SOUTH AFRICA: NB Safaris In SA - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (Hunt Report)

OkieCajun

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Thank you Okie, we had a specially great day today with 3 amazing hunters from Kentucky! Let’s work on setting your dates and lining up a hunt worth writing a report on!!!
Attached a photo of the Warthog late this afternoon SA time.
Be in touch!
Looking forward to it! Actually sending you an email today to start discussing.
 

Neil Barnard

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Looking forward to it! Actually sending you an email today to start discussing.
Got is Bryn, your reply should be with you! Going to be an amazing Safari! Your hunting plans are right up my alley!

7DBA96E3-D966-4EFD-9785-8A802295295A.jpeg
 
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Hogpatrol

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NB, Good that you guys made a deal but one has to remember the collateral damage to the entire RSA and other countries' hunting industry. When prospective first time Africa hunters read this sort of thing,, it's "Hmm, I wonder if it's worth it"?
I hope ALL the outfitters reading this thread learned a lesson. DON'T AIR YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC. You will not win here and you will at the very least lose your reputation and some business. Right, wrong or indifferent, EAT THE LOSS AND MOVE ON! Aside that, dealing with Americans (can't speak for our Canada brethren) is a whole other ballgame. We pay our money and we expect to get what we pay for. You can call it the AMAZON effect. Don't like it? I want my money back.
I'm done.
 

mark-hunter

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"Hmm, I wonder if it's worth it"?

Three years ago, being then a prospective future first time african hunter, I did not think twice on that question.

Yes its worth it!

I can say this after two hunts

Bottom line, when considering practical risks after successful hunt for me was:

- budgeting, when it comes to shipping prices
- possible damage of trophies for any reason, shipping, field preparation, rough handling, or whatever....

But came to educated conclusion that it all happens in very small percentage of cases. There is at least 95% chance the trophies will be delivered good.

And, my first motive - I went for experience! Experience cannot get damaged. So worthiness of risk, largely depends on motive

Of course, trophies are secondary motive for me, but experience is what matters.

On receipt of crates, I had both times minor damage on the sculls but nothing that I could not fix with glue by myself. salted skins were OK.
Possibly, when considering dip and pack, smaller risks is on sculls, rather then on skins in case they were poorly field prepped.

DON'T AIR YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC. You will not win here

In fact, I am divided on this one.
There have been cases of either side "winning", on this forum.

But when the problem hits public space, lesson to be learned is that "winning side" is the one with better arguments, better evidence (emails & text mesages recorded), more flexibility and more honesty, and both sides should be willing to compromise to have win-win end result.

From my point of view, this forum (thanks to moderators) kept its integrity even in cases when sponsors are concerned, and I am not aware of any other similar public portal keeping this level of integrity.
 

Mort Hill

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Being in business, and sales, I have one abiding rule: the customer always come first. Or as some folks say, the customer is always right. Have I lost money on some deals to make things right. Absolutely. But I also have a customer base that has stayed with me for over 35 years, and the net result has been by far that the positives dwarf the negatives. Treat the customer like I would want to be treated, be responsive, timely, fair, and above all else, keep the emotion out of the deal. Do I sulk home and lick my wounds some days, for sure. But in the end, the strength of maintaining my customer relationship far outweighs the pound of flesh I might get in the short term. Basic business 101 and much easier to do in private business than in the corporate world. Congrats to NB for making good with the client and for ending up with a satisfied customer.
 

Countrylife

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My :S 2 Cents:
When I look for reviews of a business that's been around for awhile, I expect to see some negative reviews. If I don't, that raises a red flag for me. I focus on the negative reviews to see if the complaint is "reasonable" and what the business's response to it is.

In this case the complaint seems justified and the business appeared to delay a response long enough hoping that the complaint would just disappear without having to settle. Eventually it got settled favorably, but it was a painful process. It ended up costing the outfitter more than the client asked for and drug the settlement out and thru a public forum. While there are many positives that were mentioned about the outfitter, there's also the taint that if something goes wrong, it will be difficult to get it fixed. Someone once said that people's perception becomes reality. So, perception is something that has to be dealt with.

