Taxidermy References In South Africa

yhc

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As it stands now, I am planning to go to South Africa this May for my first safari. I will be traveling with a couple of my hunting buddies. We are currently debating whether to dip and pack then do taxidermy at home or get the taxidermy work done in African then ship them back.

A couple of taxidermists mentioned by our outfitter are:
  1. Trophex Taxidermy
  2. Highveld Taxidermy
Any experiences, good or bad, with either of these 2 taxidermists? When I looked them up, it appears there were a few negative info on Trophex from a few years ago and mixed reviews on Highveld. If you have any recent dealings with them, please let me know.


Regards.
 

MarkB

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Sorry SA but I also say dip and pack, then have done closer to home, even at home vet your taxidermist like an investment. Read some other posts on here as to what does and can go wrong.

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I agree with what the other guys have been saying. I personally have not used either of those taxidermists. I have had my animals sent back to the states to be mounted. On the flip side though if you do the work in South Africa then you help put more money into the South African economy. This helps provide jobs and income for the folks over there. There are many good taxidermists here in the US though. I just wanted to add my two cents into the conversation.
 

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Totally disagree with you guys. There are great taxidermists in South Africa, and bad ones, just like here in the USA. Here are two I have used with great results:

Colletts Wildlife Artistry in Pretoria and Bulawayo. Great mounts and the best leatherwork I have seen from any taxidermist anywhere. He has the big booth in Dallas with all the fantastic leatherwork. I believe that his campaign chairs are the finest available anywhere. There are two in my office.

Nico van Rooyen in Limpopo. Check out the work in Peter Flacks books. Much of it was done here. Katerina who runs the biz, wrote the taxidermy section in his buffalo book. Best buffalo mounts I have seen anywhere, period.

Taxidermy is cheaper in Africa, shipping mounts is more expensive. I’ve done it both ways. I believe that the cost is a wash. The best mounts I have were done by the two listed above, hands down.

Another consideration, all wood is African teak, US taxidermists typically do not have access to wood of this quality.
 

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The big problem with having it done in SA is what happens when there is a problem? Are you going to send it back to them?

You should make a decision fairly quick this close to your hunt. Also you might want to use a importer to jump through the USFW hoops for you. Then there might be the problems with what you are planning on bringing home such as a warthog or a primate
 
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Totally disagree with you guys. There are great taxidermists in South Africa, and bad ones, just like here in the USA. Here are two I have used with great results:

Colletts Wildlife Artistry in Pretoria and Bulawayo. Great mounts and the best leatherwork I have seen from any taxidermist anywhere. He has the big booth in Dallas with all the fantastic leatherwork. I believe that his campaign chairs are the finest available anywhere. There are two in my office.

Nico van Rooyen in Limpopo. Check out the work in Peter Flacks books. Much of it was done here. Katerina who runs the biz, wrote the taxidermy section in his buffalo book. Best buffalo mounts I have seen anywhere, period.

Taxidermy is cheaper in Africa, shipping mounts is more expensive. I’ve done it both ways. I believe that the cost is a wash. The best mounts I have were done by the two listed above, hands down.

Another consideration, all wood is African teak, US taxidermists typically do not have access to wood of this quality.
I completely agree with you. I just don't have a lot of experience with South African taxidermists. But I have seen some amazing work from them, just don't know the companies that well.
 

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I will never have another mount done in Africa! Just been burned to many times now. Euros probably OK (they seem to over boil them and then paint the horns...I hate both!), but never another mounted head! Just my bad experiences!
 

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Thank you everyone for your input.

Regards,
 

Anthonyt42

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It's a toss up. For cost and detail. Been happy both ways but don't care too much for minor details. but skins and rugs I'd do 100% in africa.
 

WAB

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I completely agree with you. I just don't have a lot of experience with South African taxidermists. But I have seen some amazing work from them, just don't know the companies that well.

The two I recommended will not disappoint.
 

