Importing of Hunting Firearms
South Africa requires a temporary import / export permit for your firearms and ammunition. At Wild Horizon Hunting, the import of firearms is done in conjunction with a reputable firearm importing agent, Air 2000, to ensure a smooth entry through customs. Details are sent to you prior to your safari. You can read more about Air 2000 at www.hunterssupport.com.
Hunting Permits and Licenses
All plains game trophy fees for South Africa include hunting licenses. Some species, for example leopards, require CITES permits.
Wild Horizon Hunting will assist you in obtaining these once your safari is booked and confirmed.
Firearms, Scopes & Ammunition
South Africa requires a temporary import / export permit for your firearms and ammunition, but no permits are required for bows. Neither do the South African Police Service levy charges on the importation of bows, but handling fees may be charged by airline and/or security companies. With the exception of shotguns for bird hunting purposes, no more than one firearm per caliber and 200 rounds per caliber will be allowed into South Africa. Permits will only be issued for ammunition which is accompanied by a firearm of the same caliber. Automatic or semi-automatic rifles, automatic or semi-automatic shotguns, and hand carbines are prohibited from being brought into the country. South African law requires a minimum caliber of 375 for hunting any of the “Big Five”, which includes buffalo, whilst for plains game hunting, any caliber from 270 up is required.
Wild Horizon Hunting recommends that a good quality variable scope be used whilst hunting, as shots can vary from close range to long shots of up to 300 yards. Big rifles would do well with 4 - 6 X and plains game rifles with 6 - 12 X or 3 - 9 X. Large, heavy scopes and quick detachable mounts are not recommended for plains game hunting.
Custom officials may want to check the ammunition you are bringing into South Africa, so ensure that you have quick, easy access to it. Airline Regulations allow for only 5 kgs (11 lbs) of ammunition per person. It would be wise to keep your ammunition in the original factory container, locked inside a small metal box such as a cash box. Opt for the best possible ammunition you can buy, and bring a combination of solids and softs of the same grade.
Immunizations and Vaccinations
You will need to make an appointment with your personal physician or travel clinic at least one month prior to departure to review pertinent health precautions including necessary vaccinations and medications. Make sure your doctor knows you are travelling to South Africa, not just Africa, so he can prescribe the right medication. Travellers entering South Africa from countries where yellow fever is endemic are often required to present their yellow World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination record or other proof of inoculation.
Packing Clothing and Accessories
Comfortable, casual clothing for at least 5 days should be packed, as laundry can be done every 3 to 4 days, weather permitting. For hunting safaris, dark drab colours are recommended. Neutral colours such as khaki, beige, olive, green and brown are the preferred colours to wear on a safari hunt, as you are less conspicuous to the animals. We've included a packing checklist below...
Accessories & Personal Care:
Cameras in a dust resistant case, with a zoom, spare batteries, film, and memory sticks
Rifle, rifle scope and correct ammunition
Soft rifle bag for transporting your gun whilst on a safari hunt
Sunscreen and lip balm
Personal hygiene & bathing requirements
A small first aid kit, for personal use, possibly containing insect repellent, a mild pain killer for headaches, Immodium for diarrhea, topical antibiotic for cuts, bites or sores, adhesive pads for blisters, and a sufficient supply of any prescription medication you are on (this is important as we cannot always access personal specific medication)
A small bag to carry these essentials with you whilst on a safari hunt
Valid visa (if applicable)
ID photo (eg driver's licence)
Recommended innoculations / valid international Health Certificates
All paper work, faxes, and emails to and from your hunting outfitter and booking agent pertaining to your hunting safari
Photocopies of all the above documentation, carried in a place separate to the original documents
For up to date information on entry requirements for South Africa, please visit the Official Gateway to South Africa website.
A lightweight, dark colored hat or baseball cap
A lightweight pair of gloves
A warm, windproof jacket or top
A light rainproof jacket
Some short sleeve and long sleeve shirts (with collars)
Some short and long pairs of pants
Good comfortable hunting boots & several pairs of socks
Jeans and a track suite to relax in
Light running shoes and slops to relax in
For hunting safaris taking place in the Spring or Summer time (October to March), lightweight versions of the above can be packed. However, for hunting safaris taking place in the Autumn or Winter (April to September), heavier shirts and warmer jackets should be packed. Note the bathing costume must always be packed….. some of our best bathing time is in winter.
