I would suggest you contact JJ Hack, who posts here frequently - see the previous posts in this section and then check his profile for an email address and website. There is at least other outfitter who has posted here, too.
They will be the most qualified to give you answers. What size rifle will be determined by what game you wish to hunt - for plains game, .308 and above is usually sufficient, while .300, .338 or .375 magnums can be ideal. (Just based upon what I've been told, as I have not yet gone to Africa - I hope to go next year and will take my .338 most likely.)
Deergrower there are several levels of "Africa" you can choose to hunt.
Level one is the highest quality and experience you can possibly find.
This is found in Tanzania and Botswana and involves old style tented remote hunting camps where all the big game roams the earth just as it has for ever. These hunts are offered by limied outfitters and have a bit more limited species of game available. They tend to focus on the big five more then general plains game hunts.They usually have long minimum hunting days as well. More typical 14-and 21 day safaris. These will be in the 25K and up range for prices.
Level 2 involves a more full service camp with a lodge or formal well developed areas to base your hunt from. They will also have the game roaming the earth just as it has for 100's of years with no human boundries like highways, agriculture, or fences. These locations are common in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Hunts are usually in the 10 day to 14 day range and will start around 16-18K
Level 3 involves hunting for privately managed indiginous wild game that is contained by either fences or natural boundries identifying the land. This type of management is typical in the northern areas of South Africa and Namiba. There are more natuarally occuring species of big game in this region then anyplace else on earth. It's the only area where a hunter can still collect all the big five legally. The accomadations are almost always lodges and with decent roads to travel on. Modern appliances hot showers laundry and great service is the norm. These provinces and areas are regulated by the nature conservation to provide minimum standards for the visiting hunters. The plains game huntes here will usually be in the 4500-5500 range for ten days and 4-6 animals.
Level 4 hunting is similiar to level three but in the southern portion of RSA. The main difference is that the majority of game hunted in this location will have been moved from it's natural habitat and stocked for hunting or breeding purposes in an area it would not naturally be found. The Eastern Cape hunts in RSA are not going to involve the natural habitat or lifestyle of the animals hunted there. It's very much like hunting in Texas for exotic game. It's not natural hunting for indiginous wild game in either location.
The land costs are very low in the Eastern Cape and Farm Raising of game is a huge business there. I have visited plenty of farms which raise zebra, gemsbok, wildebeast, blesbok, etc etc. these aniamls are rasied like farm animals and sold at auction to game farms for hunters to come and shoot. The outfitters there will do there very best to side track this information but the fact is you cannot harvest game at the rates they do and not "restock the pond with trout".
The average American hunter has no knowledge of this business and is sold a bill of goods with a great show when they are there hunting. However the truth is very easy to see when you work in this business and sell 100's of animals a year to them for restocking, or just to hunt. We capture sell and transport game every month in winter from our consessions up north just exactly for this type of place. I have worked as a PH from Port Elizebeth through the Drakensburg and up to Botswana and I can tell you from many years of experience hunting 2-4 months a year there during our whole season that the difference in habitat is night and day difference from the eastern cape to the northern province.
These are not bad places to hunt for plains game. They offer a dirt cheap experience and it's often a bit of a challange. However the habitat is what makes their hunts so successful and easy. Every PH, outfitter and landowner I work with will tell you the samething. The eastern cape hunts are a dream for success compared to the northern Province. Because you can see the animals so much better and for much longer time. These hunts are short do in large part to the ease of collecting game. Although still a fun and challanging hunt.Unless you have hunted truely wild game in the natural thick bushveldt habitat they live in you cannot compare this hunt to a real hunt. They will usually be 5-7 days and run 2500 to 4500 for 5-7 animals. Obviously other arrangements can be made but this is typical.
Finally Level 5 is the canned hunt on small properties for game released right before you arrive. This is not all that much different then hunting for the non-indiginous species in level 4 but the properties are small and the game is measured and well known before the hunt starts. I have seen a hunter shoot buffalo measured the morning of the hunt in a trailler and then released on 500 acres for the "hunt" and I have seen a 33" waterbuck purchased for it's size and then released on about 200 acres for the hunt. These hunts are usually silly expensive for the most wealthy hunters who desire a "bragging rights" trophy.
That level reflects the worst kind of hunting or should I say Shooting I have ever seen.
As far as guns go,...for plains game all that is needed is 30/06 for anything bigger a 375HH is plenty. I have had almost 300 hunters through the various camps and they have shot all the big five on several occasions. Nothing beats a 375HH for easy shooting and bullet placement with enough power to cleany harvest the biggest animals if the bullets are place properly.
