By Peter Ruddle
When travelling to a foreign country to hunt always ensure that you are aware and comply with the most important legalities required by the country you are visiting and while you are there you may consider taking a side trip to see some of the tourist attractions and splendours on offer.
Professional Hunter Categories
Make sure that you book your hunting safari with a registered Namibian operator (outfitter) and hunt with a registered Namibian professional hunter/guide who holds a current Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MET) registration certificate and must also be registered with the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB).
The standard of training, as well as qualification criteria, are well respected internationally. There are three hunting professional classification categories and two specialist qualifications:
- Hunting Guides
This is the entry-level of all Hunting Guides. This license entitles a hunting guide to hunt on his/her farm or a farm where they are employed as well as a registered conservancy.
- Master Hunting Guides
A Master Hunting Guide may hunt on an additional 2 farms where hunting rights are registered in the guides name name.
- Professional Hunters
A registered Professional Hunter (PH), unless he/she is the owner of a safari company, is required to do a 2-year apprenticeship with a registered PH before tackling the notoriously difficult theoretical and practical examinations. A Namibian PH may hunt anywhere in Namibia with the permission of the land owner.
- Big Game Professional Hunters
A specialist qualification is required. In addition to the above qualifications, these professional hunters must also be licensed to hunt dangerous game (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, hippo and crocodile).
- Bow Hunting Professional Hunters
This specialist category requires the professional hunter to be registered as a bow-hunting guide after passing the relevant bow-hunting theoretical and practical examinations.
Hunting licenses are referred to as hunting permits in Namibia and are issued on the following conditions:
- Permits must be issued before the hunt commences.
- A separate permit must be issued for each hunting client.
- An extra, special permit is required for large cats (leopard, cheetah & lion).
- A permit must be completed in full by the hunting client and the hunting professional (wounded or lost animals must also be indicated on the permit).
- Permits are issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MET) only.
- A maximum of two trophies per species may be harvested, per hunting client, per permit.
- All trophy-hunting operators must be registered with the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).
- Hunting with dogs is not permitted.
Firearms and Ammunition
Different airlines from around the world travel to Africa, some of which have banned the transportation of firearms on their flights. Before booking your ticket you need to ensure that your carrier will permit the transportation of firearms on your flight. You must familiarize yourself with the latest laws and regulations for hunters traveling with firearms and ammunition as each airline and country has different regulations. Muzzleloader hunting is permitted in Namibia. However, black powder is highly flammable and should not be transported on any flights. Within Namibia, black powder may only be transported with a valid permit. Professional hunters must be in possession of an acquisition, conveyance and storage of gunpowder
Minimum Calibers for Hunting Rifles in Namibia
The following minimum calibres for hunting rifles are specified in the Namibian Nature Conservation Ordinance No 4
- Small game (e.g. steenbuck, duiker, springbuck and dik-dik): .243 calibre (or equivalent in mm) Energy: 1350 Joule
- Medium game (e.g. hartebeest, gemsbuck, wildebeest, kudu, eland and exotics): .270 calibre (or equivalent in mm) Energy: 2700 Joule
- Dangerous game (e.g. elephant, hippo, rhino, buffalo and lion): .375 calibre (or equivalent in mm) Energy: 5400 Joule
No solid point ammunition may be used on any species other than pachyderms (elephant, rhino and hippo). The importation and use of handguns, automatic and semi-automatic weapons for hunting is prohibited. Only 60 rounds per firearm may be imported.
Various rural communities have traditionally hunted with bows and arrows for centuries. The most famous of these is the Kalahari Bushmen, who use poisoned arrows to down their prey species. Modern-day bows haven’t been legalized until 1997. Only registered bowhunting guides may guide a bow hunt.
Longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows may be used while on safari in Namibia. Crossbow hunting and the importation of crossbows are prohibited.
Hunting from permanently constructed blinds is best in the drier months of June until October. The more difficult, spot and stalk hunts are best in the greener months of February until May when cover is more plentiful and the earth underfoot is softer and quieter. Spot and stalk hunts require a great amount of skill and experience.
Bowhunting Equipment Specifications in Namibia
The following equipment specifications must be adhered to by law:
- Arrows can be made from wood, fibreglass, carbon or carbon compounds and aluminium with a minimum length of 19.68 inches (500 mm).
- Broadheads must consist of at least two fixed cutting blades with a minimum cutting edge length and width of 1 inch (26 mm+).
- Broadheads may not be barbed or serrated edges or contain poison or narcotics.
- Mechanical broadheads are legal in Namibia.
- Special arrow points such as judo points, bird points or blunt points may be used for the bow hunting of game bird species only, a hunter may take no more than two members of the permitted bird species during the hunt, which will be listed in the trophy permit.
The minimum bow specifications are as follows:
- Small Game: (e.g. steenbok, duiker, klipspringer, springbok, and huntable game birds): Energy at least 33.9 joules (25ft/lbs) Weight at least 22.68 grams (350 grain)
- Medium Game: (e.g. baboon, warthog, impala and nyala): Energy at least 54.24 joules (40ft/lbs) Weight at least than 25.92 grams (400 grain)
- Large Game: (e.g. gemsbok, kudu, red hartebeest, roan, sable and giraffe): Energy at least 88.13 joules (65ft/lbs) Weight at least 29.16 grams (450 grain)
Trophy Export/Import Restrictions
Your outfitter will be able to provide you with the latest import and export regulations regarding the species you wish to hunt. Some species require import and export CITES permits e.g. rhino, elephants, lions and leopards. Unfortunately, the EU and Australia do not always follow suit, so check with your outfitter if any of the species you would like to hunt need a CITES 1 or CITES 11 permit. Some countries have further restrictions, like the USA does not allow the importation of black-faced impala but they may be exported to Europe.
