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Plains game species that can be hunted in South Africa – Part 3

Here follows the next couple of plains game species that can be hunted in South Africa:


Nyala are among the most graceful of the spiral-horned antelope that can be hunted in South Africa. Their preferred habitat is the higher rainfall eastern parts of South Africa where they favour densely wooded savanna. The .270 should be the smallest caliber with which to pursue the Nyala. A .30 caliber rifle would, however, be a better choice.









The awkward-looking red hartebeest is one of the fastest of the plains game animals found in South Africa. They favour open-country areas where they rely on their speed to elude predators. Hartebeest have good hearing and an acute sense of smell and should always be approached slowly from downwind. Their eyesight is not particularly good.









The number of roan antelope in South Africa has increased substantially over the last decade.  They are the second largest of the plains game animals that can be hunted on a South African hunting safari.









The world’s largest living bird species also counts among the other species that can be hunted whilst on safari in South Africa. The ostrich is popular for the high quality of its hide, its magnificent feathers, and its lean, high-protein meat. Ostriches are also often hunted while in pursuit of other game.









Sable antelope are most active during the early mornings and late afternoons. Their distinctive colouring makes them easy to spot, even in the densest vegetation. The scimitar-shaped horns of the sable are probably the most prized of all the plains game trophies found in South Africa.









The black springbok is not a sub-species, but rather a colour variation on the common springbok. They occur in all areas where the common springbok is found. Black springbok trophies make a great display when mounted alongside the common, white and copper springbok.










The common springbok is the national animal of South Africa. These graceful animals are hunted on open terrain where their exceptional eyesight make it very difficult to get within shooting range. They are best hunted with a caliber with a high velocity and a very flat trajectory.









The white springbok is another colour variation on the common springbok which can be hunted in South Africa.








Steenbok are a fairly common small antelope that have a wide distribution in South Africa. Steenbok are territorial antelope and only the male of the species carries horns. They would normally be taken on a chance encounter while hunting for another animal.

Plains game species that can be hunted in South Africa – Part 2

Here follows the next couple of plains game species that can be hunted in South Africa:


Eland are the largest plains game animal that can be hunted in South Africa. Large males can easily be identified by their blue necks and large dewlaps. The large males normally have a thick and prominent tuft of hair on their foreheads.









Giraffes are the world’s largest ruminants and the tallest land mammals. Giraffe have exceptional eyesight and acute hearing, which makes them difficult to approach. Hunting giraffe will most often be done by spot and stalk or tracking his very distinctive spoor. The giraffe has thick, tough skin and will require the same bullet selection as an elephant.












The Grey Rhebuck is a medium-sized antelope that occurs in mountainous terrain in the southeastern part of South Africa. The altitude and terrain where these plains game species are hunted can often create a very challenging hunt. Only the males of the species carry horns, which are straight and upright.



Gemsbok are one of the most impressive plains game trophies that can be hunted in South Africa. Gemsbok are native to the dry Kalahari region of South Africa. They can go without surface water for months on end, as they derive moisture from the plant material they digest.









Impala are the most common antelope found in South Africa. Impala are a very attractive mid-size antelope. They are included in almost all of our hunting packages and would normally form part of the bag on any safari in South Africa.










Klipspringers are one of the smallest antelope species found in South Africa. They are hunted in areas with rocky terrain or mountain ranges. Their yellow-brown coats provide excellent camouflage in these areas, and they can be very difficult to spot when standing motionless. They should be spotted from below, as opposed to above, as klipspringers are more alert to predation from above.









A good set of kudu horns is arguably the most impressive plains game trophy that can be harvested in Africa. Kudu occur widely throughout South Africa, where they favor broken or hilly terrain with thick vegetation. They are very well camouflaged and can be hard to spot when standing motionless in thick brush.









Though the red lechwe is not endemic to South Africa, they have been introduced to the Free State and Eastern Cape from populations found north of South Africa. They are a medium-sized antelope and only the males of the species carry horns. They are ideally hunted with a 30 caliber or larger.









These medium-sized antelope favour mountainous terrain where they occur in small family groups. Only the male of the species carries horns. Mountain reedbuck can present a very challenging hunt with a lot of climbing involved. Long shots with varying elevation are often required, and a fast flat shooting caliber would be recommended when embarking on a mountain reedbuck hunt.


Plains game species that can be hunted in South Africa – Part 1

Southern Africa has more species of mammals than any other hunting destination. The abundance of antelope species in Southern Africa, and especially South Africa, make it an absolute paradise for hunters. Plains game hunting brings more hunters to Africa each year than all of the Big Five combined. Here are some of the most popular plains game species that can be hunted in South Africa.



