- Where is Chacma Hunting Safari’s located?
Our Chacma Safari Base Camp is located within our Doornkom Game Reserve in the Limpopo Province of the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The Limpopo Province has a long history and solid reputation within the safari industry. Each season safari enthusiasts from across the globe come here to pursue their dreams of challenge and adventure. Over 80% of South African safaris originate in this province.
Doornkom Game Reserve is located just outside the town of Vaalwater. Vaalwater is about 184 miles (3 hours’ drive) north of Johannesburg (OR Tambo) International Airport. Vaalwater is in the heart of the Waterberg Massif. This was the first region in northern RSA to be named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Waterberg Massif covers 14,500 square kilometers in the Northern Limpopo Province comprising some of the best hunting grounds to be found anywhere. It is basically a high inland plateau bordered on the east by the Drakensburg Mountains and to the north by the Soutpansberg Range (the northern most mountains in South Africa).
- If I book a safari with Chacma Hunting Safari, how do I get from the airport in South Africa to the base camp?
Clients on safari in Limpopo will book flights into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. A representative of Chacma Hunting Safari will meet you at the airport and drive you to the hunting concession. This service is provided free of charge to parties of four or less. For larger parties than four individuals, fee-based transportation is provided by Chacma Hunting Safari to cover the expense of an additional vehicle. In all instances, clients are able to lease transportation of their own choosing at the airport if that service is desired in lieu of transportation by Chacma Hunting Safari. In the latter instance, directions from the airport will be provided prior to the client’s arrival in RSA.
- What is the best way for me to fly from my home to arrive in either Johannesburg?
Of course, individual travel preferences and expectations vary, however we find that most of our clients prefer to arrive in Johannesburg in the early to late afternoon, or early evening. This allows the client enough time to clear customs, collect their baggage and make the drive to our base camp without a large degree of stress or loss of sleep. This allows time for a meal, brief discussions about the next day’s hunt, and then to bed for a decent night’s rest. Of course, Chacma Hunting Safari will accommodate any travel schedule the client may require. If clients prefer, arrangements can be made for an overnight stay in Johannesburg with travel to base camp the following morning.
We do hear tales from some clients about the rigors of passing through intermediate countries on their way to the African continent. Accordingly, clients may wish to look at originating flights that fly from the point of origination directly to the African continent with no intermediate stops until the continent is reached. This increases the likelihood that the client and all their baggage and equipment arrive in RSA at the same time. On the return trip the client can take a bit less direct route if desired without worrying too much about this risk. At point-of-entry in returning home allow at least 3 hours between connecting flights to ensure enough time to clear customs in your country.
As a final note, we know of no international travel that is risk-free. Things like changed flights, lost luggage, etc. can and do occur. Understandably, these unexpected events can put a damper on the client’s hunting plans. Accordingly, most of our clients believe that a travel insurance policy that covers these types of disappointments is money well spent. When flying through other countries (e.g. England, Netherlands, Germany, etc.) each may have its own requirements and restrictions concerning firearms. The client is most emphatically advised to ensure what these requirements might be in advance of booking travel plans.
- When is the hunting season in RSA?
For registered outfitters it is legally permissible to harvest game animals in RSA 12 months of the year. However, we restrict our booking season to the months of March – November when the weather in RSA is most conducive to a pleasant hunting experience.
- Do I need a visa to enter RSA?
Typically no. Travelers from many countries do not need a visa and can enter RSA for limited duration (less than 90 days) on their passport alone. However, regulations do vary over time and according to citizenship, therefore it is prudent for international travelers to check with their own embassy relative to requirements.
- Do I need to be inoculated against any diseases prior to entering RSA?
Fortunately, the Limpopo Province is generally considered a “malaria-free zone”. The northern area of the Limpopo, closer to the Botswana border and the Zimbabwe border is considered a “medium risk” area. At the time of booking your safari Chacma Hunting Safaris will identify those areas in which you will be hunting and will notify the client of any malaria concerns. Clients advised to begin an anti-malaria regimen are reminded that anti-malarial drugs routinely raise the risk of exposure to the sun, therefore clients should protect themselves accordingly with proper clothing selection and sun screen.
