First Safari advice needed!

Rtsj

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Heading to the Eastern Cape next June for my first Safari and have some questions and hope u fellas may be able to answer. I really want to take my own guns and plan on using an outfit over there called RiflePermits. Lots of stuff needed and seems to be worth it but really have no clue what is involved and how hard it is. Also plan on using a travel agent. Either Travel With Gun(TWG), Travel Express or Gracy travel. Is it worth the travel agency? Recommendations?

Also wanted to ask about Tips. What is acceptable on say an 8k safari for the outfitter? Do u tip Skinners, trackers, cooks, cleaning/laundry ladies?

Shipping trophies home? Plan on having my taxidermist here I’ve used for 30 years doing the mounts. Do u use a shipping agency to get hides/horns back home? Just get pack/dip? Get stuff tanned?

Appreciate the time and patience in reading and thank u guys in advance for any insight and advice!

Oh yeah should include my list of trophies I would like and guns I plan on taking.
Kudu, Nyala, Gemsbuck, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, and Zebra

Rem 700 custom 6.5Prc with either 127LRX or 124 Hammer Hunters and a Sako Custom Deluxe 375H&H shooting 270gr Hammer Shock Hammers. The 6.5 will have a TBAC Ultra 7 on it.

Thanks Roy Schmidt
 

375Fox

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The travel agent is definitely worth it. I like @TRAVEL EXPRESS best for this type of flight. Travel with guns is also excellent. Gracy has great people on ground, but I won’t use their agency to book flights again if other options exist. Benefit of Gracy is they have their own people on ground to handle gun permits and clients in Johannesburg, but it’s nothing that one of the other agencies combined with a service like rifle permits can’t do. You may also consider staying at Africa Sky or Afton the night you land in Johannesburg. They will meet you at airport and handle your rifle permit as well.
For shipping trophies home, you will make 3 payments. First payment to taxidermy for dip and pack. I’d just plan to use your outfitter’s recommendation for this. If you want any rugs made or backskins tanned I would have that done in Africa. It’s much cheaper and quality is just as good, but for taxidermy shoulder mounts just dip and pack and let your taxidermist at home handle it. Second payment to shipper to ship from Africa to port of entry in USA. Third payment to customs broker to clear trophies and ship to final destination. Where are you located? It will determine which broker is good fit for you. I’ve been happy with trophy shippers out of Chicago. I previously used fauna and flora out of New York, but their willingness to communicate with customers is lacking. If I was to choose a different broker, I’d probably choose coppersmiths, they work from multiple ports of entry and have good reputation.
For tips, it’s really personal. There are like 30 pages of differing opinions on a different thread. For a 7 day(?) $8k hunt, I’d probably tip PH $500 (up to $700 $100/day) and another $500 divided to staff depending how many there are to tip. Depending where you stay, such as a hotel type lodge, you may not tip cooks and cleaning staff, but if you stay at a hunting camp plan to.
I really like the eastern cape, good luck on your hunt. Who will you be hunting with?
 

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Hi Roy. 375Fox gave you the straight scoop on your questions. You’ll likely get conflicting opinions from others on the Travel Agent question. Some, like me, love ‘em. Others are against them. I’d say if you’re not a seasoned traveler using one makes sense. It’s money we’ll spent, especially if you are faced with last minute changes. The ones you list are all top notch.
 

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I'll second Travel Express. The SAP's 520 form isn't that bad for you to fill out and then forward to Rifle Permits. Get their meet and greet, they will usher you through the Joberg airport and is well worth the money.

Tips are all over the place. Check on your outfitters web site and see if they have anything as far as what they recommend.

But here is what I figure:

PH $100 a day give it to your PH directly.
Tracker $10 a day give it to your tracker directly
Lodge help $50 a day. This sounds like a lot but look at what they do for you. Maid service, laundry, cooks and meals. This money will be split amongst the staff.

There are a number of importers that you can use. Trophy Shippers who is a sponsor here on the forum. I have used and am using Safari Specialty Importers. They cost more but do more for you. There is also Coppersmith, and a few others. Check with your local taxidermist and see who they recommend.
 

