South Africa or Namibia ?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by BryceM, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    I'm a total newB when it comes to African hunting but I'm trying to get things together for a first plains game hunt in 2011. I'm wondering what the pros & cons would be between South Africa vs. Namibia for the kind of hunt I'm looking for. I've been e-mailing back and forth with a few people I've met on the site and so far they're recommending R.S.A.

    I'm more interested in free-range, wide open or spot & stalk type hunting with reasonably plentiful game. I'll be hunting with my dad who is 61, but he's the kind of guy who still lives on the back of dirt bikes & snowmobiles - real mountain riding, not trail stuff. We mostly hunt mule deer & elk in Idaho and Wyoming with a little bird hunting in the Midwest. Mountains and a little uneven terrain are OK within reason. Tents and campfires would be better than 5 star hotels and swimming pools, but I'm not terribly picky as long as the hunting is great.

    South Africa seems to be a common recommendation for a first trip, but I'm hearing awfully good things about Namibia too. I've also noticed that trophy fees and daily rates are substantially lower on average in Namibia. Why is that? Is it a supply/demand thing? If all other things are equal (I'm sure they're not), it seems that it would be possible to take more game with less financial pressure riding on each pull of the trigger.

    I'm primarily after kudu, gemsbok, impala, and possibly zebra. I wouldn't mind taking smaller antelope or a warthog as the opportunity arises. Going home without one or more of these would be OK if the overall hunt was enjoyable. I'd really like to get a kudu though - doesn't have to be a monster - just something nice to put on the wall and remind me of the place.

    I'm sure there is no right or wrong answer here. I'm sure the quality of the hunt depends more on the PH and hunting area more than the specific country. I'm just curious which you would recommend and why.
     
  2. Thunder head

    Thunder head AH Enthusiast

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    I just arrived home from my first trip to afica. So i dont pretend to know allot. I can tell you this. The limpopo region is thornvelt (ie south texas brush country) if it wasnt for the animals you were looking at it wouldnt be hard to imagine thats were you were.
    Think long and hard about what you want and ask pleny of questions. If you want free range, You will have trouble finding it in RSA.

    I would tell you Nambia, but then i dont know anything.
     
  3. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Bryce........pretty much 99% is high-fenced in RSA. There are a very few exceptions to this and you should remember that there are some operations that conduct their hunts on huge areas behind high fence. That will have to be your call.

    Free range kudu and gemsbuck are no problem in Namibia. There are lots of high fenced operations there as well though.......and most zebra and the impala are going to be behind high fence. Here again there are some exceptions with the zebra and a few areas offer free range hunting for them............so just make sure you ask the outfitters you talk to the right questions and specify you want free range hunting.
     
  4. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    It's not strictly necessary that it be true free-range since that hardly exists anywhere in the world at this point. A larger ranch would be fine too. I just don't want it to feel like a canned hunt. I don't want to have a zero chance at the animals either though.

    We have people around here that keep a few hundred elk on 2,000-5,000 acres. People "hunt" them, if you can call it that. There's virtually zero chance they won't kill the specific animal they're after. That's the sort of thing I'm hoping to avoid.
     
  5. oak22

    oak22 AH Member

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    When I go over to hunt-which will be in 2010, 2011 I will only go to Namibia for the time. I do a lot of trophies taken in Africa and I think Namibia offers some great hunting for plains and others but that is my opinion. Have fun.....:D
     
  6. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    BryceM... it may be a case of give and take. The two countries you are considering are largely man-managed wildlife areas and most are fenced. IMO, Namibia is a wilder general destination, but there are some canned areas there too. The best is to keep asking the questions to people who have been frequenting those areas and also directly take-up the matter with the agent or outfitter you intend to consider.

    For kudu in specific, numerous game and high success rate on the various specie options, you should definately consider the two countries you have in mind. But for an even larger variety, higher success rate over a longer safari at higher tariffs and in truly wild and natural habitats - Tanzania awaits your spirit of adventure.

