First time hunting in Africa? Here are some myths and the truth.
Of the many that dream of hunting Africa only a few will ever do it, there are a few reasons for that and then for those who do not do it there are many excuses like it is to expensive.
With this page we would like to give you a bit more facts that can help you be part of the few.
Firstly, myths about Africa & the truth.
To start with, here is a topic we created on AfricaHunting.com, here you will see some responses and comment on experiences others had, AfricaHunting.com is a great source of information for hunters.
- COST - Compare a South African guided hunt to a “quality” guided hunt out west, Alaska & Canada. Most of these hunts are single specie hunts. Trophy quality and hunting success rates are often low. A South African hunt is generally cheaper, you harvest multiple species (6-8) and all aspects of your hunt are “first class”. It is the best value for money available!!!
- SPECIAL RIFLES - Not needed!!! If you have a rifle in the .30 caliber family, with a good variable scope, you have all you need for a good plainsgame hunt. Bullet choice is more important.
- SPECIAL CLOTHING - The best time for hunting in Africa is March till October. The USA summer is the South African winter, but daytime temperatures are very moderate. One small bag of clothing is plenty, you would experience temperatures varying in the following ranges:
March & April 50-80 °F Limpopo (North) / 45-75 °F Free State (South)
May & June 40-70 °F Limpopo (North) / 35-70 °F Free State (South)
July & August 35-70 °F Limpopo (North) / 35-70 °F Free State (South)
September & Oct 50-80 °F Limpopo (North) / 50-75 °F Free State (South)
- AFRICAN GAME IS TOUGHER - Not really. Bullet placement is number one, just like home, the one main difference is the change in the vital area's, African game's vital areas are much lower than north American species, but that is why you have a Qualified Professional hunter with you at all times, your PH will help you identify the right trophy and the best shot placement, and if all fail, we have the best trackers you have ever seen, i have not been with a client where the client did not say "i cannot believe they could track this animal, People back home will not believe this".
- PHYSICAL DEMANDS - African professional hunters and outfitters can accommodate anyone. It is spot and stalk, most of the time, but you the hunter, set the pace!!! We are also equipped to deal with most situations from disabled hunters to special forces trained hunters, we will adapt the hunting to your ability and comfort, if your 10 year old kid want to join the hunt, we will adapt to him/her.
- HEALTH ISSUES - You may need to update a few shots. This is good advice for any trip abroad. You will not be in contact with many people. Food is excellent!!! Drinking water is bottled. Marvel Africa will not place risk on your health or Safety.
- DANGER FACTOR - (Snakes, insects, large beasts, angry people) How many snakes do you see over here, in the USA, each year? I doubt you will see any on your trip. During hunting seasons there are very few insects. You will not be eaten by a lion. People are friendly, and your hosts will not expose you to hostile locals.
- GETTING GUNS TO AFRICA - You partially fill out one form, which is signed on arrival and your professional hunter will be there to assist you with any problems you may encounter.
- AIRLINE PROBLEMS - when they rarely occur, generally happen in the US. If you follow our guidelines and adhere to your travel agents advice the chances of any problems are extremely low. Please consult us, we will provide you all the information you need to help you.
- GETTING TROPHIES HOME - If you can get your Aunt Bertha’s antique china cabinet home from England, you can get your trophies home. People who do this for a living, will be helping you.
- AIRLINE NIGHTMARES - The trip to South Africa is long, 18 hours, but you eat, sleep, drink, and watch movies... kind of like a lazy Saturday at home but you are 39,000 feet up.
- ALL AFRICAN ANIMALS ARE ENDANGERED - Africa and the rest of the world are in the spotlight of the Anti-Everything movements, allot of myths and fables are told about our continent, like the one's told by Disney like vegetarian lions ect, The facts are, to be able to export your trophies to the USA it needs to go through many checkpoint and one International body that regulates permits are CITES, if all species where endangered we would be out of business and none of the trophy rooms back home with Africa species would have existed. Trophy hunting is believed to raise about US$200 million annually across 23 African countries with South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe being the top destinations in terms of trophy hunting revenue. These economic benefits are often used by the pro-hunting lobby as the key reasons for supporting the industry. If all African animals where endangered, this scale of business would not have been possible.
- THE MEAT IS WASTED - To the contrary, while on the hunt, the meat hunted is prepared for the hunters to enjoy, you would not be a hunter. If you did not eat your harvest, what is left over is wither processed and used by the staff or sold various individuals of which some are people from local communities who cannot afford to buy meat from butcheries as the price is to high.
- TOTAL COST INCLUDING TAXIDERMY IS EXPENSIVE - This is true, but if you mounted every white tail you ever hunted it would also be expensive, i realize you might not get back to Africa soon to hunt again, but you do not have to mount every animal, consider options like European mounts ext, it could be a substantial saving.
Which Outfitter to hunt with?
As much as i would love to say only hunt with Marvel Africa Safaris, the true answer as that 99% of hunting outfitters is good outfits, like in any part of life there are those who are not bound by morality and ethical guidelines but i can assure you that they are few. As for what to look out for i would say the biggest red flag is the Terms and Agreements, what is included and what is not included, this can be a very difficult surprise when you are getting ready to depart and suddenly you get a bill charging you for the extra col drink you had or the washing that where done.
Make sure that when you book a hunt it is clearly stipulated what is included and not, and get the price of the items not included. And the same would apply to us, to be informed is to be prepared.
What species to hunt?
I think this is possibly one of the more challenging decisions. So many species to choose from and which to choose? To start with, i would like to put the species into categories.
- First time hunters / Most popular - Species
These in my opinion should be on the top of your list. These are the species almost every hunter coming to Africa hunted on their first hunts.
- Spiral horn family: Kudu, Eland, Nyala and Bushbuck.
- Warthog (a must)
- Blue Wildebeest
- Returning hunters / Expanding your collection - Species
These in my opinion would be the species you would be more than likely to hunt on a second or third trip, to start expanding your collection of trophies.
- Red Hartebeest
- Experienced & Regular hunters / Exotic & Dangerous Game - Species
These are the bigger hunts,the ones you do once you are well acquainted with Africa and your outfitter. The reason being that they are higher $ hunts and for most a once in a lifetime hunt. You would want to wait and make sure everything is to your satisfaction & preference before you plan to hunt these species.
- Big 5
- And then just plain fun species to hunt.
- And other smaller animals.
- Challenging to hunt.
- Small cats and nocturnal species
- The tiny five
- The Rest.
Most hunters hunt these as a final expansion on their trophy collection and different experiences.
Which country to choose?
South Africa! South Africa is a developing country and politically and economically ahead of the rest of the African countries, for the fist timer it is comforting to hunt in a place where you know you have well established infrastructure, a developed economy, good medical services and are safe.
South Africa also offers more activities and things to do for the hunters and their families and is a Family friendly country. You can bring your wife and kids along, while you are hunting they can enjoy a relaxing day at the lodge, shopping or various day trips. You can end the trip with a few days in the Kruger National Park.
I would advise first timers to start with South Africa with one or two hunts and then venture further into the wilderness. Marvel Africa Safaris will be by your side from a first time hunter all the way to a seasoned big five hunter.