What can I expect when booking a hunt through Rolling River Safaris?
Rolling River Safaris only deals with reputable and ethical operators in Southern Africa that we know will treat our clients with respect and offer them the same high standard of service that we would. If you have any doubts about traveling to Africa, arrangements can be made for Phil, as a qualified and seasoned Professional Hunter to accompany you or your party.
Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are all some of Africa’s greatest hunting destinations, offering a wide range of species and top trophy quality. These hunting areas offer a quiet and spacious haven for the visitor who wants to experience the best of Africa. Like virtually all of Africa, these are Third World countries with hunters and other tourists being most welcome. You will be impressed with the magnificent natural beauty and the courteous and friendly nature of the people.
From the time you arrive at the airport to the time that you leave either your outfitter, outfitter representative or professional hunter will be your host on your safari. On any one hunt, the full compliment of support staff will include a minimum of two trackers, two skinners, a cook, a waiter and a laundry and cleaning lady.
When is the best time to go on safari?
Safaris in Southern Africa are conducted mainly during the prime hunting months of May through September. There are some minor differences in the hunting season between the countries. The seasons are reversed from those in North America i.e. you’ll be hunting during the Southern African winter and fall. Most days will be dry and sunny. Early mornings will be rather cold, frequently with frost, but by 9.00 AM or so the temperatures will rise to between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 – 18 degrees centigrade). Generally speaking, the earlier in the season you hunt, the more leaves there will be on the trees, except in a drought year. This makes it somewhat more difficult for you to see the animals, but conversely, makes it easier for you to stalk into shooting range. It will be hotter and drier during the late season hunts but the animals will be more concentrated around the remaining water.
What are the accommodations like?
While hunting on ranches, you’ll usually stay in thatched cottages with use of a swimming pool. Each room normally has two beds, a private bathroom with basin, toilet and shower with hot and cold running water. The number of hunters that can be accommodated at any one time varies from camp to camp. In general, outfitters prefer to limit one party at a time per camp.
When hunting in dangerous game concessions you could be accommodated in a traditional tented safari camp or bush camp. In these camps you’ll have your own private chalet or tent with a bed, table, etc. A toilet will be on hand and water will be heated for you whenever you require it. Meals will be taken in a covered dining area and a camp fire will be set up during the evening.
What type of meals will be served?
Meals are delicious and generally consist of beef or game cooked in a variety of ways. Local vegetables, home-made breads and biltong (similar to jerky) will be available, as are local beers and wines. Generally only local spirits are available. Thus, if you care to drink spirits at the end of the day, bring a supply of your favorite brand with you. The chefs will avoid serving foods you do not like or accommodate any special dietary requirements as long as you inform them in advance of your likes and dislikes.
What’s a typical hunting day like?
Generally, you’ll be awakened each morning around 5.00 AM. After dressing you will join your professional hunter for your morning tea or coffee and a light breakfast. Before sunrise you will set out in the hunting vehicle and begin the day’s hunt.
A variety of hunting methods will be used, but most will consist of spotting game and stalking on foot to get into a shooting position. Sometimes still hunting or drive methods will be employed. Archery hunters will do some of their hunting from blinds or tree stands as well as free stalking.
If you bag an animal in the morning, you’ll return to camp to skin the animal and for lunch. Otherwise you could take lunch in the field, picnic-style and resume hunting through the late afternoon. Once you return to camp, you can take a shower and relax around the fire in the “boma” with a “sundowner” to discuss the day’s success or the one that got away. Dinner is taken with your host either, around the fire when there is a barbecue, locally known as a “braai”, or in the dining room.
With Buffalo or Elephant, hunting will be conducted in a remote safari concession area. The day will begin with an early drive looking for fresh tracks across a road or originating from water. Once discovered, suitable tracks will be followed, on foot, until you catch up with the herd or in the case of Buffalo it could be a group of “Dagga Bulls”. You’ll then begin an exciting stalk all around the herd looking for an opportunity to take your trophy bull.
