Planning First Safari

aOWENc

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Hello All,

It was nice to meet some of you on the welcomes page. I am hoping to gain some more information from all of you about planning for my first safari in general. Not to make a catch-all post, but I am very ignorant on most of the topics of hunting SA.

I was astounded by some of the prices one could go on a decent free range all inclusive safari for. They truly seem to be less expensive than a Western elk hunt here in the states. I still need to check for some of the forum sponsors, but a few package plains game outfitters seem to be Richard Holmes Safaris, and Tollies Safaris, both located in South Africa.

I will likely be shooting for a May 2020 or 2021 safari, as I am a college student now with big hopes of hunting some of these beautiful animals.

I would like to harvest a kudu or gemsbok, a blue wildebeest, and then any other species that you guys and gals highly recommend for a first time safari. (Gazelle, springbok, zebra)

I own and use a 300 Weatherby currently for big game hunting in the states, I am very comfortable using this rifle, but fear with its 4.5-14x40 Leupold scope it will have too much magnification on the low end. What would you all say about a Winchester Model 70, or CZ 550 in 375 H&H with a 2-12 Leupold VX6, or something of this nature? I realize the caliber may be excessive for plains game, but I feel that I would have plenty of time to shoot the 375 well, and practice off of sticks before my hunt. Plus I really want a 375!

My brother and dad will likely be going on this safari, and my dad seems to be a bit worried about hidden costs, vaccinations, and violence in SA. Can any of you give me any advice regarding these matters, or anything else to put me in the right direction for my first Safari?

All information will be very much appreciated. Thank you,

Alex
 

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aOWENc, it is never too soon to start planning. As far as pricing goes a PG hunt in Africa and a guided Elk hunt are about equal in price. However with the African hunt you are much more likely to bag the animals in your package. I too am looking at scopes for a 375 H&H as well as a 416 Rigby. However I'm looking at scopes in the 1-4X power range. I have a Nikon Monarch African 1-4X 20 with a No. 4 German Reticle on my 404 Jeffery and like it a lot. For my first safari in 2016 I got vaccinations for Hep. A & B although neither of my sons did. Violence for the most part seems to be an issue that can be avoided. I've been to South Africa twice with no concerns at all. Given the state of affairs one needs to keep abreast of what is happening at various locations. AH members are going to be "all over" any location having outbreaks of violence that might be detrimental to foreign hunters. The U.S. State Department and your outfitter are good sources of information.
 

aOWENc

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aOWENc, it is never too soon to start planning. As far as pricing goes a PG hunt in Africa and a guided Elk hunt are about equal in price. However with the African hunt you are much more likely to bag the animals in your package. I too am looking at scopes for a 375 H&H as well as a 416 Rigby. However I'm looking at scopes in the 1-4X power range. I have a Nikon Monarch African 1-4X 20 with a No. 4 German Reticle on my 404 Jeffery and like it a lot. For my first safari in 2016 I got vaccinations for Hep. A & B although neither of my sons did. Violence for the most part seems to be an issue that can be avoided. I've been to South Africa twice with no concerns at all. Given the state of affairs one needs to keep abreast of what is happening at various locations. AH members are going to be "all over" any location having outbreaks of violence that might be detrimental to foreign hunters. The U.S. State Department and your outfitter are good sources of information.

Thanks for the reply. I would also be looking at the lowered power scopes, but it seems that longer range shots can be the norm on some of these plains game hunts. While I haven't tried this particular scope, you might take a look at the trijicon 1-8x scope, it looks to be a very versatile and well made scope judging from the other trijicon products that I own. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Depending on where you hunt what distances will be involved. I've taken 10 African animals with the longest shot being 220 yards. Once you settle on an outfitter, he will tell you what distances your most likely shots will be at. Trijicon is located about 40 miles from me. I've looked at their products several times, just never purchased anything yet.
 
