Africa Hunting in Review
For most hunters it is only a dream to hunt Africa. Wagner Worldwide Hunting can make your dream a reality.
Below you will find information aimed on hunting in Africa. We cover everything from booking your hunt to getting your trophies home and mounted by a taxidermist. You simply have to hunt with the professionals.
Types of Safaris / Daily Rates:
Plains Game is basically considered all of your Antelope, and small game such as Jackal, Hyena, Caracal, Serval, Baboon and Monkey’s. Most Safari Operators work on a five to seven day minimum and as many as fourteen – twenty one days depending on the number of species and how much traveling is required. Daily rates usually run about $300.00 - $350.00 per day 1 x 1, 2 x 1 hunts usually run 250.00 - $300.00 per person per day and are great for couples, father son / daughter, and good friends who want to hunt together. 2 x 1 hunts should not be less than ten days to assure everybody gets opportunities for the species they want.
Leopard / Plains Game:
This hunt is basically the same as the Plains Game hunt with the exception that you will be paying a higher daily rate and hunting one of the Big Five. Leopard Hunts are usually a Fourteen Day minimum and are conducted over bait. Leopard bait usually consists of non-trophy Impala or the use of Zebra or Wildebeest meat. Once the Leopard starts to feed the Professional Hunter will determine if it is a male or female Leopard. Usually they refrain from taking a female and in some countries they assess a fee for the taking of a female. Once it is determined that it’s a male Leopard the Professional Hunter and his staff will begin constructing a blind about fifty (50) yards from the bait. In some countries they will hunt from the blind during the day and in others they will go into the blind in late afternoon and stay well into the night, and actually shoot the Leopard in the dark with the use of a spotlight. Please keep in mind that statistically Leopard are killed between the tenth and fourteenth day and that is the reason a lot of hunters who have hunted Leopard ten days or less still don’t have a Leopard today. Don’t cut yourself short. Daily rates usually run about $500.00 to $650.00 per day 1 x 1. 2 x 1 hunts are not advised when hunting Leopard due to time required baiting and sitting in a blind.
Buffalo / Leopard / Plains Game:
Again this includes one or more of the Big Five, generally the Cape Buffalo is the priority and can or cannot include Leopard and Plains Game. Keep in mind that in the areas that have Dangerous Game the Plains Game is not always as plentiful. Buffalo hunts usually are done on a Ten – Fourteen day minimum and require a lot of walking. 1 x 1 hunts are preferred but some Safari Operators do conduct 2 x 1 and 3 x 1 Buffalo hunts, but keep in mind there is a reason they call it Dangerous Game. If you do desire to hunt Buffalo and Leopard on the same hunt be sure and book a hunt that gives you sufficient time to hunt both species. I recommend no less than Fifteen – Eighteen days to assure adequate time to collect both priority species. Daily rates usually run $600.00 to $1000.00 per day 1 x 1 depending on the Safari Operator and the country you are hunting.
Elephant / Lion / Buffalo / Leopard / Plains Game:
The Classic African Safari can include four or less of the Big Five and usually has the highest Daily Rate which is $800.00 - $1200.00 per day 1x 1. Hunts are usually conducted in Big Game Concessions that are owned by the countries government and may border National Parks or Game Reserves. Areas are usually several hundred thousand acres and up to millions of acres. The hunting area is usually very remote with limited transportation available and may require a charter flight into the camp where the hunter will be met by the Professional Hunter and his staff. These hunts will be conducted anywhere from Ten – Eighteen – Twenty One days depending on the number of species you will be hunting.
Best approach is to tailor-make your Safari around your trophy selection. This guarantees the best possible success for all the species you desire. Based on the number of species and the type of game you desire we then determine the number of days and the location for your hunt. I don’t recommend package hunts for the following reasons. You may not want all the species in the package. May not see all the species in the package, and usually the reason they are offering a package at a lower price is that the trophy quality is down and they want to reduce the number of animals of a particular species. That is not to say that you may not take some good trophies but why not only pay for what you want to shoot and shoot the trophy that you really came for.
Hunting seasons generally run March through October. In Africa they usually get their rains in December, January and February and many countries they build earthen dams to capture water that must last them until the next rainy season. Most rivers are seasonal and only run during the rainy season and are susceptible to flash floods that only last a short time.
March through mid-May, generally you find tall grass and the leaves on the trees. Visibility can be difficult along with having more water available dispersing the game in a wider area.
The winter months begin the end of May through mid-July. Average temperatures usually 68 – 72 degrees during the day and down into the 50’s and low 60’s in the evening.
Mid-July through November, temperatures run 70 – 90 degrees with less water available and helping concentrate the game. Ideal time for archery hunting due to the game needing to go to waterholes daily.
Daily rates may differ from Safari Operators and countries as mentioned. Observer rates usually run $100.00 - $200.00 per day and allow a non-hunting friend or family member to accompany a hunter while hunting. The observer is on occasion allowed to take certain species for a trophy fee depending on availability of quotas.
Daily rates usually include the services of a Professional Hunter, camp staff, accommodations, meals, daily laundry services, and field care of your trophies. Airport transfers may or may not be included depending on the Safari Operator and should be discussed at the time of booking.
