If offered a rusk for breakfast, make sure to dip in your coffee or you run the risk of scraping the roof of your mouth completely off or breaking your teeth. I figured this out only after I had fought my way through mine and then watched my PH eat his like a warm biscuit.
LOL, Chad, Thats good advise. Hope you dededucted money from your PH's tip for your new set of teeth.
In my own experience in RSA, since 1975 (and in several other countries we consider exotic, including Russia):
Sense of humor: none, avoid risks and do not make jokes, do not point out nor comment what in your eyes may appear as funny or strange customs
Money: it is usually considered a must and a natural occurence to rip off or at least to take advantage of the overseas visitor, chances are he will never come back to the same area anyway. Almost everyone is stingy and tight-fisted, especially the Boers.
Customs: usually, the Whites will not explain any of the local traditions, they are wary of (not to say despise) ancient African customs and beliefs. Some Whites are bitter with the US because they consider to have been let down during the Cold War.
Violence: none unless you're looking for trouble, I never had a problem, including in what the media depict as no-go areas such as Soweto, but avoid unnecessary thrills. You better steer away cities and suburbs, the savannah is so much better anyway. (Having said this for RSA, on a wide public beach in Bagamoyo, Tanzania at 9am I was once attacked at kitchen-knife point by two guys, I reacted in Swahili with Muslim curses and started kicking them and they left. I can't afford the usual 20$ to give the would-be assailant as tourist brochures recommend. The Police later asked me 'What T-shirt did they wear?' which explains how poor most locals can be).
Country: South Africa is more than wonderful, food and wine superb, the hunting is fine but almost invariably in (huge) game farms. Just some wilder areas of Zim, Mozambique and Tanzania are better.
Dear Corto Maltese,
I'm sorry to hear of your bad experience. Please don't generalize. I could not agree with any of your points.... you picked a bad outfitter.
It is unfortunate that you write these things regarding South African people (some of them in any case), especially what you refer to as the Boers and Whites. As you might have guessed by now both of these descriptions apply to me. We have a wonderful country with wonderful people, not even talking about our ethnic diversity and the fact that some south Africans really try to make things work.
It is sad that your experience led you to believe that its all about money, that we don't have a good sense of humor and that we don't care about the customs of our brothers and sisters. May I suggest that you select your hunting outfitter more carefully the next time you plan a visit? No. I'm not one but I do live in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and I hunt as often as possible. And yes I do know reputable outfitters.
I don't want to discount your experience - you saw what you saw and heard what you heard. I've never hunted in RSA, but I have visited twice for about a month each time. I saw and heard some horrible things. My dad was mugged at knifepoint. At the same time, I loved the cities. Cape Town is wonderful. Durban is very interesting. I laughed with Afrikaner and British Whites, Zulus, Xhosa, and folks from Zimbabwe and DR Congo. I also lived in Russia for six months. Laughter is actually what broke down many of the barriers that exist between cultures, economic, and language spheres. In all cases my rule has been to be respectful, pay attention, listen, and participate. When I've followed that, things went well and i made friends - or at least we all enjoyed the experience. Sure - misunderstandings occur and every so often someone will get confused or offended. There's a bit of risk involved, even when meeting new people within our own culture. But it's worth the risk and occasional misunderstanding. Wherever I've traveled, and in spite of some rather unusual, even spectacular adventures, the most memorable things have always been the people I've met and had a chance to interact with. Just my 2 cents.
Forget about all the crap and just enjoy yourself. I'm doing what I love and that is to hunt, so effectively if my client ain't enjoying himself, I would have a crap time as well. Dont overcomplicate things, just enjoy your experience... TOM has a couple of good ones there though...I have not even met him and I like him already!
Rcole - It REALLY depends on who you hunt with. Our PH had worked in the US and understood North American attitudes about everyone being equal. His family had a generations-long relationship with the native families living/working on the ranch. The respect was evident and genuine. The PH, Tracker and Skinner treated each other as equal members of the same team. (Watching them plan the strategy of a stalk was a fast and furious give-and-take.)
Originally Posted by Rcole1310
The PH told us of past (bad) experiences with racist US clients and that he won't host them again.
Even if you get to hunt with a PH like ours, you may still have to make an effort to build a relationship with other staff. It took us 3 days of sharing snacks, cracking jokes, high-5's after a successful stalk, etc to finally "break the ice" with our Tracker and Skinner. What finally brought down the last barrier was my wife asking if she could ride on the spotting bench with them. After a day of that, they were "buds".
ON THE OTHER HAND we met another PH who stayed at the ranch for 2 days that was still living in Dutch colonial times. He didn't judge people by their actions and contributions... you get the picture.
Cossack, that advice is worth a lot more than 2 cents. From my experience, your attitude towards people works all around the planet.
Originally Posted by Cossack
On my one and only trip to Africa (Namibia) my mate and I had a great time with our PH. The hunting was excellent but the banter and jokes around the campfire are just as memorable for me.
As an example of the effect that a small gesture can have on a client, on the afternoon of our last day in the Kalahari, we were heading back to the lodge when the PH stopped the Landcruiser on top of a large dune, went to the back and pulled out a six pack of Tafel and said to a pair of slightly confused Aussies, "You've got to sit on a Kalahari dune, drink beer and watch the sun go down!"
As I said, a small gesture, but that half hour or so sitting on the red sand topped the trip off and will live with me forever.
For me, hunting is more than horns, hides and dead animals, it's the experience and Africa can provide that in truckloads. As Marius said, "just enjoy it!" and don't sweat the small stuff.
I have enjoyed four safaris in RSA, Limpopo, Kwazulu Natal, and Northwest Province.
And my intention is to keep coming back, as long as I can afford it.
