Luxury versus not so luxury accommodations

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Bushwack, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

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    The economy around the world is bending us hunters backwards and it cost a lot of money just to pay for accommodation on a hunt (US2000 US3000 for a 7 day hunt) and that's without any trophy fees paid yet.

    Not to start a fight, but just think for a few seconds, why do I have to spend a small fortune on accommodation while hunting in Africa, considering I have running water, sanitary facilities, clean sleeping and basic cooking facilities; will it still be necessary for luxury accommodation? No, I don't think so.

    Don't get me wrong, many lodges offer excellent facilities, but do cater only for the rich...Most foreign hunters do hunt in their own environment with just the basic facilities, why not in Africa? All our local hunters do.

    Surely the majority of foreign hunters are not all General Managers or Directors of companies (which usually can afford expensive lodges), but hunters with normal jobs, like me, working from 9-5 with a normal income and dreaming every day of hunting in Africa...

    Does it make sense to be out the whole day on safari, coming back to a five star lodge at night only to enjoy eating dinner and thereafter go to bed and eventually gets billed for a ç´ ull day use...?

    I know you can't offer a three course meal in the bush, but I certainly can offer you an acceptable, attractive looking and tasteful prepared meal. A great piece of steak, garlic bread and a salad; for desert some ice cream, chocolate sauce and fruit salad sounds like a great meal for me! And inexpensive!

    Who says that a half kilo of sizzling steak prepared in a luxury kitchen in a five star lodge will taste better than being prepared on a open fire in the bush that's Africa...After all; saving money on accommodation can certainly bag you that extra Impala or Warthog or even that monster Blue Wildebeest for your trophy room!

    Just take a few seconds and think about it, why do I have to spend a small fortune on accommodation while on a hunting safari? I am here to enjoy Africa and can enjoy it in the same manner as the rich GM's and Directors of companies...but only CHEAPER...like the local hunters do...

    Below some photos of 'local hunter accommodation'

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    Attached Files:

  2. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Bushwack:

    I saw your identical post of AR, but didn't respond there.

    Are not South Africa's legal minimum requirements for amenities at "tourist hunting lodges" the real reason that the cost of hunting accommodations are so expensive in your country?

    I can guarantee that your bureaucrats would be shocked to see the accommodations we Americans happily use when we hunt wild game in some of the world's last true wilderness on our continent.

    Our water might be dipped from a stream or lake, or packed by horseback to the site in plastic cans. Sanitary facilities might include long-drop toilets (if we're lucky) or a trench below a log. Cleanliness in sleeping depends on the age and condition of our own sleeping bags. As for "basic cooking facilities," that depends upon when the dutch oven and frying pans were last cleaned.

    By comparison, the "local" facilities your photos show are downright luxurious.

    Bill Quimby
  3. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    I agree that is very luxurious, It's nicer than most hotels I've stayed at! That's why hunting in Africa is getting so expensive for the average person. the outfit I stayed at was very small & darn nice! It was set up for 1 hunting party at a time where as not to ruin your hunt or stay at camp. Nice but not so nice to drive up the prices.
    Then there were other camps I visted & some of those places were nicer than a 5 star hotel! Why? you only are there for a few drinks, dinner & sleep!! and everytime I see my African friends at SCI banquets the daily rates go up!! I would imagine to pay for these 5 star hotels in the middle of no where!
    When I went to Africa the first time I really didn't know what to expect for facilities & I was gently surprised! I agree with Bill those bureocrats would gasp if they saw what we put up with on hunts in the States or in the rest of the world. Like the place I hunted a roof over my head, something to eat & drink, & clean is all I need! A Taj Mahal is something I can live with out!!!
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I know accomadations are not that important to me. You are just visiting a place for a short period of time. A comfortable bed and warm shower are more than enough for me. And food as long as it is cooked in the proper proportions is fine with me. I grew up in a family...that nothing went to waste. When I see people throw good food away...it makes me think what is wrong with the people? And I agree with Bill the backpackers of the U.S. rough it in the wild and are perfectly happy with it.

