View Full Version : Those who have been...school me on Africa
06-03-2010, 8:38 PM
So my Father and I share a dream of Africa. The pinnacle of my hunting dreams for many years have been two things. 1) A 6 point or plus Wall hanger RM Elk with a bow and 2) A Cape Buffalo shoulder mount
Now we can never (especially since the Economy killed my Dad's business and I lost and found a new job) afford 25k+ lion safari but I do see cull type hunts or 5-8 animal hunts starting around 5k which is around what we each pay for our Elk hunts currently. I've read numerous times that once you go you start planning/thinking about your next trip immediately. Is that true?
I do know that planning and saving for something like this can take years and I thought why not ask those who have been. So some various questions are:
What countries are good for a general plains game safari? I'm not talking the creme de la creme like Bongo.
Of these countries how safe are they?
What are the hidden costs such as dipping, packing, shipping trophies back to the US? If I go I'm mounting a number of things.
Now what about Buff? Where have you been? What does it run currently? 15k? What is a good way to check out outfitters? Word of mouth? SCI shows?
What about taking the spouses? If so I can't do a thatched hut with no amenities.
Anything you can add will help and I'll probably ask more.
For plains game tha best bang for the buck is Namibia. A lot of outfitters (because of the economy) are offering great deals right now. South Africa is next in cost because of the volume of hunters that go there.
I wouldn't hesitate to bring my grand daughter to Namibia.
Dip and pack for 5 animals in 2008 was about $100 IIRC. For a box with my Zebra rug, Steenbok shoulder mount, Euro mounts of my Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok and wartie (mounted on plaques) was about $450 + about $300 in customs and brokerage fees with the US company I hired to clear my trophies.
Ask about extra fees, Namibia is pretty good about not adding them but in other countries there are also government fees like gun licenses, ammunition charges, concession taxes, etc. Also you might have a charter airflight to get from the international airport to the hunting area that is very expensive in Africa ($1,000s of dollars). Some outfitters charge for picking you up at the airport and driving you to the hunting concession if it's a long drive.
Buff is usually cheaper in Zimbabwe with Namibia next and almost every other country more expensive (South Africa is one of the, if not the most expensive for Buff). You can find 5-7 day Buff hunts in Zimbabwe for about $10K-$12K right now (again due to the economy) and in Namibia for closer to $12K - $15K. If you book a Buff hunt, you can always hunt for plains game while you're there just for the trophy fees.
For spouses etc. you will find more high end accomodations than you can the old African tent camps.
Ask away. But the best source for African hunting information on the net is accuratereloading.com, IMHO. Go to their forums and you can find all the information that you need (with no advertising) including a forum just for outfitters to offer discount deals, etc.
The biggest extra expense is planning the next trip.
Start with this book. Safari Dreams. Great nuts and bolts of an African hunt.
Then check out your local Safari Club International chapter. These folks go all over the world and are a great resource for references and tips.
You can get great last minute deals, but you'll want to know with whom and what to book, and what it includes. The SCI fundraisers are an outstanding place to book a hunt and save a considerable amount. Consider going to Reno in January for the annual convention, and you'll be hooked. Get a couple names ahead of time and speak with them in person at the convention.
I'm hoping to book a hunt to Africa next year, and I've been researching for the last 18 months.
06-04-2010, 6:15 AM
Off to work but ill be back to this thread tonite!
06-04-2010, 7:12 AM
Fjold - I'll check out that forum.
06-04-2010, 4:20 PM
+1 for the Safari Club... SCI is your best bet for finding out a lot of this info. You'll meet other people interested and others that have been with mounds of knowledge on the subject. You'll meet the owners of some of the lodges or the outfitters. You'll meet professional hunters. All of these people can tell you what you want to know. In addition to this SCI offers raffles and auctions (both silent and live) and you can get a really good deal on a trip this way. That was my pops took us on his first trip, turned it into a family vacation. Only problem is once you go you'll never wanna leave, and once you're back stateside you'll wanna go again. I've been 3 times and cant wait to go back. And my pops well he's just about in the double digits LOL.
