Hunting in South Africa: The Ultimate Guide to Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit
Hunting in South Africa, hunters have the opportunity to experience the thrill of hunting dangerous and plains game. Hunting safaris typically take place on privately owned game reserves and ranches stretching anywhere from, 1000 to 300 000 acres or more. Private ranches offer a range of hunting experiences, from walking and stalking game on foot to hunting from a blind.
South Africa's diverse terrain and wildlife makes it an ideal destination for hunters from all over the world to come test their skill. South Africa is also the home of the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos – and a variety of antelope, like Kudu, Impala, Gemsbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Springbuck to mention a few.
Hunting safaris in South Africa are usually led by registered professional hunters who are knowledgeable about the local wildlife and area. They will help hunters navigate the landscape, track game, and set them up for an ethical clean kill shot.
Hunters must obtain the appropriate permits and licenses before embarking on hunting safaris in South Africa. Working with a reputable outfitter like Wesco Safaris is important to ensure that all necessary permits and licenses are obtained in advance.
Accommodations for hunting safaris in South Africa range from basic camping facilities to luxurious lodges, depending on the preferences of the hunting party, finances, and availability. Meals are typically provided and may include local game dishes, traditional fare, and drinks.
Hunting safaris in South Africa provide an exhilarating and demanding adventure for hunters at any level. With the assistance of outfitters such as Wesco Safaris, hunters can navigate the African wilderness and come face to face with some of the planet's most magnificent wildlife.
Table of Contents
1. Why choose South Africa as a hunting destination?
Hunting in South Africa should be on any hunter's bucket list from the avid sportsman to beginner. South Africa is a hunting paradise that offers a large variety of game species, beautiful landscapes and amazing host of people. No wonder, it is one of the most popular hunting destinations in the world.
There are many reasons why South Africa hunting should be on your next scheduled trip, and in this blog post, we’ll explore some of them.
The country is home to the Big Five, In addition, there are more than 40 plains game species to hunt.
Another reason why South Africa is a popular destination for hunting safaris is the beautiful landscapes. South Africa has some of the most breathtaking landscapes that are perfect for hunting. From the open savannah of the Free State and Northern Cape to the rugged mountains and dense forests of Limpopo and Zulu land.
The landscapes are not only beautiful, but also provide a challenging hunting experience that will test your skills as a hunter.
South Africa also has world-class infrastructure, roads, air travel, and most importantly, a SAFE and welcoming country for hunters. The country has a well-established hunting industry that is regulated by the government, ensuring that hunting is done in a responsible and sustainable way.
South Africans are known for their hospitality, and you can expect to be welcomed with open arms by the locals.
The country has a rich history and diverse cultures that are reflected in the food, music, and art. You can also take a break from hunting to visit some of the many tourist attractions that South Africa has to offer, such as the Kruger National Park, Table Mountain, Garden Route and the Cape Wine lands.
Hunting in South Africa really brings an unique experience to any hunter and or observer that just wants to experience the country, its animals and people.
You will love it here, we promise!
2. Five benefits of booking with the right hunting safari company to avoid disappointment.
1. Expert Guides and Knowledge:
When you choose a reputable hunting safari company like Wesco Safaris, you gain access to experienced and dangerous game registered professional hunters who possess in-depth knowledge of the wildlife, area, and hunting techniques. This expertise increases your chances of a successful and safe hunting experience.
2. Safety and Compliance:
Wesco Safaris ensures that all hunting activities are conducted within the legal and ethical guidelines of the region. We prioritize safety, ensuring you and your party are always in safe hands, keeping in mind that our hunting practices are forever environmentally sustainable.
3. Quality Equipment and Gear:
We at Wesco Safaris provides high-quality hunting equipment, firearms, and trustworthy hunting vehicles.
4. Access to Prime Hunting Locations:
Throughout the years of hunting and established relationships with landowners and hunting concessions not only in South Africa but neighbouring countries too. Wesco Safaris gives you access to prime hunting in South Africa with excellent trophy selections.
