“We’re regulated by government. For every province where you operate, you need a permit in that province. There is now a national register that is being put in place, there are national permits that we need to comply with. There are landowner permits in terms of having the game on your land, you need permits to act as a tour guide,” Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) president, Hermann Meyeridricks told CNBC Africa.
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“It’s highly regulated and it happens at a provincial level mostly. Most of our members operate in multiple provinces so they would typically have five or six professional hunter and hunting outfitter permits that need to be renewed anything from between once a year to every three years. It’s an ongoing monitoring and you need to meet strict requirements.”
According to North-West University, foreign hunters spent 1.24 billion rand in South Africa in 2012, which takes into account total spending as well as species fees and daily rates.
“The Department [of Environmental Affairs’] figures are about 400 million rand lower and this is the figures that we have for 2012. The department’s figures are purely based on the daily rate that the client would pay to the hunting outfitter to be in the hunting camp and the trophy or species fees that they pay for the animals that they hunt,” Meyeridricks said.
“We know from within the industry that these clients spend a lot of time before and after the safaris and they also spend a lot of money on other things – that is the research that North West has done for us and that brings out the extra 400 million. That comprises of airfare, hotels before and after the safari, photographic trips, shopping, the taxidermy, in other words the preparation of the hunting trophy.”
Meyeridricks added that foreign hunters are an important component of the country’s international tourist mix and that there are strict laws to follow in the sector.
(READ MORE: S.Africa’s tourism industry in need of a boost)
“Most of the hunting takes place on private land. In South Africa there is about 21 million hectares in South Africa that is considered to be ‘game country’. Once you place your call there has to be a proper agreement in terms of our law between the hunting outfitter and you as the hunting client and that agreement needs to meet certain requirements,” he said.
“Once you are here, the hunting outfitter will employ a professional hunter to guide you and make sure that you comply with the laws of the land while you’re in South Africa, look after your safety and make sure that you have a good experience because it is after all a tourism experience that you are paying for.”