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First time safari advice?
My son and I won a safari to S. Africa to the Maroi Conservancy. We're leaving April 14. This wasn't on my radar obviously so I'm trying to figure out how to best prepare, what to pack, how to dress, etc., etc. Its going to be a rifle plains game hunt. Wish it was a bow hunt but I can't complain. Thanks for any advice and tips! John
Don't take too many clothes. The camp staff will wash your clothes every day. Three sets of camo should be plenty.
Take a good camera. My biggest regret was taking a cheap camera,coming back home and realizing the picture quality wasn't that good. You only get one change to take pictures.
If you are flying into Johannesburg, SA, I recommend Delta Flights 200 & 201 non-stop out of Atlanta. You save a few nickles by flying South African Airways, but you'll have at least one stop in Africa before arriving in RSA.
Bring plenty of bullets, shoot until you run out.
Get off the truck and walk. Fill out the SAP 520 before leaving home. Bring Amex travelers cheques, you can exchange for Rand in the airport lobby to use for shopping money. Amex gets a better exchange rate. Take lots of pics. My bride keeps a journal and videos my hunts, I try with hers but am really bad at it. Start budgeting for a second trip now. Have Fun.
Make sure you have a current passport and does not expire within the regulation time (not sure what the time frame is- Check with immigration services).
Get your necessary vaccinations for medical protection
Your firearms should be at the police station in the Joburg Airport
Don't trust anyone in the Joburg airport.
Get out of Joburg ASAP !!!
Listen to your PH
Take goodies for the kids at the concession where you will be staying.
Take plenty of pictures and have a great time
Likely you have quota assigned to you & your son. Find out if any additional animals (quota) are available and price. Hopefully, at some point during your safari you'll encounter a splendid specimen of a species you had not planned on taking. If quota is available for said trophy, you'll know ahead of time. Have fun.
Have your Rifles, cameras and Bino's Registered with your local U.S. Customs office, it makes re-entry a breeze. Consider leaving your rifle in the vault here and renting one over there. I will next time, its a lot simpler and at the end of the day it doesn't matter what weapon you used. Note: Mark your underwear with a colored piece of thread. Every-bodies draws looks the same on the community bench. Get your vaccination ASAP, and don't worry about Malaria Med/pills, Malaria isn't an issue in RSA. As stated above, start budgeting now for your next trip over. The tendency to offer pack is real, but don't 3 outfits including the one your wearing is enough. They wash daily, any extra you take is just in the way. A cheap watch or lightly used pair of boots is a great gift for the tracker.
A Capital 1 Visa card charges NO exchange fee when you use it overseas. Amex is several percent. Not a crisis but really annoying.
Read the MANY Africa entries on Bowsite and you will know everything that you need. Relax. It is a lot easier than you think.
Thanks for all the info! The replies do lead to some additional questions..... What kind of weather to expect in mid April? Any particulars on clothing....type material, shorts and long pants, type boots? What is an SAP 520? What type of vaccinations? What would be some appropriate gifts to take for staff and PH? Interested in the rifle renting thing.....are you talking about renting from the outfitter? Thanks much!
Look up the "Things I would do differently" thread on here. There is a lot of great info there as well as things listed above.
We are headed over in July for the first time as well.
Is using your bow out of the question? I would check with the concession to see if it is doable before ruling it out.
Either way, have a great trip!
Take a good carry on and pack all your papers, meds, ID's, and cash. I would recommend you pack some wet wipes and a fresh pair of undies and socks. Will make the looooong trip more pleasant. Speaking of a long trip, take along so sleeping pills so you can sleep on the way to and from. One of those plow up neck do-dads may help as well. Also pack some hunting clothes in with your bow so if your clothes bag gets lost. Take a journal and document each days events. Take photos and videos, more than you think you should. Check the laws, you can only take some many boxes of ammunition. Get with your taxidermist and get some tags from him to have them attach to your skins. Get the ship to address for the importer and taxidermist to handle the skins. Have fun!!!
