African Hunt Pricing
Are you tired of reading the mandatory phrase 'No Hidden Extras' on every African hunt website?
'Hidden Extras' seems to mean different things to different hunt outfitters or agents, so the diligent hunter needs to know how to drill down through the blurb to find out his real hunt price, even if it's just a few extra dollars.
It's not that hunting companies deliberately go out of their way to 'hide' their extra costs. It's just that some neglect to think of (or publish) the small detail of their prices and services to the hunting client. They commonly produce their hunt prices with the same basic inclusions/exclusions lists with minimal extra price information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Often the hunting client will take the hunt prices on a website at face value and will not know what further questions to ask.
A classic example may be a game farm hunting company which has blesbok on their trophy list but fails to mention that the hunter has to go to another game farm, maybe some distance away, to hunt one. Not only is going to be a surprise to the hunter who really wants a blesbok, because he booked thinking the whole trophy list will be available to hunt in one place, he now loses precious hunt time travelling to the next farm and, to add insult to injury, he will be mighty annoyed to receive the extra charge for the road transfer between the game farms, at the end of his hunt. Bingo! You have one disgruntled client and the outfitter has lost a possible repeat booking, just over what was probably a cursory amount of money that was never mentioned upfront.
So this African hunt pricing article aims to arm the hunter with all the details on how hunts are priced and the things to look out for and ask your prospective hunt outfitter or agent about before booking with him.
African hunt pricing tends to fall into one of the following structures.
- Hunt packages which include the trophy fees for a set list of animals.
- Build-your-own hunt packages with discounted trophy fees.
- All-inclusive hunts which exclude trophy fees and other client-dependent extras.
- Itemised hunt pricing - the daily rate plus a full list of all necessary fees and taxes.
"Information about the package is as important as the package itself". Frederick W Smith
African Hunt Pricing | Part 1
African Hunt Package Pricing
This sort of hunt is primarily to be found in southern African countries and the packages can be offered for all kinds of hunt lengths and animal combinations.
Here are a couple of examples...
5 Day Beginners Hunting Package (South Africa)
1x1 Hunter: $3455 | 2x1 Hunter: $3095 | Observer: $900
Trophy Fees Included: 1 Blue Wildebeest, 1 Blesbuck, 1 Impala
Hunt Inclusions: all accommodation and catering, road transportation, PH services, camp staff services, hunt staff services, laundry service, field trophy prep, alcoholic beverages, taxes, licences & permits.
Hunt Exclusions: international/domestic air travel, taxidermy work, trophy dip & pack, trophy shipping
In the unlikely event of any of the package trophies not being taken, there will be a refund of 90% of the listed trophy fee, deducted from your hunt costs.
7 Day Buffalo Package (Mozambique)
1x1 hunter $11500 | 2x1 Hunter $11000
Trophy Fee Included: 1 Buffalo
Hunt Inclusions: Buffalo Licence Fee
Hunt Exclusions: firearm permit, hunting licence, trophy shipping, charter flights, community fees, trophy export fees, VAT on daily rate, observer daily rate
In the unlikely event of the package trophies not being taken, no portion of the package is refundable.
- So on a package hunt, the hunter will obviously concentrate on obtaining his included trophy animals and if there is time after that, he may take additional animals at the full trophy price.
- These package deals might be suitable for some hunters who are happy to collect the first reasonable trophy animal they see. They are not ideal for any hunter who wants to be selective about their trophy animal who would better on a pay-as-you-shoot hunt.
- These hunts are really offered on the premise that the hunter can be assured of success on the included trophy animal. Some outfitters actually say they have 100% or close to 100% success rate on their packages. You would be well-advised to take this with a pinch of salt as fair chase hunting success can never be 100% guaranteed for numerous reasons. This becomes even more obvious with the longer package hunts with more than 12 plains game trophies included amongst which are kudu and bushbuck.
- You really must check out the refund situation carefully should you not take some or all the animals on your package 'combo'. The booking conditions were added to the example hunts above but in reality you will need to read the 'Terms & Conditions' for any package refund information - it is not generally on the web page featuring the package hunt.