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Welcome aboard! I have a CZ550 in .375 and if I had to sell every other long gun in my cabinet I'd probably keep that one. It's easy to shoot, very accurate and not too heavy. As to your other questions let's put this in a college paper format. So Hidden Costs first. I went with Lianga Safaris and there were no hidden costs at all. They are the only experience I can talk about first hand, but I think most of the outfitters here would be on the straight and narrow with you. Now, on to vaccinations. I didn't have any, my wife didn't have any and we had zero problems. That isn't saying you won't but it is saying that it seems to pretty much be a "non issue". Unless your in a Malaria hotbed zone I'd wager you would be fine. Moving on to violence. This was a very, very big concern for my wife and I. In fact you can search my history, I think it was one of the very first questions I ever asked on this forum. When we got comfortable with the answers and the risks we went. Let me tell you we didn't see any violence at all. Tons of smiles, buckets of waves, lot's of friendly head nodding etc but not even a seconds worth of ill-will (except from one to another, the social structure is very interesting). I would say that the violence is very small and, further, you need to remember that criminals the world over want easy targets. 80 year old couple living alone in the middle of nowhere? Easy target. Hunting camp where you can 100% guarantee there will be firearms and people who know how to use them with no hesitation? Not an easy target.
As to additional advice: You won't believe me now, but let me assure you that this planning is actually going to be fun. You will talk to so many outfitters and meet so many people that it's like a whole new world. Remember that, in fact, it is a whole new world you are looking at. Once the red dirt is on your boots something awakens inside of you that just cries out for more, more more! So enjoy this. Also the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. The guys and gals on this forum are brimming with information and they are almost all willing and eager to share it.
If you have any other specific questions post them for us to see, or if your not comfortable with that P.M. me and I'll try to get you what you need to know!
 

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Enjoy the learning process.
 

aOWENc

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Welcome aboard! I have a CZ550 in .375 and if I had to sell every other long gun in my cabinet I'd probably keep that one. It's easy to shoot, very accurate and not too heavy. As to your other questions let's put this in a college paper format. So Hidden Costs first. I went with Lianga Safaris and there were no hidden costs at all. They are the only experience I can talk about first hand, but I think most of the outfitters here would be on the straight and narrow with you. Now, on to vaccinations. I didn't have any, my wife didn't have any and we had zero problems. That isn't saying you won't but it is saying that it seems to pretty much be a "non issue". Unless your in a Malaria hotbed zone I'd wager you would be fine. Moving on to violence. This was a very, very big concern for my wife and I. In fact you can search my history, I think it was one of the very first questions I ever asked on this forum. When we got comfortable with the answers and the risks we went. Let me tell you we didn't see any violence at all. Tons of smiles, buckets of waves, lot's of friendly head nodding etc but not even a seconds worth of ill-will (except from one to another, the social structure is very interesting). I would say that the violence is very small and, further, you need to remember that criminals the world over want easy targets. 80 year old couple living alone in the middle of nowhere? Easy target. Hunting camp where you can 100% guarantee there will be firearms and people who know how to use them with no hesitation? Not an easy target.
As to additional advice: You won't believe me now, but let me assure you that this planning is actually going to be fun. You will talk to so many outfitters and meet so many people that it's like a whole new world. Remember that, in fact, it is a whole new world you are looking at. Once the red dirt is on your boots something awakens inside of you that just cries out for more, more more! So enjoy this. Also the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. The guys and gals on this forum are brimming with information and they are almost all willing and eager to share it.
If you have any other specific questions post them for us to see, or if your not comfortable with that P.M. me and I'll try to get you what you need to know!

Thank you for the very informative reply! I will definitely be looking at the CZ. They seem to make great firearms for a fair price. Did you have any of your trophies mounted, and if so how big of an ordeal was it get them home?

Thanks again!
 
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Thank you for the very informative reply! I will definitely be looking at the CZ. They seem to make great firearms for a fair price. Did you have any of your trophies mounted, and if so how big of an ordeal was it get them home?

Thanks again!

100% agree on the CZ, my 80lb wife can use it easily. Our trophies have just begun the crating and should ship out next week. Doesn't seem to have been a hard process at all.
 
D

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If you go on a plains game safari, a .300 Weatherby Magnum will be fine for most shots on most animals. There may be a thick brush shot that your PH advises against that would be possible with a heavier caliber, and then you will need to back off and find another position, or make another stalk on a different animal. A .375 is better if you can shoot it well. It would punch through brush a bit more effectively, have more knockdown power, and give you an advantage if the shot is less than perfect. I have limited experience but grew to love my 9.3 x 62 and wrote a bit about it in a different post. For my hunt, a heavier caliber made a difference. And I would prefer the .375 for eland over a .300 WM (note that I have taken only one eland), although there are likely a thousand people on this forum who have taken them with far lighter calibers.

Your present scope is far too powerful. A 1x4, 1x5, or 2x8 would be better. But you may not use the capabilities. my PH asked me to set my variable power scope at about 2.5 x (the middle of its 1.25 x 4 range) and leave it at that setting. Messing with magnification while on the sticks can cause you to lose an opportunity, and he developed that approach after seeing people crank up the magnification for a long shot, and then forgetting to reset it lower and having a close shot later that day that went south because they could not find the animal in the scope at close range. And vice versa, although a low magnification can work at long range if you are steady.

