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Gemsbok belong in the Kalahari!Gemsbok belong in the Kalahari!Kalahari Gemsbok

Gemsbok are one of those classic desert species, plying the dunes of the Kalahari as ships on an inland ocean - their ability and adaptation to survival in such harsh conditions draws respect from all who pursue them.

Sadly they are widely introduced throughout South Africa, often into conditions that see them confused and in poor physical health.

Gemsbok are best hunted in the Northern regions of South Africa and not in the dense coastal areas.


Hunting in South Africa's great North West Province

There is an old saying in the great Northwest Province: when men here are hungry for some vegetables, they go out and catch a chicken...

The Northwest province is perhaps one of South Africa's best kept hunting secrets due to its displacement from the rest of the country. It is a large province bordering Botswana and the sands of the Kalahari. Its Eastern reaches are relatively close to Johannesburg, a series of rough low-lying hillocks covered with acacia thorn and withaak trees. Best known for the fiercely independent Afrikaans farmers who have perfected the art of mampoer distillation and story-telling. The Southern Greater Kudu found here are amongst the biggest in the country.

It is home to the magnificent game reserves of Pilanesberg and Madikwe where controlled hunting is allowed in some sectors of the reserves. In South Africa, this is the closest one will get to hunting as it was 100 years ago, vast concessions with abundant varied wild game. Elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, eland, sable, kudu and other plainsgame occur here as they did hundreds of years ago. Quotas are limited though and trophies are not always up to the standard found on private ranches.

true Kalahari Dunestrue Kalahari DunesAs one moves west, the land becomes more unforgiving, the climate drier, the thorn scrub disperses and the wide open spaces more abundant. Some ranches have cleared much of the thicker thorn scrub away allowing easier hunting whilst others have been left to to grow wild. Wherever you hunt, species are abundant and rates are reasonable. In the past, the area was known for its black-maned Kalahari lion crossing from Botswana, however today they are few and restricted to the national reserves.

The province offers excellent Southern Greater Kudu, gemsbok, Cape Eland, Common Waterbuck, impala, Red Hartebeest and many other common plainsgame species as well as exotics like Addax and Scimitar Horned Oryx.

The major towns of the area are Mmabatho (only one served by SAA), Vryburg and Kuruman. For hunters it is most common to be collected or met by the outfitter in Johannesburg, Kimberley or Upington from where it is a couple of hours drive to the hunting ranches.