Please think twice before buying a donated hunt in South Africa!
Many of the true professional operators are finding it increasingly difficult to survive financially as the market is flooded with donated hunts, many of them sub-standard. If the trend continues for much longer, you find it difficult to find the traditional old time outfitters still operating.
There are 2 main reasons for donated hunts:
Firstly some organisations that provide conventions and marketing opportunities for outfitters DEMAND a donation in order to get a booth. At some of these conventions there are over 100 South African outfitters who have donated hunts. These hunts usually sell far below their value and can be a real bargain, but often they are not. They take the bread out of the real outfitters mouth as buyers are taken off the floor and into the auction to get a suspect bargain.
Secondly, in recent years there has been an explosion of new outfitters entering the market. In SA you can get your professional hunters licence in two weeks, even without any hunting experience. Entry into the market is very low. Many of these unknown outfitters donate hunts as they cannot get clients any other way. Sadly, most of them are out of business within 2 years but in that time they have again taken potential paying clients out of the market.
There is great concern amongst senior outfitters about this cancer of donated hunts (speak to any SA outfitter/PH with more than 10 years experience) and the unwillingness of some organisations to limit or place minimum prices on donated hunts at their conventions despite industry requests.
If you do buy a donated hunt, pay fair value and make sure the donor benefits too in some way. Failing this we may soon see the departure of the traditional safaris in SA.
Good luck and good hunting!
Garry, Sean and Cullen