In addition, depending on where your flight originates, and any interim stops along your travel route, there may be inoculation issues you should investigate. We are told that the best source of information surrounding this issue is your local municipal public health service. Once you have booked your hunt and have your travel itinerary confirmed, you should take a copy of your travel itinerary to your public health agency and they will prescribe the course of action to take relative to inoculations. Certainly, just for general health purposes (as with any international travel), it is advised to have hepatitis and tetanus inoculations that are up-to-date. Finally, the Center for Disease Control in the United States (CDC) posts up-to-date information relative to international health risks on its website. Since no African outfitter is qualified to provide clients with specific medical advice the client should always seek professional medical advice concerning their international travel plans.
- What about other medical issues?
All clients are recommended to seek the advice of their family physician prior to booking international vacation plans. Ensure you have any prescribed medications with you and that the supply is adequate for the duration of your stay. Hunting and the handling of firearms and archery equipment carry inherent risks. All of our hunting vehicles are supplied with well-equipped first aid kits, and emergency medical facilities are usually available to our clients within a few hours. However, we know of no Professional Hunters that guarantee the safety of clients in a hunting environment, and Chacma Hunting Safaris is no exception.
- May I bring a knife into RSA?
You may bring a knife for personal use (in your checked baggage of course) if you so desire. However, the likelihood that you would need a knife for hunting purposes is highly unlikely as all our skinners and trackers have their own knives for their general use.
- Other than my firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, what other equipment items and clothing should I bring?
There are a host of resources available to answer this question including our website (www.chacmasafari.co.za) The material on our website is provided for informational purposes only; individual preferences and personal tastes being what they are, each client should decide for themselves what equipment and clothing will meet their individual needs for the duration of the safari (see our page on Safari Gear. Too frequently, clients bring too many clothes.Tthey tell us this later themselves). It is advisable to check the 7-day forecast for either Modimolle or Polokwane (via internet) 8 hours prior to departing for RSA and adjust clothing needs accordingly. At Chacma Safari we have daily laundry service that is included in your safari package, so your next pair of clean socks or under garments is never far off.
For any item you intend to bring into RSA that is of notable value (firearms, optical equipment, laptop, etc.) see CBP Form 4457 (downloadable from this website: www.cbp.gov) mentioned below. This applies to US Citizens. Other countries may have similar, or other requirements.
- Do I need a power converter to operate/charge any electrical devices I bring into RSA?
Yes. The following specifications apply to household electrical service in RSA, therefore you will need both a converter and a plug adapter. These items can normally be purchased at any retail outlet that caters to the traveling public.
Plug Type: M**
- What are the accommodations like at Chacma Hunting Safari:
Our clients stay in comfortable, spacious rooms each with their own bathrooms. Our rooms offer electricity, running hot and cold water. During the warmer months fans and cross ventilation provide adequate cooling in the evenings. Home cooked meals are provided in a central dining facility. Please refer to our Facilities page, which includes a sampling of photographs of our facilities.
- If non-hunting guests were to accompany me to RSA, what activities would be available to them when I am hunting?
First of all, non-hunting guests (Observers) are welcome to join their hunting partners each day in the bush, if they so desire. Many guests enjoy this experience even if they do not hunt themselves. In contrast, if specific non-hunting activities are preferred instead, the possibilities are almost limitless. Please refer to the sections of our website addressing non-hunting activities.
- What happens to the animals I shoot?
None of the meat is exportable; all of it is consumed locally (and very thoroughly we might add); nothing goes to waste. With certain animals, no parts are exportable (see information relative to CITES). For the majority of animals taken on safari with Chacma Hunting Safari we assume the client wants to preserve their hunting memories through photographic and taxonomic records. The quality of our client photographs can be seen in our Photo Gallery. In consultation with the client, we arrange for whatever taxonomic records the client wishes to preserve. Quality taxidermy can be obtained in RSA. Or, the client may elect to have trophies, dipped, packed and shipped to their resident taxidermist. Either way, we see that the trophies are properly handled in the field and connect the client with the necessary services desired. Since we use independent vendors for these services, expenses associated with taxidermy, dipping-packing-shipping, are not included in our booking fees.