Great experiences, nice people, great beer (Castle),
Oh, by the way, great hunting too :D
Things can go wrong anywhere, depends on how different personalities get along. It takes a couple of days for a new client and PH to feel each other out regardless where you go. My RSA PH Phil deKock had a fine sense of humor as well as a firm handshake. I notice too that upon meeting people especially strangers the SA man will often doff his cap. We used to do that here in the US years ago but now walk into any restaurant and look around and you will see men from every generation sitting there with his bloody hat on!
I was reminded of this thread while reading member FHM3006's post in BILLC's thread: "Ok all you Africa experts answer this" and thought I would revisit.
Wow, this thread has taken some unexpected twists and turns. Of course when I started the thread I had not been to RSA and was a bit anxious.
Now, having been to RSA I can speak to my experiences (however limited) and tell you that ALL the South African people I met and interacted with during my trip were kind, warm-hearted,generous,hard working, and had a great sense of humor just to mention a few.
I found that they were just as interested in me and where I came from as I was of them. My experiences somewhat mirrored what others have posted in this thread in regards to it taking time to break the ice in a few incidences (specifically with one of the trackers) but I think that is absolutely normal as in every day life.
A good friend told me once "the best way to ruin a friendship is to discuss politics or religion" so I heed this advice especially while I am a guest in someone elses country. Remember, we are guests.
I only had one moment when I had to be "diplomatic". That was while we were all watching rugby one evening and one of my hosts asked me if I thought American gridiron football was tougher than rugby. I replied "I'm not sure we'll ever have the answer to that one Pieter." :laughing:LOLOLOL! Laughter certainly is the best medicine.
As an aside, I really like the 26th post in this thread by member Cossack."respect,pay attention,listen, and participate." I think he nailed it.
it means the same thing in some places in europe.
Originally Posted by ThomasBeaham
also be careful how you flash the peace sign in England.
With all respect, that is a terrible misrepresenation of South Africa. There has and always will be difficulty in accepting cultural differences - we are one of the most culturally diverse nations around. The Outfitters and people you met were obviously racist, humourless, prudes, but I assure you that this is not the standard for South Africa. Your interpretations of SA and its people are wrong.
Your ideas on South Africa's sense of humour, customs, and money...incorrect.
Violence: Do as you would in any country, and dont wear a huge sign around your neck that says "Tourist" then go wandering off alone into the scence. Do not underestimate the value of a competent city/tour guide, and adhereing to simple safety rules, like you would do in every other country that you visit.
SA is a fascinating country, politics aside. It has snow caped mountains with great rainbow trout fishing from alpine villages reminiscent of Switzerland villages, it has citrus and tea plantations and I can put you in an area where you would swear you are in the wheat fields of Kansas for 30 miles. Cape Town has many many vineyards and wineries and the south and east coast route "Garden Route" is great. My biggest advice is as I said in my current postings on Jamy Traut Safaris--- don't be an ass and an ugly American. Enjoy the differences, have patience, be friendly even if your counterpart isn't. Be an Ambassador for the USA not an idiot. You will have as good a time as you make it. Oh, just get out of Jo'berg as fast as you can!
As Stated above try all the fruit and Veggies, now I'm a hardcore Carnivore I like my Meat my wife is always telling me I don't eat enough veggies well while in South Africa I tried all their fruit and veggie dishes that they offered and I didn't find one that I didn't like in fact Deb brought home several of their Recipes to fix for family and friends there great. Beer ain't bad nether.
I thought beer is a vegetable:D
Originally Posted by Bobpuckett
:bulb: I think your right! The wife can't say I don't get enough vegetables now. :beer:
Originally Posted by Stretch
Are you suggesting it isn't?! :confusion:
Originally Posted by Stretch
Bob - You thought I was just kidding about the vegetable beer.....
Impala lager, first commercial version of root vegetable home brew. Cassava grown in Uganda. The brewing firm SABMiller has launched a bottled beer based on the root vegetable. Cassava has been used by generations of home brewers in Africa. Now the drought-resistant, starch-rich, root vegetable is to be processed, bottled and labelled for sale in bars and supermarkets.The brewing firm SABMiller launched the world's first commercially produced cassava beer, formalising an age-old technique practised in villages across the continent.The brand, a lager named Impala after the widespread African antelope, uses 70% cassava and 30% barley, and will first be brewed and offered in Mozambique. It will be sold at 75% of the price of other lagers and the makers hope to attract people who traditionally have drunk home brews, sometimes at risk to their health.
Graham Mackay, SABMiller's chief executive, said: "Very often illicit alcohol is positively dangerous. What we're doing is offering a legal alternative to that large percentage of alcohol that is homemade and from which governments get no taxes." Bananas are a popular ingredient for home brews in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while sorghum and cassava are used in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Commercial beer remains an aspirational product that many cannot afford.Gerry van den Houten, SABMiller's technical director, said of the drink: "It's a lager with a slightly sour note. It has a much lower gluten content than normal beer." The company said it was buying cassava from more than 1,500 smallholders.But there are challenges with cassava versus a barley-based brew. Cassava is 75% water and starts to degrade almost immediately following harvest so cannot be transported long distances. Van den Houten said: "Cassava is the biggest crop in Africa but the least commercialised. It can lie in the ground for a long time but when you harvest it you've got to use it in 24 hours."The company is using a mobile processing unit to combat the problem. The cassava tubers are chopped into slurry and turned into a cake that can be stored for at least six months. SABMiller said it would use about 40,000 tonnes of raw cassava each year in the beer's production, and it expected the brand to contribute about 10% of the firm's annual sales in Mozambique over the next two to three years. A test batch of 150,000 litres had already been sold. Cassava grows widely across Africa and SABMiller aims to expand the beer next year to South Sudan, where it commissioned a large-scale brewery in 2009.