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Jo'Berg in April - Use a Gun Service?

This is a discussion on Jo'Berg in April - Use a Gun Service? within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I have booked my safari for mid - late April 2012 and wanted some input on the use of a ...

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    mstewart44 is offline AH Senior Member
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    Default Jo'Berg in April - Use a Gun Service?

    I have booked my safari for mid - late April 2012 and wanted some input on the use of a gun clearing service. On my last safari in August 2008 when we arrived the "police" were going thru a shift change - which created a 30 minute wait. Then, all the guys were jockying for position to get in front of the guy beside you. It was a 90 minute nightmare. We eventually cleared the guns we had brought - 1 gun per hunter with two people in the party - but it took fooooorrrrrrrreeeeeeevvvvvvveeeeeeerrrrrrrrr (forever). My friend went back in 2010 and used Air 2000 and said he will never go back again without using a gun clearing service. Said his wait was 5 minutes with about 20 other hunters going thru the same scramble as we did in '08 and he left the police check station with no delay.

    I know August is a popular time to go hunting in SA and April may not be as crowded. We arrive on a Thursday.

    Anybody got any experience with this out there who can give some advice?

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    My only experience I did not use a gun service. I went during the middle of the World Cup and I was the only gun hunter on board. The other hunters were bowhunters. At the SAPS office, it was a few minutes before the rifle showed up, but once it did I would say it was about 5-10 minutes A.T. (Africa time) and I was out of there. Honestly it was easy, but I've wondered if the driver from Afton House had something to do with that. He took us into the office and had a quick coversation in Afrikaans with the SAPS officer. Never knew what he said.

    I'm with your friend however. Near as I can tell these gun services are sort of a legal way to bribe your way through the office quickly. I think rather than fight the man, I'll just pay the man when it comes to my rifles next time I go.
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    My experience was almost identical to Phoenix Phil's except my driver didn't talk to anyone.
    After everything I'd seen on forums I was very pleasantly surprised how easy it was.
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    Once you do it yourself you will find how easy it is. Unfortunately Delta and SAA flies in at 5pm and yes that is close to shift change you will not hunt that day anyway and if there is 20 hunters on the flight what can you do.

    Even if your guns were cleared before hand they still have to check your serial number and its still a free service so it will be a bit unfair if your celaring guy paid to get your guns checked first for serial numbers which is bribbing nothing else. It is a hassle if there are many hunters on the plane no matter what.

    But doing it yourself and flying in April you should be out in less than 20 minutes depending on how slow the guys behind the desk want to write that day.
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    When we went in August We used this service and let me tell you I will use them everytime I got back. They met us as we got off the plane and led us to everythere we needed to go. It was great. We were in and out in 5 minutes when other people took 45-60 min longer. Here is the company we used. Best spent money on the trip.

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    I went this year, end of April beginning of may. After I figured out what was going on (where we needed to go) I met up with our PH and the representative from riflepermits.com. They took our guns and went right up to a clerk and got our paperwork done in about 5 min. We where the last of about 20 guys to arrive at the office. We where one of the first people out. We used the company this time but we have said next time we will do it ourselves. As long as you are ok with the fact that you may be there for 60+ min then just do it yourself. If you hate waiting then pay for the service.

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    I would recommend using a gun clearance service. We went through J'Burg August 2011 and used a service offered through Afton house. The name of the service escapes me but it was worth the $100 USD. Even though our flight from Perth arrived at like 5 am there were still 4 or 5 groupes in front of us waiting to get their permits. The guy that met us new just about everyone at the SAPS office and some Africaans jabber and we were straight to the front of the kew. A quick inspection of the guns and we were out of there. All up about 10 min. I think it's worth the cost and added advantage is that if there are any changes to the laws these guys will know as they attend all the SAPS meeting that are related to new firearms laws.

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    Ditto what richteb says. I would use the service. One thing to remember is the language barrier. Yes, they speak english primarily but often heavily accented. I personally dont hear very well and in noisy situations like airports and crowded areas like gun pick up areas I often have a hard time understanding what is being said. The fee is well worth it for the "smoothing" factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstewart44 View Post
    Anybody got any experience with this out there who can give some advice?
    After watching the lines in Joburg and the process I would suggest the following:

    The Service you pay for is going to the front of a long line (certainly, if you arrive in high season from the US)
    It will save you some time, which is important for a quick connection flight.

    From other origins outside the US it may be a toss up as to whether it is worth it.
    (Various other export and in transit permits that require too much lead time)
    SAPS line up's from other origins are much shorter anyway.

    It won't save you from the airlines baggage handling choices enroute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRICKBURN View Post
    After watching the lines in Joburg and the process I would suggest the following:

    The Service you pay for is going to the front of a long line (certainly, if you arrive in high season from the US)
    It will save you some time, which is important for a quick connection flight.

    From other origins outside the US it may be a toss up as to whether it is worth it.
    (Various other export and in transit permits that require too much lead time)
    SAPS line up's from other origins are much shorter anyway.

    It won't save you from the airlines baggage handling choices enroute.
    My experience, too. Since we stayed in Afton House that first night, we paid them (in advance) to arrange for the gun import permits ahead of time. Their folks met us right there, held our hands to the front of the line and we there done in 10 minutes. Well worth the $100.

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    Early june this year. Met by Air2000 rep. Straight to the SAP office. Butted ahead of 20 or so people (including the one who was currently being served). Air 2000 rep read my serial #s to the SAP and off I went. In and out in a couple minutes. The other advantage since it was my 1st trip - Air2000 made sure my forms were filled out correctly well before I left to eliminate possible newbie hassles.
    The journey is the reward.

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    Rented gun my first trip, my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th,,,,you get the picture, I will be taking my own rifle and plan to use a clearing service. Though when I flew to SA in June there were only 3 other hunters on the flight and needless to say the line at SA Police station were not long at all. I think it is luck of the draw on which flight you get and when you arrive. Better safe than sorry though, I would recommend using a service so there are no hassles. Like Upton O. Good said, Well worth the $100...

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