For most people, an African safari means hunting animals with a camera to get incredible photos to take home with you. For others, an African safari means hunting of the more traditional sort. In this case, the trophy is something a little more lasting. If you are one of humanity's natural hunters, then this may be the safari that appeals to you.
There are many safari operators available that offer African hunting safaris for those who want to pit their wits against the great beasts of the African continent. Whether you want to track down one of the elusive and often dangerous Big Five, or whether you are interested in one of the many other species that roam the African plains, there are operators that can help you hunt what you want.
African hunting safaris can work out to be rather expensive. Many operators often ask for a non-refundable deposit because organising this kind of safari requires a lot more effort than a photographic safari. There are permits for the hunting and the transport of guns that need to be organised and many other facets that will be sorted out long before you even get on the plane to come to Africa.
To ensure that you get the best out of your hunting safari, there are few things that you can remember to make the best of your money and your time.
When you book your hunting safari, it is important to be specific about your expectations. The safari operator will try their best to meet your expectations, or if they are unable to, tell you that they may be unable to fulfil your needs. Depending on laws, season and area, the animal that you want may not be available...yet. If you are clear about what you want, the chances of being disappointed are considerably lessened.
The guns that you bring along are probably one of the most important items you need to consider. Generally a 0.270 to 0.300 Magnum should suffice for African plains hunting. If, however, you are after some of the larger and more dangerous animals of the African continent, then a 0.375 H&H or larger is recommended by most professional hunters.
No matter what gun and calibre you decide to you, however, it is important that you are comfortable with it and that you are practised with it. No matter how good the gun and the bullets, if you cannot shoot it, you will not meet with success and may end up damaging your trophy. It is generally recommended that you be able to shoot a target consistently up to 200 yards. If using a large gun, it is also recommended that a recoil dampener is used.
On the subject of guns, some African countries have strict regulations regarding the transportation of guns across their borders. It is usually a good idea to let the safari operator handle the paperwork related to your weapons. They have local representatives that have experience with the administrative hurdles that need to be traversed.
As far as gear is concerned, most professional hunting safari operators will have a wide range of gear at your disposal though you are usually welcome to bring your own if you want to. A stout pair of hunting boots that have already been broken in is a good idea since you do not want your trip to be ruined by blisters. While the typical image of the African safari has men in pith hats wearing khaki and tan has been made famous by Hollywood, darker colours are preferred. Darker greens and browns reflect a lot less light and are much less likely to spook the animals that you are tracking. A jacket is also recommended for cool nights.
Taking care of yourself is also important. Use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or more to protect yourself against the harsh African sun. It is also important that your vaccinations are up to date. Check with the safari operator what area you are entering, which vaccinations are required and whether or not you need to take malaria prophylactics. It is also recommended that you take out medical evacuation insurance in case of an emergency.
The safari operator will take care of all the administration so you do not have to. You can ensure that your African hunting safari meets with great success by keeping these guidelines in mind. While far from exhaustive, they are sure to make sure that your trip proceed more smoothly.
Another option is to join a hunting club, where you can get updates and news on the latest hunting packages, laws, news and more. Hunting clubs also offer the chance to meet like minded individuals that enjoy Hunting as much as you do.
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