I Would Appreciate Some Advice on a Hunting Trip to Africa...

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by VanderLaan, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. VanderLaan

    VanderLaan AH Senior Member

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    Contemplating a trip to Africa. The GF will come along and observe. I would like to take a Kudu, Zebra, Gemsbok and a Waterbuck (maybe an Impala or warthog as well). So my questions are:

    What country? From what I have read, SA seems to be the place for a rookie hunting PG. If that is the case, what province? If not, where should I go?

    Who should I go with? Been checking out all of the sites and reading the hunting reports, but I would appreciate some first-hand recommendations.

    How long will I need? Is seven days enough or should I go for ten? While I know that I can chase other animals and tour the country with the GF, I have budgetary constraints to consider.

    Rifle? Thinking 30-06. Any reason why I should consider something else?

    Taxidermy? Any idea what I should I expect to spend for mounting these four animals? I would like basic shoulder mounts (maybe a rug for the Zebra). Do you guys tan the backskins? Any recommendations on a taxidermist? I am in central Illinois.

    Thanks in advance-

    BVL
     
  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Vander Laan welcome to the AH forum.

    You will get a great deal of opinions on your question...


     
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I can recommend Spiral Horn Safari, Savanna Hunting Safari, Fredrik on this website has some great deals, SS Pro Safari, CT Safaris, Hartzview Hunting Safari.

    I like the Limpopo Province for those animals. I would book 10 days! 30-06 with 180 bullets would be fine. Taxidermy...depends how much room you have in your house? You can have the taxidermy done in Africa or dipped and shipped home to the USA. There are a lot of costs to consider...and I would do a ton of research!

    Gemsbok can be hunted in a number of Provinces in RSA....management is the key to scoring on a big one. Limpopo in known for is huge kudu....they can be found elsewhere, but they are huge there. I have seen huge waterbuck in a number of Provinces....depends on management. Zebra are everywhere....same with warthogs and impala.
     
  4. TERMINATOR

    TERMINATOR AH Enthusiast

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    The guys above did you good.

    Frankly I think R.S.A. or Namibia are the best choices for a first safari. Easiest to get in and out of, best airline/airport access, best infrastrucure, as stable as Africa gets politically, least complex gun rules, mostly lodges instead of tent camps (often a factor if the wife is coming along).

    All this means more hunting for your $$

    I consider the other countries to be something to step up but there is no law that says you can't start with Zimbabwe or Botswana or Mozambique or whereever. Will cost you more and more hoops to jump through but they are great places to hunt.

    I cant wait to try Zimbabwe but it will be my 3rd trip over. Then maybe C.A.R. for Bongo...
     
  5. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Welcome to the forum, Vander Laan.

    For your first Safari, I would recommend RSA.

    For outfitters, Enysse gave you the shortlist.

    30-06 with good, premium bullets will be enough for your selection.
     
  6. Thunder head

    Thunder head AH Enthusiast

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    The very first thing i would say is do alot of research and then do some more. There are so many things to consider.

    Example, the Limpopo is known for BIG horns. It not much to look at though. The eastern cape or the mountain areas of namibia are much more scenic.

    Do you care aboout fences? Most RSA operations are high fenced. Granted some of them are vast. I have seen them as small as 2000 acers. Not large enough for me.

    Seven days is long enough, depending on your standards. Theres not a big kudu behind every bush.

    30-06 think no more. Nice premium bullet and practice of the sticks.

    My taxidermy bill including dip/pack, air frieght and mounting was almost the same amount as the trip. I did get 2 pedestal mounts and back skins which jacked the price up.
     
  7. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    All good advice. I agree with Thunderhead about area - Limpopo Waterburg mountains are beautiful while the Bushveld (most of Limpopo) is mundane. Kwa-Zulu Natal Drakensburg mountains are gorgeous and a bit cheaper than Limpopo. I have not been to the Eastern cape but your species list fits well there and everyone says it is quite picturesque.
    It seemed to me that Limpopo had more touristy stuff as well. I could be wrong there though. I would decide what area after speaking with a few outfitters about both hunting and tourist goals.
    I just got back from a safari with Chris Troskie of CT safaris and he was quite flexible and treated me well. Great trophies too.
     
