INTERNATIONAL vs LOCAL: Why do international hunters pay more to hunt than local hunters?

African campfire scene

In the USA, as an out of state hunter or fisherman, you pay a higher license fee than a local which then entitles you to hunt on public land. It is your choice if you want to use the services and facilities offered by an Outfitter to improve your chances of success. Using an Outfitter’s services and facilities will add to the cost of the hunt.

In South Africa, virtually all hunting takes place on privately owned land. The option to hunt on public land is not available. The Outfitter (or landowner) has to buy or lease that land and is responsible for the development and maintenance of this land which in many cases was transformed from conventional farmland, devoid of any wildlife, into a game farm with enough surplus game to be able to offer hunting. So this is a long term investment with high risks, such as drought, poaching and disease.

Trophy hunting always sells at premium prices no matter if you are an international or local hunter as this is the selected 5%, cream of the crop. The majority of local hunters are hunting for the pot and therefore shooting non trophy and female animals.

If you do a direct comparison of the prices for a wildebeest and impala hunt with three nights’ accommodation, a trophy hunt will cost you USD 2,200 (ZAR 32,000) and the local meat hunt USD 485 (ZAR 7,000). Why the big difference in price?

International Hunter Local Hunter
  • By law must book through an Outfitter who is entitled to advertise rates in a foreign currency.
  • May book directly with the landowner who by law may not advertise rates in a foreign currency
  • By law must hunt with a Professional Hunter (PH) who provides experienced support staff, such as trackers and skinners.
  • Hunt without a guide and responsible for their own decisions, often with staff who are there just to report back to the landowner.
  • Skinner, catering and cleaning staff services are included in the rates.
  • Staff services may be charged as an additional fee.
  • The PH is personally assigned to a hunter to impart their hunting skills and knowledge for the success of the hunt.


  • The PH is also responsible for backing up the hunter and their safety during the hunt, especially when hunting dangerous game.    
  • Generally local hunters get to hunt unsupervised without anyone to guide them and have to rely on their own hunting skills.


  • Unless specifically requested the local hunter is responsible for their own safety and may request a PH’s services at an additional cost.
  • Often have exclusive use of the hunting area and more than likely the exclusive use of the camp as well.  
  • May share the camp facilities and hunting areas with other hunters who are not part of the same group.
  • Provided with high quality, fully serviced accommodation.
  • Often provide a different standard and level of service, accommodation and minimal services.
  • Usually provides all catering and bar services.
  • Self-catering and no drinks provided.
  • Usually provides all transportation, including airport transfers, fuel and hunting equipment.
  • Provide their own equipment and transport or hire from the landowner at an additional cost.
  • Usually includes the field preparation (skinning and salting) of trophies for delivery to the taxidermist.
  • Often charge an extra fee for any field preparation and to have their venison cut and processed.
  • Typically requires a dedicated (and occasionally expensive) marketing effort to connect with international clients.


  • The price of trophy hunting may depend on the size of the animal’s horns.
  • Landowners marketing costs are significantly lower, driven by the demand for cheap meat hunts.


  • Non-trophy and female animals are sold at meat value prices only.
  • Administrative costs may be higher, due to the need to cover international communication, licensing requirements, firearms and trophy import and export, permits, etc.
  • Administration costs are minimal as the locals know the processes involved and organise all permits, licenses and other requirements themselves.

We hope this blog story makes it clear how hunting like a local in South Africa differs from hunting as a client. There’s only one more question that remains – would you prefer to hunt South Africa as a client, or would you be interested in an option to hunt like a local? Tell us what you think!



One comment

  1. Dear friends, I am a Spanish hunter and we use to pay much more when travel to other countries, even more in Africa or the USA, inside Europe licenses, travels, and general costs are lower for us (inside the EU).
    Thanks for your great work and hope to see you in a nearly future.

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