Say your say - Build the #1 first timer hunting package

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Tootabi Hunting Safaris, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. RickP

    RickP AH Veteran

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    To me, nothing says Africa to those that have only seen Africa on TV than the warthog, blue wildebeest, springbok and impala. Beyond them I think most would like to take a kudu and/or gemsbok once they see them.
    My preference is for a 10 day hunt. After a long flight and a day or two of being out of sync with local time, that'll leave 8 great days of serious hunting.
    Seeing some herds of cape buffalo or eland, plus maybe giraffe.
    Hmm, knowing some ballpark prices, I'm guessing around $8000, maybe a bit less.

    The one thing I will not do is sign up for a hunt with someone who charges prices per inch of horn so to speak. If by chance we to stumble onto a trophy class kudu, well, I just got lucky. Similarly, if I don't "get lucky", I'm not going to ask for a lower price. Truely, they're all trophies on your first hunt anyway but you know what I mean.
    In general, my thought is that bringing kids and teenagers would be a waste of money unless they were really into hunting. I say this as a friend has two early teen daughters and they got bored on a drive through a game park that only lasted a couple hours.
    Bring your own as you'll be most comfortable with the gun you're used to. Using a pre-registration service is highly recommended.
    For some reason, I've always thought that $200/day for an observer was a bit steep as they're not doing anything extra than that which is required for the hunter. By that I mean, most don't need special meals, nor extra rooms (assuming a spouse or hunting partner share a room), no extra gas, etc. that should increase the cost. So they'd be paying for laundry, bedding, food, and drinks.

    $400/day 1 PH per 1 hunters seems fairly standard and not totally unreasonable though less is better especially when repeated over 10 days.
    I've had the PH or one of his PH partners that we'd be hunting with come pick me up. I really enjoyed that but he *was* the outfitter so to speak so we were used to dealing with him anyway. Plus the drive from the airport to the camp with the PH gives you some time to get accustomed to each other and start asking questions about what is expected, what you'll see, etc. before you get into the field and time might be of the essence where there may be no time to ask specifics.

     
  2. sandyridge1123

    sandyridge1123 AH Member

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    As a first timer planning my safari I am interested about 5 animals Kudu, gemsbok, Impala, Springbok, and Zebra. The possability of adding extra animals if the desire arises would be nice.
    The lenght of the hunt I would like is 7-10 days depending on number of specie and side excursions.
    I want to experiance the local culture and if the family comes along somethings to keep them occupied is needed.
    Price just needs to be competative.
    I would prefer to take my own rifle but having a rifle available as a backup would be nice.
    Pickup at the airport by the person I have been dealing with would be very nice. Someone familiar to help would be a comfort.
    A detailed list of what to bring and what is supplied at camp.
    I want to know the total cost up front. Don't Nit Pik with a bunch of misc charges. Being able to pay with a credit card is a plus.
     
  3. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    There are many outfitters on this forum that can and no doubt will, offer to help with something that works for you. There is also a list of outfitters here as well for various countries. Good luck!
     
  4. Badger Matt

    Badger Matt AH Member

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    I took my first African hunting trip last year and chose South Africa with Spiral Horn Safaris. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and plan to return, somewhere, in 2015.

    Pros:
    - PH called me couple months before the hunt to discuss expectations, answer questions, and put any concerns to rest.
    - PH corresponded extensively on bullet selection for the Cape Buffalo hunt.
    - PH met us at the airport, swiftly got us through firearms processing, took us out for dinner with his wife along, and got us to a historic B&B to overnight. The B&B was built by the same man who designed the Voortreckers Monument so the PH took us there at my father's request.
    - Lodging was good...food was GREAT!!! My father, who never ever eats desert, joined me on the hunt...and finished his desert every night.
    - The only thing I had to pay when leaving were trophy fees. I would never hunt where "alcohol in moderation" was not included. I'm working so hard I drink far more water than beer or wine, but I don't want to run a tab each evening.
    - We were treated like honored guests from start to finish...and after three days they finally let us pour our own drinks and bring dirty plates to the sink.
    - I wanted a "down day" after we took the Buff so the PH arranged for us to visit a game farm where we could photograph animals not seen on the hunt; Rhinos, Sable, Kudu, etc... No extra charge, just a relaxing half-day at a nearby farm.
    - At my request, PH took us by Zimbie's(?) so I could buy a stateside friend a knife and myself some hunting books.
    - PH took us out one night to call for predators.
    - PH's brother is a taxidermist. We dropped off animals on our way to the airport. Trophies were completed in 6 months and I expect them to ship shortly.
    - When I complimented the PH on the food & accommodations, he replied "I must control the things I can control." When neither he nor I were happy with one of the three properties we hunted, he quickly "made a plan" he and I were satisfied with.