    The most important thing to on a safari. Is the animals, how many, what's the quality, how many different types and how the safari is carried out. Are we going to hunt for animals or told to shoot all the time. I like to go on a glassing safari and shoot only when something catches my eye and my pulse raises. And believe me all the PH's are going to get some animals out of me...I don't eat and drink all day. I go to Africa to hunt and as long as I'm not getting soaked on food and accomodation I'll keep coming back.
  5. Big5

    Big5 AH Enthusiast

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    Bushwack . . . I agree with Bill Quimby who noted that by comparison the facilities shown in your photos are downright luxurious.

    I've attached (hopefully) photos showing a couple of camps from a somewhat recent 10 day brown bear hunt in Alaska. The photos are of the two camps that we set up during that hunt. The camp consisted of a 'sleeping tent' and a 'food storage & cooking tent'. The toilet was any log sufficiently away from camp that appealed to you. Bathing facilities were found in any nearby stream.

    This is a typical North American hunting set-up for those who enjoy the true outdoors. As with most things I suppose the definition of luxury is relative.

    Attached Files:

  6. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

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    Hi Big5

    Not all foreigners wants to hunt like us, they require luxury accommodation because they feel it is a once in a lifetime experience hunting in Africa; why not get the best out of it...

    Can you say with honesty that all hunters coming to do their hunting safari in Africa doesn't want to hunt that 'monster' trophy, BS - even the local hunters are 'tape measure' hunters...

    Some hunters can afford luxury accommodation and other hunters can't afford it, but it is not to say you have to stay in a camp using a long drop 300yrds away in a gully somewhere.

    The point i want to make is our local hunter do make use of the 'not so luxury accommodation' (photos above) at an inexpensive price and i hear all about the overhead costs involved in operating a game farm, but what happens if no foreign clientele can not hunt in Africa anymore (we see it in the world economy now a days), then like in the past the farmer must carry out of the 'local hunter' his overhead costs...how do he pay his overheads if there wasn't any Americans / Australian or even Russian to hunt that month? is he the farmer going to charge me equil of what he is loosing from the foreigner...not in hell...


    Big5 what is your rate per day if i may ask and what does it all include?
  7. WyoJoe

    WyoJoe New Member

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    To me luxury is having a camp with food that I don't have to cook myself.
  8. Big5

    Big5 AH Enthusiast

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    Bushwhack. . . my first hunting trip to Africa was more than 20 years ago. It was a 15 day Buffalo/Leopard hunt in the Chewore safari area of Zimbabwe. The main camp accomodations were canvas military type tents, the shower facility was a thatched enclosure with a water drum suspended from an overhead tree limb, the cooking (to me gourmet) was done primarily on an open fire grill along with dutch ovens and a small cast iron stove. On that hunt we also commonly stayed out in the field and would set up an overnight fly camp. No tents, just bedding blankets on the ground under the stars, a cooler box of goods and a sack of mealie meal for the boys to make sudsa.

    To me it was the sights and sounds of that hunt which made it the unforgettable experience that it was, just like so many of the other hunts I'd been on before and since then. I will also mention that that first African hunt was not some cut-rate affair nor was I seeking a bargain hunt when I booked it. I've also booked many more African hunts since that time and my thoughts on hunting in Africa have not changed. Irrespective of cost fancy camps and ranch hunts have little appeal for me. Being in my 60's I've slowed down a bit in the field but I'm still looking to just hunt by day and then relax with a nice glass of scotch whisky over a warm campfire at night.

    In closing your post you asked; "what is your rate per day if i may ask and what does it all include". I suppose you were asking about the bear hunt camp depicted in the photos I posted. If so, typically North American hunts are booked as a single cost or flat rate. With few exceptions they are not separated into daily rates and trophy fees (I wish they were). The cost of that particular bear hunt of about 4 years ago was a $12,000 flat rate and that is whether you get a bear or not (although I did get a nice one). As is typical this was a foot hunt and it included guide service, food and the bush plane to fly in. I truly hope that answers your question.
  9. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Bushwack:

    It seems to me that you and others in South Africa should go to your nature departments and ask them to modify their requirements governing accommodations for foreign hunters.

