What is the best country for a first time hunting safari?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by AfricaHunting.com, Oct 9, 2007.

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What is the best country for a first time hunting safari?

  1. Namibia

    105 vote(s)
    39.5%
  2. South Africa

    132 vote(s)
    49.6%
  3. Zimbabwe

    23 vote(s)
    8.6%
  4. Zambia

    6 vote(s)
    2.3%
  1. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Today's Vote: What's the best country for a first hunting safari?

    What's the best country for a first hunting safari?
     
  2. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    I have hunted in Namibia and RSA. I think that RSA is the best place for a first time safari when all things are considered. While Namibia is an absolutely beautiful country and the hunting is fantastic, South Africa offers more species and more diverse terrain and habitat as you move from one area to another.

    The majority of us take our spouses with us and plan on doing a bit of sight seeing and 'tourist' type activities before or after the hunt. The cities of Johannesburg, and the beautiful coastal cities of Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth offer an unlimited number of things to do and see.

    Having said that, I personally hope to get back to Namibia one of these days. I love the country, the game and the solitude.
     
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Namibia

    I think if you want to hunt a lot of animals at very good prices then Namibia is for you. The shooting can be long. But I live the desert environment for a vacation. The people are very friendly.

    South Africa has a lot of diversity for animal species. So to me it is a solid #2. If you are going for the Big 5 right off the bat. I would go to Zimbabwe.
     
  4. Paul

    Paul AH Member

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    I would generally agree with Skyline's opinion, having hunted both South Africa and Namibia for plains game. My only reservation relates to the comment about taking our spouses with us hunting, in that although you are relatively safe in hunting areas, I have been advised by South Africans, that you have to be careful in the cities. Crime is a big problem, particularly in places like Joburg. Namibia is probably safer in that regard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  5. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Paul............I sure can't argue with you about any of that, Namibia is definitely a lot more low key than the big cities in RSA, but I have never had a problem in RSA or Zim for that matter.

    On the other hand when I visit my cousin in LA......he is on the Sherrif's Dept.......he makes me pack when ever and where ever we go in the evening.

    I do not really see it as much of an issue unless you go into areas you shouldn't be, just as is the case in LA, Chicago, El Paso, etc.

    Heck I know some Indian reserves in Alberta that the RCMP will not go to a complaint in unless they can send two cars in at the same time.
     
  6. Paul

    Paul AH Member

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    Namibia vs South Africa

    Hi Kelly, yeah I guess level of crime is a relative thing. I live in the UK where the general populace is unarmed and we generally don't expect to get held up at gunpoint, whereas in the US things are obviously a lot more hairy!!

    In addition to my hunt, I took my family (wife & kids) to Namibia in Aug08 mainly because I also wanted to self drive around the country on game safari in relative safety and unarmed. I don't think that would have been such a good idea in SA.
     
  7. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Paul.......yes I think Namibia was a good choice for that. I posted elsewhere I love the solitude in Namibia. Living on a ranch in very rural Canada, I place a great deal of value on having as few people around as possible...........and usually when we go on holidays we want even fewer around.

    Gee.................do I sound anti-social? ;)
     
  8. Paul

    Paul AH Member

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    Namibia vs South Africa

    I would tend to agree with Enysse's opinion on Namibia vs South Africa having hunted plains game in both. But it really depends on how experienced a hunter you are? What species you want to hunt? and What style of hunting you expect?

    Can't comment on Zimbabwe, but I hear you can also hunt the big 5 in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.

    My first safari hunting trip was with Mananga Safaris in Limpopo province in South Africa. They are a very reputable outfitter with 1st class accomodation and I would have no hesitation in recommending them. Provided you can shoot straight and follow the PH's instructions you will be successful and have a great time. Shot a Blue Wildebeast, Kudu, Impala, red hartebeast and blesbok. Nyala, bushbuck and Oryx also available.

    My general impression is that South Africa is dominated by fenced game farms and reserves. It also has a bigger diversity of species, but in a more controlled environment than Namibia. For my 2nd hunt I wanted a more free range "fair chase" experience, which is one of the reasons why I opted for Namibia. I also liked the look of the more open desert landscapes whereas Limpopo province is more thick bushveld.