    Those wild areas you are concerned about not existing anymore - when you are ready to venture into them - think Tanzania and talk to Wild Footprints... All the best bwana.
     
  7. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    Well, yes, going to Tanzania or Mozambique is the eventual goal. I never even thought about Africa seriously until I saw the Cape Buffalo exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. I went there to see the Tsavo Man-eaters of "Ghost in the Darkness" fame. I saw them and went, ho-hum. I moved over a few feet to the cape buffalo exhibit and my jaw hung open for a few minutes. They looked like great living black tanks. Right then I knew that I needed to go find them on their turf someday. This first plains game hunt is to get me feet went on the continent and to see if it lives up to expectations.

    Once I get a few more $$ in the bank the buff hunt will surely occupy my waking thoughts and dreams for a long time to come.

    I'm still not sure I understand why trophy fees and daily rates are so much higher in RSA than Namibia.
     
  8. Alaska Hunter

    Alaska Hunter AH Member

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    I just returned from hunting both South Africa and Namibia. Both were excellent. I hunted with SS Pro Safaris and saw a lot of great animals. I took a Bushbuck, Impala, Blesbok, Nyala, and a huge warthog. In Namibia I hunted with Tim Osborne of Windpoort Farms. I was able to take Kudu, Gemsbok, Red Hartabeest, and Warthog. South Africa was more expensive, but I saw a wider variety of game and the quality was excellent. In Namibia the numbers of species were less as were the trophy fees. The quality if the game seen was excellent. Have fun
     
  9. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    BryceM... you are in for an enjoyable endless journey. The hunting experience will most likely live-up to expectations and have you hooked - Africa has a long history of doing that with all adventurers and outdoorsmen. You are right to consider a soft opening to your African Hunting Adventure. I fully recommend it, but always be aware that it is not to be expected of the Dangerous Game destinations. The abundance, variety and availability of game in the game farms and ranches have a tendency of spoiling hunters a little and setting unrealistic expectations for when you make your way up the ladder. Just appreciate the value of both and keep things in perspective.
    The fact that you are coming to Africa is the essence and i am sure, whatever your choice will be, you are going to have a grand time. The people and resources on this fine site will ensure that you are well informed, prepared and get the most of your safari.

    The Cape Buffalo has a way about him and an attraction that cannot be put into words. Hunting him like you said 'on his turf' is the best way to appreciate this magnificent animal. A real hunter will never get enough of this dangerous game/fatal attraction. The ghost and the darkness are still roaming free in many parts of Africa. Not many railroads being built these days though - as brutal as the attacks were by the maneaters of Tsavo - they made a statement and are legend. I am a big fan of the tsetse fly, crop raider, problem predator and rogue wild animal. In most cases, they are testament to our exploiting, encroaching, destructive and unsustainable behavior as humans. Just a little common sense, logic and responsible behavior would eliminate many of the so-called problems with wildlife. I feel safest when in the wilderness and totally exposed when in urban areas. Your Africa Safari will be a great one bwana!
     
  10. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Bryce............

    "I'm still not sure I understand why trophy fees and daily rates are so much higher in RSA than Namibia. "

    Your question is a very good one. I am going to answer it after I have some sleep as I have been on planes for a bit today.

    You have asked a very pointed question that I was asked a few times today. You are getting into the perceived quality and expectations of the hunt....fenced, not fenced.........all factors.

    Perhaps someoneelse would care to expound??
     
  11. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I have been told a number of reasons. The main reason is because they can!!! If you look at the auction of game animals it more expensive in South Africa to replace animals on the ranches. There are more people and the cities are getting bigger and for that matter it cost more than the rural Namibia. I drove 3 hours on a Namibia highway and ran across less than 6 vehicles....that ain't gonna happen for the most apart in South Africa.

    And this is probably bitterness from 18 days in Africa in May 2009 dealing with outfitters trying to bleed every penny from your pocket.....greed in a bad economy....And I don't care how you spell it. This experience will make me think more than twice before I go back to Africa.