Rtsj

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The travel agent is definitely worth it. I like @TRAVEL EXPRESS best for this type of flight. Travel with guns is also excellent. Gracy has great people on ground, but I won’t use their agency to book flights again if other options exist. Benefit of Gracy is they have their own people on ground to handle gun permits and clients in Johannesburg, but it’s nothing that one of the other agencies combined with a service like rifle permits can’t do. You may also consider staying at Africa Sky or Afton the night you land in Johannesburg. They will meet you at airport and handle your rifle permit as well.
For shipping trophies home, you will make 3 payments. First payment to taxidermy for dip and pack. I’d just plan to use your outfitter’s recommendation for this. If you want any rugs made or backskins tanned I would have that done in Africa. It’s much cheaper and quality is just as good, but for taxidermy shoulder mounts just dip and pack and let your taxidermist at home handle it. Second payment to shipper to ship from Africa to port of entry in USA. Third payment to customs broker to clear trophies and ship to final destination. Where are you located? It will determine which broker is good fit for you. I’ve been happy with trophy shippers out of Chicago. I previously used fauna and flora out of New York, but their willingness to communicate with customers is lacking. If I was to choose a different broker, I’d probably choose coppersmiths, they work from multiple ports of entry and have good reputation.
For tips, it’s really personal. There are like 30 pages of differing opinions on a different thread. For a 7 day(?) $8k hunt, I’d probably tip PH $500 (up to $700 $100/day) and another $500 divided to staff depending how many there are to tip. Depending where you stay, such as a hotel type lodge, you may not tip cooks and cleaning staff, but if you stay at a hunting camp plan to.
I really like the eastern cape, good luck on your hunt. Who will you be hunting with?
Howdy and thank u for the info. I’m from South West Pennsylvania. Will be hunting with Eugene Erasmus at Intaba Safaris!

Roy
 

Art Lambart II

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I won't travel over seas without Travel Express the way airtravel changes these days they are worth every penny. I also highly recommend using RiflePermits.com, their meet and great service is great, they make customs and the SAP are fast and easy.
 

Rtsj

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I won't travel over seas without Travel Express the way airtravel changes these days they are worth every penny. I also highly recommend using RiflePermits.com, their meet and great service is great, they make customs and the SAP are fast and easy.
Can u give me a quick call I down on what and how u did it with them? I know u have to go to the Customs office and get the 4457 form filled out but curios on what else? Also anyone ever fly with their suppressor? If u list the serial numbers on the forms could u?

Roy
 

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Go to the local CBP office with the rifles you are taking and get a signed 4457 form.

Contact Rifle Permits or similar. They should send you a sample SAPS 520 form which is invaluable as a guide. The form is 10 pages but most fields you don't enter anything. Scan the completed form and email it to them. Give them your flight information when you know it. They take care of the rest and will be holding a sign with your name on it when you arrive and go through security, baggage claims, and customs (this is self-declare so you usually just walk past it).
 

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@Rtsj, I just came back from a hunt on the Eastern Cape. Not sure about traveling with suppressors, but I know it can be done, and hopefully someone will give you some solid advice.

I used Travel Express, and stayed at the Africa Sky, and flew Air Link from Johannesburg to East London. This was my second trip to SA, and I will never travel again without first contacting Travel Express. Too much going on in the world. This last trip was uneventful, and Africa Sky did an awesome job of meeting me at the gate and dealing with my rifle permits. When it came time to fly to the Eastern Cape, the driver (Gilbert) for Africa Sky did his thing, and next thing I know, I'm in front of the line being expedited and in less than 10 minutes, I was booked and ready to go.

I'm going to have my animals dip & packed and shipped to the US for one of our sponsors to do the taxidermy mounts.

Good luck and keep us posted of your trip. Looking forward to your hunt report.
 

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Those tips for the PH and tracker are quite generous, but as @JimP says, they will probably earn it. Certainly don't feel shy asking for anything special from them, they will be handsomely rewarded.
 

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Can u give me a quick call I down on what and how u did it with them? I know u have to go to the Customs office and get the 4457 form filled out but curios on what else? Also anyone ever fly with their suppressor? If u list the serial numbers on the forms could u?

Roy
If you’re in SW PA you’ll just need to call CBP at Pittsburgh airport to make an appointment. Print out a 4457 with correct expiration date and get it signed in the year of your hunt 2023. Very easy process, just the make, model, serial number of rifle is all you need. It’s takes about 5 minutes at Erie’s airport. You can list scope and accessories too if you choose to, might be good idea with suppressor, but I would list it on a separate 4457. All a 4457 is is a declaration that you owned it in USA before you left. It’s not exclusive to firearms.
 

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Pre covid I arranged my own travel. I have made two trips post covid and with all the extra, I won't travel without using Jennifer Ginn at Travel Express. She has handled hiccups and travel problems quickly and easily on both a trip to Namibia and South Africa. We also used Rifle permits this last trip over and it was beneficial.

You are close to Kanati Taxidermy in Harrisburg. They have recommended using Fauna and Flora for their import items.

I too am using Tom at Trophy Shippers for my next RSA trophies that were (are being) completed in South Africa.
 

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@Rtsj I've had taxidermy done both in South Africa and in the US. Equally pleased with both.

The only caution I will add about having it done in the US is be sure the taxidermist you choose has done African game before. If all they've done is North American game either find a different taxidermist or have it done in South Africa.
 

