African Hunting Camps
African hunting camps or hunt lodges usually fall into one of three categories...
- Permanent structures with chalet or rondavel accommodation units - mostly found in southern Africa.
- Temporary tented camps which must be dismantled after every hunt season - often found in wilderness areas such as the Selous Reserve, Tanzania.
- Permanent tented sleeping accommodation with other permanent structures like dining room/bar. Tents of a more permanent nature with all mod-cons, pitched over a concrete base are used give a more authentic African atmosphere.
Permanent Hunting Camps
- An average of about 6 chalets or rondavels (typical African houses, usually round with a thatched roof, constructed of wood, stones or bricks). Levels of 'rustic-ness' vary so get some detailed pictures to see if they match your requirements.
- Camps are often fenced and are located in an area with great views or close to a waterhole so you can watch game. The home range around a camp is, in most cases, strictly not part of the hunting area, so game is encouraged to gather here. Tough luck if the warthog of your dreams is grazing outside your door.
- Most accommodation for overseas hunters has all mod cons with en suite bathroom facilities, showers, hot and cold running water, mains or solar-powered electricity, ceiling fans or air-conditioning, insect screening at the windows. Beds may be 2 singles or 1 double.
- There will be a dining area and kitchen with fridge, freezer, and stove, usually run on gas. Sometimes the food may be actually cooked elsewhere such as at the main house, and just served in the hunting camp.
- Depending on the standard of hunting camp, food will usually be fresh produce based on typical South African cuisine. Main meals will include plenty of game meat.
- Often there will be a lounge or recreation area in a nice trophy room setting. Most camps have a full bar from which to serve alcoholic drinks.
- There will usually be a camp fire area with outside seating.
- Set well away from the camp will be the skinning shed and butchery facility. All the trophies are stored in a dry, insect and other animal-proof room. The meat from your trophy animal is the property of the hunt area owner and is generally processed in a professionally equipped butchery, often to be sold to the general public.
- Other facilities that may be available are a swimming pool and other 'amusements' like satellite TV and DVD, snooker tables, beauty parlours and jacuzzis.
- Some hunt lodges also cater for photographic safari clients though usually not at the same time. You may find the extra 'luxury' amenities more attune to the non-hunting safari-goers.
- You also may find some southern African hunting camps have more of a 'family feel', which may or may not be to your liking. The owner and family may come to join you in the evenings on occasion.
- Southern African hunting camps vary greatly in their efforts to give the hunting client a 'back to nature' experience so do be advised to check out the facilities, possibly get some pictures, to definitely make sure it will suit you.
Wilderness African Hunting Camps
These hunting camps, typically found in Tanzania, are usually a temporary structure, built and dismantled every hunting season. Every sign of human habitation, in the Selous Reserve for example, must be removed so the area may return to pristine wilderness. The camp facilities are as fancy as the outfitter feels his clientele require - it all has to be brought in by truck - so this will be reflected in the daily rate.
- The hunters will be accommodated in large safari tents with en suite bathroom facilities shower, flushable WC usually. Cold water is from a tank which is topped up as required. Hot water is also supplied as required at shower times in the morning and evening. This water is boiled and filtered. There may be a plumbed-in basin or a bowl and water jug for hand-washing. Electricity is supplied usually from a generator which is turned off during the day and on at dusk until the camp retires. There are usually 2 single beds per tent.
- The dining area is usually a separate thatched grass structure often with a cement floor. There is usually a fridge/freezer for cold drinks and ice.
- The camp will be unfenced on the perimeter but may have low grass fences to demarcate pathways and higher fences to screen off the behind the scenes areas and staff quarters.
- Camp layouts should comply to obvious 'health & safety' issues regarding water and drainage but the look and feel will be be left to the operator's imagination.
- Again, there will usually be a pleasant camp fire area with seating to relax round in the evenings.
- The skinning shed will be set well away from the camp and the trophies will be stored in a strong structure of branches and wire to keep the most determined hyenas out.
- There will not be any other amenities like a pool. Though it has been known for the occasional outfitter to bring in a satellite TV or jet-ski, this is hardly the norm.
- Behind the scenes will be a laundry, bush kitchen, store rooms, vehicle refuelling area, mechanics section and all the staff tents
.indeed, a whole working community to back the hunting camp.
- Standards of food in African hunting camps will vary according to the level of 'luxury' that you booked. The swishest hunting camps can offer the finest 5 star hotel cuisine and silver service. The more average camps will serve good hearty food which includes a lot of game meat which you will supply. Fresh produce requirements are carefully calculated per hunting group but popular items can run out occasionally and it is not possible to run to the corner shop. When a hunter flies into the hunt area, the aircraft is loaded with a new stock of fresh food which may include seafood and fish to serve on the first night until the hunting gets underway.
- If you are a picky eater and liable not to like certain foods or if you really love certain foods and are likely to eat a inordinate amount of something - tell your outfitter ahead of time on the Hunting Client Information form.
- These African hunting camps are definitely a more 'back to nature' experience only limited by the outfitter's imagination and taste.