What was the deciding factor in choosing your outfitter

cls

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Over last few years I have only been on two South African safaris with two different outfitters and after a lot of research it came down to their personal approach that was the deciding factor in my decision. So my question for you is: With there being hundreds of Safari outfitters in Africa what was the deciding factor that tipped the scales in favour of your choice? Website, promotional videos, pricing, hunting area, animals, guarantees, hunt package, references and the list goes on?
 

Patton63

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It was a gut feeling after meeting several PH's at the Great American Outdoor Show. Given the cost and commitment involved in hunting Africa, it was important to me to talk with possible guides and find one that I "clicked" with. The quality of the overall hunting experience is dictated so much by the way you interact with the PH. The effort was worth it and I had a great time with a great PH (Roche DuPreez) and will be going back to visit him this coming summer.
 

billc

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I to trust my gut feeling on who I have picked. But price and the outfitter willing to work with me also was a factor. Website and videos are nice but are made to look good but that does not equal a great time for sure. I have never called a reference in my life and trust my gut over someone else's word. I myself think there is more good outfitters then bad ones.
 

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A really good hunting consultant (in my case, Jack Atcheson, Jr) who is hired to insure things go as anticipated.
 

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Website, promotional videos, pricing, hunting area, animals, guarantees, hunt package, references and the list goes on?

This along with many references from different years, a feeling you get when you speak with them or meet them (first impression), hunt reports on this and other forums.
 

CAustin

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References was the first part. The second was the outfitter asking for my business!
 

375 Ruger Fan

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I do all my own research and I do a lot of it. I ask an outfitter or PH for references and I email or phone as many as I can. I study their websites. If the website is out of date or stale, that's an indicator to me that the outfitter lacks attention to detail and pride in their business. Let's face it, a website is the window to a person's business and they better have their electronic house in order. When I see a price list on a website dated from 3 or 4 years ago, that's a red flag. When the latest photo is several years old, that too is a red flag. My elk hunting guide in Montana won me over when he gave me a list of references and told me to be sure to contact so-n-so, because he didn't get an elk. I called that guy and he said both he and his did not get elk, but it was their own fault, not the guide. They were impressed enough to book another hunt.

The info I've learned on this website has been a blessing. I booked a hunt earlier this year with a AH sponsor outfitter and it was great. There are several other sponsors on here that I would love to book a future hunt with.
 

BRICKBURN

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I have to go way back to the beginning to answer this one. Off the top of my head in order
  • Indigenous species ON large property
    • property with CAE and is owned or under contract.
    • copies provided.
  • competitive pricing;
    • value for money. - Huge spread sheets to compare costs from hundreds
    • no price list posted on the web I moved on
  • small deposit,
    • something I was willing to lose.
  • refundable/transferable deposit,
  • prompt communication and flexibility
  • not scared of a .270
    • this screened a lot of Outfitters
  • Professional association membership
  • Licensed PH, Outfitter
    • copies provided
  • Hunt reports that actually state the case not a pamphlet blurb.
  • community support - conservation, hunting, local.
 

wesheltonj

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Well I went to DSC and obtained information from every outfitter there. I looked at the lodging as I would have my wife and daughter with me. Looked & posted for references on this site, not the ones of the outfitter. Made my spread sheet and in the end came down to price. That said the one I choose was the cheapest only because, they were the only RSA outfitter that did not charge my 14 year old as a full price adult. Of course it did not hurt, that they were the only Leica Lodge in Africa either.

Did I make a good choice, yes I did. Very remote location in the Northern Cape, right on the border. The properly line fence was the border, the border post was located on the property. Huge acreage 24K, next door neighbor had 100k. Nice lodging and full bar. Did not hurt that of the 7 animals 6 were SCI (2 Gold, 2 Silver, & 2 Bronze) with the Kudu making Rowland Ward.

If I had just looked at their web site and they don't have a price list posted, this place would have never made the list.
 

BSO Dave

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Lots of factors influenced my decision when I was researching my first African safari. I made a list of priorities and expectations that I was looking for. For me, those things included the following:

1) A well-established, reputable outfit
2) An outfitter with great experience in accommodating non-hunting family members
3) Nice accommodation, meals, amenities, a professional staff, and good logistics
4) Large properties with naturally propagated game animals
5) Excellent trophy quality
6) Solid, consistent client references
7) Good communication and patience with my questions
8) Good overall value

It's also nice if they have an informative website with good, current information. Videos and other media are also helpful, but I don't put nearly as much weight in a website or video as I do with an outfit that has a great reputation and great references in combination with all of the above mentioned factors. For me, price was the LEAST important factor in making a decision. Although I wanted an affordable safari with reasonable pricing and good value, I truly believe that you get what you pay for. I admit that I have booked with the least expensive guy a few times over the years, and those are the only trips that I regretted.
 

