Properly equipping your hunt is not problematic for the average deer hunter. Due to the differences in hunting in Africa, less equipment is required. Portable tree stands, scent lures, and human scent cover up clothing and sprays not used.
Clothing and Accessories
When one imagines Africa, it is common to think of it as a warm climate. Obviously, Johnny Weissmuller ran around in just a loin cloth. However, the hunting season is from April through September, winter in the southern hemisphere. The daily temperatures in June vary from the low thirties in the morning, to a warm mid-seventies in the afternoon. Dressing in layers is critical to the changing temperature. I selected the perfect clothing for the hunt, polo shirt, commando wool sweater, polyester jacket and polypropylene rain jacket. The rain jacket works well to cut the wind when you are exposed to the elements while sitting in the back of the truck. Jeans or cargo pants and a good set of well broken in boots completed the outfit. A safari vest or fatigue shirt whose multiple pockets prove very useful to carry extra ammunition, water and snacks is recommended. You are never too far from the truck with its cooler of water and soft drinks, but a bottle of water is a good thing to have when walking. Tan clothing blends in with the grass lands, while darker colors do better in wooded areas. There is daily laundry service at Andansonia Safaris, so packing a great deal of clothing is unnecessary. It is wise to pack a change of clothing in your carry-on bag in case your check in bag is lost by the airline. My only mistake was to neglect to bring winter gloves. The fingerless shooting gloves that I took were not up to the task of keeping my hands warm in the back of the truck.
Rifle and ammunition
When selecting a rifle for your safari, there are several factors to consider. First, South Africa prescribes that only double or bolt action rifles are allowed. The double rifle brings with it the romance of the days of Hemingway. These traditional big game rifles provide two fast rounds without reloading. With a barrel length slightly shorter than a bolt action rifle, a double is good in heavy brush when a charge is possible. However, it lacks the bolt action’s ability to mount a scope. Bolt actions with positive feed systems, such as the CZ 550 Safari Magnum or Remington 700 are recommended. Caliber should be matched to the game to be taken. Your favorite .30-06 or equivalent caliber deer rifle will serve well for plains game. The minimum caliber required by law for big game is a .375 H&H magnum. It is considered to be the best all-around caliber for hunting in Africa. The average shooter is easily capable of handling the heavy recoil from this round. The cost for this ability is the ten pound weight of the rifle. Not problematic if shooting from the back of a truck, but for a smaller individual, a serious burden when stalking. This ability to tolerate recoil may not be the case for higher calibers such as the .416 Rigby, .458 Lott, and .470 Nitro Express commonly used against elephant and rhino. The problem with the larger calibers is that their punishing recoil deters hunters from practicing with them.
High quality expanding bullets such as 300 grain Nosler Partitions or Accubonds are recommended for use on both plains game and big game such as the Cape buffalo. Some professional hunters prefer their client to initially engage with an Accubond then use “solids” for subsequent shots on the Cape buffalo. Unlike a full metal jacketed round, a solid doesn’t have a lead core, but consists solely of brass or copper and is designed for deep penetration.
Any good quality 3×9 power scope will serve well as most shots are taken at less than 100 yards. The author never changed the power on his scope from 3x, even for a shot at 240 yards. A 4×12 power scope is not a bad option, however it should not be employed against animals such as the Cape buffalo which are known to charge hunters at close range.
In describing what he referred to as the “Near perfect safari rifle,” Larry Potterfield of Midway USA declined the use of a sling as he opined that it would slow the employment of the rifle. The author was on foot when a large black wildebeest closed rapidly with the group. Mof Venter, the owner of Adansonia Safaris, was in the lead and it ran straight at him. Mof was defenseless as he was unarmed. The author unshouldered his slung rifle and brought it to action in less than a second, then sidestepped to his right to get a shot at the animal. Luckily, the wildebeest turned and ran off across our front. It was not an actual charge, but at the moment it certainly appeared to be one. The author contends that Potterfield is incorrect and that the sling is not an impediment, but useful in both carrying and supporting the rifle when firing.
If you are a frequent flyer you know how simple the process is to check in, proceed through security and board your flight. Adding a firearm and ammunition to the process slows everything down substantially. First, you must start at the U.S. Customs Office where your firearm will be inspected and your “19 CFR 148.1 Certificate of Registration of Personal Effects Taken Abroad” will be stamped. The form is available on-line and it is suggested that you fill it out prior to arrival to the Customs Office. It ascertains that your rifle or rifles belong to you and you are not smuggling weapons into the country upon your return to the U.S. A photograph of the stamped form which is placed in your rifle case will support you in proving to your insurance company what was in the case if it is lost by the airline. The rifle case is then turned over to TSA and x-rayed prior to being placed on the aircraft. Transporting ammunition is easily done by placing it inside your checked baggage in its original box or locked container. Up to 11 pounds of ammunition may be legally transported in this manner. Forty rounds for each rifle will be more than sufficient. Inform the airline upon check in that you are transporting ammunition and sign their paperwork. This procedure slows down the check in process significantly. I have encounter several airline personnel at the check-in counter who were completely unaware of the procedures required. A supervisor or experienced attendant may be called upon to The South African Police also have a lengthy form to be completed prior to taking firearms into their country. Gary Pleasants, the United States representative of Adansonia Safaris was wonderful in his assistance with filling out this form. It not only allows you to import firearms into the country, but serves as your gun permit while in country.
The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may meet him and Gary Pleasants at the Adansonia Safaris table at the Nations Gun Show in Chantilly, Virginia on 19-21 November 2021. Gary may be contacted at (434) 566-1444.