We strongly encourage you to bring your own rifle, as you are familiar with it. We realize traveling with a firearm is a bit of a hassle, but the reward of using your own rifle is worth it. Plus the familiarity you have with your own weapon could mean the difference between making that critical shot at a desired trophy, and a disappointing miss. As previously stated, the terrain of the Eastern Cape lends itself to longer shots, 150m and possibly further. Therefore flat shooting calibers such as .270, 30-06, the .300 magnums and the .338 are desirable and can handily take all but the very largest animals such as eland or buffalo.
Traditional African calibers like the .375 H&H and 9.3x64 Brenneke are really not needed, unless hunting the largest animals. However if you wish to enhance your African experience by using such a rifle, select the lighter weight bullets and sight them in to handle the longer shots. Also, shoot the rifle enough to determine that you can tolerate the increased recoil.
Bringing two rifles is not necessary unless you are hunting eland or buffalo along with plains game. Any of the above mentioned calibers, or ballistic equivalents, will suffice for everything else. A good quality variable power scope is recommended as your shots can be at widely varying distances. Remember, when walking, to keep the scope on its lowest setting in case a shot at very short range should present itself. We also recommend bringing a spare scope, along with the tools necessary to change scopes if needed. Good quality lens covers are also desirable.
We highly recommend the use of premium bullets such as Nosler Partition, Swift A-Frames and Barnes TSX, especially if using a caliber on the light end of the above spectrum. Most major ammunition manufactures now offer ammo loaded with such bullets. These bullets are a bit more expensive, but the extra cost is a very small percentage of the overall safari.
Ultimately however, it is not the rifle caliber or the selected bullet which matters most, but rather where you place your first, and hopefully only, shot. Therefore it is imperative that you know your rifle inside and out, especially its trajectory; its zero range and where your bullet will hit at various distances. You also must have a realistic view of your own capabilities with your weapon, and make your PH aware of said capabilities. Knowing your rifles trajectory and recognizing you own shooting abilities will enable you to enjoy your hunt and go home successful. One last bit of advice, if you have little or no experience shooting from shooting sticks, both standing and sitting, it is important that you practice with them.
If you wish to avoid traveling with firearms Mankazana Safaris offers firearms for hire.
Download the SAPS Firearm Permit Application Form here.