    For Namibia I chose to hunt with PH Hentie Van Heerden at Van Heerden Safaris :: The Ultimate Namibian Hunting Safari. Van Heerden safaris holds the hunting rights to two tribal concessions in Damaraland near Mt Brandberg.

    I must say I had an absolutely brilliant time and achieved the 5 top class trophies I wanted in 5 days. Shot Hartmann's mountain zebra, kudu, Oryx and 2 x springbok including a rare natural white springbok.
    This was in no small way down to Hentie's skill and experience. Anyone who imagines these animals are sitting around waiting to get shot, is in for a big surprise! Damaraland is a hard, parched land and the game are widely dispersed. You have to be prepared if necessary, to walk long distances in hot, dry conditions. You will earn your kills. This is no canned, game farm shoot. This is proper fair chase African hunting!!
     
  9. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Paul that was one of the things I very much liked about Namibia......the lack of high fence and fair chase hunting. Without a doubt, hunting behind game fence is much more prevalent in RSA. There are still some operators though that offer hunting in unfenced areas, but you have to look hard to find them.

    The high fence is getting ever more common in Namibia as well. Once you stray from the common everyday species there, such as kudu, gemsbuck, springbuck and warthog. As soon as you seeing species like blesbok and waterbuck you know you will be behind fence.

    There are high fenced areas all over now, including some of the ranched hunts in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

    Most guys do not care, but it has a lot to do with where and who I choose to hunt with.
     
  10. Paul

    Paul AH Member

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    Fair Chase hunting

    Kelly,

    You are obviously an experienced hunter and I totally agree with what you say about the dominance of game farms/ranches and how few outfitters offer true "free range" "fair chase" hunting. Living in the UK, and I must admit as a newcomer to the sport, I was a bit surprised at what a huge industry, hunting has become in southern Africa.

    You North American hunters are a very important source of revenue to these poor African countries and they certainly do not want to disappoint hunters, who have travelled so far to fulfil their dreams of a hunting safari in Africa. It is therefore not surprising that a lot of cattle farmers have converted their farms to game ranches. It really is more of a business than a sport for these guys and you can't blame them in the slightest.

    Let's face it, without game farms and hunters most of the game would not exist outside of the national parks. The game farms obviously buy in "stock" like regular farmers and have a major investment in lodges, waterholes etc. They also provide an important source of income for otherwise unemployed Black Africans. So on the whole, the positives far outway the negatives. But for me, sitting around a waterhole in a hide, shooting half tame, feed animals is not really my idea of hunting!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  11. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    I agree Paul.............many of them need the fence to protect their investment and the high fences are what make it possible to hunt all of the many species offered. I am not bashing it, just saying I personally avoid it.............on the other hand some of those ranches are immense and nothing like some of the little high fenced 'canned' stuff going on in Texas and elsewhere.

    A lot has to do with mindset..........I am use to guiding and hunting in very remote country. Where I live most people would consider remote.

    With some species, if you want one, there is no alternative but to hunt behind high fence. If the area is big enough and the hunts are conducted in a fair chase manner .........well as you said "the positives far outweigh the negatives". I can see the day coming when the only lion available to hunt will be behind fence.
     
  12. larrye

    larrye New Member

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    Best Hunt

    I've hunted RSA and Namibia and highly recommend your first hunt should be in Namibia. The RSA hunt was a canned hunt and i didn't know that before hand and certainly didn't approve. Namibia is very stable government, game is plentiful and the pricing is fair.
     
  13. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    hunting Rsa is a good deal for the first time hunter. There is plenty of game and it's a good place to get ones feet wet. I definitely would like to hunt Namibia & possibly will do so on my next hunt!
    As far as high fences I think you will see more & more of this in the future as the land owner has to protect his investment! As far as a (canned hunt) the places I've been had a couple thousand acres, just because it had a high fence surrounding it didn't mean I came back with game every day,that was far from the truth. You still have to find the animal stalk it & sucessfully get a killing shot at it. It's not as simple as many make it sound! Usually I never seen the fence all day until we came down the home stretch to the lodge for a cold brew!!
     
  14. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    I will add another country, Tanzania. It is the country I chose for my first safari. While it is a little more pricey you certainly get the feeling you are on an old East Africa Safari. I also did not buy in to the idea of hunting plainsgame only on my first trip. Buffalo was on the main menu. This decisions was also based on that trip being my only one to the Dark Continent.

