sestoppelman

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One of the things I struggle with is thinking I am good to go on day one, when I know I am not. This has cost me a few FUBARS over the years. Especially if on malaria meds. I get completely ruined for 2-3 days by the air travel, not all do but it affects me greatly. So if you are at all prone to jet lag, try to resist the temptation to do much shooting right off. You might save yourself time, embarrassment and money.

If you have something, a specific animal that keeps you awake nights, try to avoid shooting it on your first day. Either you will mess it up, as I have done a couple of times, or even if you get it and alls well, you will feel like you cheated yourself by getting your top critter out of the way too soon. Sometimes the PH likes to have the client take that special critter right off, as it takes some heat off of him. Its your safari, not his. Do it the way you want.
 

Newboomer

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Buy the best heavy duty gun case you can afford: Pelican, SKB, Tuffpak and use good 4 digit combo locks. No keys to lose and they are bulletproof. Instead of name tags stencil your name and phone number on the case on at least three sides. Same for ammo cases. Ammo has to go separately in RSA.
Use a good travel agent who is familiar with African travel. @Travel Express is tops.
New rule: ammo has to be in factory boxes. Verify with your travel agent.
Get the appropriate vaccinations for the area you are hunting.
Check out a rescue service, ie: Global Rescue or Ripcord.
Take extra game tags for targets of opportunity.
Check the weather reports for the time period you are hunting and pack accordingly.
Try to arrange payment by wire. Credit card fees are expensive.
 
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Tra3

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Learn to reload and shoot again without taking your face off the rifle or eye off the scope.
Practice means 100’s of rounds. Not just a few boxes to make sure the gun is on.
Do bring shorts to hunt in, but don’t forget gators.
Take more pictures than you think are necessary, because even if you double or triple your photo count, there will still be a bunch of things you forgot to take a photo of. You will want the photos when telling about the hunt. Your hunting buddies will gladly listen to the whole hunting story as you drive west across North Dakota for your Fall season hunt.
 

fourfive8

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Good suggestions in this thread! I'll second the caution about jet lag and stress... getting from here to there is like torture you have to pay for. You may find that adrenaline and excitement carry you for a while. But getting into a good sleep routine when there is important. The trips where I can quickly get into a good sleep routine in camp always seem to flow better with a lot less stress.

Relaxing around that boma fire in the evenings, you may find, is as enjoyable as the actual hunting. To give the best chance for a relaxed, stress free trip- might consider a longer stay... maybe 10+ days. I know there are quite a few 3-5 day "package deals" out there but in the end given the logistics, long flights and difficult travel, you may have a hard time even remembering a short, rushed trip afterwards!

Plan for flight delays and foulups so always a good idea to leave PLENTY of connection time between flights. After long flights and the stress of getting to say JNB, I have always enjoyed spending the first night there then continuing on to other destinations after a good night's sleep.

After a week or more in camp, the process has to go in reverse. This is in many ways the most difficult part of the entire trip- no more adrenalin and maybe some exhaustion has set in. But the same details of travel come to bear for all the connections and TSA/Customs interactions, etc. and you will be expected be aware and thinking straight. Also for whatever reason, seems many flight schedules on the return flights to the US are set up for no overnight lay over which can lead to no sleep for periods in excess of 48 hours (if you're like me and can't sleep on a plane). Ugh. Talk about zombie! Might pay to plan an overnight lay over on the return trip also. For me, it takes anywhere from a week to 2-3 weeks to get over the jet lag after one of these. The jet lag lasted at least 4 weeks after my last trip.
 

kevin masters

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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.


My brother and I arrived in joburg on a four day weekend, our 2 1/2 hour drive to the Limpopo became a five hour drive!
Have you ever seen a three lane highway with six lanes of traffic? then watch them narrow back down to go through a toll!
Lmao!
 

Shootist43

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Bring appropriate cold weather clothes. At 73 with physical challenges I knew I would be hunting from a blind more often than not. Not moving ment blood flow was decreased. I got colder than I wanted to be. I needed warmer undies for the morning hunt.
 

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My have already been mentioned but I've had fellow hunters in RSA get a huge mobile phone bill when they got home. Check your carrier's costs for international calls, wi-fi calling isn't always available. I use onesim.com's sim card and buy minutes and data. I've had the same card for six years and just recharge it for an upcoming trip.
 

