Hunting South Africa
Hunting South Africa
South Africa shares a special place in the hearts and minds of many hunters and non-hunters alike. In addition to the world famous Kruger National Park, South Africa is home to nearly 150 other national parks and reserves including those dedicated to nature, marine life, forestry, botany as well as other unique interests. For decades these parks have welcomed millions of visitors each year. The film and television industries have produced hundreds of movies and documentaries on African wildlife which have often been filmed within the parks and reserves of South Africa. All the above has done well to promote South Africa as a kind of Eden where it's possible to tour comfortably in a 4x4 amid abundant and exotic wildlife, to be able to safely watch predators as they dine on their prey, to observe the big cats in the tall grass or to follow the migration of herbivores...
South Africa has long been the most popular hunting destination in Africa especially as a first time hunting safari destination. Well over 6,000 international hunters visit annually for plains game and big game hunting on the more than 9,000 registered game ranches in South Africa. Hunting properties range in size from a few thousand to over 250,000 acres where hunters can discover a country and its wildlife that are among the most beautiful and richest that Africa has to offer.
Safari hunting is available on private game ranches and within controlled hunting areas in some provincial game reserves. Much of the hunting in South Africa takes place on enclosed private land. The amount of game on private land is estimated to be two and a half times greater than the game populations found on public lands.
There are nine provinces in South Africa. However more than half of the most popular plains game species are taken in just two provinces, the Limpopo and Eastern Cape. The species taken in these provinces that top the list are Impala (Aepyceros Melampus), Warthog (Phacochoerus Aethiopicus), Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus Strepsiceros), Blesbok (Damaliscus), Gemsbok (Oryx Gazella), Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes Taurinus), Burchell's Zebra (Equus Quagga Burchellii), Black Wildebeest (Conochaetes Gnou), Southern Bushbuck (Tragelaphus Scriptus Sylvaticus), Common Waterbuck (Kobus Ellipsiprymnus) and Springbok (Antidorca Marsupialis) predominantly in Eastern Cape province.
While hunting in South Africa one can take the big five; Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino. The big five species are dispersed all over South Africa with most being harvested in a couple of provinces. About 60% of all Leopards are taken in the Limpopo province with another 25% being hunted in the North West province. Approximately 65% of all Buffalo are harvested in the Gauteng province and an additional 20% are taken in the KwaZulu Natal and Free State provinces combined. Lion are overwhelmingly taken, 70%, in the North West province with 20% being taken in the Limpopo province. More than half of all Elephants are harvested in the Limpopo and an additional 30% are taken in the North West province. Nearly 70% of White Rhino are hunted in KwaZulu Natal and the North West provinces, the two provinces being equally productive. The Mpumalanga province produces 90% of Hippos taken in South Africa if you are interested in hunting the big six.
In addition to these prestigious trophies, hunters, whether beginners or not, can enrich their trophy room with many other species as well. The abundance of species allowed to be hunted in South Africa is unparalleled with up to thirty species of antelope alone; Cape Eland (Taurotragus Oryx), Sable Antelope (Hippotragus Niger), Roan Antelope (Hippotragus Equinus), Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus Strepsiceros) Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus Imberbis), Nyala (Tragelaphus Angasi), Lichtenstein痴 Hartebeest (Alcelaphus Lichtensteinii), Blesbok (Damaliscus Pygargus Phillipsi), Bontebok (Damaliscus Pygargus Pygargus), Gemsbok (Oryx gazella), Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes Taurinus), Black Wildebeest (Conochaetes Gnou), Common Waterbuck (Kobus Ellipsiprymnus), Bushbuck (Tragelaphus Scriptus), Southern Bushbuck (Tragelaphus Scriptus Sylvaticus), Common Reedbuck (Redunca Arundinum), Impala (Aepyceros Melampus), Springbok (Antidorca Marsupialis), Red Flanked Duiker (Cephalophus Rufilatus), Klipspringer (Oreotragus Oreotragus), Oribi (Ourebia Ourebi), Bushpig (Potamochoerus Porcus), Warthog (Phacochoerus Aethiopicus)
Hunting in South Africa also offers the opportunity to hunt exotic species, not indigenous to South Africa or sometimes Africa at all, most of which is conducted in the Eastern Cape Province.
In South Africa the majority of professional hunters are South Africans however there are also Zimbabwean, Namibian and European professional hunters. In South Africa hunting is most often done on foot, sometimes directly from the camp, but more often by driving a 4x4 from the lodge to the hunting area, then tracking on foot once in the bush. Hunting South Africa in more rugged terrain makes approaches or stalking the animals much shorter in duration than in open territory as there is more landscape to facilitate the approach.
In South Africa, the hunting areas are spread out over the entire country. It is often necessary to fly from Johannesburg to a secondary location where one travels to the hunting area either by road or by small aircraft.
The habitat is mostly savanna shrub, dry, grassy plains, thorn and acacia. The hunting areas in the province of the Kalahari are semi-desert and the soil is often sandy which can make walking challenging and tiresome.
South African hunting areas very often do not have hunting camps such as those found in other countries in Africa. In most cases hunters stay in comfortable lodges which look and feel more like a four star hotel.
There is no set hunting season in South Africa so one can hunt throughout the year. Keep in mind when traveling south of the equator that the seasons are reversed; June, July and August are South Africa's winter months and therefore the coldest months as well as the most popular among hunters. In some areas the frost setting in by early morning can feel like December in Europe or northern United States but without the snow. The winters in South Africa are not to be taken lightly, the temperature range between day and night can be rather extreme, typically varying 30ｰF to 40ｰF between daily highs and lows.
Thanks Jerome. My knowledge of Africa is fairly limited, but the summary you provided was very good. I'm planning my first safari now near Port Elizabeth for September/October 2013. I'm looking forward to it very much.
Jerome, I see you listed Lesser Kudu on your species allowed to hunt in RSA. Obviously a non native specie - where would one hunt them in RSA? I have not seen any listed before. Thanks!!
If I did not know him better I might suggest he was slighting RSA Kudu. Namibia having Greater Kudu.
Interesting Question Ses.
There are certainly mostly hunted in Tanzania and Ethiopia... But as with many other exotic species I am certain that one could find a Lesser Kudu to hunt in South Africa!
Originally Posted by sestoppelman
Jerome, Great write up on SA hunting. I plan to go back many times until I die or can't draw a bow back or hold a rifle steady. Chances are I will hunt SA again and again, will probably hunt Zambia too, (know a guy):D Some say SA is a good point for the first timer, you can harvest most of what Africa has to offer in the bottom 4-5 countries. I give a big applause to "ALL" of the South African outfitters:clap::clap::clap:
Thanks again Willem and Jerome for creating what was a desire, into a passion.:beer:
From someone who is a hunting outfitter/PH that summary of South African hunting is great. Obviously it is a rough guide to hunting here, but the general feel of what Africa offers is nicely captured. Thank you Jerome!
I've been watching some of the videos you have on the website Jerome. The trouble with videos, you are limited to sight only, I want to smell and feel the country with all my senses. I can't wait to get over there, but I'll be sad when it's finished;NOT. As soon as I get back I'll be planning another trip back there real soon. Crikey, I might even go to Canada and annoy Diamondhitch...he..he. Have some coldies ready Mate.