Other 1st time safari tips needed

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by bigred, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. bigred

    bigred New Member

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    I've done a fair bit of study on my upcoming safari but I still can't figure some things out.

    1. Do I need to use a gun handler at the airport in Johannesburg, SA? I hear some people recommend them, but the rate is $150 per person. And others say the process is easier than an airport in the U.S. Which is it?

    2. Is Johannesburg worth staying in for a day or two for sightseeing or otherwise being a tourist? Any lodging recommendations for two 30-something men that want to enjoy themselves (debauchery scale 7.5 out of 10)?

    Any other little known tip or suggestion? Thanks much.
     
  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Question 1. NO!
    Question 2. That I'll leave to someone better versed....
     
  3. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    Man,

    I'm in the same age group and can understand you wanting to have some fun....but i would probably stay out of Joburg. Maybe Pretoria area to party but i would not want to be drunk and walking around in Joburg after dark.
     
  4. davidarizpe

    davidarizpe AH Veteran

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    bigred,
    I am 35 and only been to Joburg once, and me too wanted to have some fun, my advice more or less is: Do not stay in a guest house, because they are very conservative, if you want to have fun stay in a big hotel, just my 2 cents.
     
  5. TERMINATOR

    TERMINATOR AH Enthusiast

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    I have been to Joburg several times on business and I personally would tell you that the crime rate in Joburg is very high and I personally would be hard pressed to be wandering around without a local guiding me...and even then we are not "wandering around". The local will DRIVE you from one place that is behind razor wire, park in an area secured by guards and/or razor wire and then move to some other place behind razor wire.

    I am 6'2", 240 and played college football, travel all over the world for business. Have no problem walking the steets of Manhatten or most of L.A. and Chicago (I know the areas to avoid) When I go to China or Thailand I have no problem riding the subways or wandering the streets day or night. Same with France, Italy, Belguim, the Netherlands and Spain.

    But I would tell you that Joburg is one of the few places where I feel unsafe and would not consider just wandering around looking for fun/debauchery/trouble.

    Admittedly I am past my fighting prime being 51 years old but there is a reason they have razor wire around everything you see in Jburg.

    You will find that "going out in public" is like traveling between one fortress to another. You are at the most vunerable while traveling between "fortresses" no matter walking or driving (carjacking is huge in the larger cities of R.S.A).

    Personally, when in Jburg all I want to do is find a safe place to eat dinner and a safe way to get from my hotel to wherever that is and get back to my hotel.

    Oh, and if your thinking of hooking up don't forget that AIDS is beyond epidemic in Southern Africa.

    Other than the above all I can say is "Have a great time!" ;)

    Don't get me wrong. You not gonna see people getting knifed or hacked to death everywhere you go. If you are smart and defensive you will never have a problem. But if you go looking for trouble you will find it easy enough and probably more than you bargined for. Many people there basically have nothing to lose and the value of human life is not really an issue for them.

    All that said, Cape Town is a very interesting place to visit and I would spend several days there if I had the time. Still a lot of crime but more "tourist" areas. Kind of like the difference between wandering around Michigan Avenue in Chicago or the streets on the South Side of Chicago.
     
  6. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Bigred

    No to your first question...do have some passport photos to speed the process up...

    Second question has been covered very well by terminator.

    go to Johannesburg Live - Nightlife, Events, Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Kultcha - JHBLive Magazine site about events and activities in and around Johannesburg. for night life activity

    travel by taxi or shuttle to get around if you do not have transportation available...


    1. JHBLive

      An online guide to Johannesburg clubs, pubs, restaurants, theatres, art galleries and more. Featuring urban content from Joburg writers and artists plus ...
      www.[B]jhblive.com[/B]/ - South Africa - Cached - Similar
      Events
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    2. clubs - Venue - Johannesburg Live

      Delight your inbox every Thursday with the JHBLive newsletter. Receive the best reviews, views, news & to do's. click here for the latest issue. ...
      www.[B]jhblive.com[/B]/venues/club - South Africa -
     
  7. TERMINATOR

    TERMINATOR AH Enthusiast

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    Now if you want some real tips for a guy going on his first safari other than watch your back in Jburg....