Your fees for taxidermy work, dipping-packing-shipping will vary with the number and size of the animals you take and the services you desire, therefore it is impossible to generate a precise estimate. We suggest that clients divide their prospective animals into an A LIST and a B LIST. The A LIST animals should be the primary animals the client wishes to take. The B LIST animals should include those secondary animals the client wants as well, but which might possibly be deferred to another hunt, or which the client would feel fewer pangs of remorse if they were not taken. Not only does this add efficiency to the daily hunt, allowing the client to better focus on those animals that are most important, but it also helps in effecting an estimate for the taxonomic expenses the client is willing to incur. Once these two lists are generated the client’s hunt package can be accurately priced, and a better estimate of taxonomic expenses can be generated. Refer to our Taxidermy page for more information.
- What is CITES?
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. This agreement has been in effect since 1963 when it was adopted at a convention of The World Conservation Union. Rather than go into a long recitation of how the CITES program works, we will simply say that when it comes to the hunter this agreement regulates what animals and how many of that species can be exported from a given country each year. Some animals can be exported legally with the appropriate CITES permit, other animals, while they may be legally taken, may not be exported at all. For those clients that desire more information on how this works we refer them to the CITES website at www.cites.org.
- Are there any safety concerns, political concerns, or cultural concerns, associated with travel to, or within, RSA?
The short and accurate answer is “no”. RSA was colonized about the same time as the USA, therefore in large degree it is a modern cosmopolitan society. Both Johannesburg and Cape Town are international cities. During your stay with Chacma Hunting Safari you will be in the accompaniment of a Professional Hunter and citizen of RSA that is local to the province and thoroughly familiar with the area. While crime does exist in RSA (as in many diverse societies) it is not a problem in the areas you will frequent with Chacma Hunting Safari. If you have plans for additional travel not associated with Chacma Hunting Safari we suggest you consult with your own embassy regarding any additional international travel plans for advice and guidance.
On a final note, if you are a hunter, you are certainly aware of much of the anti-hunting sentiment that exists throughout the world. This is not a large problem in RSA because the country is oriented toward this industry, however it is probably best for any client to avoid public displays of behavior that indicate you are a hunter. In that regard, while there does not exist any prohibition in RSA against wearing camouflage clothing (it does indeed exist in some African countries), it is probably best to save this attire for when the client is actually in the field.
- What about tipping my PH, trackers/skinners, camp staff, etc.? What are some guidelines as to how to handle the issue of gratuities?
At Chacma Hunting Safari we like knowing what the client’s expectations might be relative to the hunt they have booked so that we can structure the hunt to meet those expectations. That’s why we are here. We like knowing, as well, if we have met those expectations and if the client is satisfied with the services they received. One way of indicating that is through the granting of gratuities to PH, trackers/skinners, and associated staff. However, that is not the only way of indicating satisfaction. The highest compliment we at Chacma Hunting Safari can receive is the client’s Testimonials of our services to other hunters that they know.
Much has been written about the topic of gratuities when it comes to safari services, and we can refer the client to that material so the client can make their own informed decision as to what is appropriate throughout the industry. Understandably, common practice varies wildly across the African Continent. And much of what has been written is often confusing and even contradictory. If during the planning phase of your safari you wish to discuss this in more detail with us we are happy to discuss the topic as well as refer you to our client referral base so you can have the opportunity to discuss the issue with clients who have already hunted with us.
- What sort of physical condition do I need to be in to successfully hunt with Chacma Hunting Safari?
We believe that any outdoor activity is best enjoyed if the participant is in the best condition possible for their age and health profile. However, at Chacma Hunting Safari we go out of our way to accommodate clients with physical limitations (whether dietary or ambulatory). If you let us know in advance any concerns you might have, we will honestly advise you so there are no surprises upon your arrival in RSA to hunt with us. Typically, hunts are not overly demanding from a physical perspective. Daily activities involve climbing into and out of the bed of the hunting vehicle, walking over broken ground, and through brush. Sometimes, if the situation dictates, and if the client is up to it, the final stalk may include a short crawl to improve the shooting position. However, for clients with physical impairments the hunting tactics can often be adjusted to accommodate expectations. Often, we find that the mental conditioning needed of clients is just as important as the physical conditioning. Having the patience to follow the PH’s guidance to wait for the proper shot presentation and then to execute it in a timely and decisive manner is paramount.