In the bush a long shot will be 200 yards and you will average 50 to 125 yards. You are welcome to visit my website and contact the references there. I have been running my safari business 12 years now with great success. You can easily find cheaper hunts in the Eastern Cape, but you will not likely find less cost when hunting for the natural occuring wild game we offer.
My Safari was 10 Days in length (12 days in camp) and included all transportation, from and to the airport, lodging, meals, daily laundry, 1 on 1 guided. There was a PH (guide) and tracker/skinner with me the entire time I was hunting. Of the 5 farms we hunted, the smallest was 30,000 acres. There are 7 farms all together that the outfit I hunted with have exclusive rights to hunt and they total 1.2 million acres. No animals are brought in - all of the animals are born on the property and are wild and wary. We hunt various farms depending on what animals we were after. Not all the farms have good animals of every specie. The outfitter wanted us taking quality animals so we hunted different animals on different farms, depending on which farm has the best quality for a particular animal.
We stayed in very nice lodges the entire time. The outfitter is going to provide a "Tented" camp for the 2005 season. It is the hunters option if they wish to stay at the "Tented" camp for a few days. This Tented camp will have hot and cold running water and flush toilets and a hot shower. They are providing this for those that want to "get back" to the way it was years ago. Again, this is an "option" that the outfitter is providing. If you do not wish to stay in the "Tented" camp, then you will stay in very comfortable lodges the entire time.
The 2 PH's I hunted with have over 45 years combined experience hunting in South Africa. They were both born there and live there year round, unlike some outfits that go for a few weeks a year. They know the area very well having hunted it for so many years.
The 2004 prices for the 10 day, 7 animal, "Package" hunt is $4200.00 for 1 on 1 guided hunt. For a 2 on 1 Safari, the "Package" is $3800.00 per hunter. This is an all inclusive price. You are taken care of from the time you get off the plane until you are taken back to the airport for your return home. The extra 2 days, 1 on the front and 1 on the back end of your Safari are included in the price. The same holds true for airport pickup and return. You pay one price and everything is covered.
I made a typo. There are 6 animals in the package. I read 7 because the last 1 is either/or and not both.
Here is the package for 2005:
Airport Pick-up and return.
12 Days in camp
10 Days hunting
Lodging in very nice lodges (optional "tent" camp for a few days)
All meals and soft drinks
1 on 1 Guided
Guided visit to Addo Elephant Park
Animals in the Package:
Steenbok or Duiker
1 on 1 price is $4200.00
2 on 1 price is $3800.00
On our safari my buddy missed a 54" Kudu, which is very nice. Two days later he killed a nice 51" Kudu bull using his 7mm mag and 127gr EXP Groove Bullets. The average for the area is 46" (kudu).
The animals were brought in as they are not indiginous to the area. They may have been born on the property at some point but so are zoo animals!
Texas has thousands of African animals born on game farm ranches. That does not make them indiginous. The hunting for African game in Texas is not natural any more then hunting game from Africa released to breed in a habitat they don't naturally occur in in Africa. I'm not sure how this remains confusing to people?
If you raise Musk OX in Nebraska and then hunt them there it's not natural either. That is Exactly the same situation. As far as stocked game or not stocked........You have been clearly duped just as the thousands of others hunting in or around the Eastern Cape. That is the most famous area in all of Africa for farm raising of game. Do you think just because your outfitter and PH said they don't stock game that is the truth? You have been there one time for 12 days and your experience has led you to all the truths and facts on the Eastern cape hunting business?
There is quite a lot going on behind the curtain that visiting hunters have no idea about, that I can promise you. I've been doing this now for 12 years and for several differernt outfitters on properties from coast to coast in RSA. There are real hunts and there are hunts that are an absolute joke. However very few visiting hunters will ever know the difference, as proven by your post.
Call this what you want but it is a farm which raises wild game in un-natural surroundings in a habitat that does not equate with the way those wild animals actually live natural in the bush.
Challanging...... sure, fun....... absolutely,
Real.........Sorry its a game farm those were not indiginous natural occuring game animals, they were originally brought there by truck while on drugs to sedate them and kept in pastures to breed until their off spring are old enough to shoot. Those are the facts on the Eastern Cape hunting scene.
Why is it that the Eastern cape hunts are on average 30% less then the Northern Province and KZN? Because it's cheaper to buy game then to own the property needed for it to reproduce natually. The game carrying capacity of the Cape is a very small compared to the NP or KZN. Land cost is pennies compared to the NP or KZN. Actually some areas of KZN are the most expensive land in all of RSA. Why? becasue it's naturally game rich with plenty of natural wild game.
