Africa Safari Part 1........ the contemplation and interest


November 1, 2013, 12:05 AM
I do these presentations frequently for shows, clubs, and other sporting events for the public.

My young son asked me why I don't write this in a book to cover the details of how people gather data and conclude to take the plunge. Better then that it seemed like a good idea here. By all means add your input to this. Any new angles I can learn from,.... will only benefit my future presentations on this.

I'm gonna lay out in a series of posts what I have learned over decades of working with the folks that hunt with me. The following questions or concerns that they have when trying to decide not only where to go but whether or not they should hunt Africa or Domestic.

What is the trigger point or the first thing that happens?
Usually being exposed to another person that has either been, or is planning. Often a television program, or magazine article. With some curiosity or little nudge to wonder what does it really cost.

Next is, ( quite often) will my wife let me? Is it safe? do I trust sending money overseas? will anyone actually be there to pick me up? etc. etc. This almost always leads to the conversation with buddies, the guy at the sporting goods counter, friends, relatives, etc. It does seem that everyone knows somebody that has gone either on a hunting trip, photo safari, or missionary effort to Africa. Or at least it's the odd man out that knows absolutely nobody with any prior Africa Experience.

So the twinkle of Africa starts and then the questions follow. However the credible answers are not always the first to come. The fella sharing his Elephant hunt in Tanzania will offer up massively different information to a general bag plains game hunter going to Namiba or RSA. Funny story that happens all the time to me. People always seem to ask where in Africa do I hunt. Reply: South Africa for the most part. They than ask "Which Country" Reply: South Africa. They say but which country. Often I see how long this abbott and Costello routine can drag out, but then I usually delicately explain that South Africa is not only a geographic location, it is actually the name of the country too.

At some point the interested fella, will look in the back of a magazine, search websites and maybe even send a few brief Emails. I get these Emails every week to reply to.

For the fella that is still hanging on at this point, many of the replies talk about "package details". These become more clear regarding what is included, trophy fees, etc. However very few Outfitters based in Africa can help with travel. They know their business inside out, many struggle with English a little bit, and have a 6-9 hour time change from the USA. Many don't have frequent email or internet access where they are hunting or working.

Fort the prospective client it seems a Booking agent is the next logical choice. There is a similar time zone, Clear English, Email access, and assistance with air travel as well. Some by todays standards even have a means of getting gun permits cleared up front. A few may even understand the rules and regulations. Some but rare, can help with all the dip pack and shipping details as well as a Broker to clear the trophies for them. Some , few..... can help with the arrangements of everything for you.

These full service Booking agents are few and far between, however they are the Gems of the African Hunting business. Those few that have this capacity actually go to the hunting camps they work for every year, and spend time learning the ins and outs of the operation first hand. Few have this capacity, but those that do are crystal clear on all the questions you have. They also rarely have to get back to you on anything. They know first hand how everything works and what you can expect. If you get a lot of I don't know, I'l;l ask, or the feeling of uncertainty, best to move on down your list. Those that know this business really know this business. Those that hesitate and seem confused........... well maybe the OJT should come on somebody else's dime? After all when you're stuck with something you did not plan for in a foreign country you don't want to struggle for help when the Agent is 9 hours away sleeping in the middle of the night.

Often times the prospective hunter will visit a booth at a hunting show. There they can have direct contact face to face with the outfitter. This is also a confidence inspiring arrangement. Of course there is always the internet which can be a massive wealth of information to digest. I quite frequently hear my hunters say: I don't know if the internet helped me or confused me more!

Part of the problem with the internet is that every person that has been to Africa one time, is now and Expert on all that is Africa, the travel, the culture, the laws the hunting EVERYTHING! With hundreds of people that give their input to the experience after 7-10 days in various parts of the country, with completely different businesses that becomes a lot to sort through!

These are the typical means of getting started. Which then follow up with contacting outfitters and booking agents to see about the real world costs, and logistics of travel. Including all the questions about VISA's, shots, travel with firearms, etc etc.

I'll post up part two of this next.

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November 1, 2013, 01:45 PM
I met some folks that had to sell family heirloom guns to pay for their required inoculations. They had won a raffle NRA trip but got some pre-departure costs.

November 1, 2013, 03:30 PM
What kind of inoculations"

Never heard of anything that would cost "family heirloom" gun prices. I think that is a fictional level of information.

In South Africa, Namibia, and almost all of southern Africa there is nothing required. Although Tetanus, Hep, and Malaria tablets seasonally might be a good idea

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