South Africa Plains Game, Packaged Hunt Vs. A La Carte??

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Big Country, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. Big Country

    Big Country New Member

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    Fellow hunters,

    I have been lurking about this site for a year or so. I have read hundreds of posts on everything ranging from guns and ammo to do's and don'ts. This seems to be a great forum for first timers to learn from the triumphs and mistakes of others. I do appreciate the honesty of the posts on this forum, and I'm hoping for a little more here.

    Last summer my wife said one day; Honey, I think We should go on safari to africa.... Uh, what? I mean ok!!!! I spent the first month researching rifles and finding an M70 in 375 H&H that I love. Maybe a little premature, and maybe a little big, but what the heck, everyone should have one right? Since then I have spent months researching and planning for our trip, not to mention saving every penny I can scrape up.

    We are planning our first Safari for the summer of 2015. We have an acquaintance that is a worldwide sport hunter, and has been to Africa just under 30 times on safari. He is quite well off and very particular about things, but understands our financials and our newbie status to world hunting. After consulting with him, we selected South Africa for our destination and plains game for our quarry. On his recommendations we have contacted three Outfitters and have been getting quotes and planning our trip. Our first trip will be for plains game only. I'm hoping for a Buff and a Cat sometime to come.

    Many things have played into our decision on where to go, when, and what to hunt. Being blue collar folks, price is one of them, though certainly not the only consideration. Having 14 days of a quality safari experience tops all. For me this means no shooting from trucks, and not road hunting 10 hours a day. I would rather hunt hard for 3 or 4 excellent trophies than "whack and stack" anything that blinks at me. All three outfitters have slightly different daily fees and slightly different trophy fees, but the end result is within $1000 for nearly any combination of species I have looked into. For simplicities sake we'll call the prices comparable.

    I am having a hard time believing the prices I'm seeing from the outfitters ala carte system versus the "deals" on this website as far as packaged plains game. Am I missing something? I have read the fine print on these plains Game Packages and haven't seen anything different than what I've being quoted elsewhere.

    Are these outfitters hunting in a different way? Smaller concessions? Smaller trophies? What am I missing?

    We have done all the homework and feel comfortable with our chosen outfitter, and the trip we have planned, but a spiral slam for $6200 vs. $13,800 ??? It is making us question our choices We haven't booked yet...

    The prices for some for these hunts seem too good to be true at an honest ï½½ price of the ala Carte system offered by the other outfitters. The packages I'm seeing posted on this site seem to be from well-established and respected outfitters, in well-known areas. Help me to understand what I am missing, or if these package deals are really the way to go?

    Thanks
     
  2. rphguy

    rphguy AH Enthusiast

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    I believe you will find that the package deals you see on here are on the up and up.
    The packages you see are discounted, certainly, but they're gonna hunt hard to get you good respectable animals.
    I know Marius of KMG worked hard to get me good trophies. And I think most on here will do the same because their reputation depends on it. None of the outfitters will want your post-hunt report to have dinky little animals in the pictures. it's not good for business. My son and I killed some really good animals, and I killed a waterbuck described as "once in a lifetime" big.

    I'm going back this summer, and some of the animals I am telling my outfitter that I want good trophies, but a couple of the critters I will tell him I want to be more picky about the size (a Nyala for me).
    You need to communicate this in advance, though, of what it will take for you to be satisfied.

    I've seen some of the outfitters discount the daily rates, others the "package" of animals. Some offer spouse or a youth free.
    Also, sometimes they have an overpopulation of some species that they discount heavily.

    Most of the outfitters that I've noticed will tell you to advise them what animals you want, if you don't like the exact package offered, and they will work you up a deal based on the days hunted and which animals and will offer a discount on this "custom" package that is better than the "ala carte" price. Then if you shoot an extra animal while there, you will pay that ala carte price for that animal.

    I imagine the more days and the more animals, the better discount you get because they have more to work with and you have more guarantee of pay per day of their services. Of course, they only have so much they can trim the price because they have to make a living. Communication with your PH is the key.

    Hope this helps.

    blessings,
    Jerry.
     
