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Preparation

However you look at it, Africa isn't exactly local for the majority of us and the expense involved in terms of time, money, effort and preparation are such that we strongly recommend you plan your personal preparation well in advance of your visit. Afterall, there can be nothing worse than commencing your trip of a lifetime, only to see it ruined through poor preparation or your being unfit to complete the journey!
 
Let us first clarify that Africa is a third-world country and you will be staying in some pretty remote territory during your visit. We have therefore given some thought regarding the general questions that we get asked regarding South Africa and Namibia and have prepared some general background information and advice. This information and advice comes under two categories; Expectations and Preparation and is based on our personal experiences together with the comment and opinion of Professional Hunters from Namibia and the Republic of South Africa. There are any number of more qualified experts on this subject than us, so please consider these comments as personal opinions expressed in order to generate a flavour for the place and what you may expect from your forthcoming adventure!
The Essentials
You will clearly need an airline ticket, a valid ten year passport and, depending on your nationality, you may also need a visa for your visit to. In addition, please ensure that you have any immunisations completed before you depart and remember to bring any prescription medicines with you that you may need. Please also advise us of any medical conditions that may affect your health before you depart and ensure that your personal first-aid kit is appropriately stocked for your personal requirements. Insurance is essential also and ensure that you have sufficient cover for the value of your rifles also!

Other essential equipment includes a broad-rimmed hat and sun glasses together with sun block, insect repellent and vaseline (for your lips and inner nose) plus we always recommend each visitor brings a decent pair of leather boots, a pair of study trainers or shoes and a sharp knife, just in case. A small flashlight or torch is also invaluable as nights are very dark until the moon rises!

In terms of clothing, the weather in Africa can be variable depending on the season and we therefore recommend that you wear your boots regularly before your visit to prevent blisters. We suggest that you consistently use similar socks before your visit and that you bring 5+ pairs with you for use during your stay. Day temperatures are high and we therefore recommend long shorts made from a robust cotton material together with cotton shirts finished in a neutral colour.

Roo Ellis in the Hartmann Valley with a fine trophy Zebra

Visitors to Southern Africa are also reminded to bring long trousers too, especially as nights can be especially cold in some regions. You may also want to bring a jumpers / pullovers with you, one light and one thicker although many visitors compliment this with a decent coat or jacket, especially if it is waterproof! Be assured that when you book with The Hunting Agency you will be fully advised of the health / other precautions necessary before you travel!

To record you visit, please bring a camera and/or video camera together with a supply of batteries and spare film / media cards and remember, Africa's electricity operates on 220V through round pin plugs so you will also need a travel plug or adapter should your equipment require further charging. You may wish to bring with you a modest sowing kit, a compass, a notebook and pen / pencil, eye glasses if you use them and a light day-sack style of rucksack. It is also nice to have your own water bottle too and a sturdy belt is often a good idea also. Additional items for consideration include light gloves, after sun creams, toilet kit, binoculars, rifles / shotguns and ammunition, a gun cleaning kit and matches / lighter.

While this list is far from definitive, please be assured that your PH / Outfitter will provide everything to make your trip enjoyable, although it's the personal things that help to make life more comfortable while in the field, so please think ahead and prepare for your adventure before you depart.
 
Personal Health and Fitness
Depending on your choice of adventure, you may want to give some thought to preparing yourself physically before your journey begins. It's a long way to travel only to wish that you were better able to take part in the activities of your trip, and a little forethought goes a long way once you get out into the velt. Firstly then, we recommend that you visit your Doctor if you have any current or suspected health problems in order to gain his or her advice / recommendations. After all, this is a harsh, unforgiving environment and we wouldn't want your enjoyment ruined through poor preparation!
 
If you do not already have some, we recommend you invest in a decent pair of lightweight hiking boots (leather) together with a pair of jogging shoes. These should be of leather construction in order to combat penetration by some of Africa's sharp grasses.

Three months before your visit we would suggest that you begin by walking a mile or two each day while wearing your walking boots, increasing up to circa 5 miles per day as soon as you are comfortably able. We appreciate that this aerobic activity may initially be time consuming but you will certainly reap the benefit of it on your arrival! Once you are comfortable with your 5 mile walk, look to up the tempo by wearing your backpack with increasing weights enclosed until you get up to 10-15kg. This will help when it comes to stalking with a rifle and ammunition and should not be overlooked. (House bricks are generally regarded as excellent ballast for your rucksack, but wrap them in plastic bags to prevent excessive wear to your equipment!)

We also suggest that if possible you look to alternate your walking with some light jogging. Try alternating your days walking with a backpack with light jogging in your trainers so that you slowly build up your capacity for physical exertion, and remember, some of Africa is at altitude and its climate can also take its toll on those unprepared. Remember to that a nice comfortable walk where you live is likely to be very different to a similar walk conducted at altitude in searingly hot, arid conditions while carrying your rifle, ammunition, binoculars and a water bottle - so please give some thought to your personal conditioning before you come over!
 
Hitting the target - remember what you came for!
If you are a Hunter visiting Africa, we recommend that you practise your marksmanship before you come. If you are bringing your own rifle and ammunition, we suggest that you source 250-300 rounds of the same make and velocity, bringing just 100 with you having used the remainder for practise. We suggest that you practise shooting your rifle from a standing position, kneeling and prone as you will need to be ready for any opportunity that comes your way. Surely there can be nothing worse than stalking your quarry for days, only to miss your chance because of poor technique or unfamiliar equipment! The Hunting Agency will put you on the animal, please be ready for that opportunity when it comes!

 

Also, if you have an old double-rifle or intend to use ammunition that dates back a bit, please ensure that it's still reliable and shootable before you get in country with it - below you can see some fine examples of lead-packaged .375H&H Magnum ammunition from Kynock - but would you trust it? No - and neither would we!Kynoch ammunition - can you trust it?
 
Finally, if you have any questions or would just like to talk to someone who has experience of hunting in Africa, please feel free to contact us when we will be delighted to schedule a conversation with you in order to discuss your requirements more fully and to answer any questions that you may have.
 
Thank you and enjoy your trip!