Hunting in Africa really isn’t that scary but it is a new experience for many people. We hope that these questions have given you a better idea of what to expect. As always, it is important to find a reputable outfitter to hunt with and it can be difficult to know who to trust.

We travel to and hunt with all of our outfitters before we send you to hunt there so that we know that you will have an amazing hunt, and most importantly, be taken care of. You can check out our current packages to hunt with any of our trusted outfitters.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions that we have not answered above, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more hunting tips. You can share this useful information with your friends and family using the links below:

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