Preparations before your African Safari

Assuming your African hunt will be about 6 months to a year ahead, this hunt preparation checklist itemises all things you may need to do, in good time before you depart.

Immediately After Booking Your Hunt

  • Start a fitness program if necessary. Beginning it now will give you plenty of time to reach your optimum weight and fitness levels by the hunt start date.
  • If you are going to purchase a new firearm for your African hunt, do it early so you can get the rifle customised for Africa (if you want to), start your shooting practice, and also get the new rifle entered on your firearm certificate correctly if this is applicable, for US hunters.
  • Get in a good supply of ammunition of the type you will be using in Africa for shooting practice.
  • Get in as much shooting practice as possible.
  • Get trip cancellation insurance from the time of booking.
  • If you are intending to do any other safari activities or side trips around your hunt, make the necessary reservations at the time of booking the hunt.

About 6-9 months Before Departure

  • Begin the unavoidable shop for new hunting gear and safari clothing.
  • Check your gun case conforms to airline regulations and is in good condition – replace if necessary.
  • Check your regular luggage is in good condition and replace if necessary.
  • Break in new hunting boots or any other new leather items like hunting belts and rifle slings.
  • Check your passport for validity date and ample empty pages – renew if necessary. Check if you need a visa ahead of time for your hunting country but don’t apply until 3-6 months before travel.
  • Organise hunt travel insurance including specific insurance cover for firearms and good quality medical evacuation.
  • If you don’t have a taxidermist already, start looking at the alternatives – taxidermist in Africa or at home, prices, shipping costs etc. If you opt for a taxidermist in your home country, ask him to send you a batch of trophy tags to take with you.
  • Get firearm documentation together ready to send to your outfitter or complete yourself for your firearm import permit(s).
  • Get lots of passport photos done – for firearm permit application, visa application and spares to take with you.
  • Send the required firearm documentation to outfitter or firearm permit handling company (RSA) or permit issuing authority if applying yourself (RSA).
  • Using an Africa-experienced travel agent, make international and/or domestic flight and seat reservations.
  • Get your CITES import permit application done if intending to hunt a CITES animal
  • Appendix I species, such as leopard. Do not worry if this permit looks like it will date expire before the trophies are shipped, it can easily be renewed as many times as necessary. You must have the import permit before you hunt and it can often take about a year for trophies to be shipped.
  • Make any hotel and transfer reservations you may need before and after the hunt, if your outfitter doesn’t do this on your behalf.
  • Make or review your will arrangements.

About 3-6 Months Before Departure

  • Apply for a visa if it is required for your hunting country. Time this carefully – not too early, as the visa validity is from the date the passport is stamped not from date of travel.
  • Prepare your personal first aid kit and get enough supplies of any prescription medicines to cover the safari. Make copies of your doctor’s prescription documents to take with you.
  • Get all vaccinations and anti-malarial drugs, as necessary. Start anti-malarials at the prescribed time, in advance of arriving in Africa.
  • Order cash in the local currency of you hunting country if necessary, such as
  • South African Rand (ZAR) if you are paying your trophy fees in this currency. If you just need small amounts of local currency, rather use an ATM on arrival
  • Check your credit/debit/ATM cards will not date expire while you are overseas and that the cards are of the type acceptable in ATMs in your hunting country.
  • Check your PIN number is 4 digits only.
  • Tell your bank or credit card provider the dates, transit and final destinations of your overseas trip so they don’t freeze your account if they see ‘foreign’ activity on it which could be fraud. Also get a non-0800 number to phone from overseas in case your card gets lost or stolen.
  • Start gathering everything together prior to packing.
  • Important – remember to cycle all your ammunition through your rifle to ensure there is nothing wrong with the ammo you are taking.
  • US hunters can opt to register their trip with the Bureau Of Consular Affairs.