As far as countries are concerned:
Namibia is cool but there's not as much game there and different types of game as you would find in South Africa. Stay away from the northern area as it can be problematic with rebel groups spilling over from neighboring countries. But I would argue that Windhoek and Swakopmund are probably the two safest cities in Africa. If you're down there's this cool overnight train that travels in between the two cities. It takes a few days but you go through the largest dunes in the world and they even stop to dune board. It was a blast.
South Africa is probably your best bet. I would check out the Transvaal area. Lots of hunting guides and lodges. Close to Kruger nat park. Close to Johannesburg so its relatively easy to get to.
Tanzania is like the holy grail of Africa in my mind. There's tons of sights to see: Zanzibar, Ngoro goro crater, the great rift valley, the serengetti plains, lake victoria, selous reserve, the list continues. My favorite place in the entire world is Zanzibar so check it out its like the jungle of africa meets the indian ocean and tropical paradise. There's very limited variety of animals there mainly goats and monkeys but still cool nonetheless. Theres a lot of history there and the fishing is fun as well (Caught my first Marlin there). Bro, trust me, you cant go wrong with Tanzania
In terms of safety... As long as you stick to stable countries you'll be ok. A lot of times you'll be with a guide and a lot of the times that guide and/or you will be armed. Not to mention if you go on big game hunts (which require a team of trackers, guide, and game warden) everyone's packin AK's (shot my first full auto gun in zambia ;) ). They have these guns in case the thing doesn't go down or they find some poachers... Not kidding they will literally shoot the poachers on sight.
I've been on two cape buffalo hunts in Zambia and Tanzania and I really wouldnt recommend going to Zambia. My pops seems to like Tanzania over all the other spots for buffalo cus he keeps going back and always recommends it to people interested in going.
Let me know if have any further questions about this, Cant really help you with the relative costs because everytime i've been has been with the fam and not really paying note to what it costs to shoot this or that... Only thing that stuck with me is that you can shoot just about ANYTHING in africa if you're willin to fork over enough cash money
This is the best deal out there. You may talk with a PH at the SCI convention and he'll entice you to sign with a 10% show discount or incentive. But if you wait for the local chapter fund raiser, all the hunts are donated. That means whether it sells for a dollar or a million dollars, the money goes to the chapter.
We were sitting at the table and the typical African hunts were 'donated value" from $15k to $40k. But they were selling at the live auction for about 50-75% of that value. A 6 day hunt in Umbria Italy was hovering around $800, but valued at $6500. My wife leaned over and asked if that was a good deal. Holy crap, yes! But since I haven't worked for a couple years, I didn't bother mentioning it. Her paddle went right up and we got the hunt for $1200. And when I'm out in the field, I suspect she'll get her bag limit of shoes and purses in town or at the spa...
It includes the hunt, lodging, meals and some tranportation. Does not include trophy fees, which in europe are staggering. I have a choice of mountain sheep or special deer, or a boar. The trophy fees on the sheep and deer are between $7k and $10k, while the fee for a boar is $500. Guess what I'll be shooting if I'm lucky. They really try to please the chapters, because once they get a good name, others will not hesitate to book. In this game, word of mouth is everything.
Start a quick spreadsheet and figure what's included for the price. Some low prices don't include much and you end up paying a lot more in dees and add ons than the hunt that was initially more expensive. Different countries charge different daily fees, trophy fees, etc. Take a look at them side by side to see the real cost.
I went to the SCI convention last year and just started to look around. It gave me a good starting point for research and I met some very good folks. This year I renewed those relationships and started looking at hunts. I'm on a couple email lists and get last minute cancellation offers frequently. If you had some frequent flier miles and could travel on short notice, you'd be in a great position.
Hope this helps.
+1 for the Safari Club... SCI is your best bet...
...In addition to this SCI offers raffles and auctions (both silent and live) and you can get a really good deal on a trip this way.
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