I’d really like to thank Wikus Brits and Richter van der Linden for their patience and answering some questions about their operation, African Elite Safaris. This interview was done before the Covid-19 maelstrom and now my guide and outfitter friends are really being impacted by the travel restrictions and uncertainty. If you’re interested in a trip to Africa at all, please check out their website, talk to them, ask your questions and put down a deposit for the trip of a lifetime. If you’re a hunter, angler, photographer the outdoor industry needs are support now more than ever! ~DesertRat
1. How did you get into the business of safaris?
African Elite Safaris was started by three friends in 2016. After doing our professional hunters courses we did some freelance work. We then came up with the idea of starting our own hunting company named (African Elite safaris).
2. What species and destinations would you recommend for someone’s first trip to Africa?
Well, all the destinations in Africa are beautiful and different from one another, we like to hunt Limpopo because it gives that true bushveld experience to the clients. Ultimately the choice of species depends on the hunter, but we like them to start off with smaller antelope like (Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Gemsbuck (Oryx)) but we do get the experienced guys that kick off with Cape buffalo.
3. What is the biggest mistake that first time hunters make when traveling to Africa?
Biggest mistake is that they do not study the anatomy of the African game they are hunting, and do not know where shot placement need to be. African Antelope’s vitals are placed more forward in the chest than bucks, hunters tend to push the shot to far backwards. We go thru shot placement before every safari, but when adrenaline kicks in most of this is forgotten.
4. What are some things to look for when selecting an outfitter?
First thing ask for references, also the biggest mistake is choosing the cheapest outfitter! It works like this in every industry “you get what you pay for” Clients then get ripped off, most of the time trophy quality is not up to standard and clients get bad service during the time they’re on hunting safari. There are even cases where clients have paid deposits to cheap outfitters and never heard from them again. Yes we do often have cheaper packages because not very one can afford the African Experience and we like to cater for all, that is why all of our paperwork is in order and there are contracts signed between client and African Elite Safaris
5. What advantages does South Africa have over other African hunting destinations.
South Africa as a hunting destination is easily accessible – you do not have to make use of an air charter to get to the hunting areas, all the areas in South Africa are different. There are also an abundance of species to hunt in South Africa.
6. Is the political strife in South Africa a concern for travelers?
No not at the moment, we update clients about the political side of South Africa before they make a booking.
7. Can hunters eat the game they kill, which you feel is the best tasting game meat?
Yes of course we love to prepare the game they hunted if the client feels like it, it’s always nice to eat and taste the animal you harvested and worked for. We prepare the meat in a lot of different styles from the fillets on a braai (BBQ) to burger patties. The best tasting Antelope in my opinion is Eland and Gemsbuck (Oryx) but all African Antelope are great tasting venison meat.
8. What do hunters need to know about bringing their trophies home? Can meat be brought back to the US?
Well with every hunt there are paperwork to be done in order for the clients to ship there trophies back, it really is not a lot of paperwork most of it is done by the outfitter. The decision is up to the client if they only want the taxidermist to dip and ship the trophies or if the entire work must be done in South Africa, the dip and ship is often quicker. But both methods can take up to one to two years for the client to receive there trophies. Meat can unfortunately not be brought back to the US, if a client wants to take some biltong (South African style beef jerky) he can take a small amount in the luggage, if it is declared.
9. What other things can someone do while hunting with you; or will they be too busy hunting?
There are a lot of tourist attractions in South Africa, from the Kruger National park, predator parks, monuments, we also offer deep see fishing. We book the time duration of the safari according to the client’s needs, if they want to do extra excursions on the safari we make sure there are enough days for all activities.
10. Do you have a chance to hunt also? What is your favorite thing to hunt?
Well we have to create the time to hunt ourselves we are also trophy hunters and always after the big ones when we get the chance. There are no specific thing that is my favorite but I enjoy a challenge. I must say that I really enjoy predator hunting because predators are smart and they learn when you make a mistake.
I’d really like to thank the good folks at African Elite Safaris for answering my questions. An African hunt is definitely on my bucket list. Please feel free to check them out!
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