    South Africa has a lot of variety of animals! But I liked Namibia better....It felt like the Northwest Territories in Canada at times. WHY? It was dark at night, never saw other people,it was a hell of lot cheaper than South Africa....and the game seemed wilder. I didn't feel that in South Africa....I got my animals...but it felt like a ranch hunt....way to easy.

    Ryan has a great point....the wilderness hunts are more money...but the experience is going to be priceless...and if you want a cape buffalo...I would go for it first safari or not. Ranch hunting and wilderness are not the same thing.
     
  12. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    There you have it................now I do not have to post on this. Good job Enysse. :D

    There are many factors involved. There are great operators in both countries. Supply and demand has a lot to do with it and lets face it, BIG anything brings more money and there are those willing to pay for it.......at least that has been the case but not so much now.

    Ryan is a kindred spirit............I always like reading his posts because I know he feels about things the way I do and is in to dangerous game hunting and wild places....true safari.

    Now he is also right about Namibia, as is Enysse. It has a different feel to it............bigger feeling, less people......wilder.

    But, I do not want the RSA boys to think we are beating up on them because that really is not the case. There are some great outfits with big areas to hunt and the species there are unlimited. The operators in RSA are responsible for the great numbers of animals and species that are currently available to us. Many species would not have recovered without their efforts over the years.
     
  13. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    I appreciate the input here, thanks. Having never been "over there", I'm still sort of outside the candy store looking in. I never would have dreamt that hunting in Africa had become so commercialized. Like you say, it's not all bad. I really believe that hunters are the true conservationists and the animals in most countries are better off because of us. Without some reason to give them space where would we be?

    It sort of makes you wonder what opportunities will be there for our children. Getting the big 5 today is still possible. Expensive, hard to arrange, time consuming, but it's still possible. I doubt our grandkids will even know what it means. I gotta get out there on a real wilderness hunt to go chase buffalo someday! Mozambique or Tanzania sound exceptional.

    I suppose it's good that we all want slightly different things. Otherwise we'd all be standing on top of each other trying to book the same hunt.

    Looking around a little more since I first posted, there are some less-expensive guys in RSA and a few more expensive guys in Namibia. Overall, I think for what I'm looking for on a first plains game hunt, it seems that Namibia might be a better fit. Certainly it's useless to judge hunting in an entire country from a single experience.

    The biggest issue right now is thinking about booking something so far in advance. I'm not sure now that I want to wait as long as I originally thought....... How does next week sound? ;)
     
  14. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Indeed ......it is too bad we all have things in the way or we could just drop things and go. I would sure like that, but life just never seems to work that way for me. I have to plan a year in advance, minimum.
     
  15. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    "And this is probably bitterness from 18 days in Africa in May 2009 dealing with outfitters trying to bleed every penny from your pocket.....greed in a bad economy....And I don't care how you spell it. This experience will make me think more than twice before I go back to Africa."

    This is the kind of feedback that always makes me want to take the so called professional people into the bush with me for a few days and show them what it is like to really earn a living in the hunting industry. There are still people in this industry today who think they are selling shelved commodities! That is NOT the hunting industry that i am so passionate about and i hate it when people spoil it for us who appreciate and still partake in real hunting safaris.

    Enysse, please do not judge Africa from your experience hunting with a salesman. If at all there is a sale involved, the hunt will sell itself - it is my opinion that in most cases you will feel that you have under-paid. The wilderness habitat, the wildlife, the team, the daily experiences and interaction with nature is what makes the hunting safari an experience above the rest. We as professionals only guide you through natures beauty.

    I am surprised with the number of people (even if its just three that i have noticed) that have had negative experiences in Africa. Nevertheless, i want you think about those negative influences and you will find that it has nothing to do with Africa or the beauty and treasures of Africa, but mostly to do with below par characters who are exploiting Africa for short-term interests.

    The Africa i know and share with my guests is an Africa that is irresistable and will keep you wanting more and more. An Africa that exudes that natural beauty you simply have to appreciate and an exotic character that you cannot deny - an Africa without any cosmetics and make-up! Real Africa! If you embrace her, she will respond kindly and the love affair will be tireless and endless. You will not think twice about wanting to return, but there may be limitations beyond our control - but nothing is impossible!
     