Lets look at this another way. Cheap land stocked with game based on the hunters who will arrive to shoot it the coming year. The game can be pre purchased with funds from the deposits so there is no money actually out of pocket for the outfitter. If the clients don't show the game just adds to the total....... still no loss. When the season is over the few remaining animals can probably survive on the un-natural foods found there until the next season.
prior to the next season there are ***coincidentally*** several big auctions for game throughout the Eastern cape! The outfitter knows who is coming and what they want. He places orders for those animals and stocks the "pond" no big off season expense to feed them or care for them then, because 90% will be shot during the hunting season.
Comapare this to a huge carying capacity property like mine in the NP. 37,500 acres. We can only harvest 25 kudu a year or we will see a decline in average size and total amount. We have done this for many years we know how to manage this game. It's out business to keep the populations balance properly. If you can only harvest 25 big Kudu a year from this property each and every year with the highest carrying capacity in all of Africa then how are they taking 50-60 big bulls a year off of properties that cannot carry the total numbers we do? STOCKED GAME!
Same can be saiid for Blue wildebeast waterbuck Nyala, gamsbok, zebra, or anyother game for that matter. I worked with several EC outfitters who were in such huge production hunting operations that they bragged about the years they took 50 kudu or 200 impala rams. Do you have any idea what those populations are in nature under perfect conditions? You could never in a million years harvest the game numbers taken in the EC farms with natural breeding. Furthermore there is no natural breeding because they don't live natural there, any more then the Giraffe in the SanDiego zoo lives there naturally!
I don't recall saying any of the animals were/are indiginous. I will ask and find out, if it is that important to you. Are ringneck pheasants indiginous to the USA - nope, but hunters hunt them all the time. Are elk indiginous to Pennsylvania - yes they are but they were wiped out some years back and other were brought in to breed and grow the herd.
37,500 acres is big? Since when? We hunted one farm that was 56 miles long by 23 miles wide, now that is a BIG peice of property.
I don't recall saying my trip to Africa has gained me all the knowledge about Africa. As far as telling the truth. I have no reason to not belive what I was told. As far as being "duped", I suppose you know how every operation operates in South Africa. It is interesting to me that a person that is clueless about the operation I hunted with knows everything about that operation. I had to smile
We hunted on HUGE farms, where the animals are natural to the land. They do not bring in animals, in fact just the opposite is true. They do SELL animals to smaller operations, that are "stocked".
This is getting away from the original topic. An individual asked about a Safari. I offered some info for him to decide on his own. If he chooses to utilize the information, then I am happy. The individual will decide for himself what he wants.
Not all hunts are for everybody. Some things offered by one outfit may not be what that person is looking for. Choices are a great thing.
"Natural occuring game and the geography of southern Africa"
Note the reply and where the person is from who wrote it.
Size of the property is relevent only when the natural carrying capacity of the land is proper. Game managment issues can get very deep in a hurry here. The amount of Acres it takes to fee a specific animal is different based on the availabale food, cover and habitat in general. In the prime habitat areas like the NP or KZN a Kudu in nature will live on a few acres it's whole life. In the EC and WC it may need 100 acres and still will not grow to the massive size they will up north. Just look at the numbers it speaks for itself. This goes double for the other animals who are primarily browsers and have insignificant browse compared to the NP and especially KZN.
In other words you may have 10,000 acres with a carraying capacity which is insignificant compared to the more lush and natural environemt where only 1000 acres can handle 10X the game population. Thats why the EC property is dirt cheap, you need many square miles of property to handle the same number of game.
It's a simple matter to just pick up a wildlife book on Africa and see the shaded areas where game naturally lives. In just a few moments you will see that the EC is a nearly barron landscape of natural game.
I don't equate shooting a pheasant with flying 25 plus hours to a foreign country and spending 1000's of dollars for a quality experience. If that is the only thing that matters is killing the game then TYexas looks a whole lot better to me then flying all the way to Africa for the same pre-released animals.
I'm sure the farms you were at do sell game its the biggest business in the EC they all sell game and restock for each other! That is the primary business in the EC!
I don't need to know the place you were at becasue ALL EC properties offereing a full bag safari must stock game. It never lived there naturally EVER.
It's fun place and can provide some shooting challanges, it's also the cheapest place you can hunt there for the previous reasons mentioned. It's just very important that the people who go realize they are hunting a "game farm" not a natural managed wildlife concession.
We hunt on just about 100,000 acres of land but because of the size the government requires us to allow people travelling through the area to be allowed this easement right across the land. There were frequently very bad accidents with automobiles and trucks hitting animals along this road. In the early 1900's the land along the main right of way was fenced by the government of RSA just over 70 years ago.
