This might be a bit off the topic of shooting, but stay with me. Many hunters dream of at least one wondrous hunting adventure. I know some long for the out West elk or mule deer hunt. Others dream of moose in Alaska or big horns in British Columbia. All true hunters think of Africa and a safari. Fortunately, it is affordable, epically challenging, and potentially life changing. Let me explain.
When most think of an Africa safari, they think it is out of their price range. Depending on the thickness of your wallet, that might be true, but it isn’t as expensive as you think. Geoffrey Wayland with Fort Richmond Safaris runs a safari outfitting business his late father started when Geoffrey was young. His father catered to blue collar American hunters, and Geoffrey continues that tradition.
You can spend 7 days hunting with Fort Richmond Safaris and take a kudu, black wildebeest, blesbok, and a warthog every day. The cost for the 7 days — including all trophy fees —is approximately $6,000 depending on the exchange rate. Now, you might be thinking that’s a lot of cash, but a good western elk hunt will set you back at least $2,000 more, and you might not fire your rifle.
Obviously, you can tailor your safari package to suit your pocket book or desires. And, you’ll have to get there. A flight from Atlanta to most South African destinations will run about $2,500, and you’ll need another $1,000 for tips and incidentals.
One of the great things about an African safari is that it can be tailored to your physical abilities, hunting and shooting experiences. My wife — who had hunted before, but never taken an animal — went to Africa and took a gemsbok, wildebeest and impala, and she never missed a shot.
My son, now 17, has hunted there three times. On his latest safari, he took an African buffalo, the proper way, after many stalks and lots of walking. Shots can be short or long, targets can be large or small, and they can be found at the end of long stalks, or even taken from the truck if you’re physically impaired. A good outfitter will construct just the experience you need.
You can hunt free-ranging animals just like you do in North America, or you can hunt high-fenced concessions large enough to be a county, and maybe some countries. You can hunt the flat savannas, the mountains, the thick bush, or near places that make you think you’re in a desert. You can stay in remote tent camps or in lavish five-star accommodations, while eating culinary masterpieces. Africa can provide just about anything challenge you desire.
Once you hunt Africa with the right outfitter, it is a given that you will be planning your next trip there before you get on the plane to fly home. You’ll want to return to the bush, and you’ll dream of the long sweeping spiral of the kudu’s horns. You’ll miss the sounds, the sights and the sunrises. You’ll start saving quarters and pinching pennies to make it happen again. You’ll miss the red dirt, the yellow grass, the gentle breeze and the “kathunk” your bullet makes when it anchors your trophy.
It will also give you a reason to purchase a new rifle, better binoculars, a crisper scope and good hunting shoes. It will inspire you to read books you’ve never read. Maybe, more than anything, Africa will make you want to become a better rifle shot. You’ll practice more often from field positions, while shooting off sticks, and at targets that look like real animals instead of a circle or square. That alone will make you more successful while your hunting at home, whether it’s for whitetails, mule deer, elk or feral hogs.
Africa will change your life, and if your fortunate enough to meet and hunt with a professional hunter like Geoffrey Wayland with Fort Richmond Safaris, you’ll make a new friend.
Images by Sabastian Mann