- It might not be a big deal if you failed to get an impala out of your 5 animal plains game package but it can be a big financial loss if you don't get a pre-paid high dollar animal. Some hunting companies offer no refunds whatsover, others will knock off all or a percentage of the listed trophy fee of the animal you failed to get and others will give you a fixed amount refund, for example US$16000 back if you failed to get the elephant on a 1 elephant hunt package.
- You must also find out whether your hunt package outfitter attaches any (hidden) criteria to issuing a refund for failing to get a package animal. For example, will he refund you if you do not find or see the animal at all during your hunt, the PH got you up on an animal but there was no shootable bull or it was impossible to get a shot, you missed a shot completely or you turned down a shot at a mediocre trophy hoping to do better later and this just didn't happen?
- Some hunt packages can get quite complicated when you are allowed to substitute certain different animals for the included package ones. Watch out for some additional costs on the substituted animal and be aware you can't just swap any included animal - only what is allowed which is of a roughly commensurate value. Here's an example...
- If you don't want or can't find a gemsbok you can substitute a zebra at an extra cost of US$75 OR if you don't want a steinbok you can swap to a blesbok for an extra US$175.
- Yet another thing to look out for is whether your package hunt outfitter applies a sliding scale of trophy fees for horn length on some animals. So if your package includes a kudu - is it for a standard horn length kudu only? Are you going to be charged extra if you get a monster trophy kudu?
Package Hunt Inclusions And Exclusions
Most outfitters display more or less the same hunt inclusions and exclusions but some are less thorough than others, so there may be items you need to clarify before booking.
Typically A Package Hunt Includes:
- All accommodation & meals
- Hunt transportation
within the hunting area
- Professional Hunter services
- Camp staff services
- Trophy field preparation
Typically A Package Hunt Excludes:
- International airfares
- Personal items
- Trophy dip & pack
- Trophy shipping
- Taxidermy work
Airport/camp road transfers
Other safari activities or trips
Possible Hunt Package Items To Check:
- Are alcoholic beverages included?
If so, all alcoholic beverages? Just wine and beer?
- Is a daily laundry service included or is an extra cost on a per item basis?
- Are you going to be charged for missed or repeat shots? This is an uncommon extra hunt charge to be found in South Africa in an effort to minimise disturbance to game. You are allowed 1 free missed or repeat shot at an animal. Any more and you'll be charged US$10 per shot fired at the same animal.
- Are you being charged VAT?
- Are you going to be charged extra for a road trip to other local hunt areas? It has become increasingly prevalent in southern Africa that hunters are moved from farm to farm for different trophy species. All well and good if you know about this and don't mind but if it's sprung on you and you get to lose hunt time and an unexpected fuel bill, you have every reason to be annoyed.
African Hunt Pricing | Part 2
Build-Your-Own Hunt Package Pricing
A variation on the package hunt is the 'build-your-own' hunt package. This is where you can hunt any animal you like from the main published trophy list. You must take enough animals (as valued on the main trophy list) to reach a specified target amount to qualify for a trophy fee discount. Does this make sense? Nope. Here's an example...
- You can hunt any animal from the trophy list and when you exceed a total of say, US$2000's worth trophy of trophy fees you can have 10% off. If you exceed more than US$3000 trophy fees you get 20% off.
- Ah ha, you're thinking that you can take an nyala, sable or giraffe and get a great deal on the trophy fees. No such luck - you'll find most, if not all, of the high dollar animals excluded from the build-you-own package.
- Also before you start planning your 'build-your-own' wishlist, check whether there are any other package rules which may apply to particular animals such as they are only included when you go on a longer hunt or advance notice needs to be given or whether there is a sliding scale of prices applied to horn length.
- If you are hunting 2x1 on a 'build-your-own', the discounts may only apply to each hunter's trophy total.
