Business Day 1st Edition
Jun 12 2003
The province is determined to keep
hunters who have switched from Zimbabwe because of turmoil
LIMPOPO is making a killing from the
hunting industry, which is contributing about 70% to its total
annual tourism revenue.
Hunting is now a multimilliondollar
industry in SA's poorest province, with thousands of foreign tourists
the majority of whom are Americans
paying up to R350000 apiece to hunt the country's most prized big
Peak season is between April and September,
when foreigners spend between 14 and 21 days in the province to
hunt any of the big
animals or on average seven plains game.
Prices range from R4000
for one male kudu or impala, and between R2000 and R3000 for female
kudu and bushbuck. A roan antelope costs
about R80000, while an elephant or rhino is hunted at a minimum
cost of R250000, depending on the tusk size.
Between January and December
last year, 2061 foreigners from 42 countries visited Limpopo and
killed more than 14000 animals, making it the
largest hunting ground in SA.
Comparatively, just 9780 animals were
hunted by foreigners in Eastern Cape, which has the second-biggest
hunting industry in SA. In the
same period 9000 foreigners hunted 34000 animals countrywide, turning
SA's booming hunting industry into an R800m-a-year foreign exchange
Fred Mulders, chairman of the Bosveld
Hunters' Association, attributes the growth to political turmoil
in neighbouring Zimbabwe,
scared regular hunters away from the region's favoured hunting
Zimbabwe remains a popular hunting destination but more and more
hunters are coming to SA instead. And, once here, they are hooked
by the variety of hunts and other tourism products and are seldom
lured back to Zimbabwe or other destinations," Mulders says.
Limpopo has more than 1800 commercial hunting farms listed with
the provincial authorities.
The Professional Hunters Association
of SA believes that twice that number of game farms exist in the
The Limpopo industry
employs 2025 professional hunters and hunting outfitters and thousands
of jobs have been created to cater for tourists'
other needs, such as adventure and safari excursions.
With an already
established US market and an aggressive marketing drive under way
in Europe, the province foresees unsurpassed growth
in this industry.
Hunting could become one of Limpopo's
principal economic drivers, says Dr Feltus Brandt of Limpopo's
Limpopo has the biggest hunting industry due to the total number
of game farms available and game stocks. The total swing away from
cattle farming to game ranching is proving highly profitable," he
says. Brandt says there are regulations in place that compel all
professional hunters and hunting outfitters to be registered with
the provincial government. In addition, they have to comply with
strict licensing requirements and conditions.
Though the industry is well regulated, we cannot guarantee that the
actual hunt will come off 100% legally," he says.
of hunting licences are issued: one for the domestic open season,
which runs from May 1 to July 31, and the other is an exemption
permit, allowing game hunting throughout the year.
are not subject to open season regulations and a permit is granted
based on property size, fencing specifications, suitability
of habitat for each specie type, an ecology evaluation and a stringent
For example, a 50ha farm is restricted
to keeping one species of duiker and steenbok, while a 400ha plot
can hold sable,
Farms that keep the big five animals
are allowed only three roaming lions during the year.
In the Waterberg region, where 70%
of the land is utilised for hunting purposes, 150 open season permits
been issued this year, generating
an income of R158000.
There are no figures available for
private farms in that area.
Reinhardt Holtzhausen, a chief nature conservator in Waterberg,
says the most popular game hunted in the Nylstroom and Bela-Bela
are impala, kudu, wildebeest, blesbok, common duiker, springbok,
blue wildebeest, hares, bushbuck, rock pigeon, guinea fowl, Natal
francolin and redwing francolin.
Gary Davies, CEO of Professional
Hunters Association of SA, says foreigners provide high revenue
and low impact.
The 14- to 21-day
Big Five packages which are customised for foreigners cost between
R315000 and R345000 (about R4500 a night for accommodation
and meals, and minimum R250000 for one kill). This amount excludes
monies for trophy work.
Local packages for plains game range
between R3000 to R4000 a day, inclusive of vehicles, food and pick-up
drop-off at airport.
It excludes payment for the carcass and trophy work.