Semi-last minute tips and pointers for first time safari

Dave Zimmerman

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So as some of you know, ive posted a couple times about planning for my first African Safari March 18-28th in South Africa with Numzaan Safari with one of my best friends who won the safari at an Auction in Barrow Alaska where he lives.

Im looking for tips, pointers, and advice on surviving the plane ride over, the hunt itself, and the long haul back home. Ive broken down things into sections and am putting my current plans/thoughts in each...so feel free to give me advice or your thoughts on something if its correct, needs adjusted, or you have better ideas for those who have gone before me on this journey!

-Planning to take on flights:
Since im planning to leave airport in Doha and they don't seem to have luggage lockers to store carry-on, it means its gotta go with me the entire time in Doha so I got a nice backpack that fits in carry on size but has plenty of storage. As a backpacker, it fits comfortably and has tons of storage and was just $21. Planning to take my laptop and a soft sided case of DVDS to watch (in case the inflight doesn't work or doesn't have good selection). Also planning to take my tablet with games on it, my ipod loaded with music, phone of course, and a book. Got a set of noise canceling headphones for Xmas for this trip and also will be packing travel pillow, eye mask, earplugs, and collapsible water bottle with some snacks. Does this sound like enough things to survive the longest flight of my life to date?

-Way over:
Im flying American from KC to Chicago, then Qatar from Chicago(13 hours) to Doha Qatar for 10 hour layover, then Qatar from Doha to Johannesburg(8 hours). The layover im thinking of as an added bonus to this trip since I land at 4:25pm and don't fly out until 2:20am. From what ive read, the layover time is enough to leave airport (pay the $27-30 US for visa) to take a taxi ($20-30 roundtrip) to the Souq Waqif shopping area to wander around taking it all in with a little shopping for souvenirs, eat some local food, smoke some shisha, grab some coffee, and relax before the next leg of my flight. Ive been told to make sure to allow even extra time before my next flight as Middle Eastern airlines im told board early and don't hold planes because you are still in security line. My DOH-JNB flight leaves at 2:20am so im planning to be back at airport no later than 11pm to ensure plenty of time. My thought is a few souvenirs to bring home and relax while walking around after the 13 hour flight. Whatever I buy has to fit in my carry-on backpack with my other gear, so it should help keep me on budget and not go crazy in Doha.

-Safari itself:
We are scheduled 5 days of hunting and due to budget, I am limited on what I can hunt. If we don't shoot 2 animals its $260 a day charged, so taking 2 is the plan. With a $500 credit towards trophy animals, im planning to take an Impala ($550) and then seeing what Africa throws as me. Things like Warthog ($525), Springbuck ($860), Bushbuck ($860), porcupine ($325), Blesbuck ($625) are all on my list due to budget...saving my dream animals for another trip to get a Kudu. My buddy is in same boat as planning to take 2, possibly 3 animals...but his #1 is porcupine for some reason. In looking at cost for taxidermy and shipping, it isn't worth it to me to mess with it just for 1-2 sets of horns (which I can buy replicas of back here or buy almost identical measurement actual horns already in US through company in FL for under $85 a piece). I know about the VAT on not exporting the animals and im fine with that. Already reviewed packing


-Way home:
The Outfitter offers to take us to a flea market on way back to airport to shop for free. In reviewing posts on here, im told Cambanos is best place to shop and the outfitter has agreed we can stop there for no additional cost since its on way back to airport already. In reviewing their online store and looking at prices, it seems fair and they accept US dollars or Credit cards. Trinkets for family and friends purchased there...things like wood carved, art, and other items are on list. Im told to try to avoid animal products since the risk to have them confiscated isn't worth the possibility to bring home (warthog/Springbuck bottle openers are one im thinking). My checked luggage should have plenty of space with the clothes from hunt and already planning to thoroughly secure it with multicolor zip ties and straps to prevent stuff from being stolen while in S.A. airport.

Any advice, pointers, suggestings, and ideas would be helpful as im just at 48 days from wheels up on this first Africa hunting trip...with me traveling there 100% solo.
 

Jaws

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Id suggest to get plenty rest.

Your trip already is quite "busy" with what you plan to do. No fun in getting to your destination & you are exhausted. Jet lag will get you some way or another & the activities during your hunt wont make it easier.

I'd be weary of strange foods prior to an exciting trip...but thats just me. I'd hate to get sick of something I ate & drain my energy levels further.

I dunno what your customs are like, but most of the time first world countries have issues with untreated wooden or animal ornaments and souvenirs.

Good luck with the hunt & have fun!
 

Hunting Sailor

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Just a thought about having electronics in your carry on going back to the US. A while ago quite a few airports had to stop any electronic device larger than a cell phone to be onboard. Something about TSA not approving the procedures in the different airport for US bound flights. Not sure now which airports and I don’t know if it is still in force, it’s been a while. Just thought I’d give you a chance to check it out.

