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Hunting In South Africa

Learn More about hunitng in South Africa from History, travel, health,saftey, Laws, Regulations and much more.

South Africa is the gateway to Africa hunting. 

South Africa offers the safari seeking sportsman or woman the steppingstones to get his or her feet wet on the African continent. It hasn’t always been this way as South Africa’s game was badly depleted during its pioneering era and didn’t really start to come back till the late 80’s early 90’s and wasn’t near what it is today even during my first few safaris in 2007,09, and in 2010.


South Africa is a country on the southern tip of Africa. The land has a total area of 1,221,037 square kilometers (471,445 square miles).and a total coastline of 2,798 km (1,738.6 mi). This land area is approximately 175% of the area of Texas. South Africa is thus one of the largest countries in Africa and the 25th biggest in the world. Within south Africa there is over 9,000 registered game farms with more than 10,000 hunters visiting South Africa each year South Africa has an estimated 25 million head of game vs during the 1950s when less than half a million animals were left in the country. Today there is an unrivaled 45+ species that can be hunted in South Africa and 4 out of the big five can be hunted here as well as a wide verity of wing shooting. Game changes a lot throughout Africa as in different areas there are different indigenous species found such as in the eastern cape and KwaZulu Natal you will find the blue duiker but won’t find the blue duiker in the Kalahari and Limpopo as the blue duiker is not indigenous there nor introduced. There have been many ranches across Africa that have introduced species to areas where they were not naturally found such as the Nyala, Black Wildebeest and Blesbok 

White Blesbok

Habitat and Terrain.

South Africa offers a wide range of terrain and topography from flat thorn bush country to Kalahari sand dunes and streets, to mountain hunting. There are 9 provinces within South Africa and 8 of them offer hunting opportunities that vary in habitat and terrain drastically from the Eastern Cape to Limpopo the country and habitat will change offering a very different style of hunt in each area even if its for the same type of game.



Safety is a common concern when traveling to these far off hunting destinations. The Travel. State. Gov website currently has South Africa listed at a level 2 to exercise Increased caution” this analysis is based off crime and civil unrest. However, it should be sated that hunting camps and operators are not in major cities where most of this crime happens and that you are out on hunting farms and game ranches while you are hunting. Just like all cites and town here in the USA there are some levels of crime and violence. Countries such as the UK have the United States as “Terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in the US.” So please take these websites with a grain of salt when looking into traveling to these countries and just remember the Outfitter makes his living off the hunting industry and will in no way do anything that could jeopardies that our anyone’s lives.



Medical and security emergencies happen. When they do, we rely on Global Rescue, the world's leading membership organization providing integrated medical, security, travel risk and crisis response services to our travelers worldwide. Without a Global Rescue membership, an emergency evacuation could cost you more than $100,000. That's why over 1 million members trust Global Rescue to get them home when the worst happens. Don't travel without Global Rescue.



Most of South Africa is malaria-free, but malaria is present in a few areas, including northeastern KwaZulu-Natal Province as far south as the Tugela River, Limpopo (Northern) Province, and Mpumalanga Province. It is also present in Kruger National Park. If you will be hunting in or traveling to those areas, malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Please see the CDC website for all health recommendations and requirements for the places you wish to travel and consult with your licensed physician. In many states they will have very skilled an knowledgeable travel clinics such as the University of Utah does where you can get Travel Immunizations & Consultations I highly recommend you visit one of these if you have any questions or concerns.

CDC South Africa


Facts about Malaria in South Africa.

South Africa has achieved an 87% reduction in malaria cases, with a decline from 64,622 cases in 2000 [17] to 8,126 cases in 2020 [15]. Furthermore, the number of malaria-related deaths has decreased by 91% (459 deaths in 2000 to 38 deaths in 2020)

Info source

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I strongly recommend the use of a well experienced travel agent when traveling abroad with your own firearms and or archery equipment. It is well worth the small fee’s to have someone who does it on a daily basis help you make sure you have all the proper paperwork in order when traveling on one of these hunts. Nothing can ruin a hunt quicker than starting out with a terrible travel experience because you didn’t understand a few travel guidelines. See my preferred travel broker here.


