Contributors to this thread:
Who when and where to hunt
Who's the best in Africa for bow hunting.
^^^ Limcroma for sure. Hunted there in July. Conditions were perfect for animals to come in to water. Lodging and hunting is first class all the way. Trophy quality is outstanding.
Limcroma X3! .... But, I am a bit impartial.
Thank you t-roy and JW for the kind endorsements...
I depends a lot on what species you are after. It also depends on what style of hunting you wish to pursue - waterhole or spot & stalk or possibly combo. It depends on the quality of animal you are after.
I have been 4 times and have a 5 trip in the making. I do not believe there is a "one size fits all" outfitter.
Just my opinion.
I had a great hunt with Reon at Barefoot African Safaris.
Limcroma. You won't find a better outfit to hunt with. Look no further.
I agree with Buffalo, having said that I went with Melorani my last time and highly recommend them. They only take a limited number of bowhunters only and the owner and his PH are both bowhunters. He books thru Bowhunting Safari consultants which is another plus.
The "when" part of your question depends on hunting style, target species and other factors. Hunting during the dark of the moon phase was highly recommended to us on here by a lot of people.
I was very happy with Melorani.
Limcroma...I hunted with them in early July of 2016....could not have been better. Quality animals, a lodge second to none, great food. My PH and all the others are an awesome bunch of guys.
I think the question you need to ask is how do you want to hunt? If you prefer sittin in a blind countless hours seeing tons of animals up close or do you prefer to spot and stalk? That was my reasoning when I went last year, my buddies and I did not want to see Africa through a 10 inch by 24 inch window! We looked around at many outfits all over SA and once we talked with the guys at Huntershill safaris we settled there! They are in the mountains of east SA on the east cape and conditions and terrain allowed us to stalk and well as sit blinds if we wanted! The 8 person group that went killed 38 animals in 8 days of hunting! and the accommodations were AMAZING!!! If you have questions about anything please feel free to PM me
My humble advice/suggestions: First pick a country, most opt for South Africa or Namibia. The difference between the two: South Africa has more choices of outfitters and more to do for the non-hunter. Namibia is a bit less money (just a bit), still has plenty to do for the non-hunter, lower numbers of outfitters and a arid climate - which is a plus, but SA is dry in the winter.
Assuming you pick South Africa (in no particular order) outfitters: Dries Visser Melorani Limcroma Dare to Bowhunt Choronga African Sky Bushmen Safaris African Arrow Safaris Thesepe
Can't imagine anyone not booking with the outfitters mentioned - all top-notch with stellar reputations. Good luck and enjoy!
Keith in Colorado raises a good point.... Available species and how each hunter wants to hunt are both valid considerations when choosing both an outfitter and a destination in Africa.
With that in mind, I will add this.... The vast majority of hunters that come to Africa, especially first-timer's, have a "wish list" of trophies and a relatively short amount of time to hunt. As an outfitter, one of our main goals is to provide our hunting guests with the most opportunity as possible in a limited amount of time. That is the main reason most outfitters recommend sitting in a hide or tree stand over water, salt licks, or food sources for a good portion of the guest's hunting time. I doubt any outfitter will dispute that this approach is "Plan A" going into the safari as the best way to ensure success for their clients.
Now, the very best bow hunting outfitters will also have "Plans A, B, C, and even D".... We encourage our guests to hunt in a variety of ways out of a multitude of set-ups as conditions dictate. Depending on the conditions and species, our guests may find themselves hunting in a dugout hide, an elevated hide, a latch-on tree stand, a pop-up ground blind, a makeshift brush blind, and of course spot and stalking.
I personally love to spot & stalk, and I have been very committed to it these last few trips over. For me, that is the most rewarding way to take an animal. However, I know going in that my opportunity is going to be much more limited than if I was to spend the same amount of time hunting from the hides. Also, it's fair to say that certain species are far more conducive to be hunted spot & stalk in Africa than others. For example, you can expect more stalking opportunity on species like nyala, bushbuck, sable, and warthog, and other species that tend to be loners in contrast to herd animals such as a zebra, impala or wildebeest which will almost always be in groups and very difficult to approach in limited cover.
With these factors in mind, the hunter can go into the safari with reasonable expectations and they can plan how they wish to hunt accordingly. The very best outfitters will encourage this, and go to any extent necessary to put their guests on game!
I've heard and read many great things about many of the outfits listed above. I've been fortunate enough to go over 3 times and have hunted with Dare to Bowhunt on each of my trips. They are a family owned & ran business, and truly a bow only outfit. The owner/PH Lammie is a passionate bowhunter (actually a tradbow guy) and knows what it takes for bowhunters to be successful day in and day out. Its not as big as some of the other places mentioned, but they cater to smaller groups of folks and take in fewer groups to ensure quality and pay attention to all the details to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime. The thing that drew me to them in the beginning was them being geared more towards smaller groups, and their prices were very, very reasonable and lower than most of the other outfits I'd looked at.