  3. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    A spiral slam for 13,800 is way off the mark in my eyes.Some places in SA charge fees I think are just crazy though.The outfitters here I will say will give you just as good of a hunt as the ones your friend has told you about.With how you described your friend price was not a issue and I have seen guys like him pick the most expense place just because they can.Some places have fancier lodges maybe and more staff which I dont need.Look at some of the packages that tootabi has posted.Why are his prices so good.Well family owns the lodge you stay at saves money over a guy who leases a lodge.He is a newer outfit starting on his own so the good prices are his advertising since he does not do any hunting shows yet.Shop around ask questions but go with your gut feeling also.You will know when you click with the right guy.Dont fall in to the trap so many do that if you dont pay 400 a day you not getting a good hunt or good service.
     
  4. dobber

    dobber AH Veteran

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    this forum will showcase a lot of outfitters, and for them outfitters who don't use this forum, there has to be a reason why you wouldn't take advantage of free advertisement with the knowledge anyone who books with you will be likely sharing their hunt to the rest of the forum, which is better than any magazine article.
    I would have no problem (other than money) booking from any of the outfitters that frequent the forum, I would also use the services that others provide like travel agent, booking agent, global rescue services, they will live and die by their words, and none of them here are I believe short term companies
     
  5. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    Big country !

    Welcome and interesting post you have . I am not sure if anybody quoted you $ 13 800 for a spiral slam but it seems a bit on the high end . I for one do not like to offer packages as this is the first hurdle where argument or disagreements can occur if any of the package cannot be obtained successfully . Some packages would not be trophy quality animals . Areas also have different fees . So for eg Nyala is cheaper in KZN . Bushbuck and Eastern cape Kudu are definitely cheaper than they would be in Limpopo for instance .

    There are areas that have better quality of specific species and this might influence the price . Almost all outfitters from time to time offer special deals to clients on the regular rates .

    If i have to compare the price of a guided Booked Elk Hunt in AZ, NM, and CO can be thousands apart . The main objective in my opinion from any prospective client is to evaluate the outfits first and then look at the price . Some outfits run 100's of clients a year . Obviously they can operate on a smaller profit per client than others that might have exclusive hunts for a hunter or group of hunters .

    The golden rule is in order for any outfitter to offer a decent service they have to make a decent profit . As it most things in life you might pay a little more for exclusivity .... The choice is yours !!! Too many places to go !!! Too many choices ! But one thing is sure .... If you intend to book with any of the outfits active on this site you would surely get good advice from active hunters on the site ! Enjoy that trip ! There is some BAD news too !! It is only the first trip that is cheap !!! You will be back !!!

    Happy hunting !!!
     
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  6. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    I am probably the third kind !!! LOL
     
  7. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Big Country,

    First, welcome to AH.

    Look through the "Great Deals on hunts". Is there anything you are interested in? If so follow up on it. Look at their websites and read all of the hunting reports on them. If nothing interests you, go to the "hunts wanted" section under "Forum". Write out a wish list of game. Let the outfitters and agents know your target list of top trophies, number of days to hunt, minimum size of hunting area, fenced vs. unfenced, do you want to hunt in the bush, plains, mountains,in a blind, what kind of accommodations you are looking for, If you are looking at a package hunt, do you get a refund for animals not taken, etc. This will bring about competition and you should be able to get a competitively priced hunt. You will get pm's from outfitters. Narrow your choice down then ask what the AH members thoughts are for that outfitter. Favorable reviews will be posted. Unfavorable reviews may be sent by pm. Do the rest of your due diligence then book the hunt. You will be looking to book your second hunt before you come back from your first. You are about to catch an incurable disease. AH is a great resource. Use it to the fullest.

    All the best.
     
  8. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Senior Member

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    The one that quoted you $13,800 is optimistic. That is optimistic that you won't check on other's prices. In my opinion, considering the Rand/Dollar exchange rate, the price should be much lower.

    I have taken a lot of animals and I've never come close to even $10,000. I've also never felt that a PH didn't do his best to get me good animals and I've gotten some very good ones.