A passport and visa are required to enter South Africa. Passports must be valid for at 30 days beyond your intended date of exit from South Africa and have at least two blank pages upon each entry. Visa requirements differ from country to country, some are issued on arrival and some countries citizens require preapproved visas. Check with your nearest South African diplomatic mission into which category you fall. 

Letter of Invitation

When applying for a temporary firearm importation permit you will require a letter of invitation to hunt in South Africa from your outfitter. To be safe, keep a copy of this invitation and your firearm proof of ownership in your gun case should this at any time be requested by the authorities.       

Currency Restrictions


ZAR 25,000; Foreign currency unlimited if declared; No Kruger coins.


ZAR 25,000; Foreign currency unlimited if amount was declared on entry; Up to 15 Kruger coins if proof purchased with foreign currency.

Hunting Laws and Regulations in South Africa 

Hunting, including recreational hunting by foreign nationals, is legal and available in all the provinces of South Africa. Each province has its own nature conservation ordinance, and the provinces have more authority over their wildlife than the national government. Although we have one national driving license for example, outfitters and professional hunters are required to be licensed in each province that they hunt or operate in and all hunting licenses and permits are issued by the provincial government offices. 

While game and hunting laws vary for each province, there are many similarities. Listed below are some of the more important regulations:

  • International (non-resident) hunters must be accompanied by a registered professional hunter and outfitted by a licensed outfitter.

  • Outfitters and professional hunters must be licensed to operate in the provinces where they hunt.

  • Professional hunters must be licensed to conduct a dangerous game safari otherwise they may only hunt plains game.  

  • Hunting licenses and permits must be prearranged before the client’s hunt commences.

  • Game ranches with exemption certificates or a certificate of adequate enclosure may apply for an exemption to the province’s hunting regulations. 

  • Minimum caliber requirements exist in some provinces, but the general rule of thumb is a .375 is the minimum caliber required for dangerous game. 

  • Clients may shoot from a vehicle in some provinces and others require a hunter to be 200 meters from the vehicle before pulling the trigger. 

  • Hunting may only take place during daylight hours which is defined as half an hour after sunrise and half an hour before sunset.    

  • Exemption for the hunting of nocturnal species at night with the aid of artificial light can be arranged with a special night hunting or exemption permit. 

  • Game hunting quotas and hunting season dates are decided by the landowner. 

gemsbok 2.jpg

Licenses and Permits

The hunting outfitter is responsible for ensuring that the property where a client is hunting has all the necessary permits and also ensuring that the client has the correct permits and licenses before the commencement of the hunt. These licenses and permits are in most cases issued by the various governmental environmental departments.

  • CITES Permits

This is an international agreement that regulates the importation and exportation of certain species that are endangered or near endangered. Permits are required for the hunting and exportation of these listed species from the country of origin and by the country to which the trophies will be exported. Some importing countries also have restrictions on the importation of certain species so hunters must ensure that they will be able to bring these trophies home.  Learn more about CITES permits here.

  • TOPS Permits

A Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) permit needs to be issued for the listed animals before the commencement of a hunt and be prearranged by your outfitter. On completion of the hunt, the client must sign the permit to ensure the hunted animal’s derivatives may be exported from South Africa. Find the Tops species list here.

  • Hunting Licenses & Permits

The majority of animals fall in this category and the outfitters are to ensure that the particular province’s hunting permits or license requirements are in place. In some instances, landowners are exempt if they have the correct certifications whilst, in other provinces, hunting licenses are required by law. 

In general, this all sounds quite complicated and best left to the professionals (outfitters) to ensure that all is in order. However, it is advisable to double-check that all CITES and TOPS listed animal permit requirements are prearranged well in advance of your hunt to avoid any disappointment or confiscation of your trophies by the wildlife authorities.


Firearms and Ammunition

It is legal to bring your hunting rifle to South Africa to hunt with, with certain limitations. 

Several different airlines travel to Africa, some of which have banned the transportation of firearms on their flights. Prior to booking you ticket you need to ensure that your carrier will permit the transportation of firearms on your flight. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the latest laws and regulations for hunters travelling with firearms and ammunition as each airline and country has different regulations. 

  • The minimum caliber for plains game larger than a springbok is a .270 or 7 mm rifle. 

  • A minimum of a .375 is required to hunt giraffe and dangerous game. 

  • When shooting pachyderms a full metal jacket or monolithic solid must be used. 