Royal27

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Totally agree with those talking about practicing reloading. Make it automatic so you don't even think about it. One of my proudest moments was a PH telling me to reload and being able to tell him I already had and quickly enough that he didn't even realize it.

I don't totally agree with "trust your PH." I'd say trust, but verify. And it's not easy for a first timer to do.... The client is still ultimately responsible so make sure that you and the PH are aligned in expectations.

I've both shot an animal without ever seeing horns because I trusted the PH that much and passed on a shot because I didn't. For me, both were the right decisions.
 

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All good advice here. I don’t think I can add anything that hasn’t already been said. I know I get pretty wound up with whatever my top trophy is on my hit list on a particular safari. RELAX! It will most likely happen for you to get a shot. Your PH wants you to shoot everything on your hit list.
 

meigsbucks

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Bring appropriate cold weather clothes. At 73 with physical challenges I knew I would be hunting from a blind more often than not. Not moving ment blood flow was decreased. I got colder than I wanted to be. I needed warmer undies for the morning hunt.
Tangent to this, last year in Namibia, we encountered a strange cold front that had night time temps around freezing and day time temps ten to twenty degrees below normal. I only wore shorts, two days out of ten. In fact my PH, who evidently always wears shorts, wore long pants most days.
 

Eric Anderson

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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.
It cost me less to do two trips to Africa taking zebra, wildebeest, impala, and 2x Blesbock than one guided Elk hunt in Idaho.
Cape Buffalo on the other hand... I think I spent about 12k including airfare but not taxidermy.

For things I have learned the hard way on my three trips.
1. Book a hunt before you get off the plane in Jberg with a rifle, I am sure SAPS is still laughing about me...
2. Soak your cloths, all of them, in permithian, then let air dry.
3. Bring chewing tobacco if you have this vice. You can’t buy in in RSA.
4. Make sure you know transport regs for every layover. My first trip, I had to leave a rifle in RSA because I had a two hour layover in the UAE, and needed an import permit.
5. You don’t need to overpack. I have friends in RSA that I usually bring stuff for. Last year I brought 45lbs of children’s books. Because of weight limitations, I only had my carryon to hold all of my personal effects excluding rifles. I was fine.
 

Philip Glass

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The number one problem discussed here on AH is travel issues with guns. Most of these problems can be avoided by using a travel agent that specializes in travel with guns. It is so easy to click a button and buy a plane ticket and we all do it. Many of us also use airline miles to buy tickets. These are both a bad idea in most situations where guns are going with you!
Regards
Philip
 

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An absolute must to take along is gun oil lubricant. Clean the action and ammo every night. The amount of dust kicked up in the dry conditions get into every part of your rifle. I neglected this and it cost me a kudu when my gun jammed. I will give details in my hunting report in a few days
 

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An absolute must to take along is gun oil lubricant. Clean the action and ammo every night. The amount of dust kicked up in the dry conditions get into every part of your rifle. I neglected this and it cost me a kudu when my gun jammed. I will give details in my hunting report in a few days
That's a good shout. I always take a dry microfibre type cloth, one presprayed with a SMALL amount of WD40 and a boresnake.

After a hunt at lunch time and at the end of the day, pull your rifle through to remove any crud in the barrel, wipe the exterior and action with the dry microfibre to get all the dust off and then wipe over with the LIGHTLY oiled cloth.

Obviously the more oily the cloth, the more dust will stick so don't go nuts with it, you aren't protecting from water on most African hunts (I hope) it's just to keep the action smooth and to get rid of sweaty hand marks and fingerprints or blood.
 

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Your PH is there for your hunt not your taxidermy. We use Cradle of Man and have had 0 issues. As stated before practice shooting from sticks. Trust your PH, do your paperwork (4457) get your ducks in a row. Have a list of top to bottom animals , tell your PH what you want. As a U S outfitter we are not mind readers. These people want your business and all that I personally know are very good at what they do.
 

curtism1234

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Know what type of sticks you will be shooting from and practice with that type or bring your own. Your rifle may have a finicky bedding problem that you don't know about.
 