  8. messmate

    messmate AH Veteran

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    I hunted Limpopo with Limcroma Safaris and had a fantastic 10 days. You have a good list of animals and Limpopo produce good size in all these species. If you reckon this might be your one & only trip (once aint enough though) go for 10 days and you wont feel under the pump so much to get the animals you want. The 30.06 will be fine with 180-200's, I used a 375 & didn't feel over gunned at all.
    Tell the outfitters what you want and get firm prices. Remember too that some will give you a price on an animal up certain length or size without telling you there is extra $'s to pay for extra inches. The extra is not necessarily a bad thing long as you know up front. A lot of the outfitters will recommend a taxidermist but check them out yourself before you go. Some prices on shoulder mounts (2010). Gemsbok $780. Kudu $940 Waterbuck $940 Wartie $510. Impala $570 plus you'll pay crating and shipping. Air freight is expensive, go ship.
    Good luck and GO!
     
  9. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    You're going to get lots of advice on this and whilst I don't mean to criticism or insult other forum members but at least some of the comments you'll get will be from guys who have only hunted a limited number of places/countries/companies etc.

    The first bit of advice I'd offer you is not to limit your research to just Namibia & RSA but to extend it at least to Tuli Block botswana and possibly also to Zim. Both countries offer a wilder hunting experience, have good camps and are more or less similarly priced.

    The second piece of advice I'd offer is not to book somewhere simply because someone else had a good hunt there. your needs, tastes and finances might not be the same as theirs and I'd recommend you think about what YOU and your party want by way of facilities anfd hunting and then do your own research.

    The third piece is not to make price your sole criteria. There's no such thing as a free lunch and quality comes at a price, so try to choose the company, area and country YOU want rather than what happens to be the least expensive.

    Regarding taxidermy, again, quality comes at a price and you'll have to look at your trophies for many years. Visit websites and look especially hard at their cats, particularly at their leopards. These animals are the hardest to get right and the easiest to get wrong and are an excellent indicator of what the rest of the work will look like.

    I personally think one of the best taxidermists in Africa and possibly the world is Lifeform Taxidermy in White River and I think their website is Life-Form Taxidermy || Realism, Beauty & Permanence so take a look there to set the standard and then do your research.

    Hope that helps and feel free to PM or email me if you need further info etc.
     
  10. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Shakari nice back hander. PM me for a referral to get some therapy to address those communication techniques. No insult intended! :)

    Vanderlaan, Some who have hunted multiple outfits will have some basis of comparison personally, although for your purposes, many data points from multiple sources will be much more reliable than one person who has hunted multiple places/outfits and provides one opinion. Get a lot of references from whom ever you are short listing and talk to them/ write them! In some outfits you will get what you pay for, in others you will get much, much more.

    Taxidermy: look at the eyes, noses and other small details on the mounts of your favourite taxidermist at home. Look at them all closely and get some advice from the pro at home. Looking on the web at pictures is at best an indicator for gross errors. Get some close ups of the nose and eyes of mounts they are working on now. If you get a chance while on your trip look at the actual work in person. Who has time, you decide. (As Shakari says you will be looking at them for a long time.)

    Take your favourite gun and use high quality bullets (ammunition) in the gun you shoot the best. From someone who has hunted Africa for thirty years, god knows how many countries. :)


    Have fun doing your research.
     
  11. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    VanderLaan,

    Shakari gave some great advice, especially regarding taxidermy. You'll look at the mounts for years to come, so make sure you spend the time researching a good taxidermist. Paying attention to the cats is also very good advice. They are the most difficult to get right. If the taxidermist can make a cat look real and you can "make eye contact" with it, there's a very good chance the rest of the work will be top quality.

    I chose to have our trophies mounted in the USA. Probably more expensive on the actual taxidermy work compared to RSA options, but shipping was probably much less (just skulls and capes vs crates sized to accommodate large mounts). Gives you time to think about what you want, easier to communicate with the taxidermist, if something needs fixed after mounting it’s easier to address. On the hides we made rugs out of, and the few backskins we kept (nyala, bushbuck, gemsbok), I had them tanned in the RSA. The tanning job was outstanding. We had 3 rugs made (2 zebra and one wildebeest) so a backing was added after it arrived in the US, but I left the backskins as just tanned hides on the floor. They came from the RSA trimmed and very soft and supple. Much better than any hides I’ve had done here. Having said that, they may very well be using chemicals that are banned in the US ….