  • A minimum of a .357 long barreled handguns (100 – 150 mm) may be used for hunting plains game.  

A viable alternative that greatly simplifies your travel would be to rent a rifle from your outfitter. This is legal in South Africa, and most outfitters have perfectly suitable weapons at the disposal of their clients. Be sure to discuss this with your outfitter before booking your hunt. 

Heym 404 jeffery


South Africa legalized Bowhunting between 1984 – 1986. Recurve, longbows, compound and crossbows may be used for hunting. The following norms apply to hunting with bow and arrow:

Category 1

Small game: Includes gamebirds, small carnivores, hares, hyraxes, rabbits and pygmy antelope.

  • A bow with a minimum draw mass of 40 pounds.

  • A bow generating a minimum kinetic energy 30ft/lbs.; and

  • A minimum arrow weight of 300 grains.

Category 2

Medium game: Includes reedbuck, impala, blesbok, warthog, bushpig, springbuck, and nyala.

  • A bow with a minimum draw mass of 50 pounds.

  • A bow generating a minimum kinetic energy 50ft/lbs; and

  • A minimum arrow weight 400 grains.

Category 3

Large game: Includes wildebeests, kudu, gemsbuck, zebra, waterbuck, sable, and hartebeests.

  • A bow with a minimum draw mass of 60 pounds.

  • A bow generating a minimum kinetic energy of 60ft/lbs; and

  • A minimum arrow weight of 500 grains.

Category 4

Cape buffalo 

  • A bow with a minimum draw mass of 80 pounds;

  • A bow generating a minimum kinetic energy of 80ft/lbs; and

  • A minimum arrow weight of 750 grains. 

Category 5


  • A bow with a minimum draw mass of 90 pounds.

  • A bow generating a minimum kinetic energy of 90ft/lbs; and

  • A minimum arrow weight of 750 grains.


The hunting of pachyderms (elephants and rhinos) with a bow is prohibited in South Africa.

Notwithstanding the above requirements the following conditions apply:

  • In the case of mechanical broad heads 5% additional kinetic energy is required for Category 1, 2 and 3 wild animals.

  • Broad heads must have at least two cutting edges.

  • The minimum permitted arrow length is 50cm.

Dangerous Game


  • Each Province has different regulations regarding dangerous game bow hunting. Do not hesitate to ask your Outfitter to supply you with the latest regulations before confirming a hunt.


  • The number of bow hunters entering South Africa is rapidly increasing, and more and more outfitters are catering to their specific requirements. Bow hunting in most provinces is done under special permit which will be arranged in advance by your hunting outfitter. There may be restrictions imposed on species of animal that can be bow hunted and on the standard of equipment required.



Plains Game


  • Compound, longbows and re-curve bows can be used on Plains game. Although no regulation regarding draw weight exists it is recommended to use bows of 60# and higher.


  • Traditional archers should advise the length of their longbows to enable any adjustments to existing blinds to be made prior to the safari. Three or four bladed broad heads of the thunderhead type are recommended.

  • Ensure a good supply of Judo points and piano wire is included in your equipment where bird shooting is allowed.

White Springbok

Trophy Export/Import Restrictions

South Africa at this stage is still a signatory to the IUCN and has a sound conservation management strategy in place. Legally harvested trophies may be easily exported through a registered taxidermist and shipping company but must comply with the importing countries regulations. In general, no raw meat, skin or other derivatives may be exported without a veterinary clearance certificate to prevent the possible spread of diseases like foot and mouth (hoof and mouth).  

The following documentation forms part of the supporting documentation in the export application process:

  • A copy of the PH Register (SA Professional Hunter Register and Trophy Export Application), signed by the client, the professional hunter, and the hunting outfitter.

  • A Hunting Permit (depending on the species/province where hunt took place), signed by the client.

  • CITES Import Permit into foreign Country for CITES Appendix I species (if applicable).  Please check under “General Info” / “CITES” for the list of CITES Species.

  • Nature Conservation Exemption Permit or CAE (Certificate of Adequate Enclosure).

  • Transfer of Hunting Rights from Landowner to Hunting Outfitter (if not hunted on own property).

  • Permission to hunt from Outfitter to Client.

  • A TOPS Hunting Permit, if applicable, signed by the client.  

Lear more about Tops species and CITES here.

View my recommended import broker.

crate back from Africa
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