Being in a public forum is not necessarily a bad thing. Just be sure you've got all your -stuff- together before posting. There was one complaint on here about a bear hunt that I remember where the hunter was determined to be at fault and the outfitter was absolved of any wrong doing. So it goes both ways.
 

Gerry Addison

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To put some closure to this saga, I’d like to say that Neil has made good on the offer he proposed and sent my dad and I both a check to refund part of our taxidermy bill. As he posted earlier, he sent me twice what I originally requested and has connected us to White Lion Safaris where we’ve been offered 7 days of hunting, including a gemsbok, at not charge. I’m still waiting to get the specifics from Ricus, the owner of WLS, but everything I read and hear about him and his operation point to him being a stand up guy. So, I’m confident that we’ll be able to work out a highly satisfactory deal with him. My dad and I are currently discussing taking them up on the offer and heading back to SA in the future.

A lot of lessons were learned here, and although we took a wide detour to this final destination, I’m happy that we were able to resolve the issues in the end.

White Lion Safari is a great place and Ricus is 100% a stand up guy. You will enjoy him and his wife.
 

Jeffrey Masters

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Really glad this worked out for the client, and for the outfitter. I followed this report with interest because I am a businessman and have dealt with this kind of thing a few times. I learned quickly that the best way out of a bad situation is to end it quickly if possible. Neil, I am glad you finally conceded. In all honesty, you had no chance of winning the argument. As you found out, the court of public opinion is a mean bitch. As for not airing dirty laundry, I have mixed feelings. Ideally, it should have never gotten to this point. Had NB made the conciliatory effort immediately, none of this would have seen the light of day. As it is, what we are left with is an honest, open, and incredibly transparent forum that can be accessed by all. To me, a little dirty laundry keeps the entire process open and honest. That is why I value the opinions of those who post here consistently. There is a lot of wisdom on this forum, and I would like to thank those who made it that way, and strive to keep it so. Instead of scaring off potential hunters, I think this "dirty laundry" might just inspire some confidence in them. Kudos to all! Now, time for a rock glass of Bourbon, with just a single clear cube of ice.:D Booze:
 

Dawg2019

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@Dawg2019 being that this is your first day and you had a good hunt, please do post your own hunt report so we can read it. You can understand why legacy members find it unusual or shall we say 'comical?' when 'new' members pop up for a day or two when posts such as this arrive...

@Neil Barnard thank you for your post. However, in regards to the taxidermy, would you be happy with that work and hang it in your lodge? If I saw them in that condition I would not opt to use that taxidermist. I would suggest going forward and as stated by @Hogpatrol you need to take care of that up front to save business. Those mounts done by the taxidermist and bromer of your request have too many flaws to not correct. That should be absolutely remedied right away by you, the broker, and taxidermist. As I stated, my taxidermist in RSA paid 100% for a ship back, rework, and te ship, all goes covered. Guess what, they will get business again as they truly took care of their customer and my outfitter was involved in the whole process.

I have posted a report my of my hunt on a different thread, you can find it here. Hope you enjoy the read. Yes, I’m new to the forum and to Africa hunting, February was my first safari. But now that I have dipped my toe in and caught the addiction more trips and posts are on the way.
https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-first-safari.53345/#post-579735
 

Newboomer

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Glad to see it worked out to everyone's satisfaction. A lesson I learned many decades ago in my business was when you get a complaint, don't delay in acting on it. As we found in this thread, the longer the delay, the more difficult the solution. Usually, the client has a legitimate gripe or he wouldn't have said anything. In that case the businessman is on the hook. It is his ethical responsibility to discuss and pay up. He has no recourse when presented with credible evidence. A reputation is a precious and very fragile thing and is easily damaged or destroyed by just one wrong move.
 

