Are you getting ready for an African hunting safari? Let’s be honest – this is definitely one of the most exciting things you could do in your life. But, while this is an adventurous occasion, that doesn’t mean that you should just go on a safari on a whim, without proper preparation.
In fact, getting ready on time is crucial if you want to remain safe and sound, while also getting the most out of your trip. With that in mind – we’ve got a general preparation timeline for you, along with some handy advice!
One Year Before – Booking The Trip
You should know that going on a safari trip requires significant forethought and preparation, as you’ll see for yourself pretty soon. With that in mind, you should plan to go on a safari trip at least a year in advance. Then, you can pick a good hunting outfitter, and book the African hunting safari of your choosing.
Most of the quality hunting outfitters book pretty much all of their trips a year before if not more, depending on the rarity and availability of the species in question. And the more limited you turn out to be regarding the dates, the sooner you should find the best possible safari destination. Sounds familiar? Yes, all the right movers are booked for some months in advance too. Check fourwinds-bahrain.com if you don’t believe us.
Also, bear in mind the time at which you plan on booking the trip. More specifically, the months from May to August are the most popular ones when it comes to African safaris; these are booked the earliest upfront for any given year.
Here is another thing you should take care of well in advance – airline tickets. These are also going to be up for sale a year before the due date, so if you want to be certain that you’ll have a seat available, we recommend taking care of the tickets as soon as you know precisely when you’ll be flying.
And make no mistake – for some of these destinations, ticket availability is an actual issue. Many African hunting safari destinations don’t have a lot of different airline options, thus limiting passenger capacity. And during peak hunting seasons, you will find plenty of routes selling out even months before the flight.
If you’re not someone who’s done a lot of traveling and you’re not sure where your passport is, make sure you find it six months before your trip. And if you’ve lost it, get a new one as soon as possible. Also, you need to check the dates on your existing passport, if you’ve already got one. More specifically, this document needs to be valid for at least six months after your departure date. This is a requirement you’ll find in most African countries. If that’s not the case, you will need to file for an extension of your current passport or just take out a new one.
Don’t worry, you may not have to go through a passport agency in order to file for a new passport. There are options to get one through the nearest post office; in most cases, probably a more convenient choice. You can find all of the required information at the Department of State website.
Regarding existing passports – we advise making sure that you’ve got a minimum of three completely blank pages, so that entry stamps and visas will be clearly visible once you set out on your African hunting safari. And if this isn’t the case with your passport, and it’s all filled up; you can actually apply to add new pages to your passport!
Your Entry Visa
Speaking of your entry visa, the process for obtaining one differs from country to country. In some places, you will need to get an entry visa before you go on the actual trip, via the consulates and embassies in your home country, while other nations will just issue an entry visa once you arrive at the airport. But if the former is the case, then you need to get this ball rolling as soon as possible. Depending on your target destination, this process could take up to a couple of months – and you may need to send your passport to the embassy. So, we recommend taking care of your visa some 6 months before the trip.
Depending on your destination for the African hunting safari, you may find the visa process to be excruciatingly complicated and prolonged. In that situation, it could be worth to hire a company to handle all of the visa paperwork for you; most people opt for this in similar circumstances.
Consult With A Physician
Before you can go to certain safari destinations, you may need to be properly inoculated. And certain countries will actually ask for proof that this is the case before they let you in. The proof of this was known as the Yellow Card, or the International Health Certificate for years; though it’s been recently renamed, now recognized as the ICVP – the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis.
It’s quite critical to visit your physician a couple of months before the safari trip; there are certain kinds of vaccinations that will take more than a month to be complete as it comes in series. Or, you may need to wait for a few weeks for your immunity to the particular disease to become fully developed. That’s why forethought is so important when you’re preparing for an African hunting safari trip. Remember – the average physician, especially in a small town, may not have the vaccinations you need for traveling through Africa readily available. So, take some vaccination recommendations from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the World Health Organization.
Deal With Paperwork
Before you can get your adrenaline-pumping Safari adventures, you will have to do the boring part. As you may have gathered by now, preparing for an African safari hunting trip will mean going through quite a lot of red tape. Yes, none of us like dealing with paperwork; but in cases such as these, it’s an absolute necessity. With that in mind, remember that you’ll need the paperwork like:
- Trophy shipment permits
- Transit permits for getting hunting weapons through airports and other checkpoints
- Copy of your itinerary
- Information for emergy contacts
- Personal requests and requirements
- A letter from an African hunting outfitter
- CITES permit
- Ammo permit
- Weapon permit
- Hunting permit (with desired game listed)
- Hunting license
Getting Into Shape
If you want to truly enjoy the wonders of your African hunting safari trip, we recommend getting into shape as much as possible, in the months leading up to the trip. Depending on the specifics of your safari, it could be less or more physically demanding. With that in mind, we advise you to get to know the specifics of the trip, thus learning of all the different physical requirements that you’ll have to overcome. Trust us – you don’t want your hunt to become unpleasant just because you weren’t physically ready to enjoy all that it has to offer.
In order to avoid this, ask your safari hunting outfitter questions about the:
- average miles you’ll walk each day
- distances you’ll cover by car, as well as the road conditions
- altitude and weather factors that could physically affect your wellbeing
- chronic conditions or other physical limitations that could become a problem
- other health-related concerns.
