African Hunting Vehicles
The most popular African hunting vehicles are 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers or Land Rovers.
- The vehicle will be equipped with a hunting seat on the back. The most common configuration is a bench seat, though some trucks have single seats. In some hunting countries like Tanzania, the PH rides with the hunting client(s) on the back and a designated driver always drives. In southern Africa, it is not uncommon for the PH to drive. With most hunting vehicle rigs, the gun racks will be directly in front of you with room for at least 4 rifles. These should be padded or at least wrapped so your rifle is not moving against metal. A good truck will probably have a roof rack for your day bags etc.
- Some African hunting vehicles are furnished with a shooting rest. These are mostly seen in South Africa where, in some provinces, it is not illegal to shoot from the vehicle.
- Other hunting vehicle equipment should include spare tyres, high-lift jack, fire-extinguisher, tool boxes, winch, spade, extra fuel jerry can. In spite of using the best quality tyres, the roads in Africa are usually so bad; don't be surprised to get at least one puncture on your hunt.
- The vehicle will also be carrying a first aid kit, a cool box with drinks and lunch, shooting sticks, an extra water container and soap for hand-washing, ropes, wire, plastic sheeting and often 2-way radios. Some vehicles carry collapsible chairs and table for comfortable eating out.
On Board The Hunting Vehicle
- In southern Africa, there will be your PH, either driving or not. If the PH is not driving, another tracker or member of staff will be driving.
- In other hunting countries like Tanzania or Botswana, you will have a Government Game Scout with you. Being quite 'important' and in some cases, quite elderly, he or she usually rides in the passenger seat in the front. As mentioned before there will be a designated driver who not only drives but attends to all the vehicle mechanical requirements.
- You, the hunter, will sit in the back on the hunting seat with your PH and your companion hunter, if hunting 2x1, or non-hunter. Standing or sitting perched on the spare tyres, will be your trackers. One will be the number one tracker and the other could be termed as a gun-bearer as well as tracker.
Tips For Travel On A Hunting Vehicle
- Always wear your sunglasses or regular glasses when you are travelling on your hunt vehicle when it is moving. They will prevent the collision of a big flying insect and your eye. A small fly in the eye is a nuisance but a large one can really mess up, possibly, your shooting eye.
- It's always tempting but try to avoid grabbing at grass as you go past or through any.....some tall grasses can be sharp and cut your hand.
- Keep your limbs inside the vehicle or at least watch out for branches before sticking your arm out to point at something.
- In thick bush, watch out for low overhanging and adjacent branches. When driving through branches, don't hold on to them or ping them so they slap someone sitting behind. Just push them away with a flat hand.
- If you smoke, take care when lighting up a cigarette in a moving hunting vehicle as it is not pleasant getting hot ash in your eye. Don't throw either lit or dead cigarette butts out of the vehicle.
Typical African Hunting Vehicle | Photograph: Wikus Groenewald