Enjoy the trip and the time with a friend in the veld.

//Gus

Edit: The airports were in the Middle East and part of North Africa IIRC.
 

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If you're traveling the same route on your return trip, suggest you get those souvenirs on the way home. Most first timers soon realize they've brought double what they really need.
 

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I always pack enough clothing in my carry-on to last at least 2 days in case the airline "misplaces" my check through. Happened my trip to Africa..... Also things like range finder and bino's always travel in my carry-on. I don't want someone to misplace them if the suitcase is checked. A while back there were some video's of zippered check through bags being opened and some contents stolen. For that reason my check through is hard sided with latches and a lock....
Ask about mosquito and tick repellent. Also don't forget the sunscreen. Easy to get burned if your fair skinned and don't get out in the sun much. Take some anti diarrhea meds with you just in case. Make sure you are shooting off of sticks on a regular basis. You should keep a pair handy at home and dry fire 10-20 each AM and PM. Muscle memory and remembering to squeeze the trigger. Don't want to lose a poorly hit animal and have to pay the trophy fee and we never want the animal to suffer unnecessarily. I'm sure some of the others will chime in, but that's a start.
Bruce
 

Dave Zimmerman

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If you're traveling the same route on your return trip, suggest you get those souvenirs on the way home. Most first timers soon realize they've brought double what they really need.

Unfortunately I cant shop in Doha do that on way back, as my layover is just 2 hours and that is tight. Only things im thinking of getting in Doha are smaller things or things I cant get in S.A. (middle eastern spices/trinkets). Also plan to throw a collapsible bag in my carry on if I need it to have 2nd carry on, since ill be able to if needed to move stuff around.

Luckily im using outfitters rifle, so no need on that stuff. Only thing going in my checked luggage is clothes for trip, 2nd pair of boots, and toiletry stuff.
 

CAustin

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So as some of you know, ive posted a couple times about planning for my first African Safari March 18-28th in South Africa with Numzaan Safari with one of my best friends who won the safari at an Auction in Barrow Alaska where he lives.

Im looking for tips, pointers, and advice on surviving the plane ride over, the hunt itself, and the long haul back home. Ive broken down things into sections and am putting my current plans/thoughts in each...so feel free to give me advice or your thoughts on something if its correct, needs adjusted, or you have better ideas for those who have gone before me on this journey!

-Planning to take on flights:
Since im planning to leave airport in Doha and they don't seem to have luggage lockers to store carry-on, it means its gotta go with me the entire time in Doha so I got a nice backpack that fits in carry on size but has plenty of storage. As a backpacker, it fits comfortably and has tons of storage and was just $21. Planning to take my laptop and a soft sided case of DVDS to watch (in case the inflight doesn't work or doesn't have good selection). Also planning to take my tablet with games on it, my ipod loaded with music, phone of course, and a book. Got a set of noise canceling headphones for Xmas for this trip and also will be packing travel pillow, eye mask, earplugs, and collapsible water bottle with some snacks. Does this sound like enough things to survive the longest flight of my life to date?

-Way over:
Im flying American from KC to Chicago, then Qatar from Chicago(13 hours) to Doha Qatar for 10 hour layover, then Qatar from Doha to Johannesburg(8 hours). The layover im thinking of as an added bonus to this trip since I land at 4:25pm and don't fly out until 2:20am. From what ive read, the layover time is enough to leave airport (pay the $27-30 US for visa) to take a taxi ($20-30 roundtrip) to the Souq Waqif shopping area to wander around taking it all in with a little shopping for souvenirs, eat some local food, smoke some shisha, grab some coffee, and relax before the next leg of my flight. Ive been told to make sure to allow even extra time before my next flight as Middle Eastern airlines im told board early and don't hold planes because you are still in security line. My DOH-JNB flight leaves at 2:20am so im planning to be back at airport no later than 11pm to ensure plenty of time. My thought is a few souvenirs to bring home and relax while walking around after the 13 hour flight. Whatever I buy has to fit in my carry-on backpack with my other gear, so it should help keep me on budget and not go crazy in Doha.

