Useful Hunting Information

Rifles and Calibres suitable for Hunting in South Africa
One of the first questions that usually comes up when discussing an African hunting safari with a client, is that of what calibre is best for hunting in Africa and which rifles you should bring on safari. The best rifle and calibre combination depends on what you will be hunting and where.

Dangerous game - For hunting dangerous game the 375 calibre is the minimum prescribed by law in most African countries this includes the 375 H&H and the new Ruger 375.  I would however suggest something bigger for Buffalo and Elephant like a 416 or 458 provided you can handle the recoil and shoot it accurately. 

Plains game - For hunting plains game, the 270 Win should be considered the minimum for most medium sized plains game species.  With the proper premium grade bullets and good shot placement the .270 is adequate for some of the larger plains game species. The 9.3 x62, 30-06 Springfield and 308 Winchester are some off the favourites used by local hunters for bush-veld hunting conditions.  The various 300 Magnums, 7mm magnums and the 338 magnums are good options if you will be hunting in areas like in Namibia, where long shots on larger plains game may be necessary.  However calibres and rifles are a personal choice and the bottom line is bring rifles you are familiar with, can handle the recoil and shoot accurately.

Bullets & Ammunition - Always use the best premium quality bullets for hunting in Africa. Many experienced PH’s prefer Swift A-Frame, Nosler Partition, Barnes X and Triple Shock bullets.  Some of these bullets are available in factory-loaded ammunition and can also be hand-loaded.   African game animals are notoriously tough so please do not try and save money on the quality of ammunition you use, it can ruin a great safari. When hunting dangerous game like Elephant and Cape buffalo use the best monolithic solids available.

Shot placement - Shot placement is the most important part of any hunt so let your PH guide you in this matter, put your shot where he tells you.  Practise your shooting on the range and do some research on shot placement by reading or watching footage on shot placement. There are good books and videos available by Kevin Robertson, a veterinarian and professional hunter who has made a detailed study on this subject.  Practise shooting from field positions and from shooting sticks, the more you practise the more rewarding your hunt will be.

Bringing your firearms into South Africa

To bring your firearms into South Africa you need to complete the temporary firearm import permit application (SAP520) in advance if possible and bring it with you. The form must be completed in black pen and must remain unsigned until the document is finalized in front of the police official issuing the actual permit at the airport.

Requirements for the issuing of a temporary firearm import permit:
• Valid passport
•  Return Airline ticket
• Letter from your Hunting Outfitter(s) inviting you to hunt
• A Completed SAP 520 Form (unsigned , should be signed in front of the official)
• Notarized / Certified copy of Proof of ownership of your firearm(s) in the form of:
USA:     Custom Form 4457 (contact your nearest airport for this)
UK:       Copy of your firearm License or Certificate
Europe: Firearms Possession Licence (Waffenbesitzkarte), or
European Firearms Pass (Eoropaeischer Feuerwaffenpass)
Other:   A letter from your local sheriff in the form of an affidavit confirming ownership, or
•  invoice from a gun shop where you have purchased the firearm(s)
•  {Please use whichever is applicable to your country} Proof of export of specific firearms from your country of residence (CBP Form 4457- Certificate of Registration for personal effects take abroad)
• You will also need to submit a letter of motivation written by you to motivate your reason for wanting  to import firearms into South Africa

Requirements & restrictions for firearms and ammunition to be temporarily imported into South Africa:
• No automatic or semi-automatic firearms are allowed to be imported (so please leave the AR’s AK’s and Garand’s at home)
• You will not be allowed to import more than one firearm of the same calibre per person traveling.
• 200 rounds of ammunition per person per firearm is the legal limit of ammunition you will be allowed to bring into the country.
• No Pistols or revolver are allowed unless you can specify that they will be used for hunting.
• A maximum of four (4) firearms or shotguns per person are allowed but not more than one of the same calibre or gauge.
• No ammunition for other firearms (not accompanying you) are permitted.
• Firearms must bear the manufacturer’s serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified. The identification number must be stamped and the mark affixed in the prescribed manner on the barrel, the frame or the receiver of the firearm.
• You must be 21 years of age or older

Special applications:
• Handguns will be allowed into the country, but only for hunting or sport-shooting purposes. As proof the police will require. A letter of invitation from the outfitter stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes only; A motivational letter written by you stating that you will be using the handgun for hunting purposes only as well as any other relevant motivation.
• For Semi-Automatic shotguns, you must supply a letter of motivation stating the reason for wanting to bring it into the country.
• Any person under the age of 21 that wishes to apply for a temporary import permit has to include a motivational letter with the application proving that he/she is a capable hunter. Any additional motivational letters from 3rd parties will help with the application.
•  Please take note that only the Central Firearm Registrar in Pretoria, South Africa can authorize special applications for the above restrictions.
• These applications have to be made in advance and must reach them not later than 3 (three) weeks before arrival.
• You will need a special motivation letter for this. Please contact the PHASA for more info and assistance.

We suggest you use the services of PHASA (The professional hunters association of South Africa) to assist you with obtaining permits. For more information visit;

What else to bring on safari:

  • Personal medication
  • A good camera and enough memory sticks
  • Camcorders & battery recharge equipment
  • Rifle and cleaning equipment
  • Enough ammunition especially if you are using a rifle in calibres not commonly found in South Africa, talk to your PH in this regard.
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellent is advised during our summer months September-April
  • Raincoat
  • Odourless sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 20
  • A good hat
  • Three sets of hunting clothes, khaki or camouflage
  • A thick jacket, gloves, and a scarf as it gets cold during the winter evenings
  • Good quality comfortable walking boots with thick socks



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Contact Details

Conrad Jacobs
Genesis African Safaris
+27 (0) 27 482 2597
+27 (0) 83 953 7357
skype: conrad.jacobs3