Not sure who wrote this, I found it when cleaning out some old files on my computer. Lots of useful information, advise and links. - Chris
TIPS and PACKING LIST FOR YOUR FIRST SAFARI
These are my personal tips and ideas based on my experiences on four African safaris. Two safaris were in South Africa with the same outfitter. The third safari was to Tanzania. The fourth safari was to Zimbabwe. These tips are only from my personal experience and are not intended to be a complete list nor are they intended to be the only way to do it.
2. BEFORE YOU GO ON SAFARI:
A. Written Contract:
Before paying a deposit, you should have a detailed written contract with the outfitter. The contract should, at a minimum, include the following:
1. The specific dates of the safari.
2. Are arrival and departure days counted as hunting days?
3. The number of hunters and PHs (1X1, 2X1, etc).
4. The name of the PH.
5. The area(s) to be hunted.
6. The daily rate.
7. The observer rate.
8. All applicable taxes.
9. Any licensing, permit or other fees or costs.
10. The animals to be hunted.
11. The applicable trophy fees.
12. The cancellation and return of deposit policies.
13. The services to be provided by the outfitter. Airport pick up and return. Field preparation of trophies and delivery to a taxidermist/shipping agent. Services of a fully licensed PH. Hunting vehicle. Tracker, skinner and camp staff. Meals, alcoholic beverages, lodging and laundry service.
Just because it is in the brochure is not good enough; it must be in the written contract. If the brochure says that you will be “the only hunting party in camp and on the hunting concession,” then put that in the contract. If the accommodations are described as having “en suite bathrooms with hot and cold shower and flush toilet”, put that in the contract.
Duplicate originals of the contract should be executed. Keep one original contract and the other original contract goes to the outfitter.
B. ISSUES TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR OUTFITTER/ BOOKING AGENT.
1. Sharing camp and hunting areas with other parties? Will there be other hunters in camp and on the concession, or will you have exclusive use of the camp and hunting concession?
2. Rifle caliber.
3. Ammunition type (some PH’s have distinct likes and dislikes regarding the brand of ammunition); amount (soft and solids--you probably won’t need any solids unless you are hunting dangerous game or very small game).
4. Special food, beer, etc. preferences.
5. Bottled water [sometimes the local water is not great and you can carry bottled water with you when you are hunting].
6. Expectations re: trophy size.
7. Gratuities and number of people in camp (usually the PH will have his own staff of trackers, skinners and cook. The hunting concession may also have a game scout, camp staff, etc.). In addition to the monetary gratuity, I also take other gifts for the PH and his staff (knives, flashlights, watches, knit caps, gloves, clothes, etc.—talk to the outfitter/booking agent and see what they recommend and the sizes for the staff).
8. Accepted forms of payment (travelers’ checks, cash, etc.) for gratuities and trophy fees, trophy preparation, etc.
9. If you are planning on wearing camouflage clothing, make certain it is legal in that country.
10. Requirements for Visas, rifle and ammunition import. Also the amount of fees (if any) that you have to pay upon entry into or departure from the country.
11. General description of the hunting area and terrain. Is it on a ranch or government concession area? Is the ranch fenced or unfenced? Is the topography flat, hilly or mountainous? Is it thorn tree bushveld, open plains or desert like? What is the length of the average shot?
12. How is the hunting conducted? Is it conducted on foot “walk and stalk” style or is it conducted from the back of a hunting vehicle until game is spotted and then stalked on foot. Shooting game from a vehicle is a controversial issue and you should discuss, in advance, your preferences regarding such hunting practices.
13. If you have any health or medical limitations (overweight, unfit, diabetic, etc.), talk to your outfitter or booking agent prior to departure to ensure that your needs can be accommodated.
C. Register your guns, cameras, binoculars and other valuables with U.S. Customs on Form 4457 “Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad”. This will prove that you did not buy any of these items overseas. [In addition, you are required by law to declare to US Customs that you are temporarily exporting firearms. A Form 4457 is not sufficient; you must declare your firearms to a Custom’s Agent at the airport prior to the departure of your international flight. This “declaration” is legally required, but it does not appear that it is being enforced at this time. Several hunters have contacted the customs office at their departure airport only to be told that all that is required is the Form 4457. No hunters I have talked to are going through this extra step of "declaring" their firearms and none have had any problems.]
D. Taxidermy. Coordinate with your taxidermist regarding the preparation and shipping of your trophies. It is extremely important to ensure the following:
1. Prior to departure, your taxidermist must provide you with laminated plastic trophy shipping tags and all the relevant delivery information including the specific wildlife port of entry and final shipping destination. You need to ensure this information is given to your outfitter. Your outfitter will be responsible for coordinating with the African taxidermist who will be doing the dipping, packing, crating and dispatching of your trophy shipment to the US.
2. Your taxidermist should be qualified and experienced in mounting African game species.
3. Prior to departure, ask your outfitter to get a written estimate from the African taxidermist for his dipping, packing and crating charges based upon the wish list of trophies you have given to your outfitter. Also ask for an estimate of the anticipated overseas freight costs.
4. Generally, the dipping, packing and crating fees are separate from other hunting costs and p