Not included usually are round trip airfares, government taxes, any required charter flights into the hunting areas, pack and dip of trophies, shipment of trophies home, taxidermy, pre- and post hunt accommodations, gratuities for the Professional Hunter and staff.
Trophy Fees are the fees you pay for the animals taken or wounded. Trophy fees are payable upon the completion of your Safari. Payment of all Trophy Fees and balance of Daily Rates should be in the form of Travelers or Cashier Checks. In some countries payment in cash will require an additional tax (as much as 10%) by the government for foreign currency.
Booking of a Hunt:
When booking a hunt you should sit down with the Booking Agent or Safari Operator and discuss what type of hunt you want in regards to the type of animals and number of animals you desire. You should discuss when you prefer to hunt and what type of hunt you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. If the agent isn’t willing to take the time to answer your questions you probably should find another agent. This is also where you should discuss any medical concerns, physical limitations or dietary needs to assure they can be accommodated.
The industry standard is 50% of the Daily Rate at the time of booking for both the hunter and observer. If the hunt is to be conducted the following year or later you may be able to book the hunt with a smaller deposit which requires 50% by January 1st of the year the hunt will be conducted. The balance of the daily rate is then usually due 60 days prior to the hunt start date, with trophy fees and government taxes paid at the conclusion of the hunt.
Passports / Visas / Customs:
Passports are required for entry into all African countries. Visas may not be required for entry into South Africa or Namibia. Visa’s for Zimbabwe can be purchased at the border on entry into Zimbabwe. Most other countries require visas and should be obtained with assistance from your Agent or Safari Operator prior to your departure.
Customs - It is recommended that you register all items such as guns, cameras, or other items with serial numbers with U.S. Customs prior to your departure. The process requires you fill out a form and present the items to Customs prior to leaving. This will prevent you from having to pay duty on those items upon your return to the United States. Upon arrival in Africa you will be required to go through that countries Customs and Immigration. You must declare all guns listing: make, serial number, and number of rounds of ammunition. Some countries require visually checking serial numbers and some don’t so don’t be offended if asked to open your gun case. Some countries also require a visual check upon your departure to assure you taking your guns home with you. In Zimbabwe there is an arrival and departure fee of $20.00 required prior to going through Customs.
It is suggested that you contact your local Health Department for the latest recommendation based on what is going on in that country at that time. In the past five years they have recommended Hepatitis A/B, Tetanus, and Malaria.
The following is suggested and may or may not be complete depending on what country you are traveling to. You should consult with your Booking Agent or Safari Operator prior to traveling. One important thing is to not take too many clothes. Your hunting clothes are usually washed on a daily basis by the camp staff. Then traveling through Africa if you are required to take a charter flight you will have to observe weight restrictions as well.
- Rifles and slings
- Ammunition (10# max.)
- Knife Gear (depending on country and time of year)
- Long sleeve shirts (not bright colors)
- Long pants for hunting in
- Sweat suit
- Sweat shirt or sweater
- Warm jacket
- Hunting boots or shoes
- Tennis shoes
- Cap or hat
- Camera and flash Film , spare batteries
- Video equipment (with charging unit), Videotapes
- Sunscreen lotion
- Insect repellent
- Lip balm Socks
- Personal toiletries
Hunting in Africa can be done with just about all types of weapons including modern firearms, muzzleloader, archery and handguns. You do need to check the laws for each country, as some weapons are not legal in some countries or areas. Importing of firearm is a very easy process with a temporary gun permit being issued from the country you are entering. Also note that automatic firearms are not legal in most African countries.
Calibers used for hunting really depend on the game you will be hunting. Some countries do have minimum caliber requirements for dangerous game such as .375 magnums. In the case of plains game I usually tell clients that calibers used for North American deer or elk are sufficient for most all plains game species. On hunting with archery there also may be minimum bow draw and arrow weight requirements so it is important to verify with your agent or safari operator of the requirements for that country prior to your departure.
There is also a limit to amount of ammunition the airlines will allow you to take, which is 10 # per person with no more than 80 rounds of any one caliber. When registering your guns upon arrival into the country they will also ask how many rounds of ammunition you are bringing in by caliber.
In most cases your booking agent or safari operator can and will assist you in all travel arrangements prior to and after your safari. I have found that local travel agents don’t usually have any experience in booking travel to Africa and if you go direct to the airline you will pay a much higher fare than a agent with experience in travel to Africa. I am licensed as a “ Seller of Travel” and I usually book all airfare and make any other travel arrangements that are required at no cost to the client. I use travel agents located out of state who are high volume licensed travel agents. The average Economy Class fare from Seattle to South Africa or Namibia runs about $1500.00 and to Zimbabwe about $1600.00 if travel is in the low season prior to June 15th with a minimum 14 day stay. The high season fare generally is $100.00 - $200.00 higher. Business Class fares can be booked on request but run about $4500.00 round trip from Seattle. If client wants a little more room we can book an extra Economy Class fare at a much lower rate.