The country has some world-class taxidermists who can tan, mount or dip and pack your trophies to a destination of your choice. Recommendations of these service providers can be supplied by your outfitter. Trophies may be immediately exported from Namibia at the end of your hunt if you have a veterinary certificate, an export permit from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MET) and the import permit as required by the country of final destination.
Listed below are some of the more important hunting laws you should be aware of:
- Hunting may only take place during daylight hours. No hunting is allowed at night or with an artificial light.
- Outfitters must have been granted permission to hunt on the property.
- A property where bowhunting takes place must be registered by the MET.
- Trophies that do not meet the MET minimum measurement (quality control) requirements do not need to be paid for unless a trophy with abnormalities or age deformation.
- All hunting must be undertaken under Fair Chase principles.
Namibia promotes a prestigious game field medal system to reward clients harvesting an animal on age rather than trophy horn length as is the norm according to the Safari Club International Record Book. The medal-based system recognises the importance of preserving strong gene pools by harvesting trophies that are past their prime. This ensures that superior wildlife breeding genetics are passed on to future wildlife generations to be enjoyed by the future generation of hunters.
The visa and health information should only be used as a guideline. When making your travel arrangements ensure that you get the latest information in this regard.
Visitors to Namibia must be in possession of a valid passport for at least six months upon arrival and have at least three blank pages upon each entry. Temporary residence permits for visitors are issued on arrival and allow hunters/tourists a period of 90 days per year in the country.
Contact your outfitter for advice and visit your doctor at least a month before you travel. The following vaccinations, medicines and precautions are recommended:
- COVID-19 regulations are changing so check what are the latest regulations.
- Cholera and Smallpox vaccinations are not required.
- Hepatitis A & B: Recommended for unvaccinated travellers.
- Malaria: Hunters are recommended to take prescription medicine to prevent malaria if hunting in the Zambezi Region. Most of the country is malaria free.
- Rabies: If you are bitten by a dog or other strange-behaving animal while in Nambia, seek medical attention. Do not pet strange dogs.
- Typhoid: Recommended for most travellers.
- Yellow Fever: Required if travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever virus transmission.
Insect repellents for biting flies, ticks and mosquitoes are provided in most camps. Your outfitter will also update you with the latest information and health requirements.
The Chief Hosea Kutako Airport (Windhoek International Airport) is the major point of entry into Namibia. Numerous direct flights are available from Europe and if flying from the USA you will need to fly via Johannesburg, South Africa. There are daily connecting flights but if you are accessing Namibia via South Africa and are required to overnight, you will be required to complete the firearm importation formalities for South Africa (for more information, check this blog).
Namibia most popularly used regional airports are Eros, Rundu and Walvis Bay. Charter flights can be arranged country-wide.
Hotels, Lodges & Guesthouses
For those requiring an overnight layover in Windhoek, the city offers an array of options.
Non-Hunting Tourist Attractions and Activities
Some hunting clients, especially those travelling
with family and partners use the opportunities to experience some of the local tourist destinations. Listed below are some of these popular destinations:
- Etosha National Park
Observe the stunning array of wildlife against one of the most spectacular shimmering pans on earth. elephants, lions, cheetahs, black and white rhinos, along with an assortment of plains game animals may be seen congregating around the waterholes.
Climb the highest sand dunes in the world and explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take
time to listen to the silence of your soul.
- Fish River Canyon
This is the second-largest canyon in the world with a vertical drop of over 500m (1650ft). Set in a harsh,
stony plain dotted with drought-resistant succulents, such as the distinctive quiver tree or Kokerboom,
the canyon is a spectacular natural phenomenon.
- Zambezi Region
Formerly known as the Caprivi Strip and is the wettest region of the country and consists mostly of
extensive wetlands, floodplains, woodlands and rivers, like the Okavango and Zambezi Rivers. It boasts
large herds of elephants, buffalos and red lechwe, as well as some excellent tigerfish fishing.
- Skeleton Coast
Stretching for 500kms between the old German colonial town of Swakopmund and the Angolan border,
this eerie coastline is named after the rusted remains of many ships that sank here over the past
few centuries. It is also known for its large Cape Fur Seal colony and mystic Desert Lions.
Sandwiched between the ocean and the Namib Desert, this coastal town is one of the most popular
places in the country for travellers to visit. This seaside resort showcases its German origins with its
colonial architecture, oceanfront promenades, historical sights, cosy guesthouses, and excellent
restaurants and beer houses where you can sample traditional German food and beer.
- Adventure Attractions
For the more adventurous, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund offer quad biking on the desert dunes,
sandboarding, skydiving, dolphin and whale watching. There are also many interesting 4×4 tours to
destinations like Desert Moon Valley and the Welwitschia Plains. Welwitschias are the world’s longest-
living plant and endemic to Namibia.
Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA)
The Namibia Professional Hunting Association was founded in 1974 to promote Namibia as a hunting destination internationally and protect the right to hunt locally. Today NAPHA has over 400 Hunting Professionals (Hunting Guides and Professional Hunters) as registered members. The Association has an excellent working relationship with the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and is instrumental in forming new legislation.
The fundamental purpose of NAPHA is to enhance and maintain, by effective management, an organisational infrastructure that can serve professional hunting members, clients and other interest groups. The intent is to ensure and promote ethical conduct and sustainable utilisation of natural resources, and to secure the industry for current and future generations. The Association insists that its members provide the highest standard of professional service to international hunting guests. They are expected to hunt in strict accordance with the ethical principles as stipulated in NAPHA’s Hunting Code. The Hunting Professional is at all times encouraged to act responsibly towards nature, wildlife and the local population.
Only NAPHA-registered outfitters may list their hunts on BookYourHunt. For more information visit http://www.napha-namibia.com/