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Old April 1, 2021, 09:30 AM   #1
ligonierbill
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Africa - or Bill's Excellent Adventure (I hope)

I am going to share my experiences as I prepare for this hunt. If no one is interested, I'll just drift off and tell "sea stories" at deer camp. But maybe you're thinking of going.

Hunting plains game in Namibia early September. I'll be in the central highlands at about 4,000 ft. The territory looks relatively flat, with hilly areas. Vegetation is what I think they call bushveldt, grass, low trees (everything has thorns). Temperature when I'm there probably mid 80's during the day, chilly at night. Compared to my experiences in the Rockies, it looks (I may eat these words) easy. We will hunt on foot and put in some miles, however. Base is a "camp" that looks embarrassingly luxurious. Namibia has a German colonial history, but the first language of my hosts is Afrikaans. I'm told everyone speaks English.

Lessons so far:

Cost for the hunt is indeed a bargain compared to serious guided hunts in the US, but there are other costs. Airfare is a bit more than a trip to Denver, and it is a long trip time-wise. I will drive to Detroit (a few hours for me), take an overnight non-stop to Frankfurt, long layover, then another overnight to Windhoek. So, one luggage transfer. My PH will meet me at the airport, and camp is an hour and a half drive. Of course, there is paperwork for traveling with a rifle, but so far not too bad. Trophies have to be prepared and shipped, cost TBD.

Then, vaccinations. CDC maintains a good list. While central Namibia is not a malaria area, they recommend hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies (common in dogs there, and post exposure treatment may be far away). Rabies vax is cheap for dogs, not for humans, and it is unlikely to be covered by insurance. Hepatitis is a 6 month process, so plan ahead. I almost missed that one. Add a travel emergency health policy, and you're into a few bucks. Liking Colorado better yet?

Now, the fun part. Essentially all shooting is from "sticks". Practice is highly recommended, and I will second that. Compared to offhand, it's a piece of cake, but it is different than most of our experience. I'm a pretty good shot, and my initial runs on sticks were not bad, but I still need a lot of practice. Every shot is a "money shot" in Africa.

Now, I have never heard a hunter say "never again" about Africa. I am really looking forward to this trip, and maybe another. But give yourself a long lead time if you're thinking of giving it a try.
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Old April 1, 2021, 03:34 PM   #2
Nathan
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I’d like to hear more and wonder what the costs will really be. I’m not asking me to show me your wallet, but about what is being spent vs provided would be great.

How do you know which outfitter to choose and what kind of hunting?

Honestly, it looks like you truly scored on the hunting. I hear stories of being driven to the animals and being asked to shoot. If I didn’t know better, I’d fear you may need a pack!
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Old April 1, 2021, 04:59 PM   #3
ghbucky
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You might want to consider a rescue/repatriation insurance plan.

https://expeditionportal.com/buyers-...tion-services/
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Old April 1, 2021, 10:44 PM   #4
Colorado Redneck
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A co-worker and his dad took a hunt trip to Africa maybe 10 years ago. They really enjoyed the experience. One thing of interest is, one of the guns got damaged on the trip going to Africa. They took multiple guns, so no biggie. I don't know the particulars but would recommend a high end gun case that's bullet proof. He'll of a note to have no gun on a big hunt.
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Old April 2, 2021, 06:49 AM   #5
ligonierbill
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+2 on the suggestions. I signed up with Global Rescue on the emergency medical issue. And I ordered a gun case advertised as purpose built for air travel. Each airline is different, but Lufthansa limits the case to 158 cm (62.2") sum of dimensions. Lots of cases are bigger.

Nathan, I chose plains game because the buffalo allocation in Namibia was sold out. I still want to hunt m'bogo someday, but I (and my PH) think this is a better introduction to Africa. More species, more shooting. I chose Namibia for two reasons. I have extended family in Germany, hunters, and they have hunted there numerous times. Also, Namibia has worked at developing and welcoming hunting and non-hunting visitors. They have a reputation for modern and enlightened game management. Of course, Africa is enormous, and you have to start somewhere. The outfit, I just surfed the web and picked a couple to contact. Kowas sounded good.

