First Timer African Safari Common Mistakes To Avoid

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

  1. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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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.
     
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  2. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2019

  3. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Enthusiast

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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.
     
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  4. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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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.
     
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  5. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    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!
     

  6. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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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.
     

  7. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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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.
     

  8. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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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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  9. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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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.
     
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  10. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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    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.
     
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  11. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Enthusiast

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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.
     
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  12. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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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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  13. Speedster

    Speedster AH Senior Member

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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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  14. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    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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  15. Mark haynes

    Mark haynes New Member

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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.
     

  16. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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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.
     
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  17. kgesch

    kgesch AH Senior Member

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    +1
     
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