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AND buy medical/evacuation insurance from Ripcord or Global Rescue. On my first Safari a month ago, I fell on some rocks and broke a rib the second day of the hunt. Although the hospital bill in Port Elizabeth was only $75 US (imagine that!) for x rays, Dr. consultation and RX drugs, it could have been much worse though. They drive like maniacs in RSA, so the odds of being in a serious wreck are much higher than normal. Buy it (mine was $360 for 12 days from Ripcord) and have a peace of mind. Have a great African Safari!
 

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I use gracy travel. Very important to have a travel agent as they know which airlines are gun friendly.
Heading to the Eastern Cape next June for my first Safari and have some questions and hope u fellas may be able to answer. I really want to take my own guns and plan on using an outfit over there called RiflePermits. Lots of stuff needed and seems to be worth it but really have no clue what is involved and how hard it is. Also plan on using a travel agent. Either Travel With Gun(TWG), Travel Express or Gracy travel. Is it worth the travel agency? Recommendations?

Also wanted to ask about Tips. What is acceptable on say an 8k safari for the outfitter? Do u tip Skinners, trackers, cooks, cleaning/laundry ladies?

Shipping trophies home? Plan on having my taxidermist here I’ve used for 30 years doing the mounts. Do u use a shipping agency to get hides/horns back home? Just get pack/dip? Get stuff tanned?

Appreciate the time and patience in reading and thank u guys in advance for any insight and advice!

Oh yeah should include my list of trophies I would like and guns I plan on taking.
Kudu, Nyala, Gemsbuck, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, and Zebra

Rem 700 custom 6.5Prc with either 127LRX or 124 Hammer Hunters and a Sako Custom Deluxe 375H&H shooting 270gr Hammer Shock Hammers. The 6.5 will have a TBAC Ultra 7 on it.

Thanks Roy Schmidt
 

375 Ruger Fan

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@Rtsj Roy, you have a great list of questions and most of the topics are well covered is several existing threads. The "Search" function, located in the upper right portion of the screen is your friend! Also, look below the last posting in this thread and you will see a list of "Similar threads."
 

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Recently having been there I highly recommend Travel Express, Jennifer is wonderful to work with. RIFLEPERMITS, worth every penny and absolutely use them. Meet and greet is worth the extra fees in addition to the preapproved permit.

Just bring the .375 and leave the 6.5 at home. Those animals are tough and can take a lot of killing. Since you have the time, get a second scope for your .375 all sighted in and go hunt. Have a great time!!!
 

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Travel agent? YES! If you hit an unexpected snag they can get you sorted out a lot easier than you can. Such as having to reroute mid trip with the your rifle through a country that requires paperwork for the gun. I used Gracy, not knocking others. With them you are met and breezed through with your gun, both ways, arriving and departing.
One thing I will do next time is an international plan on my phone while there. Otherwise it’s just a camera unless you have Wi-Fi then you can check emails and maybe text, I could with my iPhone my wife couldn’t with hers, not an iPhone.
Be sure to check out shipping costs. Taxidermy is a known, shipping can and has changed dramatically. Also, taxidermy back here may not be practical for you. In my case, my local taxidermists are one man shows and they are having trouble here sourcing forms and supplies. One just told me that this past Saturday. Also, how long does it take them to do even one shoulder mount? It’s a year wait here for one deer.
 

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Heading to the Eastern Cape next June for my first Safari and have some questions and hope u fellas may be able to answer. I really want to take my own guns and plan on using an outfit over there called RiflePermits. Lots of stuff needed and seems to be worth it but really have no clue what is involved and how hard it is. Also plan on using a travel agent. Either Travel With Gun(TWG), Travel Express or Gracy travel. Is it worth the travel agency? Recommendations?

Also wanted to ask about Tips. What is acceptable on say an 8k safari for the outfitter? Do u tip Skinners, trackers, cooks, cleaning/laundry ladies?

Shipping trophies home? Plan on having my taxidermist here I’ve used for 30 years doing the mounts. Do u use a shipping agency to get hides/horns back home? Just get pack/dip? Get stuff tanned?

Appreciate the time and patience in reading and thank u guys in advance for any insight and advice!

Oh yeah should include my list of trophies I would like and guns I plan on taking.
Kudu, Nyala, Gemsbuck, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, and Zebra

Rem 700 custom 6.5Prc with either 127LRX or 124 Hammer Hunters and a Sako Custom Deluxe 375H&H shooting 270gr Hammer Shock Hammers. The 6.5 will have a TBAC Ultra 7 on it.

Thanks Roy Schmidt
Roy, you certainly have asked lots of questions and for a first timer are well versed in knowing what to ask. Seems that my brothers who have already responded have given you excellent advise and covered your issues. I’d like to add and stress the importance of having a good outfitter and secondly that he has good PH’s. Travel agent is worth the money and got me home on my last trip when the airline cancelled the return flight 12 hours out. Good luck, great hunting and hope we cross paths in the bush. Cajun Hunter
 

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