In the previous two articles we discussed the importance of the field preparation of your trophies and what happens when these trophies reach the taxidermist. The “After-the-shot” and “At-the-Shop” articles will in essence help you to understand the process a bit better and, we hope, help you to see and address possible problems you might experience and that the experts might overlook. In the third and final part of this series we will take a look at the “getting-them-home” part of the process. Every step is important but without this part you won’t be able to enjoy your hard-earned trophy at home. This part will help you understand what goes into getting home that special trophy which you have dreamed about for years. We will give you some tips or information on what to look out for, and what questions to ask your taxidermist or outfitter with regard to shipping home your once-in-a-lifetime trophy. As mentioned before, Africa is a long way away and safaris, and the animals that you hunt on them, are expensive.  For many people, it is a once-in-lifetime event and not being able to enjoy your hard-earned trophy back home will be like a punch in the gut. 

You have been back at the office for a few months already and that amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Dark Continent feels like it happened years ago. Every now and then you catch yourself day-dreaming about it and it is amazing how crisp and clear every sound and smell is, even if you are sitting a few thousand miles away. You can still feel the cold, fresh wind on your face as you leave camp on the back of a truck in the early morning on the drive to a new area, and you can even hear the call of the grey loerie, or ‘go-away’ bird. You can still smell Africa, if you really concentrate: that mix of camp-fire smoke, dust and sweat, and sometimes even taste it.  But then you are shocked back into reality by the next problem or issue at the office.  As the days pass the memories tend to fade a bit and you start to lose the crispness of the sounds and smells – until one day when you get the best email or phone call in the world.
“Dear Mr So-and-so, your trophies have been completed and are ready for shipment to your residence.” The excitement is unbearable and you can’t contain it. You open up the folder on your desktop marked “Africa”, and all the memories start to flow again and you relive every second.
Usually by this time the freight forwarders will get in contact with you. This is the final leg in getting your trophies home. It is of extreme importance that the freight forwarder that you or the taxidermist use, is reputable. Take some time in doing some research and if you can, get some recommendations from other hunters and outfitters.
Zingela Forwarders have been in business since 2009. They believe in a personal touch when it comes to the export of trophies and provide a value-adding process that is possibly the most important part. They believe firmly in face-to-face interaction with their clients – you are not just a number but a person. And the way they do business illustrates this. I have used Zingela on numerous occasions getting trophies back from the USA and Africa, and the process has gone without a glitch. Their communication throughout the entire process is world class, and at every step of the way you, as a client, know what is going on.
But before your trophies are home, you need to finalise some details. In order to give the freight forwarders all the necessary information to assist them in doing their part correctly, they need some documents and information from you, the taxidermist and the outfitter.  Remember, they take care of all the import and export paperwork and if information is missing, the delay can be months, even years as legislation changes in countries overnight. It is of great importance that when you get on the plane home, all the documents have been correctly completed and submitted. Every good freight forwarder will add value to an exporter. This is normally seen as a necessary evil but if the freight forwarder is hands-on and has full knowledge of the product they are dealing with, it will become a breeze. This will add value to any company and ensure repeat clients.
Below we will take you through the process and discuss some of the pitfalls to look out for.  There are two modes of transport that the hunter can use to get his trophies back. Let’s have a quick  look at them.
Air vs Ocean Freight  
There are two main modes of transport to export trophies from Africa: air freight and ocean freight. Each has its own advantages, as well as disadvantages.
Air freight
The advantages of using air freight are shorter transit times and cheaper clearance and delivery charges at the destination port of entry. The main disadvantage of this mode is that it is generally more expensive in terms of freight costs.
Ocean freight
The big advantage is that it is generally cheaper in terms of freight costs. The main disadvantage is transit time, usually around 45 days depending on routing, as well as substantially higher clearing and delivery costs at the destination port of entry, due to extra port and handling charges not associated with air freight.
A hunter will base his decision of getting the trophies mounted in Africa, or at home in his own country, on a few factors. Budget constraints will most commonly be the biggest determining factor. A simple sum used to help a hunter decide on whether to mount trophies in South Africa vs mounting them in a hunter’s home country looks something like this:
  • Taxidermy Cost in South Africa + Cost of Freight on mounted trophies (which equate to bigger volume crates and therefore higher shipping costs) + Clearing and Delivery Charges at destination versus Taxidermy Costs at destination country + Cost of Freight (this generally being lower due to smaller crates) + Clearance and Delivery Charges at destination.