Outfitters and staff prefer $ over gifts. If you want to leave some stuff, that's ok, but not in place of money. Leave some clothes for the trackers if you need to make room in your luggage.
Check with your doctor and the CDC for appropriate vaccinations.
Lightweight boots, or heavy weight all-purpose outdoor shoe (approach or all-terrain shoe)will work. Wear them during travel to help avoid over weight luggage charge.
Breathable travel shirt with multiple (Velcro, button or zipper) pockets.
Eyedrops, chapstick, wet wipes, sleep aid (Tylenol PM works for me) noise-eliminating ear phones.
Large ziplocks (for dust, possible rain, internal organizers and maybe wet clothes).
Extra batteries (for headlamp, camera, range finder ear phones....etc.)
If hunting blinds, a butt pad and something to read.
Good luck and have a great time.
Great advice, thanks for the thread.
South African Police (SAP) form 520 is the form you must fill out and present to the police at the station in the airport to temporarily import your firearm. Your outfitter should walk you thru it along with all other docs. You will also need a Motivation letter from you, and Invitation letter from your outfitter. Call your local travel clinic on shot advise. Weather should be warm and dry. You can google Ellisras weather for forcasts. Have fun.
John My advise to you is to be open to your game list and listen to your PHs advise on what your PH recommends. My bro had no plan on shooting a red hartebeast but the ph said it was a good one that he would take...he shot it and it scored #20 in SCI. That PH regularly stays at my parents place when he is in the states and you can learn alot from them. Also if you or your son shoot a springbok make sure you smell its back when the hair opens...very neat. Most of all just enjoy yourself on a cool experience and try to take a day to see the local villages. Best of luck! Nick
"Have your Rifles, cameras and Bino's Registered with your local U.S. Customs office, it makes re-entry a breeze"
What is this registering cameras and binos registered all about ? Never heard anything about this before.
Anything of value with a serial # should be put on your customs form. I never did cameras or binos, only rifles but to each his own.
If your travelling with someone split your gear up so you have some in each bag that way if some bags don't arrive you have some supplies to get you by until the other bags arrive. Same with bows or guns if you take 2 put one in your buddies case and he puts one in yours. That way if only one case arrived you both have a weapon.
get away from he feed and water blinds and hunt hunt hunt
Understand that you are probably not going to have the wilderness experience you have read about. The situation will be pretty civilized in most cases, flush toilet and hot showers. You will most likely be hunting a very, very large game farm.
Unless you go to Mozambique or some place like it, simply prepare yourself to have a wonderful time, meet great people, eat great food and have a chance to hunt critters you won't see this side of the pond.
Buffalo1, I took said gear to the U.S. Customs per advice I received from some friends that travel aboard to hunt on a regular basis. The agents there filled out my paper work wrote down all my serial numbers, then signed off on the document. They never even balked at the notion, in fact they acted as though it was standard procedure. When I re-entered via Atlanta the agents there checked my rifle serial number and cleared me on through. The bino's, camera and rangefinder weren't an issue but with the wrong agent on duty they can ask for documentation on those items and make you pay a duty on them. Not likely but could.
Yep that Atlanta-JHB on Delta is great! 15+ hours! Get comfort seating its worth every penny. Visit a national park if you have time. Take lots of photos.
Spot and stalk whenever possible; hunting vs shooting
I was there in September. You should get a hold of a company that can get you through the process quickly when you get to JHB airport with your guns ect...... We used firstname.lastname@example.org The lady name is Adele cell +27-76-611-9991 it is well worth the couple hundred bucks. Never take your eyes off your luggage or guns while in the airport you could lose them quick. Also consider buying global med express insurance just incase you get hurt. You do not want to go to a public hospital in SA and private will only treat you if you have cash. I paid $250 for insurance to cover me and the wife for 12 days. Have fun good luck and take a lot of money because your gonna want to shoot some critters that are not on your list.
If you have a good outfitter he will be giving you all the info you need. I was sent a small package several months and then a month before my departure. If you are not getting it, something is wrong. You must ask.