    There are many of us who would happily hunt from tent camps that used privys and showers fed from recycled oil drums, especially if there were savings on the daily rate.

    Except for the level of bureaucracy in your country, there also is no reason why outfitters shouldn't be allowed to use camp trailers (you call them "caravans") with toilets and showers to house your foreign clients whenever you lease another's property.

    Bill Quimby
  10. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

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    Bill,

    What a GREAT suggestion on the camp trailer / caravan idea, but obviously you not going to charge top dollar for it...
  11. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    EXACTLLY!! That is the whole purpose!! Take the camp from a 5 star to a 1 star, cut the daily fees in 1/2 or more - make it a good & memorable hunt & you would see a heck of a lot more hunters flooding into Africa & everyone would be Happy! The Hunter, the economy, and the local people! Now I suppose the guy with the luxury accomodations will raise a big stink because someones stealing a piece of his pie!!
    In the near future if things don't change it will only be the rich who can afford to hunt Africa & there will be no one to blame but the Africans themselves as outfitter after outfitter go out of buisness because of no clientelle, and the people will get poorer & poorer with no jobs & money coming in!!
  12. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    Maybe it would be interesting to hear the viewpoint of an absolute NewB to the African hunting scene. Following this discussion is fairly entertaining. In my innocence (ignorance?), I previously assumed that all African hunts would entail a lengthy journey to uninhabited country where Hemingway & Roosevelt style hunts would be conducted from wall tents around a campfire.

    Now that I've actually started looking at this seriously, it's pretty clear that times have changed! It's perhaps still possible to have that style of hunt, but it's the exception, not the rule. It seems that it's plenty darned expesive too. If I go hunting bear or sheep in Alaska, I fully expect to work my butt off climbing mountains, eat something out of a can, and bathe in a stream. I expected no less from Africa. ;)

    Sadly though, it seems that truly wild places are getting hard to find. Small fragmented game parks or ranches are no replacement for vast open spaces. Within a generation or two there may not be such a thing as huntable wild game - anywhere. Our ravenous need for energy & resources will simply continue to devour what little habitat remains.

    I suppose the hunting establishments that are successful have evolved to fill the expectations of the hunters. I'm sure lots of folks love to stay in 5 star hotels, going out for a morning & evening shoot between rounds of golf. Personally, I'd be perfectly happy with a tent, a cot, and a couple of warm meals a day. Just put me on some tracks!
  13. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    Calhoun: South Africa has a long history of over-regulation by bureaucrats. If an outfitter in that country wanted to offer lower rates and lower-quality accommodations, it would be the provincial nature department people and not other outfitters who would approach him first.

    BryceM: Wild Africa still exists, but (and I fully expect to get jumped for this) not in South Africa and Namibia. However, Tanzania, parts of Botswana, most of Zambia and countries such as Cameroon, Chad, CAR, Ethiopia and elsewhere still offer primitive conditions, no fences, truly wild game, and a genuine risk of danger from sources other than wild animals.

    Unfortunately, the cost of doing business in such places is much higher than in the more-developed countries, and you will pay higher daily rates. The upside is that trophy fees, generally, will be lower.

    Bill Quimby
  14. Arild Iversen

    Arild Iversen AH Member

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    Last year in Limpopo I talked a lot to my PH who owned a smallish farm and wanted to start as an small scale outfitter.
    He also had contacts with other farm owners for hunting plains game on their property and figured out he could make a living out of this besides farming.

    The problem was that he could not get the cabins he had built on the banks of old Limpopo River accepted by the local Government.
    They were ordinary wood frame cabins on concreat posts clad with wood panelling and corrugated roofing.
    Such cabins are found everywhere in my home country on camp sites, and in both fishing and hunting camps.

    They said that the "chalets" should be made of brick with thatched roof.

    I for one, would not have had a second thaught staing a forthnight in his wooden cabins while hunting.

    I also see that one of the big issues for some outfitters is the luxury accomodations they can offer.
    Given the choice I would rather stay in a tented camp (as long as the sanitary needs was taken care of in a decent way) and use my hard earned cash for hunting, rather than stay in luxury chalets or farm houses with swimming pools and queen size beds.