When any cats are included in your bag, the safari will be dominated by Leopard or Lion hunting (which are given priority) and your daily routine will vary somewhat. During the day there will be some hunting for other species as you check pre-set baits. If a trophy cat is feeding, once a blind is built, you can expect to rest at mid-day then go into the blind in mid to late afternoon. In most government concessions, legal shooting times are half an hour before sunrise and half an hour after sunset. Thus you could be required to get up around 3:00AM to be settled in your blind an hour before sunrise to take advantage of early morning hunting opportunities. On private property where it is permissible to utilize artificial light to hunt Leopard, it is possible to remain in the blind waiting for the Leopard to feed for 3-4 hours after sunset.
What type of terrain will I be hunting in?
The hunting areas consist mostly of Mopani scrub, thorn brush and savannah woodland which is the preferred habitat of plains game in Southern Africa. The terrain is mostly flat and thick, with some rolling hills and open valley or “vlei” areas. Namibia is the exception where the country is a lot more open with a limited number of trees.
What rifle should I take with me?
Generally speaking, African game animals appear to be hardier than their North American counterparts. Some species, such as Wildebeest, Zebra and Eland are particularly tough. We recommend that you use the heaviest caliber rifle that you are comfortable shooting. Avoid bringing a rifle that you really can’t shoot well. If you are hunting Buffalo, Elephant, Hippo and Lion the minimum legal caliber is .375 H&H, which is an excellent all-round African caliber. Other good choices are the .30-06, .300 Mag. and .338 all using 200 to 250 grain bullets. It is important to use the heaviest bullet weights available as you will be shooting relatively short range in heavy cover. When hunting plains game the ideal is to have a bullet traveling at around 2,500 feet per second to minimize deflections and avoid the devastating damage that the light bullets cause to smaller antelope. Full metal jacket bullets are ideal for taking smaller antelope with a heavy caliber rifle.
With the open country in Namibia, a flat shooting rifle is preferable.
How long can I expect shots to be?
Most shots will be between 80 and 100 yards with archery shots 30 yards or less. More importantly, your professional hunter will stress that you only take shots that you are comfortable with. Namibia is the exception where the average shot can be up to 250 yards.
What can I do to improve my chances of a successful hunt?
There are three things that you can do which will improve your chances of success.
Firstly, practice your marksmanship and be proficient with the rifle or bow which you are going to use on your safari. There is no substitute for practice with your rifle before your arrival in Africa. Shoot from a variety of positions – standing, sitting, kneeling and prone – using a rest whenever possible such as shooting sticks, rather than just concentrating on shooting tight groups from the bench.
Secondly, be in good shape. You are going to walk further on safari than you do at home. Make sure your footgear is well broken in. Get in shape by walking for at least 45 minutes, 2 -3 times a week for a couple of months prior to your hunt. Know your physical limitations and don’t over do it. In the field, let your professional hunter know when you need to rest if he hasn’t already asked you.
Thirdly, avoid trying to do too much in a short period of time. Allow enough time on your hunt for you to fully enjoy it. Remember that this is true hunting, with varying degrees of success that depend on a variety of conditions, including your physical condition and shooting ability. A general rule would be to allow at least one hunting day per representative trophy. Do not expect miracles! Be realistic and allow more time on your hunt if you seek a trophy which will make the record book.
What are the chances of taking a record book trophy?
Try not to be too hung up on the size of your trophies. The difference between a 48″ and a 52″ Kudu is lost to most observers, and each makes a magnificent trophy. Some species taken in the areas hunted will almost always make the SCI or Rowland Ward Record books, while others rarely do. This has a lot to do with genetics and habitat, but also has a lot to do with luck. Every animal that you’re directed to take by your professional hunter will be a mature, representative specimen and will be a trophy to you , regardless of whether or not it “makes the book”.
Do I need any special permits or licenses?
Your outfitter will obtain all necessary local hunting licenses and permits for you, including special permits for archery and muzzle loader hunters that are required in your hunting area. N.B. Hunting with a hand gun is possible with a special permit in Zimbabwe.