Regarding costs, it's no secret. Airfares can vary widely, but mine is $2k+. The hunt is a package at $7k, which includes trophy fees. By the time I get through all the shots and miscellaneous fees, add $2k. Yet to be determined are tips and taxidermy and shipping of trophies. All in, I'll probably be on the low side of $20k. A western US elk hunt would be less, an Alaskan moose hunt more.
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Old April 4, 2021, 12:19 AM   #6
bamaranger
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good for you

Ligonier,

I hope you indeed have a most excellent safari and I will read your narratives with great interest. Grew up reading all the prose from authors like Ruark, Keith, Capstick and O'Conner. I suppose we all dream of Africa, you're gonna make it!!!

Prices/fees are what they are, but you make me feel a whole lot better about my two lease fees here in 'Bama! I'm telling Bamawife,...." Hey look, I could be going to Africa,...but these deer/turkey leases are CHEAP!"
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Old April 6, 2021, 03:46 AM   #7
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You sound like you have all your bases covered and I wish you a safe and very productive trip. What caliber will you be using over there and what are the game sizes your after compared to US animals?
Look forward to pictures and great stories..
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Old April 6, 2021, 08:17 AM   #8
ligonierbill
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Kudu and gemsbok bulls are 300 kg. US elk bulls can go another 100 kg if we are considering trophy animals. Hartebeest and springbok are smaller. I am shooting a 338 Win Mag with 200 gr Nosler Accubond. No, not a new big rifle for the big hunt. I have been shooting this one for over 15 years. I actually asked my PH for a recommendation based on several rifles I have, and he said the 338 is his "all time favorite" for plains game. He also said 200 m shots, so I think just about any reasonable choice would work.
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Old April 6, 2021, 02:46 PM   #9
shafter
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It sounds like a great trip. Keep us posted of your adventures.
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Old April 6, 2021, 02:57 PM   #10
NHSHOOTER
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ligonierbill Its ironic you mention the 338 win mag, I inherited a 338 from my brother who lived in Idaho and was going to use it to hunt elk, he never had the opportunity. Needless to say I, living here in NH and got the rifle I took it out and fired it about 6 times..(enough)..No use for such a big caliber here in NH so it went up for sale.
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Old May 23, 2021, 03:43 AM   #11
ligonierbill
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Got quotes for taxidermy and shipping: $4k for 4 shoulder mounts and another $2k to ship. I am into my rabies vax series (3 shots): $1,400. But the hepatitis shots are covered by insurance, and the typhoid (on order) is "only" $95. But this still looks like a $20k hunt all in.

I talked with one of my German cousins who hunted there, and he absolutely loved it. Lots of game.

I am practicing on the sticks. It is a great shooting aid, but still new to me. No way around burning ammo to hone the skill.
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Old May 23, 2021, 09:49 PM   #12
Colorado Redneck
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Shooting light recoiling rifles off of sticks is great practice. Cheaper than big game ammo. I practice dry firing off sticks. Gets the muscle memory working better for me. I put a thumb tack on the back fence and set up the sticks in the garage, and get trigger time that way. At 25 yards, a thumb tack is about 1 moa in diameter.
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Old May 24, 2021, 01:17 AM   #13
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Do you guys make your own shooting sticks or do you buy them already made up?

Tony
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Old May 24, 2021, 08:03 AM   #14
ligonierbill
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Both. I lashed together some old tool handles (Boy Scout tripod lashing - still remembered.) but that rig is clumsy. So I bought a Primos Trigger Stick. Light and easy to set up. That's what I have been practicing with, but I will try the others just to get used to some different configurations.
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Old May 24, 2021, 01:03 PM   #15
Geezerbiker
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You have a better memory than I. I don't think I could remember any of that from my boy-scout days... I'll look around for a set of those sticks, they sound interesting...