- What type of terrain will I be hunting in?
The terrain will differ based upon where we are in South Africa. The terrain differs widely throughout all the provinces we hunt from open grasslands, bushveld to lush vegetation. Please see the website sections pertaining to hunting South Africa for a description of the terrain conditions in Limpopo where we are based.
ARCHERY RELATED QUESTIONS
- In addition to plains game, what other animals can I hunt with my bow? Are there any of the “Big 5” that would be available? Are there any of the Big 5 you suggest be avoided?
Lion and Buffalo are two of the big 5 that we typically hunt with archery equipment on a regular basis.
- How are hunts for dangerous game animals conducted?
We hunt from blinds as well as on foot (spot and stalk) depending on the area being hunted, species, cover and wind direction.
- What do you use as a back-up rifle on archery hunts?
Archers are backed up by Professional Hunters (PH) using any one of several appropriate “stopping cartridges”. Typically, either .375 H&H, .450 Watts or .470 Nitro Express double-rifle. A PH will only shoot a game animal the client has arrowed under one of two conditions: (A) the archer has made a poor hit and the quarry is likely to escape, or suffer unnecessarily, and/or (B) a life-threatening situation is about to develop for the archer, PH, or associated staff.
- How are hunts for plains game conducted?
We archery hunt mainly from blinds. We also spot and stalk if conditions are favorable. The techniques we use depend on the area being hunted, species, cover and wind direction. Baiting is legal in RSA and we employ that as a technique at times.
- What is the minimum bow draw weight you would suggest?
For plains game 50 pounds, and dangerous game 80 pound draw weights.
- At what yardages are most animals taken? How well do I need to be able to shoot at these yardages?
Average shot will be between 15 and 35 yards. You will have to shoot at least three arrows in a 4 x 4 inch target at 30 yards before your PH will take you to the field.
- What would be considered a long shot?
40 – 50 yards on larger game like Blue Wildebeest but not further than 30 yards on smaller animals like Impala and Warthog.
- Are there any restrictions on the type of sights allowed in RSA?
- How many arrows should I bring, and what other equipment is necessary?
At least 15 arrows. However, additional arrows can be secured from local retail outlets In RSA. Additional equipment should be whatever the archer normally carries on their own domestic bow hunts. In addition to a hard-sided bow case for international travel, archers should bring a soft bow case for daily use in RSA.
- What if I need additional arrows or bow repairs; are these services available in reasonable proximity to the hunting concession?
We have hunting shops that can do repairs within an hours drive.
- Are there any importation requirements for getting my equipment into RSA?
Not for archery equipment.
- What is the recovery rate for animals shot by archers?
Our recovery rate for arrowed animals is very high for two distinct reasons:
- We communicate to clients what we believe is the necessary accuracy requirements to successfully take game animals in RSA (3 arrows into a 4” X 4” square at 30 yards). Consequently, our clients put in a lot of advance practice and arrive in RSA prepared to meet this expectation. This results in a high percentage of killing shots. Understandably, traditional archers may struggle with this performance expectation. Accordingly, we expect traditional archers to shorten their effective range until the 4”X4” square can be hit with consistency.
- Our tracking dog has a strong nose and is able to locate any animal we do not see drop.
Finally, if for whatever reason the client wishes to convert their archery hunt to a rifle hunt, that can be arranged by renting a Chacma Hunting Safari’s staff rifle on a daily basis, plus the cost of cartridges in single box increments. Either, way Chacma Hunting Safari is dedicated to seeing that the client has a successful hunt for the client’s desired animals.
FIREARM RELATED QUESTIONS
- What is the minimum suggested caliber for plains game?