If you plan to hunt Elephant, Leopard, Crocodile or Cheetah you need to obtain a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Import Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before your safari. Currently, Cheetah trophies cannot be imported into U.S.A. nor can Elephant trophies from Mozambique. To obtain a permit application contact:
Federal Wildlife Permit Office
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 3507
Arlington, VA 22203-3507
t: +1 (703) 358-2104
A US$ 100-150 CITES tag fee, payable to your operator, is charged by government to process tags for Elephant, Leopard, Crocodile or Cheetah trophies.
What is included in quoted prices?
- The service of a highly experienced, government licensed professional hunter, and his staff – trackers, skinners and camp personnel;
- Comfortable accommodation in well equipped hunting camps ( bathroom en suite), meals and drinks;
- Daily laundry service;
- Road transport while hunting;
- Professional field preparation of trophies and delivery to a taxidermist/shipping agent for packing and shipping;
- Limited bird hunting in some concessions.
What is not included in quoted prices?
- Hotel charges before and after hunting period;
- Packing, dipping and shipment of trophies;
- Air charters and air fares;
- Ammunition and rifle hire;
- Gratuities, which are the client’s discretion; (Operator can give you a guideline, if needed)
- The meat of the animals shot, which remains the property of the landowner/operator.
* Price lists are available on request.
Are there any “hidden” costs involved?
All Price Lists will clearly describe what is included in your daily rates during your safari. Besides the daily rates and trophy fees for animals killed or wounded and lost, the additional fee that you’ll need to pay at the end of your safari will be for the dipping (sterilizing), packing, crating and veterinary documentation of your trophies for shipment home. This is collected by your professional hunter for the taxidermist.
What are the options on taxidermy?
Talented taxidermists are available in most Southern African countries and the USA. Generally speaking all taxidermy and tanning costs are cheaper in Africa. However, the shipping of shoulder mounts necessitates larger and heavier crates which can add considerably to shipping charges. Regardless of which taxidermist you choose, have quality work performed. In the end the choice is up to you.
Should I tip the professional hunter and staff?
The professional hunter provides a service, and if you are satisfied with that service, a gratuity or gift would indicate your satisfaction and will be much appreciated. Remember the support staff as well. The trackers and skinners work especially hard for you, often skinning and preparing your trophies late at night and then getting up early the following morning to prepare for the day’s hunt. They love to be included in your photographs and are very appreciative of copy prints. Please remember to send them a set, if you tell them that you will.
What should I take with me?
Don’t over pack as you will have daily laundry services available during your stay. Film, photo cards and ammunition are expensive in Africa, so be sure to bring plenty. Refer to the Safari Checklist for a listing of what exactly to bring.
What special health considerations are there in traveling to Africa?
Health requirements can vary from country to country – check with your doctor or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) when planning your trip. Anti-malarial prophylactics are recommended. Ensure that you start taking your anti-malarial tablets before you arrive in your hunting area and continue taking them until the whole course is completed. Remember to bring along any special medications that you require and inform your professional hunter of them. A complete first-aid kit will be available at all times during your hunt. We also recommend that you take out field evacuation insurance, to cover you if you need to be evacuated from field to hospital.
What else is there to see and do?
Southern Africa is made up of some fascinating countries, each unique with hundreds of tourist attractions. The larger cities such as Cape Town are a great place to sight-see, shop and enjoy the night life. Hwange and Kruger National Park are two of the biggest National Parks, teeming with game where you can participate in a memorable photographic safari. Victoria Falls is one of the most beautiful and wondrous places in the world. After viewing the Falls you can take a sun-downer cruise on the Zambezi River, visit the crocodile farm, go white water rafting or bungee jumping.
There are numerous fresh water and salt water fishing opportunities or great beaches if you just want to enjoy the ocean. Whether you want to climb a mountain, tour a wine farm, ride an Ostrich or an Elephant, the list is endless!
What are the contact numbers and who should I contact if I have more questions?
Please feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have. We will do our best to make sure that you have a terrific trip!