First Timer African Safari Common Mistakes To Avoid

AfricaHunting.com

Founder
AH ambassador
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
11,097
Reaction score
5,432
Website
AfricaHunting.com
Media
5,580
Articles
319
@BRICKBURN and @AfricaHunting.com. The following is a suggestion/idea. During the past few weeks this is twice now where one of our members on their first hunting trip to Africa has ran into problems while trying to carry guns for family members or other members of their hunting party. Why can't AH just make it a posted "recommendation" that all members to hunt Africa for the first time carrying their own rifle/s with the exception of juvenile members of the party, obtain the paperwork and carry their own cased rifle/s from the beginning. It seems this would eliminate many first timer headaches. For members that have been before and learned the ropes, this would be totally unnecessary. Just a thought!
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.
 

gillettehunter

AH legend
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
3,439
Reaction score
3,236
Location
WYOMING
Media
83
Hunting reports
Africa
6
USA/Canada
3
Asia/M.East
2
Australia/NZ
1
Hunted
Namibia, Kyrgyzstan(2) South Africa(4) New Zealand Zambia(2)
Not practicing enough off sticks.
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
 

Adrian

AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
784
Reaction score
1,231
Media
257
Articles
3
Hunting reports
Africa
6
Europe
1
Hunted
England year round and Namibia x5.
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.
 

Mekaniks

Gold supporter
AH elite
Joined
Jan 20, 2014
Messages
1,543
Reaction score
2,653
Location
Seward, Alaska
Media
73
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
7
Australia/NZ
1
Member of
SCI, RMEF
Hunted
AK, WY, WA, ID, FL, SD, TX, HI, South Africa- Northwest Province
Not practicing enough off sticks.
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.
 

Ryan

AH elite
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
1,013
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
Media
64
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Africa
2
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.
 

Hogpatrol

Silver supporter
AH ambassador
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
5,570
Reaction score
11,566
Location
Delaware, USA
Media
74
Articles
4
Member of
Atglen Sportsmen's Club, NRA ,SCCFSA, Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club
Hunted
RSA, DE, NJ, PA, KS, TX, ME
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.
 

JPbowhunter

AH fanatic
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
816
Reaction score
898
Media
50
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Australia/NZ
6
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.
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?
 

Hogpatrol

Silver supporter
AH ambassador
Joined
Apr 13, 2013
Messages
5,570
Reaction score
11,566
Location
Delaware, USA
Media
74
Articles
4
Member of
Atglen Sportsmen's Club, NRA ,SCCFSA, Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club
Hunted
RSA, DE, NJ, PA, KS, TX, ME
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?
Depends on the taxidermist. Euro mounts and skins can be reasonable. Shipping is the killer.
 

Ryan

AH elite
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
1,013
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
Media
64
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Africa
2
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?
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.
 

Gsxrmike

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 7, 2013
Messages
149
Reaction score
194
Location
Texas
Media
8
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life member, SCI, DSC
Hunted
Zimbabwe, USA
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.
 

LivingTheDream

AH legend
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
2,255
Reaction score
3,159
Media
19
Hunting reports
Africa
3
USA/Canada
1
Europe
1
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.
 

postoak

Bronze supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
685
Reaction score
398
Location
Texas
Media
30
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
2
Member of
Life member NRA
Hunted
U.S.A., R.S.A, Namibia
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.
 

slam8031

AH fanatic
Joined
Apr 6, 2013
Messages
606
Reaction score
509
Location
sc, usa
Media
27
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA, SCI
Hunted
rsa
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...
 

Ryan

AH elite
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
1,013
Reaction score
1,219
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
Media
64
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Africa
2
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.
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.
 

JPbowhunter

AH fanatic
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
816
Reaction score
898
Media
50
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Australia/NZ
6
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.
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.
 

Brent C

AH senior member
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
57
Reaction score
51
Media
30
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Not practicing enough off sticks.
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
 
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Enjoy the bush with Respect
20 day hunt in May 2022 with Zana Botes hard part now starting the wait
Better a fool on his own than a wise man at someone else's discretion
... F. Nietzsche
perry madl wrote on Ignatius of Antioch's profile.
Is your double still available?
I am interested in Safari Animal Paintings
 
Top