Tony
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Old June 15, 2021, 12:34 PM   #16
ligonierbill
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Well, you might think international travel with a firearm is a hassle, and it might yet turn out to be, but so far...I stopped by my friendly local (45 mi) Customs and Border Protection office and got my 4457 stamped. Took 10 minutes; they obviously do a lot of these, and not just for firearms. I've read that they want to see your scope's serial number in addition to the rifle's, and yes they do.

Next, I got on Frankfurt's website to apply for my permit to take the rifle through Germany. Note that I have been advised to avoid South Africa if possible. Most US flights end up going there and connecting to a local to Namibia. The paperwork is such that it is common to pay a "greeting" service $100 to walk you through the process there. I have non-stop Detroit to Frankfurt, a long layover, then another non-stop to Windhoek. There is an online form for Frankfurt, the main feature of which is they want 3 documents uploaded: passport, "invitiation" (a "To whom it may concern" letter from my PH), and your firearms "license" (Form 4457). They also want 21 Euro by credit card ($26.53 today). So, I'm waiting to see if I did everything right. It's not an automated approval. Entry requirements for Namibia appear straightforward, basically the same 3 documents and fill out a form. PH advises "Be sure you have a pen".
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Old June 15, 2021, 02:09 PM   #17
eastbank
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i,ve been on six hunting trips to africa and botswana and rented rifles, all the rifles i rented were top shelf scoped, cz-sako-win. calibers were 375 H&H-300 win-243 win and costs for rent-ammo was very reasonable and as i hunted with the same PH on several hunts i took items he wanted from the states and traded for the rifle-ammo, we both were happy. i have shot over 60 animals with 15 species taken. my last trip was two years ago.
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Old June 15, 2021, 02:27 PM   #18
ligonierbill
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That's the default, but my PH is encouraging me to bring my own.
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Old June 16, 2021, 03:46 AM   #19
eastbank
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my main concern was damage-loss to my firearms in transite, along with having worries about all forms being filled out right for the countries traveled thru. if i were taking firearms i would hire one of the companies that will walk you thru the regulations and meet you at the airports and get you thru import-export of your firearms.
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Old July 6, 2021, 04:10 PM   #20
ligonierbill
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My PH advises hiring one of the "greeting" companies if traveling through South Africa. Namibia, not so much. I got my approval for Frankfurt firearms transfer in about a week. Interestingly, my travel agent knew nothing about that. Luckily, PH did, and provided the website. Just ordered my last immunization, typhoid. It is an oral series and costs about $100. So, my paperwork and vaccinations are set. I'm packing 60 rounds of ammo. Allowed 5 kg. I was out last week shooting clay birds off the berm at 150 yards. Cannot get too much practice!
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Old August 29, 2021, 04:42 PM   #21
ligonierbill
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Departure is 10-Sep. The typhoid vax may not make it. I am not concerned. Sticks: Don't let your rifle touch anything but your hand. It can push shots opposite of the contact point several inches. For trophies you need a US broker. Looks like a few hundred bucks. I am ready!
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Old August 30, 2021, 12:16 AM   #22
armoredman
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Be safe and have a blast - don't forget to upload photos if you can! Oh, and try not to get taken hostage by some deep veldt "liberation army". Just sayin'.
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Old August 30, 2021, 08:41 AM   #23
ligonierbill
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The liberation army is running the place. SWAPO (Southwest African People's Organization) is the primary political party.
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Old August 30, 2021, 09:13 AM   #24
stagpanther
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My friend who's rifles I worked on are about to go to S. Africa at almost the same time you are. He's had to register all the firearms with import/export control (as usual) BUT unlike many other countries that require vaccination or PCR within 72 hours of arrival--S. Africa requires both. He likes the sticks, sometimes he ends up shooting off the truck's rest since he's going after a big 5 dangerous in addition to longer range plains game.

Good luck!
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Old September 1, 2021, 01:20 AM   #25
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I remember reading about SWAPO back in the day...yikes. Hope they mellowed.
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