Hunting Safaris in Africa, Frequently Asked Questions, Bowhunting in South Africa, Rifle Hunting Safaris
Frequently Asked Hunting Questions South Africa
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Most Common Questions Asked To Magersfontein Safaris

Now, if you are anything like me, I imagine you have questions.  Let me answer the most common ones. If one doesn’t interest you, you can just skip ahead to the next one. If you have other questions please send me an email at Magersfontein@inext.co.za.

Q How many years experience do you have hunting in Africa?
A: I began hunting on my own when I was 9 years old. I am now 38 years old so I have been hunting in Africa for 27 years.

Q: How many years have you been in the Safari business?
A: I am now in my 19th year as a Professional Hunter.

Q: What type of medical shots do I need to get before my trip to Africa?
A:  You can check with the United States CDC web site (cdc.gov) and consult your personal physician and tell him/her about your travel plans. You physician will review your immunization record and recommend what shot(s) you should get. This depends greatly on which countries you will be traveling to in Africa.

Q: Is the water safe to drink in South Africa?
A: Most water is purified and very safe to drink right out of the tap but may taste a little different from what you are use to so we offer our clients great quality bottle water.

Q: Should I register with the American Embassy before my trip?
A: If it makes you feel for comfortable doing so then yes. It does not cost you anything and only takes a few minutes to do on the internet.

Q: Do I need a passport? Do I need a VISA? Anything else I need to get through African customs?
A: The two things you need to get through customs here in South Africa for your short term safari hunting trip are a current passport and a return airline ticket. You do not need a VISA. You will have to declare that you are bringing a bow and or firearm with you. There is no paperwork you need to bring your bow into Africa but you do need paperwork filled out in advance for transporting your gun. These forms and information I will email you after you book a hunt with me.  Plus if you are planning to bring more than $10,000 in cash you will have to declare that as well.

 
   

Q: How many bags can I check at the airport and what is the weight limit?
A: These changes so often that it is best to contact the airlines before your trip.

Q: Should I convert some money over to African currency?
A: US currency is accepted everywhere in South Africa so you don’t really need to convert over any money to African currency. I do recommend that you bring about $100 in 5 dollar and one dollar denominations because you will need this for tipping the porters and airline personnel. The last thing you want to avoid is only having say 20 dollar bills and tipping with that much money.

Q: What city do I fly into in South Africa?
A: Johannesburg and then you get on a connecting flight to Kimberly.

Q: How long is the flight from America to South Africa? And what is the cost?
A: The flight is about 16 hours with a one hour refueling stop about half way. South African Airways is very accommodating. They feed you decent meals a few times and provide snacks and soft drinks. You also have access to unlimited personal movies. This is not advertised but they also serve FREE alcoholic beverages when you want them.  As you know flight prices change like the wind so you will need to check with your travel agent or airlines.

Q: What is the best time to come and hunt in Africa?
A: Our hunting season is during our winter which is June, July, and August. So depending on what species animals you are after I can recommend the best time to come over. These times are best for bow hunting, rifle hunters can visit year round.

Q: What will the temperature be when I’m hunting in Africa?
A: It is often cold in the early morning (July is the coldest month) Temperatures of 32 degrees at first light are possible. While a freezing temperature is unusual, 40 to 45 degree lows are not uncommon. Even when it is cold early, it usually warms quickly after daylight, making it necessary to remove clothing. (The temperature may reach 80 degrees by early afternoon.) If you dress so that it is easy to remove layers. Adjusting to warmer temperatures in a snap.

Q: Does the lodge have a phone I can use to call back home?
A: If you are going to make just a few calls during your entire stay with us you can use my cell phone to call back home. If you plan on making several calls every day then I suggest you contact your cell phone provider, tell them where you are traveling and they will have a global phone you can rent for your trip. Or you can do a google search and see about getting a satellite phone. I will have the electricity converter adaptors so you can keep them fully charged.

Q: How about internet access?
A: I have my office computer a mile from the lodge you will be staying but the connections are really slow. So if you want to simply check your email every few days you can use my computer. If you plan to spend a lot of time using the internet you may want to bring your own laptop. You will need to contact your internet provider and see what you can do as far as getting a wireless connection while you are over here.