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My deciding factor is very clear.

All the outfitters I have hunted with have been recommended by friends of mine who have previously hunted with them. And I have met them personally at a hunting show.
 

Pheroze

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The rave reviews on this site was a good start. There are a number of great PHs represented here. But, Marius came to Canada and I got a chance to speak with him and shake his hand. His initiative to approach Canadians was appreciated and well received by me.
 

JimP

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I did it backwards from what I really should of done. I was actually talking to a hunter on another forum when a person that I had talked to and gave advise on a hunt in Utah chimed in and asked me if I wanted to go to Africa. I had him send me the information and checked out the outfitters web site and decided to book a hunt on my friends recommendations. I then met the outfitter at the Denver Sportsman's Expo and liked him from the start. I was not disappointed in what he did for me and the PH that he brought in to hunt with me. In the long run I figured that my friend had done all the leg work and I came in on the tail end of all the planning and actually ended up being the go to person concerning flights and rifle importation into SA. In all it was a fantastic hunt as my photos in the Taxidermy Picture forum attest.

Now if I would of been doing it all myself I would of done a lot of information gathering before I even thought of actually booking a hunt. I really don't like references because you never see the ones where everything fell apart during the hunt and what the outfitter did to make it right, or the ones where the hunters had just a horrible time while in camp.
 

Art Lambart II

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For me it was about the location and the style of hunting offered. I wanted to hunt the bushveld and get as close as possible before I shot so that ruled out some parts of Africa. We actually booked our hunt before I found AH so I didn't have the advantage of hearing from all the members and outfitters on this forum. We had a fabulous hunt but if I would have found AH first I would have booked with one of the outfitter on the forum. I have since joined SCI and started attending the monthly meetings, those meeting are a great place to make new friends and get information on Outfitters all across the globe, I've never meet a hunter that wouldn't tell you the truth about the outfitter they used and the experiences they have had while they where on safari.

The choice of an Outfitter is an important decision and should not be solely based on advertisements.
 

LadyKiller

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..... and after a lot of research it came down to their personal approach that was the deciding factor in my decision.

Agreed..... We also made a list of the things that were most important for us to have within a safari and that included many of the typical things mentioned like reputation, great accommodations, good trophy quality and species availability, and of course costs. We narrowed our choices to the top 2-3, but the final decision came down to the intangible factor of the chemistry that we felt during our communications with the outfitter and his representatives. The wealth of detailed information provided and their willingness to answer all of our questions made a considerable impression. That, combined with the feeling that they truly appreciated our business, made us feel very comfortable. We made a great choice, and I can't imagine having a better first African safari.

I want to add that the outfitter we chose for Africa was not the least expensive of those that we considered. They were somewhere in the middle of the road. We felt we needed to choose a balance between quality and cost.
 
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jeff

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My best hunts in SA and Namibia were hunts that I got to meet the PH and outfitters face to face and then could get a feel for how we would get along. It's hard to get to know a person over the internet, one outfitter/PH we visited for three years at his booth and we really felt like we knew him before going.
 

edward

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research and word of mouth.after that being successful and having a great time so just kept going back foe three hunts.
 

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I made my choice on the recommendation of Robert and Rosella Quarterone from SSI. They sent me two names of outfitters they have hunted with and I researched both on line extensively. I had a gut feeling about Brian Seady of Two Waters Safaris on the Eastern Cape. I researched the area and decided that was where my best chance was for getting the PG on my list. Brian and I emailed back and forth several times before I sent a deposit and he even phoned me to discuss my hunt. That showed me he was really interested in me and my hunt, not just another client. I feel we struck up a good working relationship. My wishes and questions were promptly answered and considered and he offered some good suggestions on different species. Not on my list at the time but well worth considering. Since then I have received some good reports on Brian and his outfit.
 

Clayton Holland

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I went with Richard Cooke Safaris because the guy I spoke to and booked with was the same guy who picked me up at the airport and was my PH. I had heard of him through a friend who was very happy with him and I was not disappointed.
 

curtism1234

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Aside from an up to date professional website, one thing I am a stickler for is upfront pricing on the website. I don't need to waste my time sending emails or making phone calls just to find out a place is too costly for me or too costly for what is being offered. I can easily come up with 5-6 reputable companies who have upfront pricing and it requires no contact whatsoever.

From there, I can do very detailed comparisons.
 

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