    The RSA was a good first experience for me and my family. Like Messmate, we went with Limcroma and had a great time and took some great animals. We went there because a friend of ours had taken his entire family to Limcroma the year before and had a great time. While you do need to do your own research, you should also check references. It’s best when the reference is someone you know. In our case we wanted a place that was accustomed to accommodating families. Turned out that there were 4 couples at the lodge (including us), and one of the couples had their two young children with them. With our 3, there ended up being 5 kids running around from ages 4 to 15.

    IMO, 7 days goes by too quickly, even if you take everything you planned on early in the hunt. It’s a long way to travel. With 7 days, you’ll spend almost as much time in transit as you will hunting or sightseeing. We went for 12 days, and in the middle of our hunt, we slipped away for a day and a night to Sun City (mainly to appease the wife and daughter). Two of our kids were too young for a hot air balloon safari, so we did an elephant-back safari. It was a good time. We also spent a couple afternoons just touring some of the large ranches with one of the PHs.

    It’s great to hear your GF will probably go. I go on a few hunts that are not conducive to having wives or kids along, but when they can go, it is always more memorable.

    Have a great time.
     
  12. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Shakari

    Thank you for your great response...

    The door for vanderlaan is wide open...he never provide a basic Dollar amount however indicated that finances are limited for this Safari.

    His original post gave a general guide lines for Animals he was interested in, however they were not set in stone.

    There are some great packages for a cape buffalo on here and with a few additional dollars many animals could be added to the experience. That is how i would go.

    Everyone has a favorite place to go and think every one would like it also...

    I would rather have VanderLaan do his research to see what is available...e-mails are the way to go and i would look at all the countries i have in red above. Let the outfitters know what your approximate dollar figure is and see what they come up with for you.
     
  13. VanderLaan

    VanderLaan AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I truly appreciate the fact that you guys are willing to share your knowledge and experience with me. As far as my budget, I would like to keep the whole afair around $12-13k. I fear that may be a bit tight for ten days and four to six critters. I can move it up a bit, but not too much (putting an addition on the house and my son is heading to college). I also realize that taxidermy and the dip/pack is more money, but I can deal with that after I get back.

    I am doing my research (hence my question here). With respect to PHs and outfitters, I take each recommendation as a lead and see where it goes. I understand that I am ultimately responsible for choosing a PH/outfitter, but that is very difficult when you have nothing to compare it to. As such, I appreciate the recommendations from those that have been to Africa already, as they allow me to create a short-list of potential PH/outfitters.

    I am leaning towards having the mounts done stateside, for the reasons that Shakey stated. I like the idea of having the hides tanned in Africa. My only problem is that I live in the land of corn and beans, so most of the taxidermists around here specialize in deer and turkeys. My intuition tells me that someone that is good at deer may be good at antelope, but my experience has taught me that attention to the details seperates good from great. So if you have anyone in particular that I should look at, do not be shy about making a recommendation.
     
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I would join your local SCI Chapter, you will find taxidermists that are members, then I would visit there shop and ask a lot of ???'s.

    You can also have work done in big city, near you and then run into town and pick them up when they are done. There a lot of guys in the US doing Africa animals. Mention where you live and guys can probably recommend someone for reference.
     
  15. Mark H. Young

    Mark H. Young AH Senior Member

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    VanderLaan,

    I think the country you choose should be dependent on the experience you and your wife are looking for. RSA, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe all offer economically priced hunts and each of these five can provide beautiful accommodations in permanent camps. The only real difference between these destinations is the "wild" factor. I personally think if you are going on safari you should pick a place that offers not only great PG hunting but DG as well. Zimbabwe and Mozambique both offer that experience. The other three can provide some great hunting and I 've had great safaris in all of these but the "Classic" safari experience is not there.

    Being a booking agent I have experience with and represent several operators in these countries that will offer you a great hunt and a seamless hassle free experience.

    I always recommend 10 days. As you've been told 7 days just goes by way to fast. You need to give yourself time to relax and absord a little of Africa.

