Where to start?

Rifleman

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I've just got to a point in my life where I can justify and afford a hunting expedition in Africa. The only issue is, I don't even know where to start! Honestly, I don't know how to start planning because there are just so many options, country, game, accommodations, length of trip, etc. I could really use some tips to point me in the right direction. As for location, I've heard good things about Tanzania, but even that isn't set in stone. Being my first trip, I don't necessarily want to get ahead of myself and go for the largest or most dangerous game. What expenses can I expect? Is there a lot of paperwork and government red tape? Any help is certainly welcome.
-Chase
 

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Most new to Africa hunters start with a plains game (PG) hunt. Not all but most. It's a good way to get started. I say that because once you've been, you'll want to go back. But why start with PG is that you don't have quite the layout of money that you do with a dangerous game (DG) hunt. And it gives you a chance to "get" it.

South Africa and Namibia will offer you great PG hunting for reasonable prices. You'll be able to hunt multiple animals for less than many Alaskan hunts which are for just one animal.

As to which animals you want to go for, I'd recomend looking at the websites of the various outfitters you see here on AH. The websites usually have a "pictures" section where you can become familiarized with the various species and see what stirs your stew.

As for DG, there are so many options depending on what you're after and how fat the wallet may be. Yes Tanzania is a great place to go for both DG and PG, but also very expensive. Zimbabwe also offers great DG hunting and for a much more reasonable price. Then there's Mozambique and the list goes on.

I would strongly recommend attending one of the two big conventions, either Dallas Safari Club or Safari Club Int'l. You can visit with the various outfitters who exhibit there and get a good education on what's offered where and for how much.
 

Savage Hunter

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I'm no expert. Only been twice and that was to the same place. But, IMO:
1. Decide if you want to hunt plainsgame or dangerous game.

2. Decide what you're maximum budget is for the trip. Consider it by including:
A. The hunt itself from arrival in Africa to leaving Africa. Make sure of all costs that are included.
B. Budget for the airlines.
C. Add in the price of taxidermy. (either dip/pack or fully mounted )
D. The price to ship taxidermy home. (this can be much more than you think).
Often taxidermy and shipping the animals home is as much as the hunt on plainsgame.
There are threads on here that tell about shipping and there are taxidermists on here that can give prices
or point you to African taxidermists that have their pricelists on their site.

3. Choose the animals most important to you within the plainsgame or dangerous game grouping.
A. Plainsgame only- likely you will want to consider South Africa or Namibia as they seem to have the most variety.
And some are higher in S.Africa than in Namibia and vice versa and a few are not "really" available in one or the other. (indigenous)
B. Dangerous Game- according to which animal(s) you desire, that will greatly affect the country to hunt.
Also, the style of hunting you want to do.

4. Once your "main animals" are decided, then look at websites of PH's for what they have available and the kind of hunting and terrain you desire.
A. I would first focus on safari companies on this site for many reasons.
* you have many on here that can give real recommendations
* Most of the guys on here I would hunt with after seeing them posts for a while.
* I think these PHs have a stake in making sure to give you a quality hunt because they know you will do a hunt report on here. But, this should be true regardless.
* I don't remember hearing a bad report about anyone (PHs) on here. Maybe there is, but I've not seen it.
* Look at the hunt reports of members here and there pics. It might help you decide and will at least light your fire even more. lol.

B. Narrow your choices down based on that.

5. Private Message the PHs from your narrowed down list telling them what you desire and are looking for and get a soft quote.

6. Consider those quotes and how they present themselves and you can easily set up a skype call with a couple. Then choose.

7. Guys on here give these words of advice once all is set....
A. Carry half as many clothes and twice as much money. you will likely shoot a couple extra animals.
B. Prepare to start budgeting for the next safari that comes after this one...... Funny how "once in a lifetime trips" usually occur more than once in a lifetime.

this advice was off the top of my head from someone that isn't an expert.
 

G Skinner

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You started right ....by asking here on AH
Glen
 

Adrian

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I was on a similar position to you a couple of years ago.

I decided what I wanted from a first African hunting experience in terms of game.
This was easy, it was going to be a plains game hunt.

