Affordable Plains Game
South Africa has an abundance of game, more now (in sheer numbers) than 400 years ago, thanks to the commercialization of hunting.
Some species of game are simply more abundant, easier to get to and lower priced than others. For Custom Safaris to operate within the confines of our mission (offering tailored, budget hunting to selected clients), we have to restrict ourselves mostly to the more affordable species. Our informative website ("African Econo Hunting") has a special page dedicated to the most common species of what we call "econo game", with pictures and short descriptions of these animals. Examples of typical "econo game" are impala, warthog, kudu, waterbuck, blue and black wildebeest, springbuck, blesbuck, gemsbok, red hartebeest, grey duiker, steenbok, eland, plains zebra and ostrich. Examples of species which would typically not qualify as affordable "econo game" are roan antelope, sable antelope, sitatunga, mountain zebra, tsessibi, oribi, lechwe, some of the “tiny five” antelope like suni and red duiker, and of course dangerous game species such as lion, leopard, rhino, hippo and elephant. These animals are not totally out of reach to us, but they are simply far more expensive and usually require much more time to hunt. Sad to say, but frequently the rare species are the first to be "canned" for the check-book hunters. At Custom Safaris we focus on affordability and value for money, so we try to steer clear of these price-inflating critters. In-between these two categories fall game like bushbuck, nyala, common reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, grey rheebuck, klip springer, Cape buffalo and the likes.
What the first-timer-to Africa frequently does not get told is that some species are endemic to certain areas only, whereas some are adaptable and can thrive anywhere. For commercial reasons the latter get "imported" into other areas, in order to provide the hunters with a wider choice. Thus: depending on the area, topography and specific concession, the same species could cost much more or much less to hunt during two separate safaris that are geographically far apart.
At Custom Safaris we go to great lengths to explain these issues to the prospective new client, because we want him to choose in the face of knowledge . We start of with the client’s gut-feel wish list and area, and then gradually compromise species combinations for optimal cost and time. As free-lance outfitter, we have the whole country to choose from, making it far easier to achieve desired combinations than for those outfitters who operate from one ranch only. Living half-hour from Joburg International, we are well placed to reach the variety of the country’s topography and species. This saves the client money and time on internal flights or excessive road travel.
We do not cater for the record book "trophy collector". Chasing that extra half-inch can make the difference between an affordable and an expensive safari. "Good representative specimens" of most species are frequently marginally under or over the Roland Ward and SCI minimums, though substantially lower in price. The novice will not be able to tell the difference. It is however quite common to shoot record book animals on "non-trophy concessions" where the local hunters hunt purely for venison. Several Custom Safari clients have taken Roland Ward and SCI qualifiers, which is then appreciated by the client as an unexpected bonus.
In the "Picture Gallery" section of this web site is a page called Plains Game taken by Clients with some photos of plains game hunted by previous clients of Custom Safaris.