Yes. Personal security is an issue any time you travel abroad, and South Africa is no exception. However, when you hunt with us you will be escorted from the time you arrive and collect your belongings until the time you leave. We take personal security seriously, and you will find that you’re well taken care of.
If you plan on hunting plains game, any of your typical hunting rifle calibers used for whitetail deer hunting will be sufficient. The most important aspect of the rifle you choose is not necessarily the make and model, but rather your ability to shoot it accurately under the stress of the hunt. If you bring a caliber with punishing recoil, you will find that your accuracy and enjoyment will suffer. Generally rifles in the 30-06 range would be fine, including .308, 7mm Magnum, 300 Win. Mag, among others. It is recommended that your gun permits are pre-approved to make your trip more pleasurable. There are several services available to help you with getting your guns into the country in an expedited fashion, and we recommend using one of them. Sportsman’s travel insurance is also recommended.
As with all rifle optics, buy the best that you can afford. Since air travel and safari hunting can be hard on equipment, what’s most important in a rifle scope for African hunting is that it is rugged. Generally, if it’s suitable for whitetail deer hunting, it will be suitable for African plains game. A quality scope in the 3-9 power range will be sufficient. You will also find that a smaller set of 8×32 binoculars will be more useful than a large pair of binos. Remember, your best bet is gear that is easy to carry and high quality.
Premium hunting bullets are a must for African hunting. Generally, you should choose a heavier grain bullet for your caliber. Many excellent options exist today, including the Barnes X bullets, Nosler Partitions, and many others. Choose the one that is most accurate in your rifle. You will have a chance to reconfirm your zero before you hunt, but please have your rifle/ammo combination dialed in before you come. Also, be sure you get your rifle off the table and into field shooting positions. You will not be hunting from a table at the range. Most likely you will be taking shots from shooting sticks or from the kneeling position. Make sure you have mastered shooting sticks before you arrive. There is a learning curve associated with them, but they make a big difference in field-hunting accuracy. Most shots will be made between 50-200 yards and you should come to Africa with confidence in your shooting ability at those ranges. You’re limited by the airlines to 11 pounds of ammunition and it must be in the caliber of the rifle that you are traveling with. You may travel with two rifles if you wish, but they cannot be the same caliber. Generally, 60 rounds of ammo for your primary rifle and 40 rounds of ammo with your secondary rifle is preferred and allowed, as long as the ammo doesn’t weigh more than 11 pounds. Ammo should be locked in its own ammo box inside your suitcase.
The preferred hunting season is from June to September, which is the winter season in South Africa. You will only need to bring a couple of sets of hunting clothes as you will be able to wash your clothes each night at camp. You have some leeway in what kind of clothing you wear on the hunt, but there are some principles that apply that will make you more successful. Wear quiet clothing in natural colors such as brown and green (avoid bright colors). Under no circumstance should you wear clothing that makes noise, as you will encounter brush as you walk through the landscape. A jacket of some type will be necessary, and possibly a pair of gloves to help mitigate the wind you may encounter. We have found that pants with zip-off legs are very convenient since some mornings will be quite cool, but the temperature will rise by the afternoon. A ball cap is the preferred head gear since a wide-brimmed hat will get in the way while moving through brush. Bring comfortable, broken-in boots and the best socks you can find. You will walk a lot while you are on the hunt, and if you develop a blister due to uncomfortable footwear you won’t be able to enjoy your experience. Choose a boot with a softer quieter sole so that you are able to move without making unnecessary noise. Most people bring comfortable clothes and different shoes for wearing at night in the camp.
There are a few items we have found to be very useful to carry around. These can be placed in a small bag that is the size of a carry-on item on a plane. This bag can contain items such as: a change of clothes, medication, small optics, camera, spare batteries, a small pocket flashlight, a larger flashlight, a clip-on visor light, and/or a small Swiss Army knife with a bottle opener and tweezers. Bring enough medications to make it through your trip, as there are no pharmacies in the general vicinity. You will not need a large hunting knife.
You are strongly encouraged to bring a journal or diary for documenting your trip. In the evenings, jot down your thoughts about the day, the things you saw and experienced, the animals taken, etc. You and future generations will treasure reading about your trip over and over again.