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Jul 03, 2023 | 11:49 am 1759 0

Hunting in South Africa.

Hunting in South Africa.

Finding a better place for hunting than South Africa isn't easy. This country pays much attention to this occupation. She carefully enforces existing laws and controls the number of wild animals, maintaining the natural balance of nature. Also, the state authorities create ideal conditions for visiting hunters, allowing them to have a great time with like-minded people.

Features of staying in the country

An African safari is a dream come true for many hunting enthusiasts. On this continent, there is an opportunity to get status trophies and enjoy the process. However, for staying in South Africa, it is essential to consider several features. This information will help you avoid numerous problems that can ruin your trip.

Important features:

  1. Entry. South Africa is part of the British Commonwealth and is one of its most active members. Thanks to this, hunters from other countries of the Commonwealth could freely enter the republic's territory. Other visitors must apply for a visa in advance and provide some additional documentation.
  2. Medical documents. Hunters coming to South Africa must be vaccinated against yellow fever, COVID-19, and malaria. The latter will be needed only in cases where it is planned to visit regions in which issues of this disease are recorded. It is essential to know that the list of medical documents may change every month. In this regard, it is recommended to check the current list of vaccinations immediately before sending.
  3. Permit for weapons. Most hunters prefer to bring their guns. Getting it into South Africa will be tricky due to the recently introduced substantial restrictions. You need to get a special permit to do what you love with your rifle. It can be issued in advance or after arrival at the airport. In both situations, you must prove the ownership of the weapon and attach to the required documentation a paper confirming the booking of the hunting tour. The only available alternative will be rented weapons. It always requires zeroing in and could perform better than hunter rifles, so this option is only considered a last resort.
  4. Import of ammunition. Foreign hunters can bring up to 200 rounds of ammunition per rifle into South Africa. This rule is strictly observed so that exceptional employees check every hunting enthusiast. If you wish, you can purchase cartridges from the safari organizers. However, in this case, you will have to overpay and hope for the availability of suitable ammunition.
  5. Hunt time. You can hunt in South Africa at any time of the year. At the same time, in some situations, restrictions are still introduced that prohibit killing specific animals in a given period. The best option would be a trip in April-November. Most living beings are active now, so the likelihood of meeting them increases to a maximum. For people who cannot stand the silty heat, it is best to go hunting in July or August. At this time, the lowest temperatures are in South Africa, so your stay in the country will be as comfortable as possible. Heat fans are advised to go hunting at the beginning of the year when the thermometers rise to above 30 degrees Celsius.
  6. Hunting after sunset. In South Africa, there is an unspoken rule according to which the owners of hunting grounds set a higher price for hunting at night. At the same time, visitors can use most night vision devices and various other optics.
  7. Hidden fees. Hunters must be prepared for additional costs. Often they are pretty high, and only people who previously came to this country know about them in advance. Among the frequently encountered hidden payments are tax fees (for killing or injuring an animal), the cost of registering imported weapons, and even tips left for service personnel.
  8. Transport services. Aircraft of the most famous airlines of the USA and Europe fly to South Africa. However, they can only take the hunter as far as Cape Town or Johannesburg. Then you must get by public transport, a rented car, or a tiny aircraft used on charter flights.
  9. Accommodation. In most cases, safari organizers offer hunters to stay in tent camps. These places are carefully guarded, creating the most comfortable atmosphere on their territory. Living in such camps makes it possible to communicate with like-minded people and learn from their invaluable experiences. An alternative would be to stay in a hotel. This will require additional financial costs from the traveler and lead to the need to make daily trips to the safari site.

Weapons and NVDs

Hunting in South Africa is diverse, so many weapons are often used. The short-barreled .300 or .375 caliber rifle is considered the most sought-after. Hunting with a bow, crossbow, and other similar weapons is also allowed in some places.

Hunters who choose South Africa can try to get the coveted trophy in the light of the sun and at night. The latter option is quite popular since, in this country, there are practically no restrictions on this method of hunting. You must take various night optics if you go on a safari after dark.

Types of NVDs for safari:

  1. NV sight. For beginners and experienced hunters, the NV scope is the best choice. It is convenient, multifunctional, and compact. Despite this, legal regulations should always be taken into account. Not all regions allow such devices, so their presence on the hunt will be a severe violation with subsequent hefty fines. To avoid getting into such a situation, it is essential to find out from the organizers which optics can be used and which cannot. In those places where NV sights are acceptable for use, you need to get a particular document in advance so that everything runs smoothly with controlling organizations in the future.
  2. NV binoculars. This NVD is a vital thing at night. With it, safari participants can do much preparatory work, from finding animals to determining the distance to them. Such optics are not prohibited in most cases, so they must be in every hunter's backpack. A lightweight and compact model with excellent performance characteristics will be optimal. It should quickly adjust to changing lighting conditions and not unmask the hunter (do not emit visible light, do not make any sounds, etc.).
  3. NV monocular. A simplified version of NV binoculars will be ideal where it is impossible to take larger optics with you due to a large number of additional equipment. Most often, monoculars are just a little behind binoculars in their characteristics. At the same time, they are as compact as possible and weigh only a few hundred grams. Almost any NV monocular is suitable for night safari. They must have an increased range and be supplemented by measuring the distance to the object. This will help find animals, be far away from them, and make certain adjustments when aiming.
  4. NV glasses. The most convenient to use are NV glasses. They are not banned in most regions of South Africa, so you should always take them with you. Thanks to such optics, night hunting will turn into a simple and enjoyable experience. It will allow you to simultaneously monitor animals and perform other work (for example, prepare a weapon for a shot). Goggles for hunters should be compact and economical regarding battery power consumption. This will allow you to wear them on your head for a long time and not be afraid of a lack of battery power.

