Good advice for first timers to Africa

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Kalahari416, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Kalahari416

    Kalahari416 AH Senior Member

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    Hi guys.

    I see that many people are looking for advice on their first trip to Africa. I thought I would put some relevant questions to ask down here, because even though most Outfitters will bend over backwards to make sure that you get what they promised/advertised, there will always be the odd bad apple in the bowl.

    In general, most first timers have a prefference in terms of country. Most wil also have some sort of idea as to what they would like to hunt (normally a very short list the first trip). So when you start talking to Outfitters, questions I think is very relavant are:

    1. How big is the hunting area? This is important because a website may say "25,000 acres" but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is all in one place. A lot of time may be spent driving between farms/areas instead of hunting. Driving around and seeing different areas might be your thing, so the answer might be positive or negative, depending on your expectation.

    2. Ask about the game numbers available on the area. It can certainly happen that you are on a small patch of land looking for one specific animal, which is not what you had in mind when you imagined your first trip to the dark continent.

    3.Make sure that you will actually be staying in the lodge/camp that is advertised on the Outfitters' website. It will happen from time to time that people take double bookings and then end up shipping you out to a different place than the one you imagined.

    4.Ask questions about the kind of food you will be getting, and how many meals a day. This may sound silly, but there are posts on this forum that will tell you some horror stories about clients being fed a slice of dry bread for lunch. If that is what is advertised, then great, but I doubt it.

    5.Make sure who will be collecting you at the airport you will arrive at. Make sure you have their cellphone numbers before you leave home.

    6. Costs - This has ruined many a good safari. And unfortunately you pay on the last day. You may have a great time for 10 days, but it could all be spoiled on day 10! Make sure about daily rates for hunters, obsevers, cameramen. Are alcoholic drinks included. If you do any kind of trip outside of the hunting, what is the cost? Are airport transfers included in daily rates? The list is long. Also make sure of the method of payment. Must you pay in cash before you leave or can you do a wire transfer later.

    7. Ask for photos of previous clients with the game you are looking for. Ask for refferences. Any good outfitter will have a long list of refferences you can call.

    8. Make decisions on your taxidermy before you head over the big pond. Normally, taxidermy in Africa is cheaper than in the US or most other countries, but you have to keep in mind that you will have a larger shipping bill than if you were to just dip and pack.

    9. Decide on whether or not you want to use your own rifle/s. A good outfitter will have someone that will be able to assist you with the clearing of firearms at the local airport. If you don't feel like the hassle, enquire about what firearms the outfitter has available for you.

    10. You may be physically incabable of walking great distances. Can the Outfitter accommodate you if you are in a wheelchair?

    11. Enquire about what you need to take along. Is it winter or summer? How cold does it get. Will it rain? How often does laundry get done? What does the terrain look like? What shoes to take. Will you be walking in sand or on rocky soil?

    This list can get very long, but these are just some helpful questions a first time African hunter can ask his potensial outfitter.

    Hope this helps.

    Happy hunting!
  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Some good questions for any safari planning process...
  3. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    Useful post indeed! Thanks.
  4. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you, Riaan, that is a really helpful list.:clap:
  5. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Some truly excellent advice! You have to read between the lines to find the exact trip you want sometimes or just go with the flow. There are people selling hunts that are very truthful and blunt on what kind of hunt you will get and then there are outfitters that you will get the rest of the story when you show up in Africa.

    How much land is available to hunt? Quantity of animals? Quality of animals? Size of each property? Accomodations available? How much drive time? All important questions!!!!
  6. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Very true Riaan and thanks for posting guy will find this very helpfully to say the least.... COOL POST!

    My best always
  7. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    Excellent advice. Just a couple thoughts from someone who just joined up:

    Be bluntly honest about your expectations and even moreso about your limitations. Don't assume the Outfitter "knows what you want".

    Get help booking flights until you know which carriers have restrictions and what those restrictions are (rifle, ammo - weight/oversize penalties, transport issues on through-countries, etc.)

    If you have medical conditions - make sure it's known. I'm tied to a CPAP - 110 (220v) outlets or a 12-volt source are not an option for me - it's a requirement. Hunting Sitka on Kodiak I flew a car battery in with me to power my CPAP. I had to make room in my luggage weight allowance for a 20# battery.

    PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE shooting from Sticks! Once you have a load, get off the bench and get on the sticks.
  8. Kalahari416

    Kalahari416 AH Senior Member

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    Very good advice! Be bluntly honest about what you want and what you dont want, then everyone is on the same page.
  9. The Big Game Hunter

    The Big Game Hunter AH Senior Member

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    All good advice. One other thing to mention to the PH is the rifle, caliber, and bullet combination you plan on using. The PH can steer you in the right direction if what you plan on using does not meet the legal or practical requirements of the particular game animal you plan on hunting. Also, the PH can also provide the likely shooting ranges and situations that you will encounter during the hunt; this will help you practice appropriately. If you have constraints on the ranges you feel comfortable shooting at, say you plan on using iron sights, make sure you let the PH know. The key point in all of this, as has been mentioned numerous times above, the PH needs to know what your limitations and expectations are so they can accommodate you and ensure you have a successful hunt.
  10. postoak

    postoak AH Senior Member

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    The size of the properties you will be hunting is really one that is hard to pin down with outfitters. On my first trip, I was told I would be hunting 98,000 acres, but this turned out to be true only for dangerous game -- which I wasn't hunting. The property was 5000 acres high-fenced on three sides and on the fourth low-fenced, and open to another 93,000 acres. You could hunt dangerous game on either side of the low fence but with plains game you were restricted to not crossing the fence.
  11. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great post and some good questions for the person planning their first safari or even their second. Thanks for posting.
  12. Ivan Carter

    Ivan Carter AH Senior Member

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    great post , all these questions so much better asked via email and then followed up with a meeting at one of the safari show , that will give you an excellent idea of the integrity of your outfitter and having his email response will mean you have the answers in writing ...
  13. Rob44

    Rob44 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    I,m planning my first trip,,,Maybe I,m wrong but It seems that the planning may be the toughest part of the trip
  14. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Rob44,
    It can seem to be overwhelming but don't let that discourage you. You can get a lot of great help here on AH from some great guys. I actually enjoy the planning part. I couldn't imagine letting someone else do it and miss out on that part of my adventure. Good luck....going on safari will change your life forever.
  15. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Rob44 There are a lot of thing to think about and animals to put on your list but you can make the best of a good safari by planning now and saving yourself some trouble later by doing the reseach and planning ahead of time and as wes said enjoy the planning because you can change you mind right up to the moment you pull the trigger. And if you should have any questions feel free to ask someone here will jump at the chance to help you out.
  16. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Yes, the planning can be the toughest part, but the members on this forum can help you a lot with that. And that can make the planning a easy part of the trip :)
    You can also find a lot of good info here by using the search function.

    And remember no question is stupid no matter how simple the question sounds. So don't be afraid to ask :)

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