Black wildebeest are normally hunted on the central plains of South Africa. By the early nineteen hundreds, these animals were almost hunted to extinction. It was only through committed conservation that their numbers were re-established in the latter part of the previous century. Trophy hunting and the income derived from it is one of the most important contributors to the conservation of the black wildebeest in South Africa.

Black Wildebeest











Blesbok are amongst the most common animals that can be hunted in South Africa. These antelope favour open plains where water is available. Long shots are often required when hunting on the open plains in South Africa. Calibers which are ideally suited to hunting these animals are the faster shooting calibers with a relatively flat trajectory. We recommend the .270, 7X57 and the .300 Win Mag.



Blue wildebeest are often referred to as “the poor man’s buffalo”, for there are many similarities when hunting this animal and the Cape buffalo – Africa’s largest and toughest bovine.

Blue Wildebeest










Bontebok are one of the rarest species of plains game that can be hunted in South Africa. They bear a close resemblance to blesbok, with a few unique distinctions. The bontebok has a white blaze that stretches from its forehead to the tip of the nose. They also have a distinct white blaze around the tail. Bontebok are normally only hunted by avid African trophy collectors.



Bushbuck are the smallest of the spiral-horned antelope that can be hunted in South Africa. These antelope can be quite elusive. The males are normally solitary and favour thick vegetation. They are often encountered during the late afternoon in the thick bush surrounding river courses. It is important to be very wary of bushbuck once they are wounded, for they have been known to lie in wait and attack hunters.



Common reedbuck are fairly widely distributed throughout South Africa. They are mostly nocturnal animals that are hunted during the late afternoon and early morning. The name “reedbuck” was given to these animals, for they commonly hide in reeds and the tall grass surrounding marshes during the day. Common reedbuck can be distinguished by a white patch under the tail when they are running away.



The grey or common duiker, as he is also known, is among the most common small antelope that can be taken on a plains game hunting safari in South Africa. They are normally taken opportunistically when pursuing another antelope.

Common Duiker

A Legend of a PH – Johnny Vivier

Johnny Vivier entered the hunting industry as an apprentice PH in Zimbabwe in 1978 and has hunted ever since.  Being a PH runs in the family.  Johnny started shooting with a pellet gun, at the tender age of 5 years, under the watchful eye of his father.  He shot his first animal, a Roan antelope bull at the age of 7 with a 30-06 rifle whilst on Safari with his dad in Zambia.  His first dangerous game specie was shot at the age of 10 years – a rouge Buffalo bull in Zambia – that had been mauled by Lions and was chasing the villagers away from the waterhole.  According to Johnny, he knew from that day that he too, will one day become a Professional Hunter like his father.

Dangerous game

“I love hunting Buffalo most out of the dangerous game animals, especially Bulls that are in herds where cows, that have calves, are present.”  Johnny also feels that hunting Kudu bulls on foot is his specialty out of all the antelope species.  He says that he has taken on average about 15-20 trophy bulls per year with his clients spanning over a period of 30 year throughout Southern Africa. The magical mark of 60+ inches being broken only 11 times!!  He uses the same old open sighted .458 Ruger bolt action as a backup.  It holds 3 rounds in the magazine with 1 up the spout.

Family Man

Although he loves his career as a PH, Johnny is also a family man and treasures his wife Beverley and his daughter, Kelly.   “Before Kelly was born, Bev would go with me on every safari, to help transport clients to and from the hunting areas and in most instances Bev would handle the catering and camp for me as we were a team.” 

Hunting Highlights

On the topic of hunting highlights, Johnny had this to say: “I would say the very first time that I actually stalked up to an Elephant Bull knowing that … I … Me … Myself … was about to shoot my first Elephant at only 18 years old. I had only ever viewed these enormous land giants on foot at a distance, or within the safety of my Dad’s hunting truck.” 

Johnny feels strongly about quality hunting and to make the client at ease.  “As a PH, you want to teach the client how to hunt in Africa; to show him the little things in the bush that we as PH’s take for granted, which means so much to the client. Explain to the client why your hunting vehicle is rigged the way it is; teach the client about skinning, salting, boiling of horns and trophy care.  As a PH stand tall that you have completed yet another quality hunt and know that you have just set the stage for a return bout with the same client, which is what it is all about!!”

Johnny – The Legend

Johnny is a PH with vast experience.  “I was very fortunate that back in the early 70’s, I was able to go on safaris into countries like Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. It was during that time, that I was able to view game in numbers unheard of today and see some incredible hunting areas. I fondly recall certain experiences like watching three huge, heavily manned Lions walking together in Mumbwa Zambia.”

Johnny Vivier joined Wintershoek Safaris 25 years ago and has since been an integral part of Wintershoek.  He is currently in the USA to meet new and old clients.  If you are interested in meeting this legend, please let us know, so that we can put him in contact with you! 

(Information used from