Most hunters have heard that most hunting in South Africa is done within high-fenced concessions. South Africa has a unique conservation model involving private ownership and management of wild game. The way this works is if the concession is surrounded by a high fence and is privately owned, then the game within this high-fenced concession is privately owned and therefore in most cases is privately managed. The landowner is able to set his own seasons on his high-fenced property.
If a landowner shoots all of his big kudu at one time, then no big kudu will exist for the next couple of years. This has led to efficient management of the game within these concessions, and South Africa’s game populations have flourished as a result of this policy. Approximately 85% of South Africa’s game areas are high-fenced as a result.
If the concession is low-fenced or is on public land, then there are hunting seasons and bag limits that are set by the government. That does not mean that there is not opportunity to hunt free-range areas for quality game. These areas do exist, but if you can’t get the fence out of your mind, then a little homework is necessary to locate some of the better areas for free-range hunting in South Africa.
One of the areas that have good free-range hunting areas is the Kalahari Desert. Both the Northern Cape and the Northwest Province encompass portions of the Kalahari. Many large privately-owned concessions exist in the desert region of South Africa. Although not always obvious, many of these desert areas are teeming with wild game such as springbok, gemsbok, kudu, wildebeest and more. The common denominator is water. If enough wells have been dug to support cattle, then wild game will also exist in good numbers.
Another area that has vast areas of low-fenced privately owned ranches is the Eastern Cape. Although the Eastern Cape has a goodly amount of high-fenced hunting operations, vast unfenced areas exist that support good populations of game such as vaal reedbuck, klipspringer, Eastern Cape Kudu, caracal and more. Being in good shape is a plus, as some of the terrain in the Eastern Cape can tend to be rugged.
The Free State also provides free-range hunting in South Africa. Large low-fenced concessions exist that have good numbers of game available for hunting. Large herds of animals such as blesbok, springbok, wildebeest and others roam the flat plains of the Free State. World-class wing shooting is also a staple in this region.
Finally, there are areas in Kwazulu-Natal that offer free-range hunting in South Africa for animals such as kudu, nyala, eland, bushbuck, grey rhebok, common reedbuck and more. Again, being in shape is a plus, as a bit of hiking will be required to get in position to get a shot at many of these trophy animals. Kwazulu-Natal’s Umkomass Valley is one area that offers world class free-range hunting in South Africa. Quotas are strictly managed to provide for great trophy hunting.
So if the high fences in South Africa have been holding you back from experiencing the wonders of hunting plains game in Africa, then be assured that there is free range hunting in South Africa that will provide you with the challenging hunt you have been looking for. Start planning your hunt now. Africa is waiting for you!