We consider 7mm/.284 to be the reliable minimum calibre. Many international hunters like the .270, but some of our larger and tougher game (e.g. wildebeest, zebra, gemsbok, and eland) really do need a .30 calibre and 180+gr bullets.
While the 7mms can perform satisfactorily, we prefer the use of .30 and above for greater bullet mass and sectional density. If you absolutely must bring a 7x57, 7-08, or 7mm Rem Mag, please use heavy, strongly-built bullets to avoid break-up on impact.
A .308 with 180/200gr will serve for all game except perhaps eland. (We consider 180gr the minimum weight in .308). Please use a tough bullet, such as the Nosler Partition, Norma, Swift, or Barnes X. (We recently saw in action some 180gr Sierra Game Kings, which broke up far more than the client had expected).
A .30-06, especially with a 200/200gr bullet, is a good overall choice (and is the minimum calibre for eland). A .338 is somewhat better. A .30-06 will penetrate noticeably better than the .308, which may be necessary for that difficult shot on wildebeest or gemsbok.
The .338 Win Mag is a good round, if you can shoot it reliably (but remember, not too much speed). Nothing larger is required for our plains game, even eland. A downloaded .375 H&H is also a good calibre and easy to shoot.
Hand-loaded ammunition is fine, but it is not advisable to try to attain the fastest velocity, which usually not the most accurate. You also risk sticky extraction or even case head separations. Heaviest or second heaviest bullets fired at 2400-2800fps (±720-840m/s) are optimal.
It is important to be well-practised and reliable with your rifle, whatever the make or calibre. "A good man with an average gun will outperform an average man with a great gun". You should be able to group within 6" (150mm) at 100yds (90m) from shooting sticks, and 6" (150mm) at 200yds (180m) from sitting. If you prefer to shoot offhand (not generally recommended), the same grouping is required as above. (Remember to account for "buck fever" in your technique). You should also be very familiar with your round's trajectory at all sporting ranges. Being able to reliably get hits on running game may be necessary as follow-up. Jeff Cooper's "Art of the Rifle" (www.paladin-press.com) is a good work on the subject.
The holder of an import permit may not possess more than 200 cartridges for each firearm mentioned on the import permit.
So, bring about 80 rounds for your main hunting rifle. This will provide you plenty for zeroing (and re-zeroing if your sight malfunctions). Most airlines have a 5kg/11lb ammo weight restriction, but this is not often strictly enforced. Use a proper ammo box, such as the green plastic boxes from MTM-Caseguard. For transport a locking hard case (airline approved) is required. You can use a soft gun case, or sock case, for when you are in the bush.
The scope we recommend to our clients are the simple 3-9x. A 3-9x is the most magnification you'll need, and anything more may be detrimental. (An immature bull at 12x looks like a grand old monster!) If hunting with a larger rifle for Big Game, it is preferable to have a scope of 1-5x magnification.
A functional sling as carrying strap and shooting aid is vital. The Ching Sling found on Steyr Scout rifles is a notable example.
Some of our clients have previously not shot with shooting sticks but, on trying it out, have really enjoyed the added stability as there is not always a suitable, natural dead-rest available. Bring them along as well as bi-pods and tri-pods if you like hunting with them.
Do remember to bring good binoculars with a comfortable strap. Smaller pairs are recommended, such as 8x30s or 7x42s. High quality binoculars are a real treat, and you'll appreciate their superior clarity.
We usually like to carry a laser rangefinder in the veld, but bring yours if you wish.
You may temporarily import only one firearm per calibre, and no semi- or full-auto rifles are allowed. No hunting may be done with hand guns.
This is the procedure when coming from the USA - but the general idea is the same from most European destinations.
A - Get a U.S. Customs Form 4457 "Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad" for proof of prior-hunt ownership of your guns. This is available at all U.S. international airports, but we recommend doing so days before your flight, as you don't want to risk delay on your departure date. This form has no expiration date, and is valid for unlimited returns home. (Many clients laminate theirs). If you are not near an international airport, a letter from your local LEO will suffice. (Even a notarised letter of ownership will probably satisfy U.S. Customs.)
B - Take good digital pictures of your hunting firearms, and keep them with you on CD or USB drive in case they are lost in transit.
C - Record the serial numbers (don't forget the scope), and keep the paper with you.
D - Use a very sturdy rifle case such as Pelican or Tuffpak. Wide orange or yellow tape with your name/flights in black marker will distinguish your case from all others. Have digital photos of your case on hand so that you may quickly identify it if it is lost or delayed.
TSA firearm travelling:
The key regulatory requirements to transporting firearms, firearm parts or ammunition in checked baggage are:
E - Upon arrival at Windhoek International Airport:
F - While on Gras Hunting Ranch, you won't need to keep the gun permit on your person, but you must do so when travelling off the ranch. Police checkpoints are random events, but you'll have no trouble if your permit is on hand.
All visitors require a passport, valid for no less than 6 months after the expiry of the intended visit. Travellers must ensure passports contain at least one (we recommend at least 2) unused (blank) page.
A fit and accurate hunter can reasonably expect 8 to 10 good quality trophies. We are nicely stocked and we know our herds. The hunting is fun and challenging, but not brutal and frustrating. An average goal of an animal every day is realistic, and generally attained.