This assumes that you will be hunting in bushveldt, where 200 yards is a fairly long shot. I have seen only a tiny part of Africa, and imagine there are places where the average shot is more than 300 yards. There, your present setup would be perfect. Ask your outfitter about the terrain and conditions to guide your choice. But no one will tease you if you show up with either rifle. Or both. But scope them correctly for the terrain.
 

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Welcome aboard and Good Luck but you better read this first.:whistle:

https://www.africahunting.com/threads/thinking-about-africa-read-this.43837/

In all seriousness, hunting SA is relatively easy. For first timers and repeat hunters, myself and others use and recommend Gracy travel. Hire their VIP and gun permit service and your trip will run like a Swiss watch. As far as outfitters, many good ones on this site. Shop around for a package deal that includes your desired animals.
 
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Travis2282

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Welcome, look at Namibia also it is a great destination with similar prices. I took a 300 win mag and a win mod 70 375HH on my hunt this year and decided to hunt exclusively with the 375. It wears a leupold vx6 2-12. My furthest shot was around 230 yards. Best of luck with your planning!
 

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I went with a guy this year who never hunted a day in his life but wanted to try it out. Over beers he asked what gun he should buy, and I said you can't go wrong with a 375 H&H, and the next day he bought a CZ550 in 375. The gun was a hammer, and he took some great animals, kudu, sable, blue wildebeest, and my other buddy shot an eland with it. You can easily switch to solids and shoot tiny ten. I thought the gun was a pleasure to shoot as well.

Have fun in the planning process! Get ready to start planning for the second one!

Also, don't worry about the violence and most places in RSA you don't have to worry about malaria or other vaccines. Enjoy!!!
 

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Welcome to the forum and the planning process. just one comment on South Africa, it is a lot safer than some places in the USA, so please do not let the crime rate here make you nervous. Once you are with your Chosen outfitter and in the bush you will not even know that there are crime.
Enjoy the adventure.
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aOWENc, would you go into the “rough” areas of Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, or any large other US city late at night? I won’t. Same in every big city in the world. The news has to keep us anxious in order to get us to watch it. No one watches boring every day news.

Don’t forget to look at the great info here at the top under “Safari Guide”. Excellent info.
Read all the reports by previous clients of outfitters. Some good insight.

I carried a 300WM my first trip. Worked great. Then the addiction for Africa struck and I got a 375 H&H. That is what I take. My 1-6x works for most anything although I have quick release mounts and a 2-12x which helped for the critical first shot on croc. I think it was turned to 8 or 9x for the 90 yard shot. Most plains game have a vastly larger target zone than croc. Personally I use to have nothing but a fixed 4x for the first 20 years of big game hunting. Worked on everything I pulled the trigger on when I did my part out to over 400 yards (antelope).

Best of luck in your planning and eventual first trip! I hope your family can go with you. It would make for a grand time!
 

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Welcome, we are based in Northern Namibia. Please give us an email and we would gladly assist you with any questions you might have.
 
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Most everyone who participates here started right where you are with a lot of questions. Planning a safari is half the fun and many of us are more than willing to help. I would suggest you read as many threads as you can which will give you an idea of the type questions you need to ask of yourself. Then you start digging into details of who, what, where, when and how. Best wishes for you on this journey
 

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Taxidermy is not a hidden cost but is is a cost you must pay close attention to or thing will get out of hand quickly. Just as an FYI it is not uncommon for the taxidermy cost to equal or exceed to cost of your hunt, this is especially true on first time PG hunts where you take 5+ animals on one safari. On our first safari the average cost of our shoulder mounts with everything included was $1300 each.
 

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^^^What Art says ^^^^. My first hunt, a PG package, was 2k less than the taxidermy and shipping cost. Not knowing they are now addicted to hunting Africa, I think one may have a tendency to go a little goofy on the first hunt. I know I did. I brought everything back. :rolleyes: :D
 
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Taxidermy is not a hidden cost but is is a cost you must pay close attention to or thing will get out of hand quickly. Just as an FYI it is not uncommon for the taxidermy cost to equal or exceed to cost of your hunt, this is especially true on first time PG hunts where you take 5+ animals on one safari. On our first safari the average cost of our shoulder mounts with everything included was $1300 each.

I just wanted to toss my two cents in here as well. Total agreement. The taxidermy ran, almost to the penny, as much as the hunt and that is NOT counting shipping! It's another half of a hunt to get everything from Africa back to your home. I didn't take that into consideration with my first PG hunt but, rest assured, next time will see more euro mounts, less shoulder mounts and a ton more pictures!
 

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Nice “meeting” you Rick. I made my first trip to S. Africa this year through Kuche Safaris. We had an incredible time. What outfitter do you use? Neal
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