    Get 2 or 3 references for any operator you plan to go with and actually talk to them. I've never had a bad safari but I've talked to those who have.
     
  9. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Welcome to AH, $8000 give or take should be the price for the spiral slam. I say that is based on whether it's a 7 or 10 day hunt and 1x1 guide service. I think paying more is foolish.
     
  10. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    I am with you on this one ... We are very close !!
     
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I just looked at two unknown, to me, outfitter price lists and had prices in the 9,600 to 11,500 range. ala carte TFees.

    So, like Richard said your upper price is on the higher end. Although I have seen some sliding scale price lists that charge $6500 for monster Kudu.

    Obviously you're looking at the KMG offer. Eastern Cape vs Limpopo most likely where your other outfitters are located.

    Apples and Apples. Some details on a Spiral horn package comparison in general.

    Indigenous species VS transplanted species.


    Nyala- These are indigenous in EC and transplanted in Limpopo. Trophy fees in Limpopo are significantly higher because of this.


    Bushbuck- Varieties Limpopo vs Cape
    No real size differences in the varieties. Colour, etc. there is.
    The EC is home to immense amounts of Bushbuck cover.


    Eland - Common, no other variety. Available in both provinces on concessions.

    ElandMaps1A.jpg


    Kudu - Varieties Southern Greater vs East Cape Kudu
    (I'll skip the great debate about the differences/similarity/ subspecies) EC tend to be smaller on average measuring wise. Trophy fees have always been slightly lower for EC Kudu.

    Any other comparison you'd have to give out web addresses. :)


    Oh yeah, All the game has to be balanced with the environment.
    If a hard working outfitter manages to find a new property that has not been hunted and needs a population reduction; A package offer will ensue.
    He manages the property, the owners happy and so is the hunter.


    Hope this helps.
     
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  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    There is a price difference too between East Cape Kudu and the Southern Greater Kudu.

    One of your clients last year Richard took a kudu that was simply stunning... A GIANT. A dream kudu!!!!
     
  13. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    Enysse,

    Thank you ! Yes sometime you get lucky !
     
  14. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    Agree,do ten days for the spirals and you should find good animals.
     
  15. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Enysse with all due respect I could not agree less... One needs to ask pertinent questions when booking a safari, As all of these have a direct influence on cost.

    A good start is usually, size of land for example how many properties will I be hunting, am I driving to different concessions every day, or am I hunting one large property.

    If you have no problem with various smaller concessions, The next question should be, how far do I travel to get to these every day? (I have no problem with this but all of this has a definite influence on pricing, as smaller properties have lower running costs than larger ones), and I feel that hunters should be made aware of this.

    It is so easy for an outfitter to answer the question when asked.
    How much land do you hunt?
    To reply, 250 000 acres, yet this to a degree would be the answer, but not a direct and truthful one, and can, and do create an unrealistic expectation. Especially with first time plains game hunters... Now will you have a good experience.. probably,... but once again it all depends on what you wanted from your safari or expected from your safari.

    Am I in a camp filled up with hunters or do the safari company I contract, focus on exclusivity and or run low volume camps. In Other Words...... Would my spouse and I like to be in camp with 5 - 10 other hunters or do we like/prefer being the couple or one of two couples in camp.

    Keep in mind that Volume drives down running costs as well.

    Which area in SA will I be hunting, IMO opinion the Eastern cape is some of the best value for money a first time plains game hunter can get :) Coming from a Limpopo based outfitter that should mean allot to all the East cape Legends on here... :) Ill take my high 5 later thank you very much!!! :) ;)

    Limpopo tends to be higher, so does KZN both also great areas to hunt but simply put more expensive, but also offering something quite different.

    To be honest I simply cannot justify $8k on a spiral slam these are prices I and many others were marketing such a safari at in 2002.
    Offering the same safari 12 years down the line at the same rate makes no sense as over heads have doubled pretty much.

    Most packages are reduced daily rates and trophy fees and should not be compared to a regular internet pricelist as found on a website, most outfitters will customize a package for you while still leaving you with flexibility within the pricelist.