We are very keen on a 'walk and stalk' style of hunting, as this will expose you to Africa in its wildest form. Fair chase is the name of the game. However, sometimes we do have to shoot from the vehicle. This is done for older hunters. If a family hunts together we normally hunt from the vehicle so that everyone enjoys the hunt.
We drive until we see a good trophy and then stalk. Be prepared to walk as much as 4 hours in the morning (7-11am) and again in the afternoon (2-6pm). Terrain is generally flat, unless we are climbing one of our rock dome 'kopjes'. For those who cannot walk we will shoot from the vehicle.
Often, to close the distance for an optimal shot, we must 'leopard crawl' through the grass. This greatly adds to the hunting experience, if you're fit enough. The Marine Corps digital camo have knee/elbow pockets for thin neoprene padding, which really help for a comfortable crawl.
If you are unable or unwilling to 'leopard crawl' we are rather imaginative in getting you to the animal in other ways.
For the game we offer, absolutely. You'll rarely bump against a property boundary and the game has plenty of land for retreat to a wide variety of cover. We also hunt on many other concessions so there is a variety of terrain.
Indeed, and it's quite good! Guinea fowl are most common. It is preferable to bring a 12-gauge shotgun, as ammo is easier to come by than the others. Shotgun shells can be purchased from us at a reasonable price vs. bringing in such heavy ammo.
So, do bring your sporting shotgun to enjoy afternoons of very pleasant wingshooting. It's an excellent way to end the day and adds to your dinner variety!
We do also have shotguns for hire!
Ample, simple, and quite comfortable. Have a look here.
Just ask our previous clients! Melanie and Anri are superb cooks, and our game is deliciously prepared. Whatever you hunt, we will transform into some of the best meals you've ever enjoyed. Let us know in advance your food preferences and biases, and we will seek to accommodate them.
Namibian beer and South African wines are also very good.
The weather and temperatures can vary considerably in Southern Africa according to season: from 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C in winter up to 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C in the summer months of November to February (on occasion the temperature can go over this). You can follow the weather at Gras Hunting Ranch here.
Good, sturdy, cotton camo or darker earth tone clothing is best. (Tan and khaki are really too bright.) Buttons are preferred over noisy velcro and zippers.
As far as camo goes (camo is permitted in Namibia, but not in many of the other African countries), the new U.S. Marine digital (green or desert) is just amazing. (The U.S. Army digital is not nearly as effective, having too much grey, which stands out.) Our terrain reminds clients of high-desert Arizona plateau, so the classic woodland camo has more green than is effective.
Bring sturdy, light-weight and well broken-in hiking boots (if you've got room, a spare pair might come in handy in case you lose a heel), as well as a pair of comfortable shoes or sandals to wear around camp. Medium-weight wool socks work well. Also, don't forget a brimmed hat.
A windproof jacket or a warm sweater is essential as the nights can be cold. Rain during the summer months (December to March) is rare but bring a rain suit just in case.
We have a good laundry service at our lodge, so two or three (at most) sets of hunting clothes will be sufficient.
Become fit, very practised with your rifle and study the game's habits and anatomy. Many shots will be quartering angles, and prior knowledge of optimal best shot placement is important. We will go over this in person once you're here.
Dry-firing at game photos is fine preparation, and will acquaint your shooting eye.
"The Perfect Shot" is a great book to study in advance.
Visitors are advised to take pre-arrival precautions against hepatitis A, polio and typhoid.
Our main lodge is in a malaria-free area but if we do any touring, e.g. to the Etosha National Park, do take medication.
This is probably a good idea to protect yourself against trip cancellation, baggage loss/delay, and emergency medical issues. Gracy Travel Intl. is quite familiar with safari needs - see Gracy Travel International, Inc - Insurance.
A medical evacuation can cost thousands and transportation home on a medically equipped jet can cost $100,000 or more. For this reason, we have made Global Rescue, a crisis response company with no restrictions on destination or activity, our preferred evacuation provider.
When flying from Europe Air Namibia flies from Frankfurt direct to Windhoek, Namibia.
There are many more options to choose from and if one flies with the country's national carrier one would find all relevant information and regulations from that company. Do not fly via the UK with rifles. If you're flying with your guns, call the airline and ask them how they want them secured for the flight. These regulations may differ with different airlines. Our suggestion is that when you call the airline you are travelling with, document the time, date and to whom you spoke and take that with you to the check-in counter.
The ban on liquids and gels for U.S. flights may still be in effect as you read this, but check the TSA website to confirm.
There are two ways to go: have them mounted and tanned here in Namibia -highly recommend, as we use a fine local taxidermist. The taxidermist we use is Trofeedienste and the e-mail address is email@example.com You may contact them for a price list and any other questions you may have. Alternatively the taxidermist can "dip and ship" the trophies and you can have them done back home.
Contact Errol at Zingela Safaris. He will e-mail you the relevant documentation etc. Receipt of 50% of the total daily rate will formally book your hunt. The balance is payable in Namibia by Wire transfer or cash, and we will e-mail you beforehand a suggested ratio to bring. Namibia not longer except bank or travel cheques.
We have an excellent staff to serve you, and gratuities are most appreciated. We can discuss suggested amounts once you're here, but a rule of thumb to consider in the meantime is about 10% of your bill. Cash is easiest for this, payable at hunt's end to your PH, who will distribute to the individuals on your behalf to ensure that 'backroom' staff also get their share.