    My Preferences as a 1st Timer:
    - I met my PH at a stateside African Sporting Expo in an adjacent state.
    - Cape Buffalo (had to justify my owning a DGR), Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, and Impala.
    - Hunt area did not require additional flights once at J'burg.
    - No mileage fees and no nickel-and-dime add-ons.
    - Scheduled 9 hunting days just to make the long flights worthwhile.

    Things I'll ask for next time:
    - Terrain with some elevation changes; I'm a mountain boy at heart.
    - Visits to some Brit/Zulu and/or Boer/Brit battlefields.
    - More discussion during the actual hunt (e.g., tell us what the tracker just said/saw, etc...).
     
  5. Tootabi Hunting Safaris

    Tootabi Hunting Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    To everyone who participated on this thread. Wow, this is a vast amount of information I have to summarize and decipher. However, I want to and through this exercise give you the hunter the best possible African Hunting Experience there is.

    I want to thank you, I appreciate every thought, every piece of advice, every two "cents" as some would say and all together your commitment to once again only give the best of yourselves to the hunting industry.

    I have learned a lot out of all the posts and there will be some significant changes on how a modern business is being run, and yes the only constant in life is change so I am sure, the changes that this post will bring forward will be to the benefit of each and every one of you!

    See it this way, you just made an investment into Tootabi Hunting Safaris success and you will see your investment grow! Whenever any of you decide on coming to SA again, let me know take me up on this post and I will give you all dividends on your investment.

    Looking forward to any more tips and advice.

    Keep well,
     
  6. cmc

    cmc AH Member

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    Guess I'm a little late to the party but doing hours of reading and research over the last few months I realized a few things.

    First and foremost I want a final price. I'll tell you what I would like to the best of my knowledge, since I'm a first timer I can't see where anyone could expect me to know everything I want since there are likely things I don't even know about. As a outfitter you know better than me what things I will need to do outside of the actual hunting and I would hope in my final price you would account for this.
    Example: I need a ride from the airport, its a long walk I'm sure to your place, figure this in if its something you charge for.

    I don't care how its broken down as long as I get a price, minus tips of course, and that covers me from off my plane to back on my plane.

    I would like a gun available if needed I would rent one but mostly I bow hunt.

    If you help me get my trophies to the taxi I feel your part is done. I will deal with payment to him with him.
    To me the image that pops in my mind when some one says "hunting Africa" is a zebra. Kudu, wart hog, and impala seem they would be pretty standard for a first timer also.

    I don't drink and would let my PH know this. I'm not against it by any means its just something in my past and personally don't worry about that part of the deal. I do how ever eat like a teenage boy and most meals are about half of what I eat in a setting. I doubt this matters much as I've heard that food is not an issue on most safaris.

    I would just like to call an outfit and say my wife and I would like to stay with you, I will hunt 7 days for zebra, kudu, gemsbock, and wart hog, for example and my wife would like to shop a day and see a sight for a day.

    As an outfitter you would know what this would take to accomplish on your end so I could get a final price.
    Part of the process for me is working toward a goal of amount of money needed. I understand flights and additional cost but I would feel like I'm getting somewhere if I was told, this hunt will be $7500 say, so then I would look forward to getting that amount in my account toward the hunt.

    I see so many different things from outfit to outfit that are charged for and not charged for it hurts my brain trying to keep up with it. A final price with no nickle and dime stuff would be great.
     
  7. tarbe

    tarbe BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Lots of good stuff here!

    One thing I did not see, but would appreciate: If the outfitter would send the hunter a list of commonly used words/phrases in the native language/dialect (of the PH/trackers), with the translation to the hunter's native tongue.

    I would love to be able to communicate at least in a rudimentary fashion, with regard to the words handy in a hunting situation. Even if it is just to eavesdrop on the tracker/PH when they are discussing a plan, or where exactly to look to see that kudu! Or maybe I can know when they hit me with that statement "this guy can't hit an eland on the butt with a banjo"! :p

    Such a list could be studied for the year most of us have prior to embarking on that first safari. We could get a jump on the language barrier.