I've been on 2 African bow hunts. The first was with a well known, but small operation that was a hunt we won at my local SCI fundraising banquet. Overall, had a great time. It was run by really nice folks that were very accommodating. All of our hunting was from blinds over water and we were not really encouraged to try any stalking. Still, we took some nice animals, and we enjoyed the safari enough to know that we wanted to go back to Africa again in the future.
My second trip was with another well-known, highly regarded outfit who is a sponsor here. We decided to hunt with Limcroma based on a combination of reputation, outfitter reports, client recommendations, and logistics. It was definitely a bigger operation, but still very personal and welcoming. The camp and accommodations, and food were all fantastic! The biggest readily apparent difference for me was the amount of land available to hunt, and the variety of species offered. It was literally night and day between the other outfit that I had hunted with. We saw lots more game, hunted some really diverse terrain, and the numbers of mature animals were noticeably apparent. Trophy fees were a bit higher, but so was the trophy quality of the animals being taken by everyone in camp.
One of the first things we did on our very first day in the bush was get out of the blind and put a 2 hour stalk on a kudu bull that I was fortunate enough to finally arrow. We hunted a variety of ways during our time at Limcroma. Another big difference with this trip, and one that is often taken for granted was trophy care. Limcroma had some of the best skinners that I have ever seen. They also have their own trophy processing facility that did an excellent job on my capes, skulls, and horns. My taxidermist was very impressed with the care and preparation of the parts once they arrived home. This was a painless, and stress-free compared to the first time we dealt with this process.
Also, I personally liked that there were a few other hunters in camp during our safari. Evenings around the fire listening to the PH's telling jokes and stories as well as getting to know the others in camp were some of my favorite memories from the safari. We made some good friends on that last trip including my PH who we remain close friends with to this day.
Each hunter has different goals and expectation for their hunts. This was just my perspective comparing my two African hunts. The bigger camp, a incredible amount of land to hunt, and more animals, and more opportunity was a better choice for me. It may have cost a little more, but I feel that I got what I paid for and then some.
Another nod for Limcroma Safaris.!
I agree with everything above, but I selected them in large part for their willingness to accommodate my non hunting wife. Although she hunted with me most of the days out in the field, she had her spa and shopping days to herself. We also did a full day together for an elephant back game drive at one of the national parks. (which I highly recommend!)
Guillaume Roux was the professional hunter for my safari. I have never met a more knowledgeable bow hunter. This was surprising because I guess I just assumed that serious bow hunters only existed in North America. lol..... Guillaume was amazing... smart, patient, encouraging, and funny. Luckily, he was also a pretty darned good bow tuner which I had to find out thanks to the baggage handlers on Delta.
I went a few years ago with one of the outfitters listed. Overall, we were satisfied, but my friends, (older), took some juvenile animals because they had no guidance from the PH and didn't really do their homework. We were the last group of the year and the outfitter and his crew were preparing to go to another country on a buffalo hunt so we were kinda ignored. The quality of animals was great and the accomodations were top notch. Be sure to do your homework.
My two cents. Find an outfitter, either on website or through recommendations, and do your homework. Then select the species that you want and see if the outfitter can provide them. Then ask him when you should be there. (no one told me to go during the new moon) but it would have helped. Scott
Fenceman, just curious, were your friends alone in the blinds when they decided to shoot what turned out to be juvenile of a certain species? It would make sense if they were alone plus not having done their homework, (which IMO should be a top priority for anyone going on their first African hunt). However, I would also be very inclined to believe that if a PH was present in the blind, that the hunter would have been advised about the age and quality of the animal prior to letting it be shot. As far as being ignored, I sort of felt that way on my first go round; as the main PH was heading off to their Highveld areas a few days into our hunt leaving us in the hands of his young PHs. It turns out those PHs were as good as it gets and I really had no reason to be concerned. As I have observed, all of these operations have several moving parts in various locals and need to have flexibility to accommodate each of their clients and sometimes it feels like you were not treated as well as you had hoped. Even the best ones can mess it up at times, just like a top shelf airline. I remember one safari from a very reputable operation where we were not informed exactly about where we were to hunt, all the while believing that we were going to their main camps on the river. We did not find out until we were on our way in their vehicles that we would actually be about a 3 hrs drive away from their main camps at some other camp. That was tough to understand since our expectations were based on what we were lead to believe from prior communications. IMO, communication or lack of it can make or break the overall experience. In this case the main PH for this outfit was never able to meet with us at all during the hunt, which we found out later was due to an unfortunate family situation. However, at the time not telling us anything left us to figure that it was due something else all together. I doubt I will use them again, but for other unrelated reasons. If you want to bow hunt make sure you choose one that specializes almost exclusively on bow hunting. They almost all cater to both rifle and bow but some are really expert at setting up blinds and having actual bow hunters as PHs. There is just something that cannot be explained to a non bow hunter about how the shot has to go down and seizing the right instant when everything comes together. I had one non bow hunting PH who was great but would try to talk you through the shot, not understanding the intricate rhythms and mental processes one goes through at the moment of truth. No matter about all of this...., if this is your first trip it will not be your last and you will acquire valuable knowledge and experiences which will guide you to what's going to be right for you on your future hunts. Go and enjoy and DO YOUR HOMEWORK on each species.