Thirty caliber (.30-06, .308, .300 WM, .300WSM, etc.). However, many people believe that African plains game animals are generally tougher on average than their similar-sized counterparts in other countries. Therefore, if the client can manage the recoil, we encourage the rifle hunter to err on the side of larger more powerful cartridges and tough bonded bullets of 180 grains (minimum) or larger (better) on all but the smaller antelope. As is typically expounded throughout the firearms community, bullet placement is everything, so bring a suitable caliber that you have confidence in and can shoot well.
Irrespective of the caliber selected understand that bullet sectional density is an important component of penetration. And penetration is an important aspect of humanely harvesting the larger antelope, as well as dangerous game. Therefore, for these species, strive to employ bullets having a sectional density that approaches, and if possible exceeds, 0.300. Sectional density equals the weight of the bullet in grains, divided by 7000, the result then being divided further by the squared diameter of the bullet.
- What is the minimum suggested caliber for dangerous game?
By RSA regulation, the minimum caliber for dangerous game is .375. We recommend tough bonded bullets with a sectional density of at least 0.300. For elephant (especially those with attitudes) you will not be over-gunned with either a .416, .458 or even larger. However, a hunter is discouraged from bringing a bigger bore rifle that they do not shoot well, as bullet placement (e.g. brain shots on elephant) is critical. We do not recommend any sort of expanding bullets for elephant. Elephant should be shot with “solids.”
- If I wish to hunt dangerous game, do I need a “large bore double-barrel stopping rifle”?
No. While we understand the desire of some clients to enhance their African adventure by hunting with a classic double-rifle, a double is not needed to successfully take dangerous game. While the debate goes on (and probably will never be settled) as to which rifle (double or bolt-gun) is the superior arm for dangerous game hunting, we find that our clients who choose bolt guns over a double do just fine. Certainly, we would not recommend a client go purchase a double if they already own a suitable bolt gun. Our experience confirms, again and again, that it is the well-placed first shot that matters, therefore a suitable bolt-gun with a low-powered high-quality scope mounted low over the bore seems to be the right medicine. If a client wounds a dangerous animal, it is the lawful duty of the PH to take control of the situation. Your PH will follow-up the spoor of any wounded animal deemed to be dangerous, therefore it is not necessary nor recommended that the client have a stopping rifle. Surprisingly, even though it is counter-intuitive, there are numerous experiments satisfactorily concluded by several firearms authorities (e.g. famed Kenya PH Finn Agaard) that support the concept that telescopic sights (especially those in the lower power ranges) provide for faster sight acquisition and more precise shot placement than open sights. That having been said, we like to have our clients place that first shot with precision. After that, everything else is usually pretty routine.
Finally, if the client is contemplating the purchase of a new rifle in preparation for coming on safari, we recommend that the purchase take place a minimum of six months in advance of the commencement date of the safari. If possible, the rifle should be hunted during this period. It may seem incongruous to hunt deer with a .458 but the experience of using this rifle in an actual hunting environment in advance of coming on safari will pay dividends in the African bush.
- How are rifle hunts conducted?
Hunting vehicles are used to locate, assess, and identify game. We hunt from these vehicles (spot and stalk) and often shoot from them if game is obscured by high grasses and other vegetation. We also dismount from the vehicle (walk and stalk) in certain situations. We also may hunt from both elevated and ground blinds. The techniques we use depend on the area being hunted, species, cover and wind direction.
- What paperwork do I have to complete to get my firearms into RSA?
The process is somewhat involved, yet it is not overly complicated. At Chacma Hunting Safari we have the experience and resources to assist the client throughout the process to ensure that the client and their firearms arrive in RSA without complications or confusion. In addition, to facilitate the processing of the client’s paperwork we can connect the client with experienced independent affiliates that provide this service for a nominal fee. These affiliates ensure, in advance, that the client’s paperwork is completed properly, that the documents clear the required reviewing authority satisfactorily, and personally meet the client at the airport to ensure the firearms pass through customs smoothly. If this service is preferred, all documents* must be completed and emailed to the client’s selected affiliate in RSA 25 days in advance of the client’s scheduled arrival in Johannesburg.