South Africa has a temperate climate and is comfortable most of the year. Winter is very moderate compared to the Northern Hemisphere and most summer activities carry on through winter. The best months for safari hunting in the Eastern Cape are from April through to the end of September; these being our cooler winter months. Daytime temperatures are reasonably warm (up to 18°C / 65°F), with colder nights (sometimes as low as - 4°C / 25°F). Our rainfall occurs mainly in summer.
Our seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, with Spring starting in September, Summer from November to March, Autumn in April / May and Winter from June to August. Temperatures in Summer range from 15°C to 35°C, however the norms are 18°C to 28°C. Temperatures in Winter, whilst it can get to freezing at the higher altitudes, normaly range between 8°C and 25°C inland, and 15°C to 27°C at the coast.
General South African Information
Languages: There are 11 official languages in South Africa, but most people do speak English.
Standard time: South African standard time is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 2), one hour in advance of central European winter time and seven hours in advance of United States eastern standard time throughout the year. There are no time zone differences within the country.
Banking, currency and money matters: The South African unit of currency is called the Rand and it is divided in to 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. South Africa has a very sophisticated banking sector and automatic teller machines (ATM’s) are widely available in the main cities and towns. Credit cards are widely accepted, except at gas stations. Traveller’s cheques (American and Visa) and credit cards (American Express, Visa and Master Card) are widely recognised and accepted.
Electricity: 220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Three pronged plugs are universal, so take an adapter. Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and small appliances.
Road Travel: There is a well-maintained network of roads and motorways in populous regions. Traffic drives on the left. In non-residential areas, speed limits are 120kph, and 60kph in urban areas. Petrol stations are usually open all week, 07h00 to 19h00, and some are open 24 hours. Petrol must be paid for in cash. Wearing of seat belts is compulsory, and driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence. It is required that you carry a valid driver's license at all times whilst driving.
Drinking water: South Africa’s tap (faucet) water is of a high quality and is both palatable and safe to drink straight from the tap. It is treated so as to be free of harmful micro-organisms, except in informal or shack settlements. In some areas, the water is mineral-rich, and you may experience a bit of gastric distress for a day or two. Bottled mineral water is readily available. Drinking water straight from rivers and streams could put you at risk of waterborne diseases, especially downstream of human settlements.
Sun exposure: The African sun can be harsh, and you should wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat whenever you are out of doors, particularly between 10am and 4pm, regardless of whether there is cloud cover or not.
Nationwide emergency telephone numbers: For the police, this is 10111, and for the ambulance service this is 10177. It is not necessary to dial an area code for these numbers, including from mobile phones.
A Typical Hunting Day
Upon your arrival at either the East London or Port Elizabeth airports, you will be met by the owner of Wild Horizon Hunting, Professional Hunter and Outfitter, Guy Swart. Guy will transport you and your hunting party to their private game farm, Bultfontein, where your hunting safari will begin in earnest.
Upon arrival at the game farm, you will have the opportunity to relax and settle in, unpack and shower. On the day of arrival at the game farm, we will be sighting and checking rifles to ensure that they are still set correctly after the long journey.
A 05h00 wake up call will greet you on the morning of your first day of hunting, followed by coffee and a light meal, or a full breakfast for those who would prefer it. We will depart for the bush as early as possible, so as to be there as soon as the sun rises.
The hunt will begin with looking for tracks / spoor of animals from the vehicle. Once a spoor has been spotted, the walk and stalk begins. The walk and stalk may continue for an undetermined length of time, so it is good to be prepared for a number of scenarios. For this reason we will be carrying our food and water and medical supplies with us. Unless we are on the spoor of an animal, we will return to the farm house for lunch, after which the hunt will resume again during the mid-afternoon.
As late afternoons are a good time for hunting, you will most probably only return to the farm house after dark, where a shower and a cold drink will be waiting for you. A relaxing evening spent dining on good food, and discussing and planning the next day's hunt, will round off the day.
The following morning, the routine will begin all over again, and hopefully it will be the day which lands you your sought-after hunting trophy. Great excitement and ritual mark this time during a hunt, as the animal is prepared for the photo shoot, and you strike your best pose to record your triumph for posterity.