Many good places to go in Africa. When I go again I will go to Namibia simply because I've already been to RSA. At that point I would reach out to those on this site who have been to Namibia and somewhere based on their recommendations.
WOW Africa has a deal, $3,800 you get 4 animals and a plane ticket included for 7 days of hunting.
Another vote for Melorani. I went with 3 others in 2008 and had an absolutely fantastic time. The hunting was great, and Stuart and his staff were fantastic. Evenings around the fire were a lot of fun. There is nothing like fresh impala backstraps grilled right over the fire! When I go again, I may look at Namibia just to have a different experience.
In reading this thread, it reminded me of a time in camp with our group during my second African bow hunt. We had one guest who we call a "topper". For those who don't know, a "topper" is a guy who has been there, done that, and seen it all. If you shot a 25" impala, he's the guy that has shot several over 26". He's the guy that knows more than everyone in camp including the PHs, and he is glad to share his knowledge and experience with you whether you asked for it or not. Anyone ever met a "topper"?
This guy was absolutely driving the PHs nuts. He was telling them where and how he should be hunting and completely contradicting them at every turn. They were all surprisingly much more patient and gracious than I would have ever been. The staff bent over backwards to accommodate this guy and his ridiculous demands. Our group really felt bad for the staff, yet they took it in stride and handled him with admirable professionalism. His presence in camp was actually the only negative thing about our trip. He would clear out the fire pit area after dinner as soon as he opened his mouth. Luckily, he was in the last few days of his hunt as we were just starting ours. The PHs told us that they get at least one "topper" every season, and they have had worse than him.
My point to this story is be careful that you are not dealing with a topper when you are doing your research. They are fairly easy to identify. They will mostly talk about themselves.
I had hunted in Melorani, Thesepe and Limcroma All of them are great outfitters. I also had heard good things about Driess Visser, but haven´t hunt with them any of the top 3 will give you a very good experience
Melorani was awesome. Unfortunately the Dorrington family was forced to sell out to the government due to SA legislation allowing the natives to reclaim property that was settled after 1913. Stuart's family settled Melorani in 1918. I believe they may still be hunting 2017 but after that they are out. Details are on their website. Very sad deal...
Dirk de Bod in Namibia is first class. He does both rifle and bow , food and accommodations are great. Small operation with great staff and he personally guides his hunter. Took my whole family and had place to myself which is how he does for all clients. Flew to Frankfurt then Air Namibia to Windhoek. Very easy and did not have to deal with Johannesburg issues. I am pretty sure he was SCI PH of year 7-8'years ago.
You have hunted with this outfitter. The ph never sat in the blind with any of us. Don't get me wrong, my friends are satisfied with their animals, and they look great on the wall, but to the trained eye, you can tell. They really should have took turns sitting with me as I had the golden halo having lots of good mature trophy animals around me every day.
Thanks Fenceman, I know that can be difficult in that particular situation. In hindsight they would have been better off with one of his PHs hanging with them in the blind. I remember our two first timers were assigned PHs but the experienced guys were put out solo. Personally, I am very comfortable to be the only one in the blind, but it does make the day go by nicely with someone to share it all with. P.S. Hmm.... I think I will need that Golden Halo come June as Sable are on the menu for us this time.
It always a good idea to get familiar with field judging game to be hunted where you are with a PH or not.
I've hunt with and without a PH. If you are seeking a decent representation of the species or a trophy grade animal- good field judging is essential.
Just my take on the matter.
1canesfan, As a guest of numerous hunting camps myself over the years, you are bound to run into a few "toppers" as you refer to. I have definitely met a few in camp, and I speak to a few more in fielding hundreds of safari inquiries each year. As any good outfitter would, you try to accommodate all guests requests and expectations as best as you can within reality. Every outfitter here has dealt with a client like this at some point. The best way that I have found to do this is by establishing honest, no BS, open communication from the very beginning. This eliminates about 99% of all potential problems. Still, there are those rare few guests that are difficult to please no matter what efforts are made. If you promise and deliver a blue sky, they wanted a different shade of blue.... You do your best at all times and prepare for the things that are within your control and contingencies for those things that are not. The vast majority of guests will recognize and appreciate that.