The following *documents are required:
- Form SAPS 520 – Temporary Import Application SAPS 520 Form – download the SAPS 520 Form HERE
- A Letter of Invitation from Chacma Hunting Safari. Chacma Hunting Safari will provide the client the format for completing this letter as soon as the client has booked their safari.
- Copy of Client’s Travel Itinerary. Official print-out from the client’s selected airline is sufficient.
- Copy of official passport.
- For US Residents: CBP Form 4457 download here ( or downloadable from this website: www.cbp.gov), at their website, scroll to the bottom and click “Forms”. You will need to scroll through the first page of PDF’s and then you’ll find the downloadable PDF for CBP Form 4457 on page 2.
It is advisable to have several original copies of this form made in the presence of a CBP Agent. Possession of this form allows you to return to the US without the risk of paying duty on items you already own. Therefore, list all items of value having a serial number (optics, laptop, etc.). In completing CBP Form 4457, take note that CBP does not consider a telescopic sight mounted on a firearm to be part of the firearm, therefore do not forget to list any mounted telescopic sight as a separate item with its own serial number. Also, a completed CBP Form 4457 does not have an expiration date. Therefore, if you should return to Africa the original form is valid so long as you are transporting the same items as listed thereon.
Finally, it is not a bad idea to have a copy of each of these forms (A, B, C, D, and E) in your gun case and in your carry-on luggage.
- How do I get my firearm(s) safely into and out of RSA?
Check the specific requirements of your airline as well as (if you are a US Citizen) those of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Typically, firearms must be locked in their own airline approved security case. Ammunition must also be locked as well, however it must be in a separate case from the firearms. Both must be checked as baggage of course. It is advisable to have original copies of your importation paperwork (CBP Form 4457, etc.) in your firearm security case, on your person, and inside your checked baggage where your ammunition is stored. This is not a requirement. It simply ensures that you have back-up copies of your importation paperwork. We know of few disappointments that equal making the trip to RSA and not having access to your firearms due to loss of paperwork. If you have access to the internet you typically can “check-in” for your departing flight up to 24 hours in advance of its departure and obtain your boarding pass at that time. During this process you should “declare” your intent to travel with a firearm. Show up at the airport with the firearm in a locked case. Declare it once again at “check-in” then simply follow the prompted procedures set out for you by the airline and attendant federal agents. These are the current general guidelines as we know them to be. However, both the TSA, the airlines, SAPS (South African Police Service) may change their requirements at any time. Therefore, the prudent client will contact each of these agencies (via respective websites) as part of their safari planning.
- How many firearms should I bring to RSA?
If you are limiting your hunting to strictly plains game you only need one rifle in the caliber choices cited elsewhere herein (perhaps go up one caliber size if eland is on your list). Many first-time clients want to bring a back-up rifle. We do not go out of our way to discourage this if it is important to the client. However, one rifle is really sufficient, and the burden of the additional weight (and expense) soon overshadow the perceived advantage of another rifle for most clients.
If the client is hunting dangerous game as well as plains game the client can still get by with one rifle (.375 being the minimum caliber in RSA for dangerous game), but here the advantage of having both a heavy caliber and a lighter (or medium) caliber becomes more apparent. Scores of material have been written on this topic, and resources are easily available to any client with intensified interest in this topic. If unsure, contact us once your hunt is booked and we will be happy to discuss caliber choices based upon your list of animals.
Finally, if you intend to wingshoot, plus hunt plains game, and dangerous game, you are going to need three firearms, and an extended stay to pack in all the hunting and shooting on a safari of this nature. Contact us for specifics.
Finally, for those clients who want to hunt but not travel with firearms, we rent staff rifles on a daily basis for a modest fee, plus the cost of ammunition.
- How much ammunition should I bring?
RSA, by regulation, limits the total amount of ammunition per firearm to 80 cartridges. It is unlikely you will need this many, but this is an ample amount for both sighting-in (and in some cases re-sighting-in as necessary) and for hunting. Sometimes it can be a confidence builder to re-sight a rifle that appears not to be shooting to expectations. Having extra ammunition to do this is worthwhile.