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but skins and rugs I'd do 100% in africa.
I fully agree with this part. It’s much cheaper and same quality. I will have my mounts done at home, but any rugs or skins tanned there. Also you don’t have to pay a dip and pack fee either.
 

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My last rug, a zebra showed up in the crate but it was missing the felt??? My replica tusks showed up and the bases were not there. Bases were sent many months later and only after many bitch sessions. No felt got me a refund of some cost. I have a few more examples, jaws not straight, bases made with some plastic substance and more. I am sure there are good and bad taxidermists on both sides of the pond, I have a great one at home but have yet to find one in the 3 African countries I have hunted.

MB
 

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I’m sure WAB’s recommendations are top quality, but my concern at most African taxidermies is who is actually doing your work? In the United States you select a taxidermist to do your work. From what I’ve seen in Africa you select a taxidermy owned by a taxidermist, but the black staff is doing the majority of the work with limited involvement from the taxidermist. If you give them a leopard or high value animal I’m confident the taxidermist will be fully involved, but for a basic animal like impala, hartebeest, gemsbok etc their involvement is limited. I’ve seen too much marginal and varying taxidermy work in Africa to not use my dependable taxidermist at home.
What is your reasoning for wanting it done in Africa? Do you think it will be less expensive or do you think the quality will be better because familiarity with the animals?
 

WAB

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I’m sure WAB’s recommendations are top quality, but my concern at most African taxidermies is who is actually doing your work? In the United States you select a taxidermist to do your work. From what I’ve seen in Africa you select a taxidermy owned by a taxidermist, but the black staff is doing the majority of the work with limited involvement from the taxidermist. If you give them a leopard or high value animal I’m confident the taxidermist will be fully involved, but for a basic animal like impala, hartebeest, gemsbok etc their involvement is limited. I’ve seen too much marginal and varying taxidermy work in Africa to not use my dependable taxidermist at home.
What is your reasoning for wanting it done in Africa? Do you think it will be less expensive or do you think the quality will be better because familiarity with the animals?

I used Nico Van Rooyen for a truly outstanding bull. This shop is highly regarded for their buffalo mounts. They have more experience with buffalo than any other shop I have come across stateside or otherwise. They just know the animal. Peter Flack’s buffalo book gives you a very good idea of their quality.

Steve Collett is a US trained Zimbabwean. Stop by his booth the next time we get to Dallas. A flip through his gallery speaks for itself. If you are wondering what to do with leather, he’s your guy. Ammo slides, belts, duffles, purses.
 

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I've been on 5 safaris and have experience both ways. First time I had it done there. Four animal total. Kudu, impala, Blesbuck shoulder mounts. Nyala full body mount. That was 2008 at Safari taxidermy. Bill was around $4,600. Shipping was $2,600. The Nyala had a rub mark down its side from a 1"x1" that although bubble wrapped still damaged it. What is my recourse? Send it back?

The next year the wife and I shot 8 animals. Dip and pack was $720 and shipping was $975. My taxidermist isn't one of those guys that charges a lot more for African game versus North American. I would say anywhere from $500 to $750 a mount. So for me, it's cheaper to do them here and the quality is the same. I won't have them done there again but to each his own.
 

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I used Nico Van Rooyen for a truly outstanding bull. This shop is highly regarded for their buffalo mounts. They have more experience with buffalo than any other shop I have come across stateside or otherwise. They just know the animal. Peter Flack’s buffalo book gives you a very good idea of their quality.

Steve Collett is a US trained Zimbabwean. Stop by his booth the next time we get to Dallas. A flip through his gallery speaks for itself. If you are wondering what to do with leather, he’s your guy. Ammo slides, belts, duffles, purses.
I will check them out. I will say this, one of the best Taxidermists I’ve seen was in South Africa, but he knows it and only takes select work. If I ever get a leopard he will be the one doing it.
 
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i had 2 excellent experiences with Nambian taxidermist and unpleasant experience with RSA taxidermist. My PH was from Bots and relied on recommendation for RSA that went bad fast. So if your PH doesnt have 100% confidence in your taxidermist ship and dip.
 

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