Big Game Hunting in South Africa is why you dream of coming. It's the chance to stalk an animal that until now has only been a picture in a hunting magazine, or something that you've seen in a zoo. Dick Pelc with a good Waterbuck.
It won't seem real, to see hundreds of blue wildebeest thundering across the plains, to see a majestic kudu melt into the bush like a ghost, to hear the maniacal chuckle of a hyena in the darkness. But it is real, you really are in South Africa, and you're on YOUR safari.
There are literally dozens of game animals to hunt under fair chase conditions. From the always dangerous cape buffalo, to the graceful gemsbok, to the tiny duiker, all these animals are a challenge to hunt for different reasons. Are you up to the challenge?
The variety of game animals in South Africa is as wide and varied as the terrain in which they're found. Does the thought of stalking a trophy across a wide, windswept plain stir your blood? Would you rather play "Hide & Seek" in heavy cover? Or is sitting in a hide, watching a cornucopia of game species come to drink at a water hole more to your liking?
It doesn't matter, talk to us at AMS and we can arrange what suits YOU best! Whether it's a custom-tailored safari, or one of our more budget minded Package Hunts, we will work with you to provide you with the hunt of a lifetime.
At AMS we believe that if a hunter knows a bit about an animal that he is hunting, it makes his hunting so much more enjoyed.
You can either read through the whole introduction below, or simply click on the Animals below to learn a little more about them, where they live and how you might hunt them.
It can be safely said that South Africa offers a bigger variety of hunting than any other country in the world. A hunter planning a first hunt in Africa is faced with a very great dilemma: Which ones to choose for the first hunt? There are 34 species of antelope alone, three species of zebra, plus the Big 5 and other dangerous game like crocodile, hippo to mention just a few.
The major facts about some of the animals that are offered for hunting are described in some issues of the Andrew McLaren Safaris Newsletters. Another very good source of knowledge about plains game and other animals that could be hunted in South Africa is: http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla.htmlSouthern Africa Animal Kingdom : An Overview
Mammals | Reptiles | Birds | Marine life | Insects and arachnids | Amphibians
Southern Africa is very fortunate to have the largest variety of animals in the world. It is home to more than 800 bird species, 150 mammal species, about 50 snake and lizard species, 11 tortoise species and thousands of invertebrate animals like insects and arachnids.
South Africa is in the fortunate position that it is home to the largest landbased mammal (the elephant), the tallest (the giraffe), the fastest (the cheetah), the smallest ("dwergskeerbek"-mouse), the largest non-flying bird (the ostrich) and the largest flying bird (the kori bustard).
The larger mammals can be divided into three groups: herbivore, carnivore and omnivores.
Elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, buffaloes and elands are the largest herbivores found in the country. The herbivore group with the largest number is the impala Ė the small red buck that is found almost everywhere.
The cat family, dog, hyena, otter and mongoose families all form part of the carnivore group. Almost all carnivores are hunters except for hyenas that are scavengers.
Apes, baboons and the pig family are omnivores with the exception of the warthog. Surprisingly the ugly warthog lives from grass and leaves.
Reptiles are cold blooded, scaly animals. More than 400 reptiles are found in Southern Africa. About 130 snake species occur in Southern Africa but only a tenth is poisonous.
The smallest land tortoise (speckled "padloper") that is only up to 8,5 cm long and the largest land tortoise (mountain tortoise) that weighs up to 40 kg, are both found in Southern Africa.
The well-known "leeurugseatortoise" (the largest tortoise in the world) which weighs up to 600 kg, is found in the coastal areas of Northern-Zululand. It grows up to 2 metres tall and the female lays her eggs on the beaches. They lay up to 1000 eggs in a breading season.
The South African coast is home to a variety of seabirds. Many are indigenous to this part of the world whilst others migrate mainly from Europe to stay here during summer. There are 16 different penguin species living in the southern hemisphere but the Jackass penguin is the only one that lives in the coastal areas of South Africa. They lay their eggs in holes in the ground or under a layer of rock to protect it from the sun.
The largest bird on earth, the ostrich, is found in large numbers in South Africa. It is mainly farmed for its feathers, skin, eggs and cholesterol-free meat. The ostrich is unique, although it can't fly, it runs up to 50km per hour over short distances.
Although a fairly large variety of marine life is found around the South African coast, only a limited number of species of fresh water fish (100) occur in South African rivers. This is mainly due to the fact that South Africa is a dry country.
The South African coast is very rich of edible fish types. Some of these are unique to South Africa like snoek, kabbeljou and kingklip.
The Southern Right Whale is the largest mammal in the Southern Hemisphere and breeds around the southern coast of South Africa.
Insects and arachnids
Insects are the most abundant animal species on earth. The are more than a million insect species on earth and more than 100 000 can be found in South Africa. Many insects are useful but they can also be pests.
The praying mantis is one of the interesting insects found in South Africa. For centuries it was a symbol of holiness for the San people - the first people that lived in South Africa.
The Baboon spider is a ground dwelling hairy spider and considered one of the largest spiders in the world. It ranges in size from 2 to 6 cm in body length, but is not poisonous.
Frogs, toads, water salamanders and salamanders form the group of amphibians.
The only type of amphibians that occur in South Africa is frogs and toads.
The smallest frog is the micro-frog, which is only 1,8 mm long and is on the list of endangered species.
Surprisingly the ghost frog is only found on Table Mountain. It lives in the fast flowing streams on the mountain, is very scarce and endangered. The name ghost frog stems from the fact that it is only seen at night.
For the more systematically minded person here is a near complete classification with scientific names.