    Something tells me knowing a little bit of the language would really add to the richness of the whole experience. The list would help us focus on the most useful words/phrases.


    Tim
     
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  8. RickP

    RickP AH Veteran

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    Good luck with that one. I've been twice and only remember two words. One was something like lentz which I think means left and the other was the f-bomb which was close enough to the english version that one recognized it. ;)
     
  9. tarbe

    tarbe BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Not sure how much I would grasp either, if I tried to do it while focusing on the hunt.

    That is why I think it might be a good idea to poke away at it for the year prior to leaving.
     
  10. Rob44

    Rob44 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I Hear the F-Bomb said in 3 languages in my Deli Kitchen on a Daily Basis It will be good to add Afrikaan to the list after I get Back from Hunting SA:D
     
  11. RickP

    RickP AH Veteran

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    One thing that I forgot was that you need to get to try some biltong. We had some springbok sausage sticks and some stringbok biltong. Both were very tasty. But with the biltong, one needs to break off a small enough bite so that you'll have enough saliva to rehydrate it and make it able to be swallowed. ;D Good stuff!
     
  12. Tootabi Hunting Safaris

    Tootabi Hunting Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    CMC, you definitely made a point. Having a total amount to and from the aeroplane will surely make everything so much easier and fun. I have noted this and will surely do this in future.

    Thank you for your valued input!
     
  13. Tootabi Hunting Safaris

    Tootabi Hunting Safaris AH Enthusiast

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    Hallo Tim,

    This is most definitely something one can try and put together. We should perhaps start a new thread on this first with some comments?
     
  14. Sable123

    Sable123 AH Senior Member

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    Fantastic information from everyone involved. Have learnt so much and a better understanding of those planning their first trip to Africa.

    Kind regards
    Jono
     
  15. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Enthusiast

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    I'm late to the party (as usual) but just came across thread this so I add my 2 cents worth with thoughts after our first trip to Africa last April.

    Time allotted;
    I would actually suggest for most people with regular jobs that they could plan 16 days total for the whole trip. With 2 work weeks off and an extra weekend, and perhaps even arrange to work a short Friday and flying out that afternoon for a head start. And plan to arrive home mid day Sunday to allow a little rest before going back to work Monday. Back out the planned flight schedules and arrive at the time available in country. The overhead cost is significant and I want to get the most out of it. Some people might need help thinking this through and that should be a job for a booking agent or outfitter. Keeping in mind overall budget and time available of course. My thoughts revolve around this long 2 week plan, of course shorter plans can work as well.

    Arrival;
    Get as close as possible to insisting that first time clients use a service such as Henry's in Joberg, for their own good and to not have them ticked off with a bad experience before even getting to you. Definitely appreciated meeting our PH at the airport in PE and he was helpful getting our guns at that location. We then had time to get to know him a bit and him us on the drive to camp. If the outfitter picks up clients that should be fine as well but I think it should almost be part of the PH's job unless logistics are to difficult.

    Hunting/touring package;
    For the East Cape, this 2 week plus schedule should allow time for;
    1. A full 10 day hunt and plenty of additional days for touring the local parks and PE, maybe even a day of fishing or a half day on the water.
    2. A 7 day hunt and adequate time to take the Garden Route down to Cape Town and then fly out from there. Loodt I think your location may be about perfect for a couple to experience a great mix of hunting and touring, especially for a first trip to RSA.

    And stick with the traditional African program of a 7 day hunt being 7 full days hunting, 8 nights and the day of arrival and day of departure. It sets you apart from the rest of the World and reminds us what a great deal Africa is.

    Be sure they get to experience the best portions of your game meet, and when in town, to take advantage of the great seafood offerings. I'm wishing for springbuck medallions and some of those king prawns right now!

    option 2a. For the more adventurous and budget minded, help make arrangements for a self guided garden route drive. Warn them of driving on the left and with a manual transmission. Have road maps or an atlas available (we had to find one at a gas station) and take a few minute to go over it with your clients in the comfort of your lodge to suggest possible routes and stop overs and some Q & A. Have them arrange a rental car or you could offer that as part of the package. Be sure they also rent a GPS or bring one that is updated with RSA info. And be sure the car can be returned to Cape Town airport. Brief them on driving in RSA, especially your peculiar but efficient and polite (to Americans at least) passing routines on the high ways, how to pull out onto the left side of the road, etc. Also discuss the beggars and parking "attendants" and to securely lock things up when baboons are around, like at the cape. And how to buy curious road side, etc.