Arrival in Africa and the Hunt:
Upon arrival at your destination you will be met by the Safari Operator or his representative. Once you have gathered your luggage and cleared Customs you will be transported to the hunting camp. Your first day of your hunt is usually the day following your arrival and there is a very important pre-requisite. That is to relax and enjoy the warm African hospitality and culture. Get ready to be waited on, and Oh Yeh, you have really made it to Africa!!
Once at camp, you will be met by your Professional Hunter and the camp staff. Once settled in you will sit down with the PH and begin laying out the hunt to come, and discuss with him your priorities as far as the game to be hunted. The manner in which the hunt will be conducted is up to you and can be tailored to suit your desired method of hunting or physical limitations. If you want to walk they will walk, if you want to hunt from a vehicle they will hunt from a vehicle, and if you want to sit in a blind they will hunt from a blind. Just remember that they do know the game, where to find the game and how to hunt the game being pursued.
Once game has been taken your only responsibility is to be in the picture, as the staff will do all the trophy care. You may be asked to assist in loading of game in the vehicle depending on the size of the animal. Once the animal has been skinned to your specifications and the skulls boiled the PH should take you to the skinning shed or area on a daily basis to assure that proper trophy care has been accomplished. If you do not feel that something has been properly taken care of don’t hesitate to bring it to the PH’s attention and he will make sure everything is corrected.
Gratuities are a common practice throughout the industry but remember that all gratuities are at your discretion. You will find that the PH and his staff all work extremely hard and go out of their way to ensure a successful hunt and experience in Africa. Gratuities for staff members should be discussed with the PH prior to giving them to the staff. Generally $2.00 - $3.00 per staff member per day is standard. I personally like to reward the trackers and skinners with a little extra for their exceptional care of my trophies. Be sure to take along small denominations of cash to pay for any gratuities and souvenirs you might want to bring home to the US
As for the PH this is totally up to your discretion and how you feel about the way he conducted your hunt to make it a success. The industry average is $20.00 - $50.00 per day for a plains game hunt, and a little more with dangerous game. But once again this is totally up to your discretion. Most hunters will also leave unused ammunition with the PH due to the difficulty and cost in obtaining it in the African countries.
Trophy Care / Shipment and Taxidermy:
This is probably one of the most important things about hunting in Africa. And once again I cannot stress enough the need for daily inspection of your trophies with the PH.
Upon completion of your Safari arrangements will be made with the Safari Operator or Taxidermist for the Packaging and Dipping of your trophies for shipment home. There are usually fees associated with this service and varies dependent on the size and number of trophies. This fee should be paid prior to your departure to help expedite the shipment of your trophies home. Once the Export permits have been obtained you or your agent will be notified once the shipment has been consigned to a freight company for shipping to the United States. You can usually pay the shipping cost at this time or have them shipped COD. Keep in mind that if shipped COD the cost of shipping could be $100.00 - $200.00 higher depending on the carrier.
Upon arrival into the United States at a Port of Entry the shipment will go into Bonded Storage and require clearing through US Fish and Wildlife and Customs. If your trophy shipment includes primates and or swine the shipment is required buy law to be cleared by the USDA and routed to a USDA approved Taxidermist for processing. This requires transport by a Bonded Carrier or the approved Taxidermist to the Taxidermy facility and once there the skulls require boiling and the skins must be soaked in a chemical solution for 24 hours. Currently there are only three approved Taxidermist in the Puget Sound area: Peters Taxidermy, Olympic Taxidermy, and Rainier Taxidermy. Some Taxidermist will handle clearance of trophies, others will require you to use a Customs Broker, which charge a fee and require transport by a Bonded Carrier.
A common question is “How about having trophies mounted in Africa?” This is an option but be very careful whom you choose to do your taxidermy in Africa. There are a couple of good Taxidermists but there are also a lot of bad ones too. The shipping cost of mounted trophies may also out weight any savings you may find. African Taxidermists don’t always have the latest materials, processes, or techniques available to them. If any problems occur with your mounts you are probably not going to take it back to the Taxidermist who mounted it to have it fixed or repaired. You can expect your trophies to take 3 to 6 months to arrive in the United States due to the time required to obtain Export permits.
As for who should mount your trophies, your Agent should be able to recommend a taxidermist who is experienced in mounting African game. Just because a taxidermist can mount a North American trophy does not necessarily mean he has the experience mounting African game. I suggest to all my clients that they visit several taxidermists and take a look at their work, discuss with them the type of mounts that you desire as well as their experience with African mounts. Listen to them, ask them questions and make a decision based on the quality of their work and their willingness to talk to you. Do not let price determine where to have your mounts done!!
CITIES permits if required should be applied for sixty (60) days prior to your departure. Take a copy of the CITIES permit with you and leave the original at home. It will be required during clearance of your trophies through US Fish and Wildlife. Leave a copy of your CITIES permit with the Safari Operator or Taxidermist who will be doing the pack / dip and Export permits.
Wagner Worldwide Hunting currently represent Guides, Outfitters and Safari Operators in eight (8) countries throughout Africa ( Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Botswana ). As well as Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Montana, British Columbia, Quebec, Russia, South America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us anytime.