Here’s a simple tip – before you go on your trip, you should spend a certain amount of time getting comfortable with your hunting boots. Not only will this give you an idea of the feeling you’ll have while you’re out on your adventure, but you’ll also learn if your safari gear is as usable and comfortable as you need it to be. That way, you’ll be able to make any replacements before the trip if need be.
A couple of months before you travel to Africa for your safari trip, we recommend you also get comfortable with the weapon you’ll be using. Do some practice shooting, and use a wide range of positions and many different distances. Try kneeling, resting upon a tree, or another position you might find yourself in once you’re on the actual safari.
Practice quick reloading, follow-up shots, and other moves you’ll need to be able to perform instinctively if you want everything to go over smoothly. While this may be expensive, especially in terms of ammo, you need to use the very same kind of hunting gear that you’ll have while you’re in Africa. This will allow you to learn all of the intricacies of your weapon, and be intimately familiar with it when you’re out in the wild.
In certain situations, hunters take different grain ammo in order to hunt different species; we recommend game hunting with only one kind of ammo while you’re there. Sure, the species you’ll encounter are likely to be near their natural habitats. But at the end of the day, there’s absolutely no way to know what you’ll encounter at any time. And if something unexpected comes along – you don’t want to miss out on a nice trophy because you were fumbling around with ammo.
Registering Your Trip
These days, the African continent is more open to visitors, hunters, and tourists than ever before. And while the planning of your African hunting safari isn’t simple, it’s much easier to pull off than just a couple of decades ago. All of that being said, though, you should be well aware of the fact that some African countries are still dealing with political instability, often leading to dangerous violence by armed gangs and paramilitary outfits.
Considering that, depending on where you’re going, you may want to register your trip with the Department of State, through their website for travel registration. This goes double if you’re going to visit a country you already know is politically unstable.
Field Rescue and Medical Evacuation
Regardless of whether this is the first time you’re traveling to Africa for a hunting safari, there’s no question about the fact that certain accidents can happen. And it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about security or a medical emergency; getting evacuated from a remote African area could be quite expensive; over $100,000, in fact. That’s why companies like the world-renowned Global Rescue have been cropping up in the past few decades; promising quick response times even in the most remote areas.
However, the true effectiveness of such methods isn’t always certain. That’s why it’s important to do as much research about possible health risks and political situations as you can before you go on your trip. After all, imagine if you thought about something like even moving to an exotic foreign country; not just going on a short trip. You would try to learn all you can about it. And that’s what we recommend doing here as well!
As your trip starts drawing nearer, you’ll have more practical concerns on your mind. For example, you’ll have to think about the payment methods you’ll use on your trip. Plus, you’ll have to consider the budgeting for your entire trip, and the costs you’ll face once you’re there. This included tips for personnel on your trip, fees for the entry visa, as well as any other taxes on your ammo, guns, and other air travel expenses. You may wish to pay a visit to your bank and get some foreign currencies and traveler’s cheques. Also, take into consideration that a lot of African banks only take traveler’s cheques from American Express.
If you do decide to go with traveler’s cheques, take care to ensure signature consistency; you’d be surprised how difficult this is for many people. Indeed, you need to be sure that the signatures on all of the different cheques match, so we recommend singing these at the bank when you take them, or at some other point before you go to Africa. Just remember – plenty of outfitters have faced issues while trying to cash traveler’s cheques, largely due to signature inconsistencies.
For people who don’t want to rely on the abovementioned cheques, but aren’t comfortable with carrying a lot of cash, you could make a different arrangement with your agent or outfitter. For example, you could send them a wire transfer for trophy fees and other expenses before you leave on your trip, though we do recommend only doing this if your outfitter is trustworthy.
In the weeks leading up to your African hunting safari, you’ll need to start gathering all of the important documents that you’ll need to bring with you. Once you deal with that, we recommend you give copies to someone reliable who’s staying back home; that way, if there’s information that you need to access or any kind of document you need to confirm – you’ll have a backup you can rely on.
For further convenience, you could scan all the important documents in question, and have them sent to your email address, or backed up on a cloud file hosting service. If you do that, you’ll be able to access any kind of document remotely – as long as you’ve got an Internet connection and a device capable of using it.
When you go to a developing country, there’s definitely going to be a certain degree of culture shock. However, while you adjust to a different way of life and a new culture, it’s not all about the socio-political situation. For instance, getting accustomed to the local cuisine will likely turn out to be troublesome; stomach issues are quite ordinary in this kind of situation.
With that in mind, the World Health Organization recommends taking some probiotics before you go on your travels. This would go a long way towards preventing stomach complaints and issues like traveler’s diarrhea. Knowing that, why not make your life easier on the road?
When you go on your African hunting safari trip, it’s quite crucial to remember that the world around you doesn’t stop simply because you’re not there. Considering that, think about whether someone will be house-sitting for you while you’re away, or if some of your family will remain home. If not – stop newspaper and mail delivery on time. This isn’t difficult – the US postal service will gladly hold mail for you while you’re not home.
Regardless of what your ticket says, you should definitely confirm any domestic and international plane reservations some 72 hours before you leave. This is especially important for any flights that originate in Africa, seeing as these will be harder to replace if you miss any.
As you can see, planning an African Hunting Safari isn’t something you can do in a couple of days or even a couple of months. If there’s one key piece of advice we’d love for you to take away from all of this, it’s that you should give yourself at least a year to plan the whole thing out properly.