    I for one prefer to create a package within the daily rate and trophy fee format, this provides hunters with an exact account of each day and each species listed in such a package, but by seeing every individual cost enables the hunter to make informed decisions whilst on safari especially when encountering other species.

    Point is simple, without starting a row, $8k could and should not be regarded as the bar to which a spiral slam should be set, it is fine for certain areas in SA, and also good for certain types of operations but should by no means even be considered as the bench mark.

    Prices vary so does quality and so do experiences, knowing an figuring out exactly what you would want from your safari will be the determining factor, once you have established this you will note that the outfitters you have on your short list will be within a reasonable number of one another.

    The above is something you only establish with good research, and by all indications you have started and could not have started on a better platform.

    I hope you have an awesome safari, it seems daunting but its all part of it and soon turns into fun.. :)

    My very best always.
     
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  16. Safari Afrika

    Safari Afrika AH Enthusiast

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    Agreed Jaco !
    There is way more to way up than just a bottom-line price ! There are restaurants selling 12oz steaks for $ 15 and some others sell it at $ 35 !!!! And you know what ..... They are all full and make money ! The client needs to way up all the given options and make his pick !! What I do suggest is that once you find an Outfitter that offers what you are looking for stay with him !!!! He can probably accommodate you somewhere else if you would like to change scenery .

    Happy Hunting !!!
     
  17. K-man

    K-man AH Veteran

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    Another thing to be considered is that some "packages" offer animals that are either absent on the property or not in huntable numbers. I do not mean all packages, or even all outfitters, but just one more question to be asked before booking. I have talked to many hunters that got their first 4 or 5 animals but just never saw the last one or two because they weren't even in the property. The ph was "looking" hard to the end and the hunter didn't even realize until later what had happened. Just one more reason to use a reliable outfitter and have realistic expectations with the number of animals in relation to number of days, etc. Kind of ties in with Jaco's post about size of property and how to make fair comparisons.
     
  18. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    Research to find a reliable outfitter is very important. What we must take into account when comparing the various pricing strategies is the target market of the outfitter and the demographics of this market,hunting clients from over the globe fall into totally different income brackets,the common denominater being that all have a need and a love to hunt, this love and need must be satisfied,which should all in the end have the same outcome,a happy client,with his perceptions and dreams still in tact after the hunt. This is where honesty on the side of the outfitter plays a massive role(how many properties,size,trophy expectation ,accomodation etc.)
    Having higher running costs means you have to aim at a higher income group where obviously you must rise your marketing budget. I for one mostly aim at the "working man".
    This all being said,you will be surprised how similiar the hunting experience is when you select the correct outfit. Communicate a lot with the outfitters on your shortlist,and you will get a good idea of whether it is the tipe of personality that you can spend time with.
     
  19. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    No argument, mine was a short explanation. You are 100 percent correct: Size of property, location, lodging all play an important part.

    You are correct everything costs more in the Limpopo Province, I have no idea what the rand conversion is but guys seem to be offering better pricing this year because of it. And there is no way to compare the East Cape to the Limpopo. They are different.

    My honest opinion is it all depends what you want to pay? But I would not pay twice as much as KMG's offer.

    I'd rather hunt nyala in KNZ, Southern Greater Kudu and bushbuck in the Limpopo, East Cape Kudu and bushbuck in the East Cape and Eland anywhere on big property where some tracking and spotting and stalking takes place.
     
  20. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Welcome to the forum Big Country.
    This is by far the best resource for anyone planning or considering a hunt in Africa.

    Personally I see no reason to book a hunt in South Africa from other outfitters/agents than the ones that are members on this forum.

    There are many serious and good outfitters/agents here that many members of the forum have hunted with.
    If you are considering outfitters/agents here, just read about them on the forum and ask members about them.

    There are some great deals from some very serious outfitters/agents on this forum.
    They might look to good to be true, but regarding the reputation many of them have on this forum, I would not hesitate to jump on them if I had the money and time for it.
    It is about 6-7 offers on the forum now, that I personally would jump on if I could.
     
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