    Saying this I presume that a tented camp is cheaper to run than a luxury accomodation, and the price difference will mirror the day rates ?
  15. UxbridgeSafari

    UxbridgeSafari AH Member

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    Bush Camp vs Luxury Camp?

    This is an interesting topic because it differs from hunter to hunter. I would like to know what some of you hunters prefer in your experience to Africa? Would you rather have your hunting camp to have many luxury or to be just plain Africa? I have noticed that some places are becoming 5 star resorts and I feel like it takes much of the experience of Africa away when doing so but it does look very beautiful. Then there are other places such as bush camps with tents or bungalows which does not look anything different from the bush. I know that safari prices are getting higher every year and it is obvious that you Should get your bang for your buck. It would be great if someone who has stayed at both such camps can post their opinions and some of the things you like from both setups? I have posted some picture of places I found on the internet to show the difference. Im looking to build a hunters camp by the answers I get here.

    Luxury Camp:
    Lux1.jpg lux2.jpg

    Bush Camp:
    bushcamp2.jpg bushcamp3.jpg

    Or maybe something in between:
    Zach.jpg
  16. Grady

    Grady AH Senior Member

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    I would guess as a few have stated, it depends on the hunter. If I were hunting in Africa without my lovely wife (none hunter), I would say the Bush Camp would be 5 Star for my tastes, but if my wife were with me, I would probably be forced to take the Luxury Camp. If the outfitter has the ability to offer a package as "either Bush or Luxury" that were priced accordingly, that would be the best option.
    In my opinion, the Bush Camp is what I would expect from an African Hunt.
  17. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    Bushwack,

    You and many and so many others in SA and Namibia try to make things the best you can. I don't fault any for that, but, as previously stated, some of the hunting camps during deer season (in the US)are almost gross. We love them anyway we are there to hunt, not saying that's the direction you guys need to take, but if you had to cut cost, I don't need my hunting cloths ironed and I don't need folks waiting on me hand and foot (you tell me where the fridge is at ((beer)) and where there is a fire I can cook some meat) I would be fine.

    Flip side I don't want to fly half way across the globe to hunt in a Missouri deer camp either. I'm sure you guys could find a in-between, Hot water, liquor and good food is all I require. Good luck in your quest, I am sure opinions will vary.
  18. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have stayed in both.
    On one trip the 5 star was for only a few days. We stayed in 3 different camp locations on one safari and it was a few days in each. it was great all had hot water and warm beds. Did not drink much as i was recovering from surgery and still on Dr. Orders and meds. A few glassed of wine was all i had. One glass of wine at dinner every night.

    Depending on the area, i do like my cloths washed and ironed if we need to to kill the parasites from the water. Do not need that again.

    Food from the different camp was very good, and depending on time of year the variety is good. Usually the PH has a menu all set and i have found this to be good. They know what they are doing and want to make you happy with the food you are eating.

    As long as my tent or room is clean & neat, and clean clothing, i am happy.

  19. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    To me this is very simple.
    I want to spend my money on hunting and shooting animals, not on some luxury lodging I am going to spend as little time as possible just to get some sleep.
    I am very used to rough it when hunting in Norway and Sweden and I don't mind doing it in Africa either :)

    I don't go to Africa to be pampered with. I go there to hunt.
  20. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Maybe it's a generational thing. I've brought (accompanied) 6 newbies to Africa (SA and Namib) in the last 5 years and none would have gone if it was a "basic" camp. The wives wanted very good accommodations, period. All were over 55 yrs old. I have talked to many at DSC over the years and most of the wives wouldn't go because they thought that the accommodations were "basic Alaska tents with meals from a can while sitting on a log by the fire" Just as their husbands had told them Alaska hunts were like. When they were told and shown "good" accommodations they changed their mind and wanted to go on safari. This has happened numerous times to me and my wife at the convention. Maybe when I was in my thirties (many many years ago) I might feel as you guys do but not now after almost 7 decades. :)

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