Then decided what country or countries I wanted to go to I'm order to get my experience.
It came down to either South Africa or Namibia. Namibia has always been on my bucket list so the choice was easy for me.

When I had a good idea of those things I looked at budget.
I'm not a rich guy and certainly can't dip my hand I'm my pocket and pull out a bundle of notes to cover my trip. I would have to work for it and so decide what was achievable.

From there I spent literally weeks on the internet looking at outfitters and compiling a short list which actually turned into a long list.
There is a huge amount to look at and all have pros and cons. It's up to you to decide what is a pro and what is a con.

Out of those I decided which offered most value for money and contacted them with my interests and what I wanted.
This is quite easy. Most list their prices and show photos of what to expect in terms of accommodation and camp surroundings.

Again, narrowing down the choices gave me an easier decision.

I discovered that not every outfitter can fulfil all of my desires and my wishlist so be prepared to compromise on certain things.
For example, I would love a tented safari and for all my target animals to be on that concession. There must be a swimming pool for my daughter and plenty to keep the wife occupied. It can't be too far from an airport because the family didn't really want a six hour drive after we got off the plane. The landscape must be scenic.
You can choose your own criteria obviously but I found that if all my wish list was to be fulfilled it would be either very expensive or impossible to obtain and I would rather save the money for hunting.

There are a few ideas and no doubt, many others will be forthcoming from the superb folk on the forum but whatever you do, don't be pressured into things you don't want. It's your trip and you make it what you want it to be and make sure you enjoy it.
 

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What have you enjoyed hunting thus far?
 

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This defiantly the place to be! I was in your place last summer and I just got back from my first Safari last month! I was expecting it to be a multi-year process but I was surprised that I could afford a simple plains game hunt in South Africa much sooner than later.

The paperwork and red tape is not bad at all with all of the knowledge available here.
 

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What have you enjoyed hunting thus far?
I have hunted whitetail deer in Wisconsin and Florida, wild hogs in Florida, and duck in Florida. Not an extensive list, but I have some experience.
 

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I would say start with a plains game hunt in Namibia or south Africa. Get more of an idea on what animals you may want and start getting pricing on everything. Have a budget in mind so you know were to start is always good. For around 10,000 you can have a great hunt at either place. You want some place more remote like tanz. moz you better plan on spending a lot more as in 3 or 4 time more.

A lot of info on the site to help you make your plans.
 

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All good advice so far. I would add to look at two or three animals that really "speak " Africa to you. For me it was Kudu, wildebeest. For others it may be impala, warthog, or springbok. Then find a place where they are really plentiful and the price will be lower than a place that has to purchase them. Decide who is going and their wishes, too. Set a budget, save for it and add 10 to 15% for those additional animals. ALWAYS CHECK REFERENCES and speak DIRECTLY to the outfitter and if possible the P.H. When you are comfortable with the place and the people you will know. Good luck and keep asking questions.
 

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I've just got to a point in my life where I can justify and afford a hunting expedition in Africa. The only issue is, I don't even know where to start! Honestly, I don't know how to start planning because there are just so many options, country, game, accommodations, length of trip, etc. I could really use some tips to point me in the right direction. As for location, I've heard good things about Tanzania, but even that isn't set in stone. Being my first trip, I don't necessarily want to get ahead of myself and go for the largest or most dangerous game. What expenses can I expect? Is there a lot of paperwork and government red tape? Any help is certainly welcome.
-Chase

Well you started in right place by joining AH for sure. Lots to learn and I am right there with you. The planning is part of the fun!!
 

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My first hunt in Africa was a 10 day plains game/buffalo hunt in Zimbabwe. The plains game was fantastic, but it was the buffalo hunt that got me hooked. Find the tracks, then spend hours watching local trackers do their thing. Surpassed every expectation I had or could have had. We worked hard to get the buffalo - took until day 8. Worth every step I took. If you like adventure, there's nothing like adding a traditional tracking hunt for buffalo to a first hunt.
 

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Lots of good information on this site.....I was in your position 2 years ago and I am in the process of booking as 2016 Safari right now (Part 2 of my Once in a Lifetime Safari).

I spent hours on this very site and got lots of great information. I recommend starting with the planning guide ( http://www.africahunting.com/community/safari-planning-guide/ ) and if you find something you like, bookmark the page so you can come back to it.