The best places to hunt

Almost the entire territory of South Africa is considered suitable for hunting. It distinguishes nine regions, each of which is inhabited by certain animals. All of these locations have their restrictions and rules for shooting fowl. Because of this, it is essential to study all available information carefully before departure.

Good safari destinations:

  1. Eastern Cape. The second largest region of South Africa is located on the ocean coast. Desert plains and woodlands meet here, making it the perfect combination for safari lovers. In these territories, many animals will be excellent trophies for beginners and professionals. Some species are protected by conservationists, which requires special permission and safaris to be booked many weeks in advance to kill them.
  2. Free state. This region is a flat plain with many hills and high mountains. Here is a local, national park where thousands of living creatures live under the protection of man. The area located near the border with Lesotho is best suited for safari. Also, hunting enthusiasts have access to several mountain ranges, with a poorer species diversity but with picturesque landscapes. The Free State is home to many species of ungulates and small carnivores. In addition, there are waterfowl here. This area has access to many types of hunting (day, night, with dogs, and others), which makes it the most attractive for travelers who want to get a good trophy.
  3. Gauteng. This small province is the key administrative center of South Africa. It includes many major cities, including Johannesburg. The latter has an international airport, so hunters must only travel short distances to the safari site. Several quality hunting grounds are within an hour's drive from this location. They are relatively small in area, but many animals live on their territory. The terrain here is hilly, which is recommended to consider when choosing a suitable hunting method.
  4. KwaZulu-Natal. This area is located between the Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean. It is famous for its unique hunting grounds, which occupy a considerable part of its area. The best choice for hunters will be the northern part of the province. The terrain here is diverse, which positively affects the diversity of trophy species encountered. For bird hunting, choosing places near Lake St. Lucia is recommended. Dozens of species of waterfowl live here. Some of them can only be shot at KwaZulu-Natal.
  5. Limpopo. On the country's border with Zimbabwe and Botswana, there is a popular place for safari lovers. The Limpopo River flows here, creating a unique ecosystem and diverse species. Another good place will be the area adjacent to the national park. All Big Five members spend their lives here, making this area a magnet for hunting enthusiasts.
  6. Mpumalanga. The most picturesque region of South Africa attracts the attention of wildlife lovers. It harmoniously combines low mountains, valleys, forests, waterfalls, and other natural beauties. For hunters, this area will also be attractive. It offers many types of fowl, ranging from the "big five" to smaller inhabitants. Day and night hunting fans are advised to book quotas in advance, as their number in Mpumalanga is relatively tiny.
  7. North West. This region is the mining center of South Africa. Minerals have been mined here for years, including diamonds and platinum ore. Despite the development of such activities, wildlife also has a place here. The North West has many hilly areas with a unique ecosystem, open grasslands, and clumps of trees. This diversity leads to hunting enthusiasts having a vast selection of animals that can become fantastic trophies. Large and small predators, hoofed mammals, and birds are equally common here. The populations of many species are not endangered, so obtaining quotas in North West is much easier than in other provinces.
  8. Northern Cape This region is the center of wildlife in South Africa. A record low number of people live on its territory, most occupied by national parks. There are hilly areas, plains, deserts, and the Orange River. The latter forms its ecosystem, which is not comparable to any other. There are many public and private hunting grounds in the region. Night safari lovers often come here, during which you can use different NVDs and get large trophies with their help.
  9. Western Cape. This region is developed in terms of tourism. Tens of thousands of people from different continents come here to relax. They are attracted by picturesque scenery, mild climate, and access to two oceans. Also, here is the famous city of Cape Town with many unique attractions. For hunters, this place is interesting because you can conduct a safari just an hour's drive from the center of the metropolis. All conditions have been created here, starting with many available hunting tours and ending with the freedom to choose the species of interest. Western Cape will allow hunters to try out any auxiliary equipment (for example, NVDs) if desired.

Popular hunting species

South Africa is home to many trophy species of animals and birds. They all live in certain regions, so safari lovers need to decide in advance on their primary goal. Also, shooting some species is prohibited in certain places, which is necessary to consider when planning a hunt. 

Encountered animals:

  • lion;
  • zebra;
  • rhinoceros;
  • buffalo;
  • baboon;
  • baboon;
  • giraffe;
  • caracal;
  • hyena;
  • jackal;
  • crocodile;
  • warthog;
  • impala;
  • duiker;
  • oryx;
  • water goat;
  • springbok;
  • blesbuck;
  • bushbuck;
  • wildebeest;
  • ostrich;
  • wild pigeon.

Processing and export of trophies

Receiving a trophy ends the hunt but opens a new stage of work. After killing an animal, it is essential to process it correctly immediately. Primary processing is carried out directly in the camp. It is often included in the tour price and does not require additional financial costs. After that, taxidermists prepare the trophy. They process valuable parts of animals and help with paperwork for awards. The work of these specialists is paid separately and is often quite expensive.

Trophy hunting is considered an important tourism destination in South Africa. However, local authorities make life much more difficult for hunters by developing laws and regulations governing exporting trophies outside the country. Minimum problems will arise for visitors from states that have concluded the CITES agreement. It opens access to the unhindered export of various parts of animals. Everyone else will have to obtain a special export permit. This process is quite long and laborious, so hunters try to complete it before the start of the trip.

South Africa is not only an excellent and economically developed country. For many, it is also attractive for its hunting grounds, which all beginners and professional hunters dream of visiting. In this country, the most comfortable conditions have been created for them, under which everyone can count on a free choice of the type of hunting and the possibility of obtaining a large number of valuable trophies. The latter will become a decoration of the collection and a source of pride for any hunting lover.

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