5. Customized Experiences:
The right hunting safari company tailors your experience to meet your specific preferences and goals. Whether you're seeking a challenging adventure or a leisurely hunt, they can create a customized itinerary that suits your needs, making your trip a memorable and enjoyable one.
3. Types of hunting safaris in South Africa
Plains Game Hunting in South Africa
There is no doubt that plains game hunting attracts 1000s of hunters across the world to experience the great chase after plains animals. We refer to plains game as all our antelope like Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Gemsbuck etc.
Hunting plains game in South Africa offers a diverse range of styles and techniques, challenging hunters to their limits. From taking long-distance shots across vast open plains in the Free State to pursuing game in the dense thickets of Limpopo, it provides a complete hunting experience.
Hunters may use rifles, bow and or crossbows for plains game. South Africa, however, does have a minimum requirement for rifles. Hunters are only allowed to hunt with .270WIN and up, and preferably with no solids as their bullet selection.
Dangerous Game Hunting In South Africa
Hunting dangerous game in South Africa is a thrilling and challenging pursuit and only for the brave.
Your hunts will be accompanied by our dangerous game registered professional hunters. Hunters can test their skill and a bit of luck to track and hunt formidable species like lions, leopard, cape buffalo, rhino and the mighty elephant.
It's a rare chance to engage with the wild on its own terms, offering an unmatched blend of adrenaline and respect for the majestic and potentially dangerous creatures of the African bush.
Dangerous game are also allowed to be hunted with rifle and bow. Minimum requirements for rifle is at .375 H&H. Bows are restricted to a minimum of 70 pounds with fixed broad heads.
Wing shooting in South Africa offers an exhilarating experience for hunters and bird enthusiasts alike. With its diverse landscapes and abundant birdlife, this country is a paradise for both upland and waterfowl hunting. From the quail and guinea fowl of the grassy plains to the ducks and geese along picturesque wetlands, South Africa's variety of game birds is exceptional.
Skilled hunters, guided by experienced professionals, can enjoy challenging pursuits in breathtaking natural settings. It's a celebration of precision and tradition, where the thrill of the hunt meets the beauty of the South African outdoors, making it a must-visit destination for wing shooters.
4. When is the hunting season in South Africa ?
If you are planning a hunting trip to South Africa, it is essential to choose the best time to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. Hunting season in South Africa is during the dry winter months, which fall between May and September.
During this period, the temperatures in South Africa range from 0 to 20 degrees Celsius (30 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) in most regions, making it comfortable for both hunters and wildlife. The dry season brings a scarcity of water, forcing animals to gather around remaining water sources, which increases the chances of spotting and hunting game.
Moreover, the winter months in South Africa offer clear skies and less vegetation, improving visibility and making it easier to track animals. With the reduced foliage, hunters can spot their targets from a greater distance, increasing the chances of a successful hunt.
Another advantage of hunting during this time is that it coincides with the mating season for many species. As animals engage in territorial disputes or courtship rituals, their behaviour becomes more predictable, giving hunters an advantage in tracking and targeting their desired game.
While South Africa is a year-round destination for hunting, It is important to get your dates locked in with outfitters. Hunting areas work on a first come, first serve basis and if you are not quick you will be left hunting in the warmer months.
5. Travel and Airports
Port of entry would be OR Tambo International situated in Johannesburg. Flights coming in from the USA arrive late in the evenings missing an opportunity for a connection flight.
Wesco Safaris recommend making use of African Sky Hotel (Short 7min from Airport) to stay the night. They also have a meeter and greeter service with two gentelmen that will take care of you every step of the way. They are Gilbert and Willard.
The following day, you will be assisted back to the airport and to the correct checking counter where you will board a connection flight out to Kimberley Northern Cape or Bloemfontein, Free State.
Both these airports are small and hunters will find their way easy to Wesco Safaris staff.
If hunters are planning to bring rifles along, booking to Kimberely is essential for permits. African Sky Hotel can also assist with these import and export permits.
6. What to expect on your hunting safari.
Besides a trip of a lifetime, we here at Wesco Safaris like to keep things very simple and not so serious.
Breath, unwind and relax.