Is it appears 1canesfan is talking to himself? Or is it FireHuntFish talking to himself.... I can't tell?? I do agree that "establishing honest no BS open communication from the very beginning" is essential to a great experience. Too bad some of these folks are so quick to blame the client(s) when that does not truly occur. That said, clients need to be flexible as well and make the most of any situation which presents itself. I know I've always had great fun when in Africa whether hunting or exploring. It's hard not to. However, I continually get the impression you are prone to say or do anything to make fellow bowsiters believe Limcroma is simply above all the rest. You said yourself in previous posts that you are biased and I imagine also acting as a paid agent for them. So, if your numerous glowing acclaims for them are being paid for in any way, just be honest and say so in order that we all understand. Subtle implications about certain clients being "toppers" is nothing more than an attempt to smear someone you've never met, whom you disagree with because they simply had a different experience than you might have had. It is pretty clear to most viewers that you were attempting to knock out and disrespect someone who might share a differing opinion which you somehow interpreted as potentially negative to your favorite hunting operation. IMO, Limcroma is a very good large operation and continually strives to be at the top. It certainly works perfectly for some hunters and not so perfectly for some others. There's nothing wrong with that, and fortunately there are plenty of good ones to chose from. The more you experience different operations the better you become at judging them on several aspects. That includes how far they will go to wrongfully disrespect others.
AZ-Rich, I have no idea why you are taking personal offense to my comments?? Did I mention you personally? 1canesfan is a past guest of ours and a friend. He is merely expressing his opinion and impression of experiences just as many others have done here on a regular basis who have hunted with many other various outfitters. He is only doing what you personally have done many times here. By your accusatory comments, you obviously think that 1canesfan is referring to you directly? I didn't make that connection, but you did so it must have struck a nerve close to home. Your paranoia is on you, not him. 1canesfan is a past client, a true gentleman, with a wonderful family. I believe he was trying to make a humorous generalization about his camp experience that you happened to take personally.
Not sure what your problem is with me? My follow up commments had nothing to do with you whatsoever. I'm also unclear as to how you got the impression that I secretly represent Limcroma? I do officially represent Limcroma Safaris here on Bowsite as well as several other hunting forums on the Internet. This is no secret and never has been. And, yes, I am biased. I say that jokingly because obviously I represent them. And, yes, having hunted with several other African outfits over the years, I do honestly feel that Limcroma sets themselves apart from the rest in many ways as of the scores of past hunting guests here on Bowsite will attest. I am not a paid agent as you suggest. I only represent and promote Limcroma and we pay Bowsite for that right as a sponsor. Obviously the objective is to promote the outfitter and book hunts just like every other outfitter who pays Bowsite to be a sponsor here. I also take great pride in the fact that I work diligently to provide ALL prospective hunting guests with as much factual information as possible so they can make the best decision possible regardless of the outfitter they choose. Any member here with whom I have conversed personally will attest to that.
Your accusatory comments are unwarranted and disappointing. You are the one attempting to smear an individual that you don't even know. To say anything beyond that would be unprofessional. I am sorry you felt it was necessary to make your misdirected accusations on the public forum. You obviously have some issue with me that I am unaware of and I would be glad to attempt resolution throught the PM system.
Firehuntfish, After seeing your response I think there is some issue with the website profiles for you and 1cansfan. I made the connection that you and he were one in the same. If anyone clicks on the 1cansfan profile it will display your name and state of FL. I know you and I had discussed my experiences with Limcroma before and I thought everything was understood and there really were no problems or misunderstandings; at least for me there are not any. I do apologize if I had mistakenly concluded from viewing the your profiles that you and 1canfan were actually the same person. Since this is inaccurate hopefully it can be corrected by Pat. I never had any issues with you being an (agent paid or not) for Limcroma and with your history of putting out good information about them and hunting in Africa. However, given what you and I had discussed privately in the past, the implications of 1canfan and your posts above seemed to suggest to me that I was being singled out for some reason. Apparently I was wrong about that. Again, no animosity exists on my end and I hope we can return this to a good discussion and provide valuable information for the original poster of this thread.
No worries.... All is good. I'm glad we can amicably and respectfully clear up any misunderstandings. 1canesfan does reside in Florida like myself, but I believe on the opposite coast. I will make sure to follow up and clear up any confusion with the two profiles. I have no idea why my name would appear on his profile?
All the best to you in the upcoming season! Best wishes and good hunting!
Holy crap! I just looked at canesfan1's profile...... My name is listed there... I can see where you would make the assumptions you did. My apologies, AZ. I will PM Pat immediately to fix that. We are not one in the same.... I am much more handsome and way bigger....
Dan,.....you forgot modest ;-)
You got me there t-roy! I am definitely more handsome, but instead of bigger, I should have said fatter.....