Starting to freak
My hunt has been planned since last year. Boy, back then I could have writtten a guide on what to do, take, wear; and when to do it---now that its here Im freaking out. We leave in September (a buddy and I). Both of us are experienced hunters but the only time either of us ever flew somewher to go hunting, we were in BDUs, with face paint, carrying M16s and we were wearing parachutes..... Besides that we've always driven to our destination, even when it was Canada.
So now Ive booked my trip, sent a down payment by wire transfer to the PH. Our airline tickets are paid for but the agent says the exact seats arent confirmed yet. We're driving from Maryland to New York and spending the night in a airport hotel (where we're leaving the car for the duration). We're flying into Jo'Burg, then have a 5 hour layover before catching a flight to Port Elizabeth.
We have our passports and lots of blank pages.
We still have to go to US Customs (my buddy's rifle is being built and its not done yet--supposed to be done soon enuf for him to get some shooting time??? Hes got a fall back if its not ready
Im still having the Pelican VS Tuff Pak confusion (taking two rifles)
My PH says I can do a money transfer via computer to pay for the balance; but the folks in my bank dont think it can be done with me in SA.... Im taking cash to be on the safe side; but carrying "that much" cash is freaking me out too.
If all that wasnt bad enough my house burned in February and most of my gear is in storage. Ive been wearing my boots to be sure theyre comfortable, and Im taking a pair of soft hiking shoes that I can double for use around the camp. I "know" I shouldnt pack too many clothes and accessories; but deciding what to take and what to leave is driving me crazy too.
I dont need glasses for general use; but I usually keep a pair of "cheaters" handy for small print.
Im also taking a couple pairs of sun glasses in hard cases.
Ive got 1 power converter, do I need more?
I just picked up a small digital point and shoot (pocket size) camera and a small video camera with a couple memory cards. My PH says he can arrange to have a professional videographer film the hunt (for $1000); but doesnt reccommend it because of extra boots on the ground. Im tempted because it would be better than anything I could produce--still thats a lot of money that I could spend on hunting)
Now just to show you the craziness didnt just start, Ive decided to dress like Teddy Roosevelt, Im wearing jodphers and high boots. Im gonna pass on the pith helmet and wear a 1889 campaign hat. If its a good hunt, then we all have fun, if I blow easy shots, then the staff get to laugh at the crazy American who dressed funny, and I still have a good time--in any event the pics will be "classic".......
Congratulations on your upcoming safari. Our first was a life changing event for my wife and me.
Couple of notes:
You probably know more about this than me as I have never flown out of any of the New york airports but I have been told they have some different firearm laws in NY. In LA we have open carry, concealed carry, and hunting is an accepted culture, so the concept of restrictive firearm laws is foreign to me. I would make certain before driving in to NY everything is good, and like I said you probably have done this already.
Are you planning to have your SAPS forms completed before arrival in SA? I always had mine done ahead of time by Gracy travel and never had a problem.
Did you travel agent include the pre-approval of your firearms with the airlines? This is also something Gracy includes.
I always make several high resolution color copies of my 4457s and laminate them. I carry a couple with me. Most Africans view these as our gun permits. I always give them a copy and never the original in case they want to play any games about keeping it (that can be followed by a request for money).
I keep a color copy of my passport and embassy information for just in case.
Pelican vs Tuffpak. I have always flown with my double broken down in a Storm Case. It makes my feel better. Bolt guns travel in the Tuffpak with the scopes removed and they go in the case with the double. Rifles go muzzle down in the Tuffpak in a soft case. I pack enough clothes around the rifle to keep it from moving. I am able to remove and reinsert the rifle without unpacking any of the clothes (that is why I remove the scope). Traveling with my wife gives us four pieces of luggage so I can carry ammo in a third case. We each have a gun case and one piece of luggage. Maybe you could do the same with your buddy. Pelican case for the double, Tuffpak for both rifles, each of you carry your own ammo in the second piece of luggage. I would check with the travel agent about having rifles for two different owners in the same case but has never been a problem for my wife and me and we have 4457's in each of our names.
I have never carried much cash. On some trips I paid for trophy fees before leaving. On all of my trips I owed money when leaving but they allowed me to wire it once returning to the US. If you trust your outfitter maybe wire a couple of thousand dollars before leaving if you do not want to carry that much cash. If you used a US agent he should be able to "hold" the money, I have done that twice.