It is a holiday, after all.Once you book a plane ticket to Johannesburg, South Africa, your hardest jobis done. We will take care of the rest when you arrive.
We have meeter and greeters at Johannesburg named Willard and Gilbert. Not only that, but we have been working with them since forever and can be fully trusted.
Both Willard and Gilbert will accommodate you with rifle permits, hotel accommodations at African Sky Guest house or simply direct you to your connecting flight.
You will be met by myself or a trusted professional hunter of Wesco Safaris at an Airport closest to the hunting area, you will then be escorted to the hunting area where you will be met with welcoming drinks and friendly staff members.
Depending on your time of arrival, we will take you to the shooting range to check the zero of the rifles and to familiarize yourself with our rifles when renting. You will enjoy the rest of the afternoon sightseeing and getting to know the property better.
The following day we will have breakfast just before sunrise, the exact time however depends on the time of the year.
You can enjoy a morning hunt to about 12h where we will head back for a great lunch at the lodge followed by a what we call a “small siesta” then we will be back at it around 3h until dark.
The evenings are spent around camp-fires, enjoying a cold beer, share stories and cook dinner. You will have the opportunity to eat some of your game you hunted.
This way you can get a real taste of African game.
Paperwork and payments will be done on the very last day before leaving for the airport.
7. How much does it cost to hunt in South Africa?
The cost of hunting in South Africa varies depending on multiple factors such as the type of game, duration of the hunt, accommodations, and additional services.
You can expect to pay anything from $1200 upwards to $100 000. That’s the beauty of hunting in South Africa. Hunters are spoilt with a wide selection of accommodations ranging from standard to 5-6 star Lodging.
Spoilt even more when it comes to the share amount of different species to hunt in their own respective price brackets.
It is truly what hunters make of it.
8. Where is the best place to hunt in South Africa?
South Africa offers a diverse range of hunting experiences across its various provinces, each with its unique game species, landscapes, and hunting styles. In our humble opinion, the Northern Cape is the best place to hunt in South Africa.
Hunters have a choice of more than 35 different species to hunt in areas with a wide variety of thorn trees, sand dunes, open grass plains and rocky mountains.
We have outstanding lodging in the Kalahari with concessions larger than 50 000acres.
Eastern Cape: This province is renowned for its biodiversity and offers a wide range of game species to hunt, including the Cape Buffalo, White Rhino, and various antelope species. The terrain varies from mountains to savannah, offering different hunting experiences. It's also malaria-free, which makes it a safer choice.
Limpopo: This province is another top choice for hunters due to its vast number of game farms and hunting outfitters. It's home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo), making it a popular spot for trophy hunters. The province's bushveld terrain offers a challenging and exciting hunting experience.
Free State: This province offers vast open plains, making it perfect for plains
game hunting. Species here include Springbok, Black Wildebeest, and Blesbok. The flat terrain and large open spaces make it ideal for spot and stalk hunting.
North West Province: Known for its abundant wildlife, the North West Province is another great hunting destination. It offers a variety of hunting experiences, from bow hunting to rifle hunting.
Mpumalanga: This province is known for its high density of game, especially the Big Five. The varied terrain, from mountains to grasslands, provides different hunting challenges.
KwaZulu-Natal: This province is popular for its diverse range of game species, including Nyala, Kudu, and Impala. The terrain here is varied, offering coastal forests, mountains, and bushveld. It's also home to the Hluhluwe– Imfolozi Park, one of Africa's oldest nature reserves.
In conclusion, the choice of hunting location in South Africa depends on the type of game you're interested in, the type of hunting experience you want, and the kind of terrain you prefer.
Each province offers unique experiences that cater to different preferences and hunting skills. It's recommended to research thoroughly, engage with reputable hunting outfitters, and ensure you're aware of all the necessary regulations and ethical considerations.
9. Top game species to hunt in South Africa.
Right out of the gate, I can tell you that Kudu is a very popular and top of the log plains game animal to go after, as it is majestic and represents South Africa so well.
Greater Kudu in South Africa can cost you anything from Kudu – $2900 –
$6000 (Depending on trophy size and area)
More popular trophy plains game to hunt at average prices.