    If you have a 30-06 and don't want to buy another rifle your all set for PG with premium bullets.

    Txidermy is a many faceted thing but I recommend you have your taxidermy done stateside by a taxidermist that specializes in African mounts.

    Contact me anytime if I can be of any further assistance. It costs no more to use our services than to book on your own and we can walk you through every aspect of your safari from booking until your trophies arrive in the US.

    Regards,

    Mark
     
  16. VanderLaan

    VanderLaan AH Senior Member

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    For what it is worth, I live in central Illinois. A one-light town (don't really need it) outside of Springfield. About 90 miles from St. Louis and about 200 miles from Chicago.
     
  17. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Africa...are there other continents to hunt?
    Great questions for sure.

    I am partial but I couldn't recommend a better first time safari than with Spiral Horn Safaris. Louis Van Bergen is a great guy and has really pulled some awesome animals out of the bush this year.
     
  18. TerryR

    TerryR AH Veteran

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    My suggestion is to consider Botswana. If I were you I wold contact Clive Eaton at tholosafaris@gmail.com. Clive offers hunts on his ranch near Ghanzi. The property is huge, the trophies are very high quality, the accommodations are first rate and you won't find better hosts than Clive and Linda. His kudu are excellent. To get there you have to fly into Maun, the jump off point for the Okavango Delta. I would have Clive organize a few days sightseeing in the Delta and then continue on to his ranch for a 7 day hunt. The whole trip, including flying time should be about 2 weeks.
    Your 30-06 should be fine for any plainsgame, save eland, although eland have certainly been taken with a 06.
    That's my $0.02. I have hunted in the Okavango delta 4 times and it is a truly special place, you really should see it. I would expect to see elephant, buffalo and lion as well as a horde of impala, lechewe, tsessebe, warthog, hyena, waterbuck, reedbuck, etc to say nothing of hippo and croc. Rhino you will see at Clive's ranch. The only reason my next hunt is in zim is because the Delta is essentially closed. I have hunted on Clive's ranch and will return to hunt there again.
     
  19. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I went on line and found this taxidermist that has an African sideline to his business...i am not sure how far the drive would be or i you would want to do that ... i know i would...

    Antler Shop Taxidermy - About Us


    Please feel free to contact Gary Wilford if you have any questions. Call him at (217)260-4637 or (217)662-8345 . His email address is gary@antlershoptaxidermy.com. The shop is located at 609 S. Kennedy Dr., Georgetown, IL 61846.


    From North of Georgetown - Take Route 1/US 150 S, turn Left on Clark St, turn Right on S. Seminary St, turn Left on Kennedy Dr. From South of Georgetown - Take Route 1/US 150 N, turn Right on Clark St, turn Right on S. Seminary St, turn Left on S. Kennedy Dr. End at 609 S. Kennedy Dr.


    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Antler Shop Taxidermy[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif] Gary Wilford, Taxidermist[/FONT]
    Pope and Young Measurer


    check this one out..

    Call and drive over to see what he has to offer...
     
  20. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Welcome to AH VanderLa

    I can only give you advice as to what I have Experience in. I did My first Safari last year My wife came along as an observe I choose RSA as my first because of such great prices and packages. I hunted at Huntershill Safaris in the beautiful Heuningklip Valley of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, is your premier hunting safari destination in East Cape South Africa the amount of game seen there was outstanding compared to what I could find in the same price range in Namibia and the size looked better.

    As to whom to go with as stated I hunted with Huntershill safaris and will give them the Highest Reccomendation My wife was ready to move there by the 3rd day of the hunt. That being said you will find more then I can count on the outfitters page and all of them good depending of course on the thickness of you wallet.

    as far as time make it as long as you can afford to I went for seven days and didn't want to leave planning one for next year 10 days.

    and the 30-06 for the game you want to hunt should be fine just use good Quality Bullets Barnes X or GMX if you don't reload then try the Hornady custom load in GMX.

    as for Taxidermist I had all 9 of mine done there a little spendy but in my mind worth it ie $4000 for taxidermist work 300 for Doc. 2000 for shipping by air sound spendy but figure it out if your capes get damaged or even ruined. it's not the same if they replace it, it's still not the one you shot.

    Good luck on your hunt your on the right track Researching it now.
     

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