Check the rules of the hunt first and take a calculator with you
African Hunt Pricing Part 3
All-Inclusive Hunt Pricing
This African hunt pricing structure is the most common and found in most hunting countries, particularly those which have a myriad of different Government hunting taxes, like Tanzania. Outfitters find usually it more convenient to bundle all the fees and taxes into one hunt price omitting only the variables like air charters, road transfers and firearm permits. All trophy fees are in addition to the hunt cost and are only paid if you take (or wound & lose) an animal.
In South Africa, where hunting is mostly free of Government taxation, the hunt price usually includes hunt licences/permits.
Typically An All-Inclusive Hunt Price Includes:
- Daily rate
- All accommodation & meals
- Daily laundry service
- Alcoholic beverages (usually)
- Government Conservation Fees
- Hunting Licence
- Services of PH, hunt and camp staff
- Use of hunting vehicle
- Meet & Greet airport service
- Firearm clearance assist at airport
- Trophy field prep
- Trophy export documentation
- Trophy Dip & Pack
Typically An All-Inclusive Hunt Price Excludes:
- Trophy fees with Community Development & Anti-poaching fees included
- Observer fees
- Firearm permit fees - either in total or just if you bring more than 1 rifle
- International & domestic air travel
- Air Charter costs
- Hotel accommodation before/after hunt
- Hotel/Airport transfers
- Trophy shipping
- Taxidermy work
- Airport/camp road transfers
- Optional Tips
- Other safari activities or trips
- Personal Items
Possible All-Inclusive Hunt Items To Check:
- A few outfitters who primarily operate in one hunting block for the season, can include the air charter costs in the hunt price. They run air charter 'schedule' with outgoing hunters using the return leg of the incoming hunters. This can substantially reduce charter costs but only if the hunter's dates can fit in to the schedule.
- If air charter costs are excluded, are the costs per aircraft or per person?
- Are all the charter departure fees, safety and navigation fees extra to the quoted charter price?
- Are camp alcoholic beverages included? They usually are in remote hunt camps, at least for wine and beer. If you want any special branded alcohol, you need to bring it with you or order them beforehand, in which case you will be billed for them.
African Hunt Pricing | Part 4
Fully Itemised Hunt Pricing
This hunt pricing structure is commonly used in Tanzania (as well as the all-inclusive hunt pricing above) and other countries where there are many Government taxes and fees. Comparing and contrasting these hunts often throws up discrepancies in what are usually fixed Government taxes. This is not typically a profit-making ploy but just the addition of the administrative costs involved to implement the procurement of a firearm permit, for example, which would otherwise be lumped into the Daily Rate.
All The Government Taxes & Fees For Tanzania 2015
- Occasionally referred to as Government Tax for the Protection of Nature
- Payable by all visitors to Game Reserves and National Parks in Tanzania
- US$150 per person per day if hunting
- US$100 per person per day for a non-hunting observer
- Often referred to as Area Fees or Block Fees
- Approximately US$400 per day per hunter
- Can range from US$50 to US$100 per day for a non-hunting observer
- This fee covers the Government charges for leasing the hunting block and whatever the leaseholder feels fit to charge for the optimum maintenance of his block. So this fee is variable as different hunting blocks have different Government lease charges and hunting companies expenditure on maintenance will differ. Generally the 'better' the block and the more responsible the hunting company, the higher the concession fee will be.
- Government charge for the permit to hunt and is varied according to the licence length.
- 10 day hunt licence US$950 per hunter
- 16 day hunt licence US$1250 per hunter
- 21 day hunt licence US$1250 - US$1400 range per hunter
- This permit is acquired prior to the start of the hunt for the named client and lists all the species he is allowed to hunt. It is completed as the hunt progresses by the Government Game Scout and also information pertaining to the GPS position of the animal shot, ecological conditions present at the time, is entered on this document. The client signs all copies at the conclusion of the hunt.
Trophy Export Permit Fee
- The Trophy Export Permit is obtained after the Government Game Fees (trophy fees) are paid and is the permission to export the trophies taken as per the client's hunting licence. Many outfitters lump all the trophy export and handling into one cost and prices may vary with different companies.