Bring a couple of changes of clothes and your boots as carry on. I also carry my binoculars and cameras as carry on. If your rifle and bags are delayed at least you can hunt in your boots and clean clothes with a camp rifle.
After your first trip you will pack much less. By the time you do your 5th trip you will be able to carry on everything except your rifle and ammo.
Have fun and BTW which double did you end up buying?
Easy, easy, you aren't going on a combat jump here. You are going on a wonderful experience and you are doing the right thing in asking for input. Just relax, everything is going to be fine.
My contribution is the thought that you can take several cashier's checks of varying amounts made out to your outfitter. If you don't use them you can bring them back and have them re-deposited back into your account. As was stated above, most outfitters will accommodate after the fact payments by wire when you return home. Carrying a big bunch of cash is not necessary and could be disastrous. Be sure to let your credit card company know that you will be in Africa and the dates you'll be there. I try not to use the credit card at all, have only used it at a gift shop in Jo-burg on the way home. I also have never converted any US money into rand, tips of a buck or two are usually fine.
You are probably going to be overwhelmed with the amount of game, the scenery, and the people. Try to stop on occasion and just soak it up, wrap it around you like a blanket. Slow yourself down and savor, you'll be going back.
Make sure you have memory cards for the camera and use up every one of them.
Take pictures of absolutely everything.
Perhaps Teddy's memory is longer than mine. Take a journal and write down daily notes of the happenings.
The hunter who wanders through these lands sees sights which ever afterward remain fixed in his mind.... Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
- Col. Theodore Roosevelt
in Khartoum, March 15, 1910
Large amounts of cash are a bad idea. All of the banks in SA have a SWIFT code, wire transfers are the easiest. MY brokerage firm does them for free. Don't change your cash in for Rands. Use a debit card, all of ours work, and draw it from an ATM. It is the cheapest conversion you will get without doing the black market, not many of those in rural areas. Nedbank seems to have the friendliest machines.
Have fun, I can be sure that you will be overpacked. I generally suggest Goodwill clothes and leave them there, makes friends and leaves space for the odd buy.
I think you'll find that once you're there you'll be surprised at how simple it all really was. It's just a plane ride, a bit of paperwork, and a chance to meet new friends. You'll quickly see how easy it is and wonder why more people don't do it. The whole experience is just tremendous. I come from the school of "less is more." Don't waste so much time looking for that perfect photo that you forget to savor the moment. Listen to the sounds. Eat the food. Plan a little quiet time. Watch the stars and see an African sunrise. There is a great temptation to shoot one of everything and rush from one thing to the next. Focus instead on enjoying the animals, your hunting partners, and the company of the PH. Believe me, the PH will make sure you have a successful hunt. If in doubt, trust his judgement.
There's just a few items that are "mission critical." Funny enough, this doesn't even include a rifle. The PH will undoubtedly have one that will work just fine in a pinch.
You simply can't get started without:
1) A passport
2) 4457 forms
3) Plane tickets
Don't worry about travel problems. That's what trip insurance and a good agent are for. Don't worry about the taxidermy. It's pretty simple when it gets right to it.
Your biggest worry will be how soon you can arrange to go back.
and don't take your eyes off your gear while in Joberg airport
I've used Henry's Rifle permits, they have a gate greet service and they walk you right past the immigration line, straight to get your rifle checked out. I agree with many of the post, been 4 times, most outfitters will take credit cards for the balance, some even take a personal check. They love cash because of their tax laws. I've done a tuffpack 3 of the 4 trips and it's held up good, just watch the weight.
I tried Googling Henry's Rifle permits to no avail. Do they have a website?
riflepermits.com Henry Durheim. Great guy and makes everything much easier and secure. Tell him Wes from TDK safaris sent ya. THX
I agree with wyowes, we just used Henry with RiflePermits.com and they were great. Well worth the $100.
Actually, for cash saeng101 is right, I have read this post a couple of time but was thinking "Hunting", when my wife and I returned to Joberg for our final night, we use an ATM at the mall. My bank has no transaction fees for use of other banks ATM's, really didn't think they would honor it in a foreign county, but they did.
Originally Posted by saeng101
As far as your attire (you mentioned it), if you are dressing like Teddy then the pith helmet is a must, and you must post some pics.:biggrin2::beer: