Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get from hunters interested in an African hunting safari.
We make every effort to provide our clients with outstanding personal service before, during, and after the hunt. We also realize that you probably have a bunch of questions, particularly if you’re getting ready to book your first African hunting safari. With these things in mind, we’ve compiled a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from hunters.
WHY SHOULD I BOOK AN AFRICAN SAFARI WITH YOU?
- We hunt in one of the least developed parts of South Africa and the area still has that “wild Africa” feel with leopard preying on antelope, crocodile and hippo in the river, and the sounds of jackals at night. So, not only is the hunting fantastic, but it’s also a great place to see a side of Africa that few other outfitters can provide.
- No hidden costs: our hunts include everything except for your air fare, taxidermy, and shipment of your trophies.
- We are not a high turnover outfit. Instead, we focus on providing quality hunts with the best possible experience for each guest. For that reason, we only book one hunt at a time. Instead of sharing the area with people that you don’t know, you’ll have the whole place to yourself. This allows us to give you our full attention and ensure that you receive VIP treatment on your hunt.
- We’ll pick you up at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. So, unlike a hunt in Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, or the Eastern Cape, no follow on airline flights or plane charters are necessary if you book a South Africa hunting package with us.
- If you want to bring your own rifle, we’ll get a temporary import permit for you and help you with all the paperwork involved at no extra charge. So, there is no need to go through the hassle of importing your rifle on your own or pay an additional $200-300 to another company for their help with this.
- We book a limited number of hunts each year, abide by strict quotas, and carefully manage our hunting areas. This ensures that our hunters have high success rates and take the best quality trophies possible (over 90% of our trophies make the SCI or Rowland Ward record book).
- Our Professional Hunters (PHs) are friendly, knowledgeable, and have many years worth of experience guiding plains game and dangerous game hunts.
- We strive to provide high quality, all-inclusive hunting safaris with no hidden costs. Not every outfitter prices their hunts in this manner. There are lots of places supposedly offering “cheap” or “discount” cape buffalo hunts out there and hunters who book those sort of trips often get what they pay for.
- This is a veteran owned and operated business and we plan all of our hunts with military precision and attention to detail.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI WITH BIG GAME HUNTING ADVENTURES?
Please visit our recommended packing list page for a detailed breakdown of the gear we recommend you bring on hunts with us in South Africa.
WHAT CALIBER RIFLE SHOULD I BRING?
If you’re hunting plains game, we recommend using something in the 270 Winchester to 300 Winchester Magnum range. The .30-06 Springfield is an outstanding and very popular cartridge for hunting plains game. For dangerous game, you should use a .375 H&H or larger.
Plan on bringing at least 40-60 rounds of ammunition when hunting plains game. The Nosler Partition, Swift A-Frame, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, and the Barnes TSX (or TTSX) are all great bullet choices.
When hunting Cape Buffalo, bring 60 round of ammunition with you: 40 premium soft points and 20 non-expanding bullets (solids). Test your loads prior to your hunt to verify that your solids and soft point bullets have the same point of impact. We highly recommend using the Hornady DGX/DGS combination. The Barnes TSX is also excellent, as are the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw & Sledgehammer, the Swift A-Frame, and the Norma solid.
WHAT PAPERWORK DO I NEED TO BRING MY OWN RIFLE?
It is no problem at all if you want to bring your own rifle with you on your hunt. We’ll help you get a temporary firearm import permit and assist you in clearing Customs with your rifle upon arrival in South Africa at no extra charge. Please visit this page to learn more.
IF I DON’T WANT TO BRING MY OWN RIFLE, CAN YOU PROVIDE ONE FOR ME TO USE?
We have good quality scoped rifles chambered in .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .338 Winchester Magnum, .375 H&H, and .375 Ruger available for our hunters to use. Additionally, the .338 Winchester Magnum and .375 Ruger are both suppressed. We provide use of the rifle and ammunition suitable for hunting plains game or Cape Buffalo as appropriate at no extra charge.
HOW MUCH IS AIR FARE TO SOUTH AFRICA?
Depending on where exactly you’re flying from and whether you fly direct or not, round trip economy class airline tickets from the United States to Johannesburg (JNB) normally go for $1,000 to $2,200 during the busy season (May through August). It’s possible to find tickets for less outside of this time frame.
Delta Airlines has a direct flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. South African Airways has direct flights to Johannesburg from Washington Dulles and JFK. We highly recommend these flights for American hunters who want to bring their own rifles.
WHERE WILL I BE MET?
Your Professional Hunter (PH) will pick you up at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg right after you pass through Customs. If you’re bringing your own rifle, your PH will escort you to the South African Police Service office and help you retrieve it. Prior to your hunt, we’ll send you detailed instructions on how to navigate the airport that include photographs of where we’ll meet you and what your PH looks like.
Your PH will be with you for the rest of your safari to make sure you have a safe, fun, and successful trip. At the end of your hunt, your PH will take you back to the airport, assist you in checking into your departing flight, and ensure you successfully make it through the security checkpoint.
We can also arrange to pick you up and/or drop you off at a hotel or resort as well as the train station in Johannesburg if you have other sightseeing plans in South Africa before or after your hunt.
CAN I BRING A NON-HUNTING GUEST WITH ME?
Sure! Our facilities in South Africa are all very comfortable and non-hunting guests are welcome in camp. A large number of our hunters bring along friends and/or family members who are not interested in hunting, but still want to enjoy seeing what Africa is like. For this reason, non-hunting guests are welcome to accompany the hunters on safari each day and we are happy to arrange a game drive or other wildlife viewing opportunity for them.
We can also organize other activities like hot air balloon rides, wildlife viewing, photo safaris, trips to Kruger National Park, or visits to nearby tourist attractions. Contact us for pricing on these additional activities.
DO I NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ANY DISEASES?
We recommend visiting your doctor prior to your hunt and telling them where you’ll be traveling. You’ll need to take a malaria prophylaxis to hunt with us in Limpopo Province. Other than that, you’ll probably just need to receive a Tetanus booster prior to departing. South Africa is Yellow Fever and Ebola free.
WILL I HAVE CELL PHONE SERVICE ON MY HUNT?
We have limited cell phone service in our hunting areas in South Africa. Prior to your trip, call your phone provider and ask them to turn on international calling for you.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN AFRICA? WILL I GET TO EAT THE ANIMALS I HUNT?
Yes, you will get to eat the animals you hunt. African wild game is quite tasty and our cook is very experienced with preparing delicious meals from the animals we hunt. While you can’t take any of the meat home with you, everything left over at the end of your hunt will either be eaten by the camp staff or donated to those in need. No meat will go to waste.
We prepare all of our meals on site and serve three meals (plus snacks) a day. You will not go hungry on your hunt! For beverages, we serve coffee, tea, bottled water, soda, juice, beer, wine, and liquor. Breakfast usually consists of coffee, rusks (a hard, dry biscuit), cereal, fruit, and juice. Lunch and dinner feature lots of bread, meat, vegetables, and fruit (plus dessert in the evenings). Dinner is accompanied by fine South African wines specifically chosen to compliment the meal.
If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know before your hunt so we can prepare accordingly.
WHAT ARE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE IN AFRICA?
Our hunters stay in individual chalets wired with 220v electricity and equipped with air conditioning. Each chalet is kept in pristine condition and has a private bathroom. Camp also features a fully stocked bar and an outdoor fire pit.
Visit our accommodations page to learn more about what the individual rooms are like, the other amenities in camp, weather, terrain, etc.
CAN I HUNT ADDITIONAL ANIMALS?
Absolutely! It’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll run into a couple different species that you were not planning on hunting (and maybe didn’t even know existed prior to your safari) while you’re in Africa. We pride ourselves in flexibility and if you decide that you’re interested in taking an additional animal or two, just let your PH know and he’ll do his best to get you a shot at what you’re after. Additional animals are priced at our normal trophy fees.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T TAKE ANIMAL THAT I WAS AFTER?
We historically have success rates approaching 100% on most species. However, since we do practice fair chase hunting, nothing is guaranteed and hunters do occasionally fail to take an animal they were hunting. So, if you do not take one of the animals you planned on hunting, you will not be charged the listed trophy fee for that animal.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I WOUND AN ANIMAL AND DO NOT RECOVER IT?
While we will make every effort to recover all animals wounded during our hunts, any animal wounded and not found will be charged full price.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I BUDGET FOR TIPS ON MY HUNT?
Please visit our tipping guide for more information on recommended gratuities.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO GET MY TROPHIES BACK HOME?
There are two options for sending your trophies home after your hunt: either raw or as finished trophies. Below is a brief description of both options along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Put simply, a taxidermist in Africa does all the work on your trophies and ships them directly to you as a full, shoulder, or skull (European) mount. Taxidermy costs are generally cheaper in Africa than in Europe or North America. On the other hand, since shipping costs are calculated based on the size and weight of the crate, shipping finished trophies is more expensive than shipping raw trophies. All things considered, it is normally marginally (on the order of a couple hundred dollars) cheaper to do your taxidermy in Africa and ship the finished trophies home.
If you elect to ship the raw trophies home, they’ll need to be dipped and packed first. This entails salting, de-fleshing, and treating you’re the hides and skulls of the animals you took with a chemical compound to kill any bacteria or insects on them. Once that is complete, the trophies will be packed and shipped to the taxidermist of your choice in your home country who will then finish mounting them. Since you’ll only be shipping the skull, horns, and flat hides of the animals (as opposed to larger and heavier finished trophies), shipping costs are often much lower. However, since taxidermy costs are usually more expensive in other countries, the overall cost of this option is generally slightly higher.
We do not have a business relationship with, or have any financial interests related to, any taxidermist or shipping agent in any country. That being said, we’re happy to provide recommendations for taxidermists, dip & pack agents, and/or shipping companies that our hunters have had good experiences with in the past so you can contact them directly for their latest prices.
We’ll facilitate whichever option you choose, but we recommend shipping your raw trophies and having a taxidermist in your home country finish mounting them. This normally costs a little more, but it’s often worth the extra cost to have a first-rate taxidermist with lots of experience with African animals finish mounting your trophies. Even though their prices are higher, you’ll generally get better quality work and a better value for your money when you use a respected taxidermist in North America or Europe. Additionally, if you have a problem or need a repair done, it’s much easier to sort out problems with a locally based business.
DO YOU HAVE REFERENCES I CAN TALK TO OR TESTIMONIALS FROM PREVIOUS HUNTERS I CAN READ?
Absolutely! Just send us an email and we’re happy to provide a list of references. You can also check out some reviews our previous hunters have posted online.
Matt: August 2016 Big Game Hunting Adventures review
Lou: June 2017 Big Game Hunting Adventures review
Mike: September 2017 Big Game Hunting Adventures review
We donated a hunt to the Send-A-Vet Foundation and hosted a Mike Stilson, who was wounded in Iraq during September 2007, on a plains game hunt in 2017. There’s a great article about Big Game Hunting Adventures and how we helped sponsor Mike’s hunt on Wide Open Spaces that’s well worth your time to check out.
Finally, you can watch the video we made of Mike while he was hunting in South Africa with us as well as this promotional video (which some have called the best Africa hunting video they’ve ever seen) to get a better idea of how we conduct our hunts.