It was at that time a main (dirt) highway between several towns. That fence is about 12 miles long on both sides of the road. This property was only bordering about 12 miles of road but the entire length of the road which must be 50 miles or better was fenced with a 2 meter fence. In more modern times a new paved road was added to the landscape in another area which has eliminated about 100% of the traffic on this main road. The old dirt highway has become a road which only the local landowners are using to get around now.
So to answer your question that entire length of the property has been fenced for over 70 years now. However that is the main lodge propery which is on about 35K acres of heavy natural bush habitat. We have another smaller property bordering Kruger. That property is fenced on three sides with a huge lake on another side and the kruger Park fence along part of the border. Kruger park is an enormous piece of Property and it's entire perimiter is fenced with a 3 meter fence which is electrified over most of its length. However good that fence is the elephants will rip it out to the ground and get through when they want something on the other side. Once the fence is down whatever game is nearby is wandering out also. We get lion buffalo and elephant permits for this property quite frequently. I'm sure the game we have is also wandering into Kruger as well!
The other Property borders the Limpopo River and is fenced on three sides but the Limpopo river is the "boundry" on the 4th side. That fence is only a 1 meter barbed wire cattle fence though. I can step over it in many places. The River itself is no boundry because from Mid May through September the river over much of its length is dry and only has pools of water remaining. You could walk across the river kicking up dust and sand all the way across it!
Fencing, agriculture, highways, citys and towns etc are likely responsible for the existing populations of wild Gemsbok in the nothern province. Gemsbok were (are) a naturally migrating aniaml which will travel unbelievable distances through there annual lifecycle. The strong hold of the animals core existance is the kalahari and the western most portions of RSA, Botswana, and Namiba. They Migrate in the dry season to the more lush habitat of the central and eastern portions of those areas. Over hundreds of years of this migration due to agriculture and human development many gemsbok that migrated to the eastern sections of land never returned to their original core home range. These Gemsbok eventually established a strong population in the northern Province and surrounding areas which is still hunted today.
This is very much like the Mule deer in BC which migrate out of the mountains in winter into Eastern Washington state and Eastern BC for a wintering area. Due to the Agriculture in these huge farming communities Mule Deer have stopped gong back to the mountains and have set up new home ranges right among the whitetail deer which naturally live there. Now the two are cross breeding which is really bizzaare to see the hybrids!
As far as the 2 meter fence goes. The Government of RSA requires the perimiter of all "exempt" hunting properties to be fenced this is the Law in all of RSA. Or was when I was in school there many years ago. This is to make absolutely certian that the game harvested by hunters on Private land originated on that land and was not taken from bordering public land. The thoery sounds good but has many limitations. For starters the public land has little if any game to hunt for a visiting sport hunter. Secondly most of the bigger game can so easily jump a two meter fence that it's not even an obstruction to them. It's a visual deterent that will stop a heard from running through and into a road. The animals that do not jump the fence usually slide right under it! It's very easy to see the thousands of tracks in the main road from nearly every species in RSA. Every morning when driving this road you can look down into the tire tracks made the previous day and see many hundreds of tracks there. We often have an animal on the road between the fences and watch him run while driving behind him. Then with one athletic leap he is back inside the fence!
I cannot even count how many times my clients have seen this and asked why we bothered with the fence at all? The answer is that it's the Law!
Interesting... That was pretty much the consensus that I had come to as well from talking with other people about the fences. The fences are not like the zoo fences in TX
I'm headed to the Northern Province next summer, we'll be hunting along the Limpopo river as well. The property is about 25,000 acres and he also has a couple other consesions totaling about 60-70K. I'm really looking foward to the trip.
Some of the animals taken have been nothing short of spectacular! (just like all other PH's, they always show you the "big" ones, but refrences have pretty much held true to his word as well) The property is surounded buy the Vhembi(?) NWR or what ever the name is of the new giant park that they're creating, and the limpopo river.
The owners were quite disapointed that they will have to sell their property so it can be added to the park. I think they told me that they had about 3 years left before they gave it up for $$$
The owners said that they get a lot of animals wandering in and out from across the border... Does the border have to be fenced as well?
I do respect JJ Hack’s experience as outfitter, though do not agree with everything he said.
The healthy debates around indigenous, naturally occurring, fenced, challenging, canned and the likes are frequently analysed on several forums, so I won’t take part in that here now. Much of those issues depend on the degree to which principles apply and the perspective with which we look at them.
If, however, you are interested in a low-cost plains game and varmint safari in South Africa with perhaps some sight-seeing, check out my site on
deergrower, I do African Safaris too if you want to email me at [email protected] or [email protected] or you can call me toll free 1-877-647-9926 You can check my credentials with Tom and some of the others about me booking you an honest , quality hunt.