-Safari itself:
We are scheduled 5 days of hunting and due to budget, I am limited on what I can hunt. If we don't shoot 2 animals its $260 a day charged, so taking 2 is the plan. With a $500 credit towards trophy animals, im planning to take an Impala ($550) and then seeing what Africa throws as me. Things like Warthog ($525), Springbuck ($860), Bushbuck ($860), porcupine ($325), Blesbuck ($625) are all on my list due to budget...saving my dream animals for another trip to get a Kudu. My buddy is in same boat as planning to take 2, possibly 3 animals...but his #1 is porcupine for some reason. In looking at cost for taxidermy and shipping, it isn't worth it to me to mess with it just for 1-2 sets of horns (which I can buy replicas of back here or buy almost identical measurement actual horns already in US through company in FL for under $85 a piece). I know about the VAT on not exporting the animals and im fine with that. Already reviewed packing


-Way home:
The Outfitter offers to take us to a flea market on way back to airport to shop for free. In reviewing posts on here, im told Cambanos is best place to shop and the outfitter has agreed we can stop there for no additional cost since its on way back to airport already. In reviewing their online store and looking at prices, it seems fair and they accept US dollars or Credit cards. Trinkets for family and friends purchased there...things like wood carved, art, and other items are on list. Im told to try to avoid animal products since the risk to have them confiscated isn't worth the possibility to bring home (warthog/Springbuck bottle openers are one im thinking). My checked luggage should have plenty of space with the clothes from hunt and already planning to thoroughly secure it with multicolor zip ties and straps to prevent stuff from being stolen while in S.A. airport.

Any advice, pointers, suggestings, and ideas would be helpful as im just at 48 days from wheels up on this first Africa hunting trip...with me traveling there 100% solo.

Dave PM sent
 

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Your list of stuff for the plane ride is way to long. They will serve bottled water. So will your outfitter. Unless you need to laptop for work reasons, leave it home. At least Delta has a wide range of entertainment available on board and included.

Simplify. But look at your cost of getting there and back vs. the critters you plan to hunt. Back off the souveniers and shoot another critter;)
 

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Your list of stuff for the plane ride is way to long. They will serve bottled water. So will your outfitter. Unless you need to laptop for work reasons, leave it home. At least Delta has a wide range of entertainment available on board and included.

Simplify. But look at your cost of getting there and back vs. the critters you plan to hunt. Back off the souveniers and shoot another critter;)

+1 ^^^^^
I bought a bunch of souvenirs the first year, a royal PITA lugging that stuff around the terminal and on the aircraft. Last year I purchased zero souvenirs. It'll be the same this year. I suggest refrigerator magnets, the ones that have the country you are in and are made in China.:LOL:
Yeah, and waaaay too much electronic stuff. Think about what hunters took with them BEFORE all this tech bullshit was invented. The answer is a book, magazine or newspaper and they got by just fine.

Having said all that, be mindful that all of your planned itinerary can go down the shitter in a nanosecond. Africa isn't Kansas, Toto.:D
 
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fourfive8

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5 days will be blur. That is a very short safari indeed! Don't worry about the flight- it's long and uncomfortable no matter what you do. I always pay a little extra and get a comfort upgraded seat on the long legs- going and coming back. WELL WORTH the extra $. I take a small extra blanket and slippers in carry on. Put on my slippers and make a small "theatre" with the blanket over my head and over the pull-up video screen on the bulkhead comfort seat and enjoy a few movies in between napping. Also use the blanket to try to make a comfort "nest" to get in some small naps. Although sleeping on an airline, sans business/1st class, is nigh on impossible for me.

Then the souvenirs?? You might ask your PH or outfitter ahead of time if any of the camp staff or their families make crafts. I've picked up some pretty neat stuff that way- buying directly at camp. Try to get real crafts not "Africa-esk" stuff made in China! Take time and get pictures of everything not just dead animals- locals, other guests, camp, camp staff, etc. I particularly like visiting with camp staff. No need for very many changes of clothes- you'll probably get daily laundry service in camp. Make sure your foot wear is good. Take and use some sunscreen if needed. Depending on when and where you go it can be very cold- especially first thing in the morning- take a good windbreaker with a couple layers. I like to take a few of those extra large bandaids- very handy for the odd cuts and scrapes.
 

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You are without a doubt more adventuresome than I am. I prefer staying at the safest place possible when in a foreign country. That is generally the airport. The money you will be carrying for Tips, Taxes etc. are several years wages for most of the locals. They will not mind lightening your load.
 

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If my hunt was only five days and no rifle, I wouldn't even check baggage. A maximum size carry-on and a backpack would be it.
And yeah, don't leave the airport and don't wear your hunting clothes or anything camo on the plane and don't look like a dumb American tourist, the one wearing a baseball cap with an AR on it.
 
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fourfive8

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Oh, be a good idea to practice some shooting off the sticks :)
 

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good luck have fun.
one think I might suggest is see if the outfitter will lower that rate a bit on a porky $325 seems a bit much for a porky. 1st safari my buddy and assistant Ph kid chased one around and beat the shit out of it with clubs no moneys were metioned for a porky. PS it was a hoot to watch after a few beers.
 

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Get your local Rand here in the US from your bank. Figure out how much you will need in tips to all but the outfitter and PH who mostly will accept US dollars gladly. The locals usually don't have any place to change the US dollars to Rand. Also if you are going to go to a flea market for trinkets I believe that the Rand will be better than dollars.
 

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