SSGBIV

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This seems to have worked out well, and I'm glad for all parties. And as part of the bargain, AH seems to have gained a few more members, at least one of whom has posted a pretty interesting hunt report. So good all around.
Thanks Hank, I'm working on another hunt report as we speak!
I too am glad this worked out for all parties. It seemed from the very beginning that two reasonable people would be able to come to an amicable solution.
As entertaining as all this was, the solution was always quite simple, and reading between the lines, would have been achieved off-line had there not been a third party stirring the pot with the intention of causing just this sort of public fight. Even once this post was written, the back-and-forth and coming to terms between the Outfitter and Client would only have taken 2 or at the most 3 pages of these comments. Add in the 4 or more pages of angry and counter-productive posts and comments by @Deleted member 15212 and the inevitable bashing of new members by the perpetual AH Flash Mob, and you have what we've got here.
@Aaron, I remember your first trip to Africa in 2019. You and your grandfather hunted with NB Safaris. Wasn't TJ your PH that time? Your grandfather bought you a decent buffalo, and a porcupine in addition to the common plains game that a first-timer always shoots, the impala, zebra, blue wildebeest...
You were such a nice guy; everybody liked you. What happened to you? How did you become so bitter and accusing? Why were you working so hard in this thread to prevent an agreement between Neil and Jeff?
Ten years ago, your grandfather was buying you an African Safari, today you are selling hunting packages. Awesome that dreams can come true.
You made a pretty big deal here of a fallout you claim you had with Neil regarding some lion pelts. It must have really made you angry, as your bitter and mocking tone suggest you are still not over it. Why then did you arrange this hunt for your friend Jeff with the same Outfitter that you obviously have bad blood with? Something doesn't smell right...
 
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Gater

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@SSGBIV - I don’t even know where to begin. Clearly you’ve got some external motivation by digging up this thread after 2 months just to bag on @Deleted member 15212. And why? What’s your vested interest? Have you even met Arron? It’s weird because you’re trying to tell his story as if you were there on his 1st Safari and remember it like it was yesterday. How and why would YOU have so much detail about Aaron’s 1st trip to Africa....unless you were talking to someone who was actually there. Strange.

Maybe you should come clean and stop acting like you’re nothing more than a satisfied NB Safaris client - why don’t you tell everyone how you’re actually a business partner of Neils and have a vested interest in his success. Isn’t it true that you’re invested in an animal breeding business with Neil? Doesn’t SSGB stand for Select Species Game Breeders?

For you to dig up information about Aaron’s 1st trip to Africa with his grandfather (who has since passed on) from 10 years ago and how he was satisfied then and question his motives because he and Neil had a falling out is idiotic and classless at best. Stuff happens between people and circumstances change. And to question why he’d arrange a hunt for friend with an outfitter he had bad blood with?! Are you serious? We booked something like 18 months in advance. Obviously whatever happened between them happened between when we booked and our actual trip. And if you want the truth - Aaron didn’t say a single discouraging word to me about Neil or NB Safaris between their falling out and my trip. He later told me he specially didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to taint my experience at NB Safaris or put preconceived notions in my head. What happened was between him and Neil and he didn’t involve me. That’s a pretty classy move if you ask me.

like I told Neil - Aaron had nothing to do with this review. He didn’t even know I wrote it until just before I posted it. To assume that Neil couldn’t possibly have an unsatisfied client without the “meddlings of aaron” make you sound like a GD Scooby Doo villain! I too was a satisfied NB Safaris client - until I wasn’t! And to assume that I’m not capable of seeking satisfaction without being prompted by Aaron is insulting.

Neil has gone out of his way to blacklist Aaron with anyone Neil deals with, so it sounds like you’re just a puppet in the continuation of Neil’s anti-Aaron propaganda campaign. And actually, the more I think about it, I think it’s highly likely that Neil originally had no intentions to satisfy me as a client because of the fact that I know Aaron and he probably assumed Aaron was the driving force behind my dissatisfaction. Aaron didn’t get involved in the situation until he posted in this thread - my original communications with Neil, as found in my original thread, had ZERO influence from Aaron. And to say that Aaron’s comments caused this to drag on for more than 2 or 3 pages is again idiotic and classless.