- Cost varies according to the licence length
- 10 day licence - US$400 per hunter
- 16 day licence - US$500 per hunter
- 21 day licence - US$500 per hunter
Trophy Handling, Dipping & Packing, Documentation, Veterinary Clearance, Customs Clearance, Trophy Transfer From Bush to Dar
- Dependent upon difference licence lengths as varying quantities of trophies are involved
- 10 day licence - US$1200 per hunter
- 16 day licence - US$1900 per hunter
- 21 day licence - US$1900 - US$2100 range per hunter
- Some outfitters charge a separate additional sum to transfer the trophies out of the bush - typically US$900 per hunter
- Some outfitters charge an additional sum to handle an elephant trophy - typically US$800
- This tax is levied if no 'anti-poaching fee' is attached to the trophy fees.
- US$90 per day per hunter
- US$50 per day per non-hunting observer
Firearm Import Permit Fee
- Government charge per firearm to obtain a permit to allow the hunter to bring his firearm(s) into Tanzania
- Ranges from US$120 -US$250
- The permit is acquired in advance of arrival and will be presented to the Customs officer at the airport as the client passes through. The information on the permit must match the firearms to be inspected.
- A firearm export permit is issued based on information from the import permit.
- This is a Government levy based on the total amount of ammunition the hunter brings into Tanzania.
- Applicable usually for amounts over 100 rounds
- Payable in US$ cash at the airport
- US$30 per 100 rounds
Government Game Fees/Trophy Fees
- These are the per species fee charged by the Government when an animal is killed or wounded/lost.
- The fees are paid to the Wildlife Department in order to receive the Trophy Export permit.
- These fees form the basis of your trophy fees which either have a Community Development percentage added or indicated as to be added.
- Some outfitters charge these basic rates and some add their own profit margin.
- Government game fees are doubled for bow hunters
Community Development Contributions
- Also referred to as a 'contribution to Tanzanian villages'
- This is a percentage of the per species trophy fees
- The percentage can range from 10% - 30%
- As the term indicates, it is a sum paid to the local community to improve their living conditions and village facilities. Hopefully by doing this, the local communities will play their part in controlling poaching.
- Specific anti-poaching programs are often instituted and paid for by this contribution or part thereof.
Long Distance Vehicle Tax
- US$1800 per hunting vehicle
- Most hunts in Tanzania require charter flights into the hunting areas as road transfers are long and difficult.
- Usually costs are per aircraft though some outfitters charge per person.
- Costs are based on the size of aircraft required and flight distance
- Fresh produce and other camp supplies for the hunt are often loaded on the aircraft with the hunter, so depending on the size of the hunting party and the camp requirement, a larger aircraft is used than may seem necessary. A very large group of hunters may even require a second aircraft for supplies.
- Air charters prices are always quoted as 'subject to change' due to fuel cost rises.
- Additional charges for landing, air navigation, safety fees and departure tax may or may not be included in your charter quotation. These fees are payable by the client in US$ cash at the airport or can be paid in advance by the outfitter, as is often more convenient.
Other Optional Hunt Charges
- Extra vehicle rental - about US$575 per day - Optional extra should you wish your non-hunting clients to go out into the bush while you are hunting.
- Extra bait vehicle rental - about US$400 per day - Optional and useful extra if you on a tight schedule, for example a 15 day hunt on a 21 day licence. Utilizing another vehicle to do cat baiting and bait checking leaves you free to continue hunting other species.
Change Of Hunting Area
- Often a set one-time charge to move you and staff to another area in a split destination hunt.
- Typically US$2500
- If your change of area requires a charter flight, there will be these costs in addition.
Other African Country Hunt Pricing
In countries such as Mozambique, Botswana and Ethiopia, a client must purchase a licence for each animal they wish to hunt before the hunt. This licence fee is non-refundable should the animal not be taken.
More On Planning An African Hunt