I want to start my post with an analogy:
Now I say this with love but my wife is a bit of a "penny pincher" - always looking for the best bargain she can get.
A couple of weeks ago we undertook the 200 mile journey to the big city to find her a SUV as replacement for hers that was destroyed by a fire here at our house a few months ago... As usual; she was looking for the best "bargain" she could find whilst I was looking for the best "deal" we could get - even if it cost more... We "hunted" for cars on the internet and literally looked at hundreds of them... And after two days of searching I said to her: "Honey, it seems you want a $30K car but you're only prepared to spend $15K!"...
Well, we ended up buying the Jeep she liked for $20K instead of the one I thought was the best value for money for $25K...
En route back from the dealership, 10 miles before we reached our gate the Jeep broke down. Now we're sitting with a broken Jeep on our ranch during the Christmas holidays and we need to plan on having the Jeep towed back to Johannesburg when the dealerships open up next year. This endeavour is not only going to cost us money in terms of towing costs, fuel and accommodation in Johannesburg, but we're also going to have to face the "fight" with the dealership when we get there... PLUS we're sitting with the frustration of having a vehicle that is not driveable!
The moral of my story?
In researching Outfitters for your hunt...
- DO NOT look for the best bargain you can find. Look for a reputable one that you can afford.
- Some of the special deals offered over here and on other forums by reputable Outfitters are excellent value for money but some of the "deals" may end up costing you more in heartache and disappointment after the fact...
- To set up a decent safari outfit costs money and to keep it running costs even more money. Beware of the Outfits that only offer special deals / packages...
- Rather make contact with a few well-established Outfitters who can provide you with references of recent and non-recent clients. Ask these clients and Outfitters the questions you want to ask, compare the answers you get from each one and and see who you can build a rapport up with.
- And once you've identified the Outfit that you want to hunt with, book your hunt, sign your contract and go enjoy your safari.
With 17 years experience in the Safari Industry and having run my Outfit successfully for the past 10 years I do consider myself to be reputable so I'd be happy to provide you with current and past references and answer any questions you may have - starting off by saying that:
- We do not hunt any small areas
- Fenced hunting does not = "canned" hunting
- And if your quest is for the plains game species you've mentioned we have the game available in good numbers in our areas in Limpopo Province and the Eastern Cape.
Lastly; yes - this is a sales pitch - but I hope that whoever you end up choosing you'll find the right Outfitter to not only meet but exceed your expectations of an African safari.