First Timer African Safari Common Mistakes To Avoid

Discussion in 'Safari Planning Guide' started by AfricaHunting.com, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Thank you for the suggestion @sierraone!

    I thought this could be a great idea to start a thread that is like a road map for first timers to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls. In this thread members can put their thoughts and suggestion from personal experience or from patterns that they have observed from posts made on the site. I think we could link to some of those threads/posts to show first timers what not to do.
     

  2. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Not practicing enough off sticks.
     
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  3. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Gotta practice. Practice getting on the sticks and a shot off withing 5-6 sec. Carry a rifle that can do the job at hand with ease. You can kill an eland with a 6.5 CM but you might loose him and owe the trophy fee anyway. Use common sense. Use a premium bullet that is up for the job at hand. There have been multiple bullet discussions over the years on here to refer to.
    Over packing is another problem. Virtually everybody does laundry daily. 3 sets of clothes is usually plenty.
    Knowing who you want your animals to go to for taxidermy or dip and pack. Could have a thread all alone about that. Also know ahead of time what kind of taxidermy. Whether its Euros or full body or shoulder mounts.
    New form 4457's for firearms for import into RSA. Make sure the form doesn't have a date earlier than your trip that they may consider a "expiration date". Duplicates of travel and firearms documents. Have several copies in case of loss of any important papers. For a first timer its best to arrange for a service to go through the rifle import process at Jo-berg. Other places you may not need it.
    Have Whatsapp downloaded to your phone and your PH's mobile number. Sometimes there are mess ups about days on pickup at the airport.
    Good broken in walking/hiking/hunting shoes. Good socks. Don't want blisters if your walking 3 plus miles a day. Sunscreen is a must. Sunburns can take the fun out of a trip. A good hat to shield you from the sun. Clothes with pemethrin on them if hunting where ticks and mosquitoes might be a problem. The East Cape has plenty of them in May. Ask me how I know.....
    Take a few extra of any medications that you are taking. Delays can happen. Trip insurance is something to consider too.
    I'm sure there will be plenty more tips added to this thread.
    Bruce
     

  4. Beretta391

    Beretta391 AH Senior Member

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    Practice with a full mag on the sticks just like you’re hunting. Learn to cycle your rifle with it on the sticks as fast as you can.
     

  5. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    Agree with the over packing thing Bruce mentioned I've been four times and always take back clothes I never wore.
    Take spare clothes in your hand luggage and wear your (broken in) hunting boots on the plane, then you will always have them should your luggage go AWOL.

    Practicing shooting and hitting the bull on a range is good but practice muscle memory so your rifle comes up and you squeeze a shot off fast.
    No point being able to hit the bull ten times out of ten if you are taking minutes over aiming.
    Be proficient with getting ten shots in a three inch circle quickly, not ten shots in a one inch circle over fifteen minutes.

    Don't put pressure on yourself or your PH. Relax and enjoy your hunting and what the hunt offers you. Have animals you would like to hunt in mind of course but take everything in.
    Don't get so focused on just killing something, look at the birds, the insects, the reptiles and savour the sights and sounds and smells and enjoy it all.

    Take a journal and take notes at lunch and in the evenings so you remember what you did and what happened on a particular day. It will help when you get back here and type up your hunt report. Days will blur into days.
     

  6. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Yep. And I would add to take it one step further. Take your gun hunting before going to Africa.. Too many of us buy a new-to-us-rifle for our Africa hunt and hunt with it there for the first time. Nothing can replace getting familiar with a rifle like actually using it. Loading and unloading, carrying it on the sling, how the safety works, how the scope looks in low light, recoil, ect ect.... Take it hog hunting or whitetails, or exotics or whatever. It dosen't matter just getting familiar with it, building muscle memory and confidence.
     
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  7. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Read your contract.

    Understand what is covered by your outfitter and what is not. Every deal on this site tells you what the outfitter covers and what they don't. Anything on the don't list is yours to take care of, look into it early. Don't make any assumptions.