    With that being said I am booked for Zim in 2010 for elephant.
     
  15. Die Ou Jagter

    Die Ou Jagter AH Member

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    Greetings, this is my first visit and first post. My first safari was to RSA as was my second, I then hunted Namibia a couple of times and have hunted Zimbabwe a few times. The last two years I have hunted Zimbabwe and RSA and am going back to RSA this year. I think for a first hunt RSA is excellent and would not condemn anyone wanting Namibia as I enjoyed both. I do believe RSA has a greater variety of animals to hunt. I have never been offended by high fences as most properties I have hunted were high fenced properties and in many cases I never saw a fence and by the same token I saws fences in Southern Zimbabwe as they also high fence properties. Again first time in my opinion should be about plains game save the big guys for later when you have more experience and can better appreciate that type of hunt i e more specialized. JMO
     
  16. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    That is a somewhat nebulous question, it would depend on what you wanted to hunt..I know there is a group who have decided that everyone must start by hunting plains game and then work up to Dangerous game..I think that is a croc personally...I have has 14 year olds begin their hunting career on Cape Buffalo and needless to say they were sold on hunting from that day on.

    Should DG be on your agenda then Tanzania is my favorite followed by Zimbabwe...

    For plains game only then one place is about as good as another in Africa, but I'd say RSA has the most species to choose from. Namibia has some awesome Kudu, Gemsbok, black faced Impala, and Mt. Zebra. Also has decent Leopard and cheeta as well as some nice elephant;

    Decide what it is that enchants you, what species you want and then pick your destination last of all.
     
  17. Shallom

    Shallom AH Enthusiast

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    TANZANIA!!! To become a good swimmer, jump into the deep end - it will set you apart from many. To become a good hunter, get into the thick of things and you will have a head-start above many. But i am blowing the Tanzanian trumpet here as well. Karibu!
     
  18. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Like Zambia better than any of the choices, but I think the best place to get your feet wet is Namibia, if all you want to hunt is plains game. The price is good, and there are animals there that are not available in most of the countries where you hunt dangerous game. That means on later safaris you will likely want to hunt dangerous game from the big five, and with the animals that are not evident in the Big five areas under your belt, there will be no need to return to the non dangerous game areas to get them.

    In my case I did it the other way, and included Cape Buffalo in my first safari, and have on every one since. Because of that fact, I don't have some of the animals that I wish I did hunt earlier, and now can't leave buffalo alone long enough to hunt the plains game I missed! All my plains game have been targets of oppertunity while hunting Buffalo!

    So what I'm saying there is some value to hunting the plains game first, and in my opinion, Namibia is the most fair chase hunting of that type between Namibia, and RSA, but both have fairchase hunting regardless of any fence. Just pick opperations that have vast holdings, and you will likely never see a fence!;)

    ....................In any event, enjoy, what ever you choose, unless someone else is paying for your safari, they have zero say in how, or where you hunt! :satisfied:
     
  19. African Bush Safaris

    African Bush Safaris AH Member

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    Canned Hunt

    Guys
    I cant help but notice how many of you consider your hunts in SA as canned. Now one of two things here, either there are a lot of crooks in the country or you are allowing the uninformed computer jockeys to rob you of your hunting experience.
    Tame, Fed and hand reared animals I have yet to come across anywhere I have hunted. Outside of the high value species like Lion or Sable etc there simply is no economical way to hand rear wild animals and sell them at a profit. Feed costs to raise a Kudu to the 6-9 years needed to grow out his horns would be astronomical. Proove me wrong if you have other evidence in this, but short of that please don't spread more hearsay based on misinformation.

    The hunting industry in South Africa was built on the backs of good, honest conservationists. I know that I share the same driving force in building my own company and know that for the good of the industry anything short of high ethical standards will simply be killing the goose.

    For those of you interested in hunting South Africa, fear not, you can have the hunt of a lifetime, work hard for your trophies and stand proud behind your experience. I know I do.
    Good hunting
    Ian
     
  20. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    I tell my friends to hunt -- in this order -- South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania. Starting at the opposite end of this list will make South Africa and Namibia seem awfully tame when they go there -- as they surely will -- to collect the unique species of that region.

    Bill Quimby
     

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