I return in September from my first African Safari. While I had not hunted africa prior to this (obviously) I had done tons of research on the topic and the do's and don'ts of planning your first safari. I wanted to briefly share my experience with you all in the event someone else is looking to do the same type of trip.
First let me say that while I have done a good many guided hunts, I have only an average income so any trip I do I weigh out the options heavily and look for great deals on great hunts as they come along (I know most of us can identify with this). I had read many hunt recaps of guys spending tons of cash on both the hunt, flights, dip and pack, and getting their trophies back home and while that is up to each individual, I wanted to attempt to do a "hunt of a lifetime" for the best price possible at the best place possible. As follows is a cost breakdown of my trip thus far and also a quick recap of the hunt I had...It was a great one.
After much research I selected Huntershill Safaris in the Eastern Cape of South Africa for my hunt. They are a 4 star lodge with 70 different huntable big game species on 55,000 acres of land. I booked the following package...
Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, and Common Springbok for five days for $3,300.
I also added two days for my hunt at $260 per day... to total $520.
Airport pickup and rifle hire were included in this price which also saved a few hundred bucks.
I booked my flight through delta. I live near Charlotte NC so I flew from Charlotte to Atlanta and Atlanta to Johannesburg Non-Stop on a 16 hour straight flight. Long but worth it compared to spending many more hours in layovers. After watching fares for a couple months I was able to get this flight for $1,325. Which could have bought been less but not on a direct flight from Atlanta to Joberg.
I booked an overnight stay at Afton Guest house in Johannesburg. Which was very nice and well worth the $125 which included a steak dinner and fantastic breakfast as well as airport pick up and drop off.
I also had to book a flight the next day from Johannesburg to East London, which is only a 1 hour flight. I was able to get a great deal on this flight because I went in the website and purchased the seat for the flight in rand rather than the dollar conversion, which saved me a great deal. The roundtrip flight was $111.
When I arrived at Huntershill I had already made up my mind that I was going to take some extra animals if given the opportunity and I had several in mind. Their trophy fees are the lowest in Africa and I had decided that I was going to take advantage of it. I added the following trophies...
Impala - $280
Blesbok - $280
Steenbok - $280
Zebra - $450
White Springbok - $450
Mountain Reedbuck -$350
I also had a couple extra days to hunt due to good success early in the hunt and wanted to try to get a bushbuck in replacement of my black wildebeest if given an opportunity. The owner allows animals of equal value to be swapped so this was an even trade.
So in all I took 11 trophy class animals in 7 days. I had a fantastic time and look forward to hopefully making a return trip for some other species in 2019.
As for the cost breakdown for anyone looking to do a trip like this, here is my current breakdown not including dip and pack, shipping, and clearing costs.
Airfare $1325 and $111
Hunting Package - 5 Trophies/ 5 Days $3300
2 Extra Hunting Days $520
Extra Animals Taken $2090
Rounds for rifle $40
Afton Guest House $125
Total so far... $7,511.
I am having my dip and pack done by Paul at Relive Taxidermy. He comes with high recommendations if you just do an internet search. His prices are also very resonable, $90 per animal for dip and pack I believe. I am also hoping to save on some shipping cost by having all my skulls capped as I plan to do shoulder mounts on all the animals, except the steenbok which will be lifesized.
I will be using coppersmith for the clearing of the trophies in Atlanta. I had considered trying to clear the animals myself but decided I would let the experts handle that. The cost should be $300-$400 for clearing.
Also I have decided to pick up my crate in Atlanta which is 3 hours from my house rather than having it shipped from Atlanta to my home ssince I have heard that those cost can be very expensive as well.
I will be sure to update on those totals when the time comes. Hopefully this has shown that though not inexpensive, Africa can be done vvery resonantly if you look around and search your options diligently.
Here are a few pictures of the trophies.