Gemsbok: $1100 – $1500
Blue Wildebeest: $900 – $1350
Impala: $450 – $750
Blesbuck: $450 – $750
Springbuck: $450 – $750
Warthog: $350 – $600
And for dangerous game we have off course the Cape Buffalo. Cape Buffalo is by far the most popular dangerous game to hunt in South Africa, next to the mighty and proud Lion.
Expect to pay anything from $8500 to $13500. The pricing corresponds to the size of the trophy you are after. The bigger the horns, the bigger the price.
In a nutshell, these popular trophy animals might change from outfit to outfit but here with Wesco Safaris, the above-mentioned are the most popular game species to hunt in South Africa.
10. Accommodations and amenities for your South Africa safari.
Most accommodations on a safari to South Africa consist of luxurious lodges that have been modernized over the years and offer a wide range of amenities.
These lodges typically have 4 or more rooms with double or single beds, making them suitable for families and larger groups.
Guests can enjoy complimentary WiFi, air conditioning, TV, comfortable rooms, professionally prepared meals, and daily laundry services.
These features are standard across lodges in South Africa, making it an
excellent choice for your hunting adventure.
11. Tips for planning your hunting safari in South Africa.
- Choosing the right company like Wesco Safaris to handle everything for you.
- Book your flight tickets well in advance to save on travel expenses.
- Do not waste time booking a hunt with an outfitter as hunting lodges in South Africa are fully booked, and it all come down to the ‘early bird catches the worm”
- If it is your first time, make use of meeter and greeters at
- Johannesburg airport. We can help with arrangements.
- If you bring your own rifles, make use of companies like African Sky
- Guest house to streamline the proses for you.
- You can bring US Dollars with you to pay for the hunt, but have your
- VISA or Mastercard with you when buying items in South African
- stores. No American Express.
- Inform your bank about your international travels.
- Take out an international plan with your cellular service company. Not always needed as all our lodges have full access to Wi-Fi.
- Download WhatsApp to communicate easy and for free.
- South Africa’s local currency is Rand (ZAR).
- Do not overpack! Your laundry will be done every day. Pack light andcontact your outfitter about the weather before coming.
- Pack sunscreen, bug repellent and prescription drugs.
- Inform your outfitter about your trip’s goals and dreams.
- Also talk to your outfitter to see if you don’t need any permits for certain protected species.
- Your taxidermy and hunting is done by two different companies, andeach will have their own terms and conditions. Make sure you read and understand them fully.
- Enjoy Africa as much as you can.
What permits and licenses are required for hunting in South Africa?
American hunters often ask about the necessary permits and licenses for their South African hunting trip. They need to obtain a South African hunting license, along with permits for specific game species they intend to hunt. These permits and licenses are usually arranged through a reputable outfitter like Wesco Safaris.
What is the best time of year to hunt in South Africa?
Hunters often want to know the ideal season for their South African safari. The dry winter months between May and September are generally considered the best time due to comfortable temperatures, increased animal visibility around water sources, and predictable animal behavior during the mating season.
What should I pack for a hunting trip to South Africa?
Packing appropriately is crucial for a successful safari. Hunters commonly inquire about what to bring, including hunting gear, clothing suitable for the season, binoculars, sunscreen, bug repellent, and prescription medications. Outfitters can provide guidance on specific items needed.
What are the trophy fees for different game species in South Africa?
American hunters often seek information about trophy fees, as they plan their hunting budget. Trophy fees vary depending on the game species, with popular plains game species like kudu, gemsbok, or impala having different price ranges. Dangerous game species like Cape Buffalo or Lion generally have higher fees.
Is it necessary to bring my own firearms for the hunt?
Many American hunters wonder whether they should bring their own firearms. South Africa allows hunters to bring their firearms, but it involves a specific process. Alternatively, hunters can often rent firearms from outfitters, ensuring they meet South Africa's caliber requirements.
These questions address the fundamental aspects of planning a hunting trip to South Africa, and clear answers can help hunters prepare effectively for their adventure.