Q: Are there any customs I need to be sensitive about when entering South Africa? 
A:
Not really. Like all people we just like to be treated fairly and being friendly goes a long way.

Q: Will someone pick me up at the airport and drop me off for my return flight home?
A:
YES. We will know your flight schedule. When you get off the plane go to the baggage claim area and someone will be there to pick you.  And we will get you back to the airport for your returning flight.

Q: Can I bring my family? 
A: YES. There are plenty of exciting and enjoyable things for your “non- hunting” family members and friends to do here in Africa. We can customize a vacation tailored to your wants and desires. This would all be done well in advance of your trip.

Q: Will I be able to charge my video camera/computer, etc? Do I need a converter plug?
A: YES. We will provide the proper electric converter plugs for you to charge up you cameras, computers, or anything else that need charging so don’t bother buying and bringing your own.

Q: Are there medical facilities close by?
A: YES. The hospitals and medical help are just like in the most modern cities in the United States. We are less than a 30 miles from emergency help.

Q: Will there be any snakes I have to worry about?
A: NO. As you know snakes have a very bad reputation everywhere you go. We do have dangerous snakes but they are limited to specific habit areas which we stay away from during the non dormant times of the year.  It is rare that a client ever sees a snake of any kind and I have never had a client bitten by a snake.

Q: Should I expect bugs and what type of incest repellent do you recommend?
A: Insects are no worse than what you see in any wooded area in the United States during some months of the year. The hunting season hear in Africa in during our winter months, which are June, July, August. Most insects are dormant at that time. In fact we tell out clients not even to bring any insect repellent. If on rare occasion insect repellent is needed we will supply it.

Q: Will I have trouble bringing my gun to Africa?
A: NO. You just need to fill out the proper forms which I will email to you once you book a hunt with me.

Q: Can I pack my rifle and ammo in the same case or do I need to separate them?
A: NO. They need to be separate. Just pack your ammo in your check in baggage and your gun will be in a gun case.

Q: IS there any limit to the amount of ammo I can bring?
A: YES. 200 rounds. Twenty round usually come in a box. I suggest you bring 3 boxes (60 rounds) of ammo.  Make sure it is the same ammo that you used to sight in your rifle.

Q: What caliber gun do you suggest I use?
A:  .270 /.300 will do for most plains game and .375 a minimum for Cape Buffalo and other dangerous game.

Q: Should I bring a back-up bow?
A: There will be a bow shop within 40 miles of where you are hunting here in South Africa. They would have replacement parts and be able to fix the major brands of bows (Bow Tech, Hoyt, PSE, Matthews). That being said you would most likely miss a morning or afternoon of hunting getting your bow fixed. I would say if you have a back up bow bring it along if you have a double bow case. I would not go out and buy another bow just to bring it on the hunt. 

Q: What broad heads do you recommend?
A: First off, mechanical broad heads are legal to use in Africa. Like killing most animals the more penetration you can get the better.  Most mechanical broad heads loose energy at the point of impact. Is better to use a fixed sharp broad head, you will get better penetration. It is more important where you hit the animal then what you hit them with. That being said you need a SHARP fixed blade to stack the cards on your side for that not so perfect shot which happens a lot in REAL hunting conditions. It is also recommended that you bring at least 18 broad heads with you just to be safe. The last thing you want to do is borrow another brand from me or your hunting companion because it may not be the same weight or fly as good as your own broad heads.

Q: How many arrows and broad heads should I bring?
A: 18 arrows, 18 broad heads, and 3 field points for practice.

Q: Do you have a check list of everything I need to bring with me?
A: YES. Once you send in a deposit and book you hunt with me I send you a “Gear Checklist” along with other information you will need.

Q: Do I need rain gear?
A: NO. First off- it doesn’t rain very often in our area. We do have short down spouts but they usually last less than a half hour. Secondly if you are bow hunting you will be in a blind, which will protect you from the rain. And lastly, you are very limited these days with how many bags and the weight of each bag the airlines let you check in.

Q: Do I need to wear “hunter orange” while hunting.
A: NO. There are no laws requiring you to wear hunters orange. And from a practical point we will be the only ones hunting so there is absolutely no risk whatsoever of getting shot at by another hunter.

