What to hunt in SA
South Africa is said to offer up to 60 species for the safari hunting client, yet this is often a list that is made up of small insignificant animals which some may consider unimportant or non traditional game.
If you're the collecting type then you can blast away at springhares, small grey cats, cape foxes, jackals, porcupines and more. However if you're the big game seeking type then you're looking at a realistic list of around 40 different species from the largest, the Eland down to the smallest, the Blue Duiker.
Of course many of these occur throughout the continent, the kudu's, the impalas, the wildebeests, the Elands and the big 5 of course. They can be hunted in most African countries and often they are more economical and plentiful south of the Limpopo yet South Africa does have a plethora of indigenous species and common species which you should seriously consider hunting while there.
Our modernization of the safari hunt has resulted in time and money dictating the logistics of the adventure and this is where South Africa excels - in providing you with the widest variety of African game, at the most reasonable price over the shortest period.
Seriously, you can shoot everything in this country, even species which have long disappeared from their home ranges in the north of Africa flourish on ranches in this country. If you're not into sweating in extreme heat, wading muddy rivers, climbing frigid peaks or being bitten by flies and ticks then this is your hunting heaven. Likewise if you're not the super wealthy type South Africa is also your country of choice.
The hunting of the Big 5 species in South Africa has been softened or diluted simply due to the nature of the hunting industry and its fenced set-up. It is common sense that the large beasts require specific fencing standards while the large cats tend to be considered vermin or confined to easily handled enclosures.
So if you are considering Elephant and Buffalo you'd probably do better hunting in Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe or Mozambique - the countries that are considered "classical" and still offer the truly wilderness hunts. As a rule you're getting more bang for your buck in these countries because of the experience and number of animals you can select a trophy from.
Rhino is a uniquely South African hunt and most are taken here, although they are available for hunting in Namibia as well. Recently Black Rhino have been allowed to for hunting while the better faring white Rhino has seen trophy prices soaring due to demand from the far east.
Lion hunting in South Africa is a controversial issue right now although they are still being hunted in great numbers. Essentially 99 percent of the Lion shot in South Africa each year come from large scale breeding facilities which specialize in trophy cats. Naturally these beasts are pen raised and fed and then once of trophy size sold to various outfitters who introduce them onto open land where they can be shot. This type of shooting has been called canned hunting and if the truth be told, many unethical operators have simply shot the cats in their small enclosures. Prices tend to be more reasonable for these types of shoot and trophy quality is tremendous. This is essentially a shoot and should not be referred to as a hunt. The cats in these situations are often more aggressive and dangerous than their wild counterparts. In addition despite what the anti-hunting fraternity say, the consumptive use / shooting of these Lions do relieve the pressure on the wild lions in other countries. Read more about this issue....
Leopard, true to their nature, are not kept or owned by anyone, they come and go and live off the feast that the ranching set-up has set before them. No fences keep them in (unless captive raised) and they pretty much have become some of Africa's most stealthy Leopards. Always in the shotgun sights of stock farmers, Leopard are great fun to hunt in South Africa as they are incredibly nervous and shy. Unfortunately Leopard are allowed to be hunted with the aid of a light and some make use of this method exclusively as the cats only come to bait very late at night. However it could also be considered unethical to use floodlights and hearing devices.
Vaal or Grey Rhebok stands as the country's most arduous hunt. Usually found in the highest peaks of the Cape escarpment during winter, these mid sized antelope offer hunting akin to the sheep and mountain goats of the world. When hunted in their true habitat in a fair chase manner, this is one of the better single specie hunts to do in the country.South Africa's specials, the ones that are indigenous or unique to the country alone allow for some of the best hunting on the continent. The keen sighted
The Black Wildebeest, also known as the original Gnu for the sounds they make is at home on the wide open flats of the Free State where they can see you at a thousand yards and then run for another ten. They are possibly the most striking of all of Africa's Wildebeest and definitely need close consideration if you're into ugly mugs.
Bontebok are confined to the fynbos biome of the western Cape and are at their best in this province. They are close cousins of the more popular Blesbok however their colors are far more striking and elaborate.
Technically the wily Springbok and the blundering Blesbok are mostly hunted in South Africa yet they are found in Namibia, Botswana and sometimes Zimbabwe. Most hunters however will take them on a safari in South Africa as they are more common and plentiful there.
South Africa also has some of the best trophies for the more populous of the African antelopes, those that occur pretty much throughout the continent. The greater Kudu found in South Africa are amongst the biggest and still today you have every opportunity to take a world record class bull. So too for the Gemsbok, that prince of desert antelopes with the scimitar horns. South Africa's Nyala, Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Impala and Blue Wildebeest are also way up there as the continents best.
Here's a comprehensive list of the most common species found within the South Africa that are offered for hunting:
Big 5 - elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard
Large antelopes - southern greater Kudu, east Cape kudu, Cape eland, Livingston's eland, nyala, gemsbok, blue and black wildebeest, red hartebeest, sable, roan, common waterbuck, tsessebe
Medium antelopes - Cape and Limpopo bushbucks, common and white blesbucks, impala, common reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, bontebok, vaal rhebuck,
Pygmy antelopes - blue, red and common duikers, Sharpe's and Cape grysbuck, oribi, Livingstones suni, steenbuck, klipspringer
Small cats - caracal, serval, African grey cat
Other - giraffe, baboon, Burchells zebra, Hartmanns zebra, warthog, bushpig,
exotic / non indigenous species - European wild boar (western cape only), fallow deer, mouflon sheep, barbary sheep, scimitar horned oryx, Arabian oryx, Asian water buffalo, American bison, sitatunga, red lechwe, Indian blackbuck,