The author with a pair of guinea fowl

Wingshooting in southern Africa: Everything you need to know


Not keen on flying with your own shotgun? Your outfitter can set you up


Owing to the climate, terrain and travel, there are some special considerations you need to make when packing for your Africa wingshooting adventure.



It’s increasingly challenging to fly with firearms, so many hunters opt to rent shotguns from their professional hunter (PH) once they arrive in Africa. While you can competently shoot any rifle that you sight-in, a shotgun must fit you well if you expect to shoot it proficiently. For that reason, some veteran wingshooters prefer to jump through the necessary hoops to bring their own shotguns to Africa. Your outfitter will help ensure you correctly complete the requisite paperwork.


Since there’s an avid bird-hunting community in southern Africa with a ready supply of ammo, there’s no need to bring your own. Expect to pay approximately $15 per box. If you intend to shoot anything other than a 12-gauge, however, check with your outfitter about the availability of appropriate shotshells before leaving home.



Well broken-in hunting boots are a must. I prefer eight- or nine-inch leather boots with good soles to provide protection from the thorns you’ll inevitably encounter. Leather gaiters are also a necessity to save your shins from the thorns, and to prevent spear-equipped grass seeds from embedding in your socks or migrating down into your boots.

Good boots, gaiters and upland hunting pants are a must


Your outfitter will supply you with a list of recommended clothing. Most camps in Africa provide daily laundry services, so you can generally get away with fewer changes of clothing than you’d take elsewhere.

The mornings and evenings can be quite cool, especially at higher elevations, so I bring a base layer of thin merino wool; it adds just the right amount of warmth when it’s chilly, yet wicks away sweat. You’ll also appreciate the added comfort a wool hat and a lightweight down jacket offer in the cooler hours. Leather gloves are another blessing; they protect your hands in thorn country and take the chill off when temperatures drop.

When hunting southern Africa’s bushveld—or shrublands—I generally wear lightweight upland bird hunting pants that offer protection against thorns. You only have to meet some of the daggers that pass for thorns in Africa once to appreciate anything that helps ward them off.


I like to bring a shell belt, slip-on recoil pad (if multi-day dove hunts are on tap), multi-tool, headlamp and small binoculars. The beauty of hunting in southern Africa, however, is that you could literally show up with just the clothes on your back and be so well cared for by the PHs and their staff that you’d still enjoy the wingshooting of a lifetime. That said, there’s no substitute for having your own familiar gear at hand.