Q: Do I need to bring rubber boots in case we will be crossing creeks.
A: NO. You want to bring one pair of broken in leather boots that are high enough to cover your ankles. Once you book a safari with me I send you a very detailed “gear list” of exactly what you need to bring. This is very important because these days you are very limited to the weight of your luggage the airlines will accept without charging you more.

Q: If I am bow hunting from a blind, do I need to wear camouflage?
A: Not really, but most hunting clothes bow hunters own are some type of camouflage. If you own scent-loc type clothing it will help in some of the blinds you may be hunting. We are very aware of the wind direction when we choose a blind for you to hunt out of.  I would not go out and purchase scent-loc type clothing just for your African hunt.

Q: Do I need to wear scent control clothing and use scent free sprays, shampoos, etc?
A: If you own scent-loc type clothing it will help in some of the blinds you may be hunting.  I would not go out and purchase scent-loc type clothing just for your African hunt. As far as scent free sprays/deodorant/shampoos, yes I would recommend you use them. If you have a preferred brand, you will have to bring them with you because they are not readily available here in Africa. I know they are a real pain to pack with your gear because of the weight and chance of leaking. I would suggest that if you are coming over with others on the hunt bring just enough for all of you and place these items in a zip-loc type bag or even vacuum seal pack them if you have one of those units. This will prevent leaking all over your other hunting gear. We do have “leftovers from previous hunters that you are welcome to use.

Q: Do I need to have camouflage on my face when hunting out of a blind?
A: NO. The blinds are very dark inside and you will be towards the back of the blind when you are shooting. If you feel more confident with covering up your face with either face paint or a mask of some type all the more to you, it can’t hurt.

Q: Can my wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend sit in the blind with me?
A: YES. The blinds are big enough for two people to fit very comfortably.

Q: Any suggestions on what I can do to pass the time while hunting in a blind?
A: First off – the day will go by fairly fast because there is usually not an hour that goes by where something can be seen from your blind. Read the attached story from one of my recent clients, Mark Colosi. He kept a journal of the date and time of every animal that he saw from his blind during his entire hunt with me. I would suggest you do bring your favorite book(s) or magazine(s). You will not be distracted enough to miss any shot opportunities because you can look through the shooting and viewing windows between paragraphs. In most cases you will also be able to hear the animals approaching your blind. 

Q: How much walking in involved on a bow hunt? How about a gun hunt?
A: Most of the bow hunting is done from well constructed ground blind near active watering holes. We drive you right up to the blind in one of our safari trucks so there is not much walking there. When you shoot something we will have to track the animal down and depending on the shot placement the animal may be as close as 30 yards from the blind to several hundred yards or even a mile or so. Gun hunting – involves the “spot & stalk”  method of hunting so lots of walking is involved but can be tailored to any level you feel comfortable with.

Q: Is there a place to shoot my rifle to make sure it is still zeroed in?
A: YES. We have an area on each gun hunting concession where you can make sure your rifle is still shooting right on after your trip to Africa.

Q; While bow hunting how far should I be prepared to shoot?
A: The blinds you hunt out of if you are bow hunting will be positioned properly near the watering hole so that when the various animals come and drink they are within 10-20 yards and standing perfectly broadside at some point in time while drinking. However you must wait until you have a perfect broadside shot before you release your arrow because that offers you the best possible chance for a double lung or heart shot with an entry and exit hole for a maximum blood trail.

Q: While rifle hunting how far should I be prepared to shoot?
A: This depends on the concession you will be hunting on because some concessions have thicker cover than others. Most shots thought are less than 200 yards.

Q: When bow hunting – when is the best time to actually take the shot at the animal coming to the watering hole?
A: Usually there will be more than one animal of the same species coming to the watering hole. It is best to wait until most of them arrive at the water and start drinking.  This allows them all to calm done a bit because they are nervous and jittery at first when they come in. Plus this will allow you to look them over a bit and choose the one you want to shoot. In addition, this allows you to calm down yourself a bit and mentally and physically prepare yourself for the shot. The absolute best time to release an arrow is when the animal you want to shoot is within your comfortable shooting range, has his head down actually drinking, and standing perfectly broadside. This is not to say that you have all day to make your shot. Several factors are involved as to how long an animal will stay drinking and every animal is different. In most cases you will have a good 30 seconds or so to choose your animal, wait for the broadside shot and release your arrow.

