Hunting in Africa, for most people, involves a lengthy intercontinental trip. After you have decided on the details of your future hunt (covered by our first post in this series), and planned your journey (covered in the second post), it’s time to pack your bag(s). Luggage is a highly personal thing: one could cross a continent with a light backpack, the bare necessities of another won’t fit in the trunk of an average taxi. The things you’ll need to take for your African hunt will likely be somewhere in between, and while we can’t lend a help to pack your bags, here are a few tips that will make it easier.
Luggage and Equipment
Use a good strong soft duffel bag with lockable zips. In some airports a baggage wrapping service is available. Due to an increase in baggage theft at airports, this is a good alternative to using locks. Ensure that the locks you use are officially endorsed and accepted by the airport luggage handlers in the event of any possible luggage searches along the way. Also keep in mind that if your final destination involves any charter flights you will be restricted on luggage type, size and weight. Most charter companies will only accept soft bags.
Why spend money buying new clothes for your safari. Rather take that money and go have some fun. All you need for the trip is no doubt in your wardrobe. Jeans and T-shirts are just fine for hunting. Otherwise pack earth or dark colour clothing. Keep in mind laundry is done daily, so there is no need to bring your whole closet for the safari. Avoid the use of military camouflage as camouflage clothing is banned in some African countries.
Keep in mind that even though you are hunting in the tropics, you can expect frost and snow in some of the hunting territories during the winter months. Dress warmly and dress in layers so you can strip off articles of clothing when it starts to warm up and when the sun sets, you will need to start dressing up warm again. Also, keep in mind that Africa is a place of extremes where there is a significant swing in the night and day time winter temperatures.
Another fact to remember is you are likely to be sitting fully exposed to the elements in the back of a pickup driving around the territory and the wind chill is likely to take its effect. At the end of the day, your Outfitter will probably send you a kit list that you can use as a guideline and checklist when it comes to the time to pack.
Health and Medicines
If you are visiting an area with malaria or use prescription drugs, make sure that you have consulted your local medical advisory centre or physician. When it comes to malaria most international medical facilities over prescribe the use of preventative prophylactics to ensure they are not held responsible or sued if a hunter falls ill during or after their trip. Many areas do not even have malaria.
The bottled water provided by most Outfitters is 100% safe for human consumption so you are unlikely to become ill from the water and require medical attention. Remember, many of these hunting areas are in remote areas without nearby medical facilities, so ensure you have enough prescription drugs for the trip and any other medication you may require. Most vehicles and camps have first aid kits and provide insect repellents, so you need not worry about taking general first aid supplies or bug repellent. Some countries require specific inoculations, best you consult with your Outfitter on the specific requirements you need for the country you have decided to visit. By all means check with your doctor and make a plan for what you think you may need.
Personal use Items
The majority of clients make use of a small carry-on bag or backpack for your more personal and expensive items during the flight and for use during the hunt. These bags come in handy to house and protect your binoculars, camera, reading glasses, prescription drugs, knife, ammunition, sunblock cream, hat and warm jacket. While travelling on the flight, this is also a safe place to store your passport, a change of underwear and maybe a clean shirt in case your luggage is lost in transit. Make sure that no knives, ammunition, empty cartridges and other prohibited airline contraband are accidentally forgotten in the bag before any flights, as this can ruin your whole safari experience.
Rifles and Optics
Many clients excitedly go out and buy a new firearm for their safari. In some cases it is necessary if you are going to hunt dangerous game, you may need to purchase a large calibre rifle. If you decide to take more than one rifle to Africa, ensure they are different calibres as often you may not import two rifles of the same calibre. If you only bought one calibre to hunt Africa, it should be a .375. With this calibre you are armed to hunt anything from an Elephant to any of the smaller species. Better still before buying a new gun, look at what you already have in your collection and take the rifle you are most familiar with. This would normally be your weapon of choice. Hunting is more about shot placement than firing a canon that makes you gun shy causing you to flinch. This is a recipe for disaster.
Hunters often make the mistake of buying an expensive rifle and a junk scope. Let me make it clear, most makes of rifles and ammunition do the job quite adequately even though we all have our personal preferences. The most important piece of equipment are your optics. Good optics should mean good results and you should not be paying for wounded lost animals because you tried to save a few Dollars on a junk optics.
Book Your Hunt
You have chosen your potential country of destination, chosen the hunt you would like to book and planned your potential trip. If you have followed our advice, you now have a sound footing on which to base your choice of Outfitter to provide your expected experience. Once again you need to choose your Outfitter very carefully and the next blog will be dedicated to you making the right choice.
This post will continue to the very important topic on how to choose your outfitter and PH. Sign up to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages so that you don’t miss this content, as well as best hunt deals, #anotherhappyhunter reports, and more.