Ocean freight costs have skyrocketed over the last few years and this, together with the fact that fewer and fewer of these businesses are accepting hunting trophies, has put this mode under some pressure. Ocean freight has almost reached the point where it is no longer advantageous for freight forwarders to offer this option, as little, if any, saving the client has on freight costs is wiped out by the more expensive clearing and delivery costs at port of entry in the destination country as mentioned above.
This, together with extra transit and handling time, with an increased risk of damage to trophies as a result, just does not make ocean freight as attractive as it used to be. Air freight is now relatively on a par in terms of freight costs and the reduced transit time, as well as savings realised at destination ports of entry, now makes it the clear favorite when it comes to exporting hunting trophies from Africa.
For a hunting trophy consignment, the following documents will be required:
  • Taxidermy invoice
  • Packing list
  • Export permits
  • Veterinary documents
  • Copies of hunting permits and PH registers (for fish & wildlife if required)
These are the basic documents required for a successful export. However, countries have different regulations, which may require extra documents, and it also depends on the species  in your consignment. If your consignment contains CITES species, you might require an import permit – but that depends on the CITES species and the country of destination.
For a hunter it is very important that his outfitter has the following additional documentation & information before he leaves South Africa:
  • A copy of your passport / driver’s license and, to ensure that your export permits are issued correctly, your physical address. This should not be the delivery address but your physical address.
  • If your consignment is Dip & Pack, your taxidermy details at final destination should also be provided to him.
 All the above must be provided to the taxidermist who will be processing your trophies, and also to the freight forwarder. This is the last link in the chain of this process and it is probably the most important one as, without this link operating properly with all the correct information, it will cause unnecessary delays. Also, if not followed correctly, as per the regulations, it will cause problems once the trophy arrives at the final destination.
It is also important that the hunter has an idea whether he will be making use of a broker to assist him with the clearance of his consignment, once it arrives. A broker will assist the client to clear his consignment through customs, as well as Fish & Wildlife. They are quite familiar with the process and will handle this entirely on the client’s behalf. If the client does not have a broker, one who knows how to handle hunting trophy consignments can be recommended to the client.
Dip & pack consignments
Dip & pack consignments are basically processed trophies that will be exported to the hunter’s country of origin for taxidermy work to be done on it. This is, however, the client’s choice. It has by this stage already gone through the taxidermy process and is a finalised product, which is clean.
Mounted consignments
Mounted consignments are fully-mounted trophies that can be cleared at origin and sent to the client’s home. There is normally less paperwork and fewer regulations with regard to mounted trophies, as they are seen as a final product.
Requirements for export applications may vary from province to province. Below are the most commonly-used documents that are required by most of the provinces. Always make sure that the correct documents have been signed and filled out correctly to avoid any delays on the export permits.
  • Duration of hunt must be filled in – start date and end date.
  • Passport number must be correctly filled in as per the hunting client’s original passport.
  • Hunting register must be signed by the professional hunter, hunting client and hunting outfitter.
  • Hunting farm information must be on the hunting register (name of the farm, owner’s name and exemption letter number).
  • Species hunted, and the number of species hunted, must be on the hunting register.
  • PHYSICAL address must be on the hunting register – no postal address will be accepted.
  • Must be signed by the landowner.
  • Must be valid for the duration of the hunt.
  • Species hunted must be on the exemption letter (regulations of the exemption letter may differ from province to province).
  • Permission letter must be signed by landowner.
  • Must show the duration dates of the hunt.
  • Must list the species that were hunted.
  • Same requirement as Plains game / General application
  • Must be signed by the permit holder / hunting client (signature must be the same as on the hunting register).
  • Permit must be valid for the duration of the hunt. (Permit validity date must start before or on the date of the start of hunt. The permit can also be issued after the hunt has started BUT NOT AFTER THE HUNT HAS ENDED).
  • Professional hunter and hunting outfitter permits must be submitted with the application. (Please make sure that the professional hunter and hunting outfitter have valid permits as per requirements of the Department of Agriculture).
  • Same requirement as Plains game / General application
  • Same requirement as Plains Game / General application
  • Same requirement as CITES application
  • Same requirement as Plains Game / General application
If all the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted, your trophies will be on their way to you.  Depending on what mode of transport you have chosen, it will take a few weeks – but the wait will be worth it. The day your crate arrives and you open it will be like Christmas! As you remove the last screw and open the lid, revealing your trophies, you will be transported back to the Dark Continent – and just for a split second you will be standing there under a massive maroela (baobab) tree, feeling the warm sun of Africa on your face.

Africa’s Sportsmans Magazine Jan,Feb,Mrc 2019. P86