Q: Where can I see photos and read about the animals I will be hunting?
A:  If you want to know what each of these animals’ looks like you can do a google search on the internet, get a copy of the Field Guide to African Animals from the National Audubon Society, or get a copy of  “The Perfect Shot” written by Kevin “Doctari: Robertson (cost $17.95) from SafariPress.com.

Q: Can you hunt one type of animal with a gun and another with a bow?
A: YES. Some concessions I have access to are “bow only” others are “any weapon”. I just need to know in advance of your hunt to make the necessary plans.

Q: How many acres of land will I be hunting?
A: In Africa we call a hunting area a “concession”. My family owns a 10,000 acre concession. I have access to several other hunting concessions within 40 miles of our lodge. These range from as small as 2,000 acres to as large as 16,000 acres. Where you will be hunting depends on the weapon you are hunting with, the game animals you want to shoot, and other factors that change from time to time. The goal is to have you in the area where your chances of shooting the species of animal you want are the greatest.

Q: Would I stay in the blind all day or break for lunch?
A: Most hunters plan to stay in the blind all day and we provide a nice bag lunch. However if you shoot an animal (which happens most days) we usually move you to another blind.  I will suggest the best time to be in the blind during the day when I know the animals are more likely to come into the watering hole your blind in set up, on. Sometimes I may have you hunt 2 or 3 different blinds in the same day.

Q: Will I be shooting from a sitting, kneeling, or standing position from the blinds?
A: Most of the blinds you will be hunting from are perched in the air about 15 feet and have an 8 inch wide by 16 inch long shooting window. You can stand up and shoot or stay seated while shooting, whichever is more comfortable for you.  All our blinds have carpet on the floor to reduce noise and a hook to hang your bow so you can grab it without much movement, easily, quietly, and fast.

Q: How would you suggest I practice with my bow?
A: Practice shooting from 20 yards and closer standing up and sitting down. You can get an array of African plain game paper targets from SafariPress.com for $12.95 if you really want to start shooting the animals you will be shooting when you come to Africa.

Q: How would you suggest I practice with my gun?
A: Practice shooting at ranges from 50 yards to 250 yards. And practice shooting from shooting sticks standing, seated, and kneeling. Also practice from resting your gun on a rock, tree branch, log or backpack.

Q: Will a professional hunter be with me in my blind or will I be alone?
A: In most cases you will be alone. A good professional hunter has several things to do during the day including extensive scouting to increase the chances of success for the remainder of the hunt.

Q: Do I need to bring my own gun or can I use one of yours?
A: Most hunters want the satisfaction of using their own gun but I have a .270 and .375 available for a small rental fee.

Q: Can I shoot more than one of the same animal?
A: YES. Unlike the states in the US we don’t have bag limits because the resources (all the animals) are owned by the land owner. So whatever your Professional Hunters says is OK to shoot is OK to shoot. Some “second” animals may even be available at a reduced rate.
Q: How many animals can I expect to shoot in 7-10 days if hunting with a bow? How about with a gun?

Q: How many animals can I expect to shoot in 7-10 days if hunting with a bow? How about with a gun?
A: Hunting with a bow you can expect to kill an animal for each day you are hunting with me. Now some days you may not kill anything but other days you may kill 2 or 3 animals. So on average for a bow hunter I would say one animal per day. For gun hunters it would be safe to say 2 animals per day with the exception of elusive animals like Kudu and Nyala, which may take a day or two to locate and harvest.

Q: If I wound an animal do I have to pay for it as if I recovered it?
A: YES. For two reasons, one, we want to make sure you only take high percentage shots The best shot to take on African plains game is a straight broadside shot because you want the arrow to pass through and have an entrance hole and an exit hole for a better blood trial. And if you take a quartering to or away shot you may not have the correct angle and miss the vitals. The blinds you hunt out of if you are bow hunting will be positioned properly near the watering hole so that when the various animals come and drink they are within 20 yards and standing perfectly broadside at some point in time while drinking. However you must wait until you have a perfect broadside shot before you release your arrow.  And secondly, most wounded animals will eventually die and from the land owners perspective a dead animal is a dead animal whether it’s recovered or not.