    Option 2b. Guided, you could arrange a guided tour if that is preferred. Perhaps you could work with hotels along the weay to get a special rate to overnight the guide as it will add considerable cost for his room every night.

    Be sure to allow flexibility for people who want to do the wine tour and those who do not. Perhaps a fishing side trip along the way? ATV rides, horseback, beaches, etc. depending upon interest.

    option 1. I think you have this pretty well down in your area the way it sounds.

    Hunt only; You may also want to provide people who only want to hunt with a DG and PG combo over this same time period with enough travel time and to stop along the way to take in any other things that are available to break the hunting up a bit. It may be logistically easier to do the DG first but there might be value in having time to "warm up" on PG before going after DG. Shoot a couple critters with the big gun before using it on DG. And that would be more of a build up to ta climax of the trip. Or provide muti area PG hunts incorporating mountain, karoo, and jungle (cowie?) options.

    Animals on a first trip;
    Depending upon budget I would think at least 2 or 3 large critters such as cape kudu, gemsbuck, zebra, and the beests. First timers might not know about opportunities for mountain reedbuck, fallow deer, and little critters like duiker and steenbuck. Of course wart hog and springbuck should be on the menu, as should blesbuck just because they are plentiful and cheap. With the lion situation being tenuous, you might offer an option for that or at least mention it with out pressuring it if people are not ready. And don't dismiss anything without a full discussion with the client (see duiker below).

    Packages and pricing;
    In packages don't be afraid to offer what you have plenty of and can give deals on. It is my impression that almost everyone wants a kudu, or a zebra as those are easily recognized as major plains game. So offer a couple big animals and one or two smaller ones you have plenty of, then a choice of something like 2 out of 4 mid range animals or economical but less plentiful ones. And when offering a package, offer to credit back something like 85% of the list price if the critter is not taken. Or to put that 85% towards another animals not in the package. This is also where a choice helps, if they are less than a sure thing, it is more likely to get 2 out of a choice of 4 than 2 out of only 2 in a package, and you want the hunt to succeed so set it up so it does.

    A duiker was in my package and the PH was kind of writing it off as inconsequential and difficult to get that time of year... or that is was more of an 'animal of opportunity". But it was in the package with no option for another critter in it's place, and the price was going up after this hunt. So I wanted it and insisted we hunt for it and did end up getting nice one on pure luck.

    Many first timers will have an opinion of what they want with a only few animals in mind. However speaking for myself, I did not even have a good idea of everything that is available much less strong opinions on a lot of the critters. I think you have pretty wide latitude to offer deals on what you have available. Flexibility when I was in the field was important to me and seemed to be the delight of our PH.

    Having a price list in the truck is handy, as is having a PH who memorized it and an outfitter who stands behind him if he makes a mistake.

    And if a client is taking a package then adding critters to it, how about an across the board discount on those? Even if some need to be disqualified up front (something rare like a copper springbuck?, for example), communication is key. You want the client and PH able to make informed on the spot decisions in the field when opportunity presents itself.

    Pricing, for a couple or parent/child team.... how about that roughly 2 week package (maybe 12 or 13 nights?) with half touring and half hunting at about $10,000? Could that be done with roughly half or a little more into daily fees and enough left for 5-6 animals? Maybe it needs to only be 6 days hunting? Maybe you can do better than this? If it was me, I would then budget $20,000 with flights, incidentals, curios, tips, a couple extra animals, taxidermy and shipping.

    Budgeting;
    I think the average middle class dual income American family can save up for a vacation like this in 2-3 years very easily if they prioritize it. Most of us spend a year and a half to 2 years planning something like this anyway. And you could cut a deal with the taxidermist to be paid in increments. We paid half down with the balance due upon completion 8-12 months later. Why not 3 or 4 installments as long as it is all paid before shipping? With spreading this out, at $200/week a family could go on this trip after a year and a half.
    Prioritizing; Make the house payments or rent, buy groceries, cover retirement and college funds first. But maybe forego a new car, etc.?

    Taxidermy and shipping; I was given the sales pitch on the local taxidermist on the last evening when I had no chance to visit the shop. In fact I did not decide on a taxidermist until a couple months after the hunt. If you have a reasonably priced taxidermist you can trust, work out a deal to get your package clients RSA local rates, even make it part of an add on to the package, maybe a simple large, medium and small rate for shoulder, pedestal, and full as well as flat or rug mounts. A simple one page chart. Have it on your web site and in your lodge.