Ruan Bouwer

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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...

I completely disagree with point 11. Do your research properly beforehand and you'll be fine - you won't have to worry if you do proper research. Highveld Taxidermists is one of the best, if not the best taxidermy in the world. The Saudi Royal Family do all their taxidermy work there. Anyone who knows Africa well, especially PH's and Outfitters will tell you Dieter Ochsenbein is a master at what he does. It will cost you less to do your taxidermy work here and get it shipped to the states and the risk is higher of losing trophies or skins when 'dipping and shipping'. Highveld Taxidermists' work is unequalled - they won't let you down and you can track your trophies' progress online. I would rather get it done by them, they even do American trophies. That's how trusted they are.
 

Ruan Bouwer

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It cost me less to do two trips to Africa taking zebra, wildebeest, impala, and 2x Blesbock than one guided Elk hunt in Idaho.
Cape Buffalo on the other hand... I think I spent about 12k including airfare but not taxidermy.

For things I have learned the hard way on my three trips.
1. Book a hunt before you get off the plane in Jberg with a rifle, I am sure SAPS is still laughing about me...
2. Soak your cloths, all of them, in permithian, then let air dry.
3. Bring chewing tobacco if you have this vice. You can’t buy in in RSA.
4. Make sure you know transport regs for every layover. My first trip, I had to leave a rifle in RSA because I had a two hour layover in the UAE, and needed an import permit.
5. You don’t need to overpack. I have friends in RSA that I usually bring stuff for. Last year I brought 45lbs of children’s books. Because of weight limitations, I only had my carryon to hold all of my personal effects excluding rifles. I was fine.

Point 3 - you can buy chewing tobacco in RSA. I live here and I smoke pipe, cigarettes, take a snuff here and there on a hunting trip...you certainly can buy it here (y)
 

firehuntfish

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It will cost you less to do your taxidermy work here and get it shipped to the states and the risk is higher of losing trophies or skins when 'dipping and shipping'.

I would certainly agree that there are now more options than ever for quality taxidermy and reputable trophy preparations in Africa these days. There is certainly nothing wrong with having your trophies fully mounted as finished taxidermy in Africa provided that you find a reputable, well-established taxidermist as mentioned.

From the perspective of a foreign hunter, I would add that there is a legitimate concern over having finished taxidermy done in Africa. The client really has no practical recourse if there is a significant problem once the crate arrives home. The costs and logistics will make it both impractical and inconvenient to ship the finished work back if there is any kind of problem. That is why the process of selecting a quality, reputable company to do the work is so important in avoiding problems and disappointment down the road. I also recommend to any safari client considering having finished taxidermy work done in Africa to try and create an opportunity to visit the facility and view the work at some point during the safari before you leave Africa if at all possible..

As far as any "higher risk" associated with losing trophy parts that have been dip & packed versus finished taxidermy, I have to disagree. In closely working with hundreds of safari clients over the last 16 years, I have never found this to be the case... As it goes with the same vetting process one would use in selecting their outfitter, it comes down to researching and selecting a quality dip & pack facility. Almost every African taxidermist also offers dip & packing, and every dip & pack facility does finished taxidermy, or at least works with a taxidermist that they can recommend. Find a reputable company, check reviews & references, and you should have no problems regardless of the level of work you are having done with your trophies.

Trophy care, taxidermy, and the preparation of your trophy parts after the safari is in my opinion, the most overlooked aspect in planning a safari. Many safari clients take this part for granted and then become unpleasantly surprised when they are confronted with unexpected issues long after their trophies are in the salt.

I strongly recommend to my clients that they consider their trophy prep options before the hunt, and research the trophy after-care process as much as they would when selecting the outfitter himself. You can start the vetting process with your outfitter and who they recommend... Every outfitter will have a dip & pack facility and/or taxidermists that they will recommend. In most circumstances, the outfitter's recommendation may indeed be your best option. However, it is important to realize that you, as a client, have the option to use any taxidermist or dip & pack facility of your own choosing. You are not obligated to use the one recommended to you by your outfitter. And, any reputable outfitter will make arrangements to work with any taxidermist or dip & pack facility of your choosing provided that the logistics allow for it.
 
 

 

 

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