WARNING: Regional Air Travel Within South Africa

PHOENIX PHIL

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Just got back from South Africa last night. Internet access on this trip has been spotty and so I'm only getting a chance to write this now. But one not so pleasant surprise was our air travel from Joburg to Bloemfontein would not happen with our firearms.

As many on here I'm sure have experienced, when you fly from Tambo to most if not all of the smaller cities within RSA, you will have your weapons checked at the next airport. Why this is necessary is completely beyond me, but more on that later. As it turned out whoever was "qualified" to check a serial number against your SAPS issued weapons permit that performed this function at the Bloemfontein airport either was fired or quit shortly before my trip. We thought this was going to get worked out by the time we arrived however it was not. So no one would be available to perform this highly important function. As such, travel by air to Bloemfontein would not happen with our rifle cases. Ground travel had to be hastily arranged and we thus made it to our hunting destination via automobile. 6 hours of road travel however immediately following the long air travel was not exactly what we were looking forward to.

Now back to the why this is being done? I can only figure for money. If you've done this, you know that once you obtain your SAPS issued weapons permit, you will then go to the next SAPS office for them to check your rifles against the same permit and have them load your firearms (and ammo in separate container) on to your next flight. So if this process is to be trusted, why your rifle case would need one more check at the regional I can't figure. If you really were smuggling illegal firearms into the country, why would you take a chance via air travel of doing so once you're in the country? Would you not then take the safer route of using an automobile?

So two things:

1) Be forewarned if you have connecting flights within RSA and make sure all is working as expected at your final destination airport prior to departure. Fortunately PHASA was on this and Jacques @JKO Hunting Safaris was aware of things and we really didn't have any issues with getting to where we're going at least by road travel. But perhaps your outfitter is not aware of this, it is the busy hunting season now.

2) Per Jacques request, I will be composing a complaint email and sending that to Jacques. He will be forwarding that on to PHASA. Apparently at that point they will take the email to I think it was called the airport corporation (please correct me Jacques). @AZ KJ will hopefully do the same. This email will contain specifics regarding our trip, so it won't be useful as a general complaint email.

But I plan to create a second email from the first that would be. I would also include the appropriate person at PHASA to send it to along with their email address of course. Two emails from a couple of Americans likely would not be enough to bring about correction to this situation. However a few hundred or more may. So once this is done, I would ask that you simply copy/paste the email into your own and send. I should hope this would only take a few moments of your time. Even if you have no intent of hunting in South Africa, it will help.

I will update this thread when I have that ready. Hopefully sometime next week.
 

AZDAVE

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Welcome home Phil, thank you for the first hand information. Now on to your hunt report:D Pop Popcorn:
 

Hogpatrol

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BTDT, six times. The serial numbers can change in flight. :E Crazy:

Actually, this is AFRICA!!!!!:LOL: Logic and common sense don't enter in to anything here.
 

Newboomer

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Good to know. On my last three trips my rifles and ammo have always been checked by SAPS in Joburg and again in P E both coming and going. I have not had any problems with them connecting to flights either way. The problem may be unique to Blomfontein. Do have a hard copy of your SAPS permit. On my first trip one of the digits on my form got transposed and the cop was all too anxious to confiscate my rifle until I showed him my original SAPS form.
 

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