    #1) Hopefully you practiced shooting off sticks, both stand up and sit down style. Since you are leaving shortly it is probably too late if you haven't

    #2) Make sure you have one of the bino-caddy's that holds your binoculars to your chest and don't leave the truck without your binoculars. There is nothing worse than the PH saying "He's right there in that brush and he's a MONSTER" and you can't find him in your scope...

    #3) Use enough gun that you will still get to the vitals even if the angle is bad or the shot is poor...but not so much gun that it causes the shots to be poor

    #4) Follow behind your PH, don't get ahead of him. You do this for many reasons including letting him see the snakes first. Even if it is their winter (June-August) they are still still but less active.

    #5) Avoid hollowed out logs, tree trunks and ant hills.

    #6) Wear leather gloves. Everything in Africa has thorns. I like form fitting elk or deer hide gloves that I can shoot while I am wearing them. Typically uninsulated because I am wearing them for protection more than warmth and it will get warm even in the winter as the day progresses. I typically will take off my right glove to shoot but I like wearing gloves that I am comfortable shooting with even while wearing them in case I have to make a quick shot.

    #7 I am becoming a big fan of a pair of knee pads when crawling over rocks and stuff with thorns on stalks whether you talking antelope in Wyoming or Southern Africa. I pretty much am at the point that I always have a pair of knee pads in my day pack. Maybe I am just getting old but I no longer enjoy bruises on my knees.

    #8 Forget about the record books and have fun. Sure, you want to shoot mature animals but when your friends come over the house and look at your mounts 99.99 percent of them will just go "holy sh&t....look at THAT!!!" and won't say "Too bad, that Kudu is only 51 inches and didn't make the book..."
     
  8. CK1

    CK1 AH Member

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    Bigred,

    Went through JNB in mid-May and handled my rifles without a service. It was no problem. It took all of :45 and :35 of that was waiting on Delta to get the rifles to SAPS. Just fill out your paperwork correctly, have your passport photos and you should be good. I would also suggest you have your US Customs 4470 (?) with you. I was told sometimes they ask for it.

    Good luck and have fun.

    CK
     
  9. safari gal

    safari gal SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    bigred ~ No, you don't have to hire a firearm permitting service - it's a bit of a paperwork process but if you have your application (SAP 520) completed in advance and copies of the required documents then that speeds things up. On the firearm page of my website you can download a blank SAP 520 and a sample of a completed one. There's also a list of the required documents to go along with it. You would have to do the same paperwork if hiring an expeditor only they need it a month or so in advance so they can go ahead and get your permit and have it ready when you arrive. The South Africa Police do not have a charge for the permit so it's free if you do it yourself.

    I also know of some hotels near the airport if you are interested.

    Enjoy Africa!
     
  10. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

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    bigred,
    some sound advise have been given so-far on your 1-2!

    More on 2...
    Having lived in JHB myself years ago, and having regular biz-visits there yearly, yes we have fun as well after long daily meetings.
    My advise will be to stay in a reputable / internationally renowned hotel groups.
    Your hotel will be able to suggest / guide you to safe places to 'hang out' after dark - and there are loads of fun in Johannesburg after dark.
    Ensure your driver (after hours) is appointed by the hotel you stay in or your travel agent - nothing else!

    Of all the hangout places i have been in Johannesburg area - dinner / party, etc. the ones in Sandton were the best, and most expensive - but if you want classy hangout / fun - places, it is gonna cost you. Sandton is not that far from JHB Airport - bout 1 hours drive in normal traffic conditions.

    Trust you enjoy your hunting trip, best of luck to you!
     