After you decide on the type of hunt you want (Plains or Dangerous) look at the offers that are on this page and that will also give you an idea of what is a reasonable price for a hunt.

For the animal selection, take a look at the taxidermy page, you will get some great idea's on mounts and animals that you may want to take. Once you know those animals, that might help you zero in on a country that offers your short list of animals.

Then take a look at different outfitters. Recommend looking at this post ( http://www.africahunting.com/threads/choosing-a-good-hunting-outfitter.12894/ )

There are also lots of things to consider for you hunt. Here are the thoughts that I put into a forum (http://www.africahunting.com/threads/things-to-consider-for-the-cost-of-your-safari.18437/ )

Finally, use the search function to locate other thread to help you planning.
 

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One other suggestion. Use a hunting consultant (an established one) for that first hunt. He will be a professional at matching expectations, desires, and your budget. I used Jack Atcheson Jr. for my first hunt to Africa and every one since http://www.atcheson.com/ . There are others. Remember that anyone can create a slick website and provide you with "references". Guys like Atcheson make their reputation and living at insuring you have a great experience.
 

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First welcome Rifleman you are among like minded folks here. You will find allot of great help on this site. I was in your shoes a couple years ago and am getting ready to head back on my second safari. I will give you a quick run down on how I planned mine. I do research for many things on a daily basis so please understand my engineer brain is very systematic. I would recommend going to Dallas or SCI conferences plan at least 3 days for dallas and 4 days for SCI. Start off by writing down the animals you want to hunt in a highest to lowest priority. What kind of hunt experience do you want? What your budget is for the complete trip? We hunted for 7 days on the eastern cape of south africa and did a 4 day photo safari in Kruger national park. When you get to either conference walk around and get a feel for the place on the atmosphere for a hour or 2. Then start stopping by booths and asking questions and see what each outfitter offers and take a brochure. Write note down on how you related with the people what you thought about their organization etc. At the end of the day go back to the hotel and lay out the brochures and look at your notes and start ranking the to 10 and all the new questions you have learned that day go back and repeat till you have covered the complete convention floor. Then try to get all you notes and the new top 10. Go back the third day and really spend some time with the 10 and ask more detailed questions and get a quote for several that you would be comfortable hunting with. Also watch how they interact with other possible clients. Go home and contact all the references and try to speak with them if possible. Do internet searches and ask on this site if anyone has hunted with ??? then get down to 1 or 2 and make a decision and book your hunt. Then come back and ask about how to prep for the style of hunt you have booked, from shooting, taxidermy, to physical conditioning etc. Enjoy the search and again welcome.
 

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I have hunted whitetail deer in Wisconsin and Florida, wild hogs in Florida, and duck in Florida. Not an extensive list, but I have some experience.


The length of the list does not matter. What did you ENJOY?
What type of hunt?
What game was the most fun?
 

ack

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As mentioned before I thinkj a good place is a local SCI club ...Hopefully some members have been and can suggest outfitters plus a lot of other info...That's the path we took and it worked out great..
 

Rifleman

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The length of the list does not matter. What did you ENJOY?
What type of hunt?
What game was the most fun?
Oh! I misunderstood. The hunting I most enjoyed was ground hunting whitetails in Wisconsin. No tree stands, no blinds. It felt real, less like shooting fish in a barrel. I'm not a fan of blinds and feeders in the same way I wouldn't want to hunt from a vehicle or at a watering hole in Africa, it's borderline unethical. After some research, I'm think kudu?
 

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Stalking Kudu is AWESOME. Like a cross between Elk and Whitetail hunting.
Always at the top of the list.


Spiral Horns drew me in from the start.
Eland, Kudu, Nyala and Bushbuck in their native habitat.
Nothing like it.

Read some hunt reports here and you can see quite quickly how particular species excite hunters and draw them back.

You are already deciding on your hunt. Spot & Stalk vs blinds.
It won't be long before you settle in.
 

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Welcome to AH, I would agree with what has been said so far, SA, Namibia and even Zim for a plains game hunt.

@billc , not sure if I understood you correctly, moz 3-4 times more than Tanz? Moz is definitely a lot cheaper than Tanz.
 

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