One cautionary note is in order. If you bring handloaded ammunition into RSA it is wise to ensure that the cartridge headstamps match the caliber designation on the barrel of your rifle(s). This is especially important if you are loading for a “wildcat” caliber or for a commercial cartridge that is also a military cartridge. For instance, if you use military cases to load for your .30-06, those cases will not exhibit a commercial .30-06 headstamp. We know of no instances in RSA where this has been a problem, but it is a problem in some African countries. With bureaucracies seeming to proliferate throughout the globe, and knowing something of the culture they inculcate, it is simply better not to take a chance. Use commercial brass for your reloads, where you can be sure the case headstamps precisely match the caliber designation on your rifle.
Finally, the requirements of different airlines vary, but in our experience the general expectation is that ammunition be packaged in its original factory boxes, or suitable after-market boxes specifically manufactured for this purpose. If in doubt, check with your airline.
- I have a bi-pod mounted to my rifle. Is this a useful addition to hunting Africa?
We know experienced hunters (some African hunters) that prefer bi-pods. However, in our type of hunting the client is either shooting from the bed of a vehicle over the padded roof or is on the ground standing and shooting from the PH’s shooting sticks, or other natural structure (e.g. tree limb). These two set-ups are a result of the fact that the vegetation is often too high to allow the practical use of a rifle-mounted bi-pod. We encourage hunters to bring whatever equipment they feel builds their own confidence, but practically speaking we find (and nearly all our clients agree) that a rifle-mounted bi-pod is superfluous and quite the encumbrance. Clients should practice extensively from the erect position off of tripod based shooting sticks prior to arriving in RSA.
- I have a semi-automatic rifle. May I bring that to South Africa?
By regulation, semi-automatic (self-loading) rifles, and fully-automatic rifles are not allowed in RSA. If the client has a qualified medical condition dictating the use of a semi-automatic firearm, in lieu of any other form of firearm, a special dispensation may possibly be obtained to allow the client to temporarily import the firearm into RSA for sporting purposes. If you have special requirements, please let us know well in advance.
- I have a heavy-recoiling rifle that I have tamed somewhat with a muzzle-brake. Are there any issues with that?
Muzzle brakes convert the energy contained in recoil to concussive muzzle blast and noise. Any nearby bystander feels and hears this. Therefore, we like to know if a client intends to bring a rifle with a muzzle-brake. It gives us an opportunity to beef-up our ear protection, and we appreciate that.
- May I bring a handgun into South Africa?
A handgun may be brought into RSA for hunting purposes. However, the client must demonstrate that the handgun is clearly intended for hunting purposes. Thus, the caliber, action-type, sighting systems, etc. must all support the logical inference that the handgun is for hunting purposes. For example, big-bore revolvers with long barrels and optical sighting systems may easily pass muster. An automatic pistol in caliber 9mm with a high-capacity magazine would not pass muster. Please consult with us if handgun hunting is on your agenda.
- Will I need a range finder during my hunt?
Not likely. If your rifle is capable of near line-of-sight accuracy out to 200-225 yards you are not likely to need a range finder. Most African plains game is taken at ranges considerably less than this. Your PH is capable of estimating range within this window. Any necessity for long-range shooting will be discussed with the client in advance of any need to place a shot.
- Should I bring binoculars?
It depends. There are lots of interesting things to see in Africa that make the use of binoculars both useful and fun. However, after all is said and done, you are not likely to need binoculars for the singular act of hunting. Your PH will have binoculars, and their constant use will determine which animals are candidates for your shot. During this specific and limited time frame you will be focusing on the animals in front of you and then the specific one your PH wants you to take. Sometimes use of binoculars by the client helps identify the animal, in other instances, their use simply delays the timing of the shot, when the client should be using his/her telescopic sight. We do not discourage the use of binoculars, but do not expect that the client will carry them either. It is a personal choice. If the client prefers the use of binoculars we recommend something light and compact (not larger than, say, 7x – 35mm). Even if the client elects to bring binoculars the PH may politely request that they not be taken into the bush if, in his professional judgment, he feels they are interfering with the client’s hunting or shooting.