  16. browningbbr

    browningbbr AH Enthusiast

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    Ryan,

    Thanks for putting this in perspective.

    I know what Enysse experienced in May. He hunted with a different outfitter, but stayed a couple nights at the same camp that we booked through. I listened to what his PH's were saying over drinks in the evening and it was always "money, money, money". I felt bad for him, because I knew he had to be hearing this all day long.

    My wife and I had the opposite experience, so I'm sure that it's a outfitter/PH-specific phenomenon.

    What I'm learning from this post and from personal experience is that it's very important to hunt with an outfitter/PH whose views and objectives align with your own.

    Now I know why our PH smiled when we told him that it was a lot more important to us to have FUN than to shoot something that makes a record book.

    - browningbbr
     
  17. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I definitely didn't want to say all South African Ph's are bad...this not true at all. You have to do your homework. My hunt was set then the outfitter did a 180 degree switch because he got a better offer on his ranch...and it spiraled from there.

    I would definitely like to go back to RSA for bushbuck, vaal rhebuck, mtn. rhebuck and nyala if I have the time and money.

    I think Namibia is a awesome first place plains game safari place. Because of the costs and less people.
     
  18. Spiral Horn Safaris

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    Hi there everyone very interesting topic.

    First of all here is another reason way RSA might be more expensive than Namibia the farms in RSA are smaller, yes and there is a greater diversity in RSA but because of that we have to maintain good trophy quality so we buy in game like new bull's or Ram's every year to improve the gene pool and keep the trophy quality top notch but not all the guy's do it so it might not be the rule of thumb. So if you think about it the guy in RSA who is managing his Ranch and making sure there is very little mixing of genes actually makes less than the guy not doing it but he does it to improve the trophy quality and keep a good gene pool, but now I am also talking about farms bigger than 4000 acre not small farms where people just drop off game to be shot that is killing the hunting industry.

    Namibia is mostly cattle fenced so species like kudu don't have problems with in breeding because they just jump over the fences. This is a very good thing but is sure to change in the near future as game farming gets more prominent in Namibia.

    Both of these countries have their draw backs and advantages but it is my opinion that RSA beats Namibia just because of animal diversity. It is possible to do it all in RSA and walk and stalk hunts, if you book with the right PH might make all the difference to the wild experience. Weather you drive and hunt in a fenced area or unfenced area it makes no difference it remains a driven hunt. Walk and stalk hunting in RSA might be a bit better because of the fact that you are more likely to see a greater diversity in animal species and get up close and personal with some of the big guy's.

    I will have to say that if you are looking for a true wild experience ZAMBIA, but if it is a good quality plains game hunt and you would like to see a lot of different species while you hunt, RSA would be the right choice.

    Don't get me wrong I think Namibia is a great place with some of the best people you will ever meet, but when it comes down to a see it all hunt RSA is just the better choice.

    Hope this help's to shed some light on the subject.
     
  19. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    I have not hunted Namibia so i cannot say much about it. I have hunted RSA and had wonderful experiences.

    As said above, the various species of game on a large property is tough to beat. Some outfits have as many as 25-30 different species. I also like the variety of terrain available in South Africa. It really is amazing.
     
  20. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    I suggest that my friends start their Africa hunting journey by taking as many of South Africa's unique species -- such as black wildebeest, common nyala, (but only in their native habitats) vaal rhebok, a couple of the indigenous pygmy antelopes, etc. -- as they can afford, and then move on to Namibia for kudu, red hartebeest, gemsbok, springbok and its other indigenous game for their second safari.

    Their third trip should be to Zimbabwe; their fourth to Zambia or Botswana; their fifth to Tanzania, and so on.

    Very few people I know hunt Africa just once, and shooting antelope on a game farm in South Africa -- no matter how big that farm might be -- can seem awfully tame to someone who starts with a dangerous game safari in the C.A.R., the Cameroon, or some similar place.

    Bill Quimby
     

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