    One of the biggest one I have heard people forgetting or assuming it's covered is taxidermy. Your outfitter's job revolves around your succesful trip while you are there, but what you do with the trophies is your call. If the outfitter has suggestions or preference on dip and pack, transporter and even taxidermist look into them contact them and make your own decisions. Also realize taxidermy is usually a substantial cost of the trip.
     
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  8. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Don't go right before, during and right after an election.
     
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  9. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Check your destination country's holidays. I was at Joburg airport on some RSA long weekend holiday. Security lines were miles long, restaurants were jammed and to say the airport was mobbed is an understatement. Trying to navigate with gun cases through the chaos wasn't fun.
     

  10. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    When you say taxidermy is expensive are you talking the actual taxidermy or just the fees and costs of shipping? For e.g. are euros and or skins still going to be expensive?
     

  11. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Depends on the taxidermist. Euro mounts and skins can be reasonable. Shipping is the killer.
     

  12. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Overall cost. The work there, the shipping and any work done wherever you are. It's obviously going to vary depending on how many animals and what you get done. A couple skull mounts and tanned skins on the low end and several head mounts on the high end. But in the end it all adds up.
     
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  13. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    So bearing that in mind, is Africa really a more "affordable" hunt than other options? The more I look into it the more expensive it all seems.
     
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  14. Gsxrmike

    Gsxrmike AH Veteran

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    Don’t overpack your bags. This goes for your wife too. SAA is very strict about weight, especially travel in Africa, and the check-in agent may take a dislike to you so don’t expect any passes on the weight. Think about how to deal with it like wearing your boots (A good idea anyway so they can’t get lost) and carrying your camera on your shoulder. You can wear your jacket too instead of packing it. With the camps doing daily laundry service you really don’t need many changes of clothing. Three is plenty. Take some twenty-dollar bills for tips to help avoid any “delays” with your bags or guns.
     

  15. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Elite

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    Thinking it is a "once in a lifetime trip". Its not. Just go with 2 or 3 animals in mind, take what Africa gives you and enjoy your time there. You will be back and there will be a next time, no need to put pressure on yourself.
     

  16. postoak

    postoak BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Taxidermy cost is more than just taxidermy cost. There is the "dip and pack" (some people call it "dip and ship" but I think that is a misnomer) charged by the African taxidermist. Then the shipping fee, then the import fee, then delivery fee to your taxidermist, and then, finally, your local taxidermist's fee.
     

  17. slam8031

    slam8031 AH Enthusiast

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    1). get airfare and travel with guns squared away
    2). get a new 4457 form (with this year's info)
    3). don't overpack--they wash your clothes
    4). take enough camera cards and camera equipment
    5). Take what the bush gives you!
    6). practice shooting and then do some more....
    7). Study the anatomy of the animals you are pursuing.
    8). Trust your PH in what to shoot...
    9). Relax and be patient--you are on Africa time!
    10). plan your return trip on the way home...
    11). determine to do the taxidermy in the states--you have no recourse if they do something poorly in Africa...
    12). skulls/euro mounts are cool also...
     
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  18. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    What options are you comparing it to? There's a lot of variables there. But in general for hunting multiple species internationally, yes. Heck, compared to locally for me in Alaska it's a big yes. That said I had a very wise man tell me his rule of thumb for a southern African plains game hunt was to double the cost of the hunt itself to get a good estimate of it's total cost from start to finish. That included 4-5 typical animals, airfare from Alaska and a mix of shoulder mounts and skull mounts. As I recall that worked out for me so I had no surprises.
     
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  19. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    In my mind I'm comparing it to other international hunts.

    It'd be unfair to use NZ as I know I can get there and back with trophies for under $2k AUD as I've done it several times.

    I'm trying to work out what the cost difference is going to be between say a western state diy hunt for mule deer and antelope with maybe say an otc elk or a bear for 3 weeks out of a tent compared to an unfenced African hunt for say eland, kudu and a smaller antelope or two.

    I like that rule of doubling the hunt, puts you on the safe side at least.
     

  20. Brent C

    Brent C AH Member

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    Agreed, that was the problem I had, I needed to practice more shooting off of sticks, seems simple, but it was different than what I was used to, I wasn’t consistently accurate with sticks
     
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