  11. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    try the michelangelo hotel on mandela square in sandton. the square is lined with a choice of very good restaurants including the butcher shop and grill (serious meat eating!), with some bars in between. the hotel also has one and two bedroom apartments in the adjoining michelangelo towers, this is where i stay if i am there, as there is a good bar and restaurant on the ground floor , and if you get talking/drinking with the bar managers they can point you in the right direction for partying safely. as has been said only use cars/taxis provided by the hotel, and get the drivers cellphone no so you can get him to pick you up, or arrange a time for him to collect you. there is also a big shopping mall adjoining the hotel so if you have forgotten/lost something you can replace it.
     
  12. graybird

    graybird AH Veteran

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    #1) I didn't use a firearm service on the first trip, but did on the second trip. I'll continue to use one. As Lori stated, it was ready for me when I arrived. In the grand scheme of the safari, it was only $100 which is not much when considering the total cost of the trip.

    #2) Can't help you there because I'm there to hunt, not put myself in potential bad places!
     
  13. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    #1 If you do your paperwork correctly, you won t have any problem with your guns.

    #2 If you stay in Sandton, no problems, and all the fun you need.
     
  14. bigred

    bigred New Member

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    Great advice from everyone and I thank all of you. I do have one question after all this, twice people mentioned having copies of passport photos. Do you mean additional copies of our photo, or copies of our passport? It seems to me that you mean copies of our passport and not just the photo, but I could be mistaken, that is why I am asking.
     
  15. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    additional copy's of your passport photo...the exact photo...not a new one it has to match the photo in your passport...

    Not copy's of your passport...

    I just went and had 12 more copies made for this year and next year and future safari's..
     
  16. ndbwhnter

    ndbwhnter AH Enthusiast

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    I second Terminator's comments. I am 6'6" tall, weigh in at 225 lbs and have been in my share of "scrapes" in my life - and never lost a one. I have traveled all over the world for my job including some pretty shady places in eastern Europe and most recently China. I was in a couple touchy situations in both Detroit and Chicago as well as a late night in Prague one day, but to be honest with you I was never truly worried until I went to Joburg. There is a reason they have fenced compounds inside of a guarded gated community.

    My suggestion is to go to Afton Guest House, eat a thick steak, swap hunting stories with some other hunters that are there, get a good night sleep and be refreshed to start hunting the next day as soon as you get to camp.

    my $0.02.

    nd
     
  17. classicsafari

    classicsafari AH Enthusiast

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    They say "Teasers" is an interesting night out.
     
  18. safari-lawyer

    safari-lawyer AH Member

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    I'll bite.

    #1: You CAN clear your own guns, but why would you? To save $150? Really? I hear everyone talk about how easy it is, etc, etc, etc, but I've been there when the S hit the Fan, and I was glad to have some locals there to get me and the guns out of the SAPS office without me and the Mrs. having to pay off the whole office. I would not consider going through SAPS without a VIP advance gun permitting and meet and greet service. Buy one less piece of grossly unnecessary gear before the hunt and you can spring for the gun permitting service.

    #2: Go to a strip club before you leave. Take a mental picture of what you see there. Go again when you return if you feel the need. J-berg is a hole. Transit in, transit out. No need to spend time there. 20 years ago, sure. Today, no thanks.
     
  19. safari-lawyer

    safari-lawyer AH Member

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    Passport photos . . . what? Never heard of that, never done that, and I find nothing in the SAPS rules about a passport-type photo.

    I'm ready to be corrected, but I've sent in my permits for this year, sans photos, and I did the same last year. I'm confused.
     
  20. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Safari Lawyer,

    100 percent. I like the meet and greet. It is nice to have them expedite you through immigrations and take you through the first class line on departure even though you are flying coach. Paperwork is always correct. Well worth the money.

    And Mrs.70560 would be upset if I left her in the room and went out for a night on the town as I am sure Mrs. Safari Lawyer would be with you.
     

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