And seriously, you’re not doing NB Safaris any favors by digging up this thread and bringing even more attention to it. So why don’t you stick to your own NB review threads where you can tell whatever stories you want about your experiences. I think it’s quite clear you’re needlessly digging yourself deeply into a situation that doesn’t concern you - and should make anyone with a brain even partially capable of critical thinking suspicious of your motives. Your level of concern in this matter is what doesn’t smell right...
 
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SSGBIV

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First let me say that I have been very open about my friendship with Neil Barnard. My very first hunt report posted to this site https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-a-great-day-at-nb-safaris.53056/ identifies Neil as a good friend. It’s my friendship with Neil that gives me a vested interest in his success, not my antelope breeding hobby. (No it can’t be classified as a business, because by definition a business makes money.) Since I only spend money on my antelope, that still puts me in the category of friend/client/hobbyist.

Next, I didn’t have to “dig up” information about Aaron’s first African safari, because I was there. Thanks to the guidance of TJ, my PH, and the generosity of Neil, my Outfitter, I was blessed to harvest the South African “Spiral Slam”, along with a nice 29 7/8” Waterbuck, right after Aaron’s party left. And I do remember it like it was yesterday.

I don’t mind answering you, Jeff, because this is your thread. I purposely left off posting comments in here, even though there were some glaring red flags, until you and Neil came to an agreement on your own terms that satisfied both of you. I know that wasn’t easy to do for either one of you to do under the circumstances, in full public view, with the peanut gallery as well as those with their own undisclosed motivations egging you both on and muddying the waters. There were several members who congratulated both of you on your successful outcome, just as I did. Some of them added their own postscript or epilogue without being criticized, but apparently, I’m not to be afforded that opportunity.

This recalls a hunt I was on recently, where I was tasked with providing some meat for the camp staff. The Rooibok were plentiful, and I selected a decent ram that was running with about 20 ewes. Each time I stalked within range and lined up on the ram’s shoulder, he would dance away and take cover within the females. This happened at least five times. I would stalk the herd, gain a firing position, then the crafty ram would melt away and there would be no shot. At first, I credited the ewes with protecting their herd ram, thinking they were purposely moving in to frustrate my attempts at turning their man into biltong. Then I realized that the clever Impala male was purposely stepping behind and within the safety of his herd each time he sensed danger.

I have no doubt that @Deleted member 15212 could come and speak for himself if he were so inclined. But perhaps he’s busy skinning another caribou. He certainly wasn’t too busy to call you up and give you a list of talking points, which inadvertently reveal quite a bit more than I’m sure he intended. For instance, how is it that you know so much about my animal breeding “business”? Well, obviously from @Aaron. But how is it that HE knows? Could it be that he seduced Neil’s former office manager? And now he is disseminating information subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement? What other information or documents were smuggled out of that office in the preparations to launch their own “adventure travel company”?

Thanks for disclosing that Aaron feels that Neil has gotten him “blacklisted”. That actually goes to answering some of the questions in my first post. But I don’t think Neil or anyone else would need to go out of their way to have Aaron “blacklisted”. Aaron’s business ethics or lack thereof speak for themselves. And businesspeople in Africa are neither blind nor stupid.
 
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Gater

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@SSGBIV you’ve truly got delusions of grandeur and sound like a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks @Deleted member 15212 is out to ruin NB Safaris from any angle he can.

You obviously like to tell stories - you should take up fiction writing - you’re clearly already skilled at it the way you describe fantasy plots unfolding.

With your snarky, classless remarks and insatiable need to talk about yourself in seemingly every opportunity, there’s clearly no need to converse with you any further. So, this will be my last reply to your comments.

Neil and I settled our issue. The issue and thread had died. YOU are the one who resurrected things and you’re not painting a very favorable picture of what people can expect from “good friends” of Neil.

Neil and I buried the hatchet - sounds like it’s time for you to do same.
 
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