    Spouse or child observers, families/family vacation combined with hunting vs. hunting with add on's;
    If a spouse or child, or even an elderly parent is along as an observer, let them shoot some of the package animals and/or add on's at the observer rate if they are along in the same vehicle and with the same PH/tracker crew anyway.

    Loodt I think you are in a better location and even frame of mind than many to accommodate families and even somewhat extended families. Thinking of my mother, mother in law and even some aunts, they would enjoy just strolling around looking at flowers and birds and even a simple game drive on your property and even to see local farms and farm animals. Churches, museums, historic sites, landmarks, natural scenic places or things, any local villages, or anything that is pleasant and interesting. Maybe going on half day hunts and even time to relax and read.

    Many women do not realize how nice a hunting vacation in RSA can be. I think the first thing they worry about is a clean toilet and shower, next is hot water and a warm private place to sleep. Most of the women my wife showed pictures to were amazed at the facilities and the chalet. Their response tends to be; "I could do that!" Your challenge to more of that business might be education/information sharing.

    Some other outfitters tell me that it presents them with a real challenge to keep non hunters entertained.

    Promotion; Loodt make up a flyer. Even just a printable PDF doc linked on your web site. It is tough to show your stuff to people because I need to link your web site to an email. I would like to have a piece of paper in hand to show family members.

    Guns; I want to bring my own but you should have suitable guns available for backup and to borrow or rent to people who don't want to bring their own. At a minimum charge for ammo and a damage deposit. At the most I would suggest $100 total /hunt... That is what it costs to hire Henry. Simple economical and rugged guns like a Ruger American in 30-06 should suffice. Or whatever you have.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  16. IdaRam

    IdaRam AH Senior Member

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    A lot of excellent information and advice! Loodt thank you for asking the questions, I've enjoyed reading all the replies and learned alot :) I hadn't thought about it but I really liked tarbe's suggestion of a list of commonly used words and phrases in the native language. Starting a thread on that is a great idea (y) Not only would that be educational, but I'm sure it would end up containing an element of humor as well :D
    Not much left to add but here's a few of my random thoughts.
    Everyone's style of hunting and what they are used to is a little bit different depending upon what we've hunted and where. Some people are happy hunting from a blind or stand, others are born spot-and-stalkers. Some folks are content diesel tracking and others want to ride in a vehicle as little as possible. For me, I would prefer some variety. If the hunt is too heavy on blind hunting and diesel tracking I'm going to be a little disappointed. I am used to putting on a lot of miles in mountainous terrain and am in pretty good shape. Many clients may be more interested in a leisurely pace with less physical exertion. Seems like that would be a vital point to discuss with potential clients prior to booking and then again shortly before the hunt in an effort to tailor the hunt for maximum enjoyment. Size and location of property, animals to be hunted, time of year, etc all influence this I'm sure and some methods just may not be practical. A clear understanding on both sides would seem to be very beneficial for both the PH and the client. If there are options, allow the client to be part of the planning where practical.
    Also, one suggestion from the PH I booked with for 2015 was to plan some night hunting for specific night animals. I wonder how many people incorporate this into their safari? I am looking forward to experiencing the African bush at night and hope that it will add another dimension to the safari. It seems that this might get overlooked sometimes. I don't know 'cuz I'm a newbie planning my first safari, but it seems less common than I would have thought. If it is an option that is available, educate the client about the animals they may want to hunt. When I first started researching my first safari I wasn't very knowledgable about what animals could be hunted at night and that if I wanted to have a realistic chance at animal "X" I should probably plan some night hunting. I imagine that in many places night hunting is strictly verboten and it may not even occur to people that it is an option. Drawing from another thread, I'm not talking about Cape Buffalo :whistle: :D
    Regarding food, I'm kind of a "muncher". I like to have stuff to snack on throughout the day. I don't want to go hungry. A good hearty breakfast, a sandwich and some type of local fruit for lunch and a sit down together dinner with a glass of wine or a beer would be perfect, but something to munch on in between is a must. None of this needs to be anything fancy, just good food. The more local cuisine I can sample the better. I can eat American food anytime. Wild game is also a must. It doesn't have to be from the animal I shot. If a prior client has harvested the game I will be honored to share his harvest and hope another hunter shares in mine.
    Best wishes and thanks again!
     

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