I just completed my first African safari. Note I stated "first". The bug bit me bad... As with many of you, I have always dreamed of going on an African safari and when an opportunity presented itself, I took it. My wife and I attended a charity event where a safari was a live auction item. With my wife's encouragement, I agreed to bid on it and we eventually got the safari. I was thrilled! As far as how the hunt went, it certainly was an experience of a lifetime, but didn't always meet our expectations. Again, it was our first safari and we depended on the PH to set the agenda/pace of the trip. I won't burden you with too many details, but will list my pros and cons. What we would like to learn from this are the following: Have any of you had similar experiences or were our experiences isolated/rare? Was the fact that it was a donated hunt have any bearing on what we received or should it not matter? Pros: The lodge was quite nice though we never got to use it other than our rooms and the dining area. Most of the hunting areas met or exceeded our expectations and we had good, hard hunts. We did a few hard stalks where climbing rough terrain and long hikes were necessary. These were some of the more memorable times. Only one area we hunted resulted in no/little opportunities, but that's hunting. No harm, no foul... The quality of the food served was excellent. Plenty of fresh game and other dishes served at a buffet-style supper. They were generous with the SA wine as well. The staff were generally enthusiastic and pleasant. The trophies I got were all acceptable and one even exceeded my expectation. Cons: I typically eat breakfast, especially if I intend to have a physically exerting day. Since the PH does not eat breakfast, it was not an option; coffee and toast with some fresh fruit to take along was it. Though fresh fruit was offered throughout the day. Though the food at lunchtime was very good, we were expected to stand at the tailgate of the truck or sit on the ground. When we suggested bringing some folding chairs (lawn chairs), we were told we wouldn't be there long enough. He was right. Instead of taking a relaxing lunch break at midday, after we ate, we drove around looking for more prey; always unsuccessful. We did tell him prior to the hunt we were serious hunters and wanted to spend our time focused on hunting, not side trips, etc. The truck we initially took to the field was in need of servicing and got to the point where we needed to use another truck. When the first truck was again being used, they did not put the spare tire back under the truck and we had to stand on it along with the cooler and tool kit that slid around as we negotiated uneven terrain. My ankles/shins took a beating. Plus, the tire hanger bracket banged around as we drove. Suggestions to secure/move these items was met with "its not a problem"... We wanted to have a "traditional" safari as close to what could realistically be expected; the illusion of a Hemingway safari. We did not expect the PH and staff to be on their mobile phones/texting when in the field or be expected to shoot from the truck when a stalk could have happened. We also discussed with the PH that we adhere to Boone & Crockett's Fair Chase tenets and that we wanted true trophies. Nevertheless, we felt the pressure to shoot even when the animal was not on our list, when we felt is was not the best we could expect and when we were not comfortable with the shot. Stacking up a body count was not an expectation nor was having to listen to snide comments about not shooting and how expensive it is to run a safari operation. If we even suggested leaving the field early (we were gone from before sunrise until it was dark every day), it created an uncomfortable situation. One particularly annoying point was that, though the trackers/skinners were good at spotting game from distances I never could, they seemed to be less interested in the fundamentals of hunting as I have come to expect on other experiences; antelope, elk and deer hunting. They wore bright colored clothes and even some had bright white hats. Trying to blend into the surroundings or keep quite did not seem to be of interest to them or at times, the PH. They walked around behind/next to us as if they were on a nature hike. The concessions where we hunted required driving anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half each way. The next days hunt location was not always confirmed until the day/evening before. Sometimes we learned of the location that morning as we left. It changed what we were going to hunt that day. The PH seemed to be unprepared, but maybe that's the way it is in Africa. I always felt rushed and the need to follow a schedule. Yes, we told him we were serious hunters, but when my partner wanted to head back early (5 pm; he had a couple of long, hard stalks and it was rather warm that day), he was told no. On the day we left, it was all business and we felt were being pushed out the door. It was apparent the staff was preparing for the next hunt and were not available, but we felt they could have waited until we were gone. We left at 10:30 am. The last point was the expectation to tip everyone at the lodge including non-essential/routine workers such as grounds keepers. The suggested tips were printed out and given to us when we were settling up on the last day. It felt awkward. If most of these details are just part of hunting in Africa, I can adjust my expectations and deal with it. But, I will address these details in order to better adjust my expectations and have a more fulfilling experience. All said and done... I got a very nice Kudu and look forward to my next safari.