Q: How do I come up with a total price for my hunt?
A: The prices for most safaris are broken into 6 parts. First you have your flight to Africa. Second you have a daily rate for each day you are hunting, this covers, lodging, meals, and a professional hunter, staff (trackers, skinners, and camp help). Third you have a “trophy fee” for each animal you shoot. Forth you have any tips you give your Professional hunter, and staff. And lastly you have a fee for shipping your trophies back home.

Q: Is the price different if I use a gun verses a bow?
A: YES. The daily rate for rifle hunters is about $50 more per day because a Professional Hunter is with you the entire day and there is a lot of traveling around in the safari truck looking for game. 

Q: How much would I tip my professional hunter, the cook, and the trackers/skinners?
A: While gratuities are not required, you PH and the staff are accustomed to receiving tips and gifts. An average tip for a PH who has performed well for you on a 7-10 day plains game safari hunt will normally receive between $200-$500. For the native Staff… Housekeeping, cooks, skinners, trackers and camp help $100-$150 total, divided among all staff members according to their “rank/Status” in camp. This is normally done thru you PH to avoid conflicts among staff members. For skinners, trackers, and camp help you can also give them gum, candy, watches, hats, fleece hoods, ski hats, gloves, socks, shoes, laser rangefinders, knives, folding saw, leatherman tool, flashlights, etc.

Q: How do I tell if the animal I want to shoot is a good quality trophy?
A: During our time together I will tell you and show you what to look for on the various animals you are hunting for a good quality trophy. You can also do a google search on the internet, get a copy of the Field Guide to African Animals from the National Audubon Society, or get a copy of  “The Perfect Shot-mini edition for Africa” written by Kevin “Doctari” Robertson (cost $17.95) from SafariPress.com. Any one of these sources will show you what a good quality trophy looks like.

Q: How do I tell if the animal I want to shoot is a male or female?
A: Same as above answer and Most females also have horns, but the horns are much thinner and less impressive than the males.

Q: If I am fortunate enough to shoot a record book class animal does it qualify to be entered in the Safari Club International Record Book?
A: YES. In fact I am a certified Safari Club International trophy measurer.

Q: Do I get to bring home with me any of the meat from the animals I kill?
A: NO. You cannot bring any game or meat products into the United States because of US regulations. However, all of your meat will be totally utilized, and often served as a main course for dinner during your safari. It’s delicious. Eland, Gems buck, Kudu, Impala, etc. are favored items.  Anything not used in camp is either sold to local restaurants or given to the local population. Be rest assured that none of your meet from your trophies will be wasted.

Q: Do I get my trophies mounted in Africa or get them shipped home to my taxidermist?
A: I don’t recommend that you get your trophies mounted by a taxidermist over here in Africa. We will dip and preserve your hides and horns and do all the paperwork to get them shipped to your taxidermist back home. The shipping is based on the volume so the bigger the crate the more it costs to ship.

Q: How much does it cost to get my skulls, horns and caps shipped home? And how long does it take?
A: It usually takes 3 months.  The average cost of dipping an animal to preserve the hide is $75, documentation and crating is $200 total and the freight to the United States is about $600.

Q: If I wound and animal with my bow can I track it down and shoot it with a gun?
A: This depends on what hunting concession you are hunting on. What I mean here is that some concessions are “bow hunting only” and firearms are not allowed at all. Other “bow hunting only” concessions we can track down an animal and finish it off with a rifle.

Q; Lets say I wound an animal and you find it after I am gone, will I still get the horns and cape if it is not rotten?
A: YES: If the animal was mortally wounded we may find the animal during the hunting season and notify you.

Q: How much of a deposit do you require to book a hunt with you?
A: 50% of the daily rate fee.

Q: Can my cloths be washed during the hunt?
A: YES. There will a hamper in your room. You simply place the clothes you would like washed in the hamper in your room and every other day we clean your cloths, fold them, and placed on your bed.  If you want your cloths washed with “scent free” detergent please let us know and we will accommodate you.

Q: Will there be any time to shop at local stores?
A: This depends on the times of your flights but this your vacation and if you want to take off an afternoon from hunting to go shopping that can be arranged.

 
       
   

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