Hunting elephants in South Africa
Safari hunting elephants in South Africa with Mkulu African Hunting Safaris. We offer the best African elephant hunting safaris because we walk the extra mile and we keep our prices reasonable.
Hunting elephants the traditional way is our way of making your elephant hunting safari the experience it should be. Our South African elephant hunting safaris are presented in remote areas where the African Big 5 still roam free in hunting areas exceeding 100 000 acres.
Any person wanting to hunt an African elephant needs to be in good physical condition. Many elephant tracks are followed in very hot conditions. This can become taxing and the hunter needs to be aware such conditions.
Elephant hunters must not be recoil shy. Most of the accepted elephant guns are large caliber rifles that pack a mighty recoil. A hunter must practice with his / her rifle to accurately place a shot at between 20 and 35 yards.
According to South African hunting regulations, a 375 caliber rifle is the minimum entry level caliber to hunt dangerous game with. As can be seen in one of the elephant hunting videos below, a 375 can get the job done effectively. However, in the event of a charge by an angry elephant, we consider 375 as an insufficient charge stopper.
Read our recommendations below with regards to calibers we recommend for elephant hunting.
Elephant hunters must have nerves of steel. A trumpeting elephant charging with his ears open can be an extreme intimidating experience.
Hunting elephants in South Africa and the law
South African elephant hunting laws stipulate that bow hunting elephants is illegal.
Legal elephant hunting only takes place once scientific studies proved a sustainable population of elephants exists in any region. Issuing of government permits to legally hunt elephants is done under strict control of the authorities. No legal elephant hunt can take place without a pre-issued permit or tag.
The elephant trophy
Elephant herds consist of a dominant cow, her own offspring, siblings, sub-adults and juveniles. Cow elephants are short on temper and long on remembering. As docile as they seem they must never be underestimated.
Elephants move almost noiseless when in the bush. Many a time hunters are surprised by how close they get to an elephant without seeing it first.
Herd behavior is to feed for most of the day, stopping at intervals to listen and test the air for danger.
Bulls become solitary or form bachelor herds of two to five individuals. These are not permanent herds and bulls come-and-go as they please. Bulls will join family herds and leave after receptive cows were serviced.
It is extremely dangerous to hunt elephants in family herds.
Information on hunting elephants in South Africa
Elephant hunting prices
Elephant hunting prices in South Africa 2019 is determined by the weight of the tusks.
A dark-horse factor we have to take into consideration is the decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Services to prohibit the import of elephant products to the USA of elephants hunted in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique. Botswana stopped commercial hunting of elephants. This leaves South Africa and a few select other African countries as the only countries where elephants can be legally hunted and imported to the USA. This may have a negative effect on elephant hunting prices in future.
Caliber for elephant hunting
The best caliber for elephant hunting in South Africa would be a large bore rifle that you can shoot accurately.
We recommend the following calibers as being the best calibers for hunting elephants Africa. 375 is the legal minimum caliber to hunt elephants with. It is our experience that any caliber from 400 and up just works better.
Here are our suggestions for elephant hunting calibers:
- 375 (because it is a legal requirement)
- 416 Rigby
- 416 Rem
- 450 / 400
- 458 Win Mag
- 458 Lott
- 460 Weatherby
- 470 NE
- 500 A-Square
- 500 Jeffery
- 505 Gibbs or any other comparable caliber.
Our preferred ammunition manufacturer is Hornady, Federal Premium or any other premium grade ammunition manufacturers. You can use Hornady solid projectiles with confidence in your rifle.
Best gun scope for hunting elephants
A premium 1,5 – 6 X gun scope is recommended for hunting elephants in South Africa due to the expected short average shot distance.
In some cases hunters prefer to hunt elephants with open sights. This is mostly done when they are hunting with double rifles in the old fashion. This happens if your vision is still 20/20 either due to being blessed, or due to age.
Average shot distance
The average expected shooting distance when hunting elephants in South Africa is 15 to 40 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.
Two more considerations to take into account:
- what time of the year you decide to hunt elephants due to the bush being dense or not, and
- if you are shooting open sights or with a gun scope.
Shot placement when hunting elephants
The shot should be placed in line with the front leg, one third of the way up from the bottom of the brisket to the top of the back.
Quartering to shot
Rather wait for a broadside shot due to the sheer mass of the animal.
We strongly recommend you wait for a broadside shot. Penetration is very important.
Facing to shot
Only attempt a brain shot if you are an experienced elephant hunter. Brain shots are risky due to the angle of the shot. The angle to the brain changes along with the distance from the rifle muzzle to the brain. The sheer mass of the head and the honeycomb scull material can mislead you on the location of the brain.
If you have to take a frontal brain shot you can shoot one of the front legs to delay a full elephant charge.
Shot placement diagram for hunting elephants
Elephant hunting video
Tips when hunting elephants in South Africa
Larger elephant herds are more difficult to stalk for obvious reasons. Solitary bulls become extremely wily and are hard to hunt and move unbelievably quiet. When feeding larger herds create a lot of noise that usually muffles other sounds to a degree. It is common practice not to hunt an elephant bull in a breeding herd.
Use caution on the final stalk. Sudden movements will attract the attention of almost every elephant. Elephant cows with dependent offspring wake up with a bad temper that grows worse as the day wears on.
A botched stalk will have a bull walk away from you within minutes. Fortunately, you will have lots of time to think about great excuses on the long walk of shame back to the hunting vehicle.
This is a very dangerous animal to hunt.
Best time of year for hunting elephants in South Africa
From June to August the bush starts to recede rather quickly and during September and October the daily temperatures start rising while the bush recedes to a minimum.
The best time of year to hunt elephants in South Africa is from late July to end October and even up to mid November when the bush has receded most.
October onward it starts getting very hot in southern Africa.
We can and do hunt elephants from January to December.
African Big 5 dangerous game hunting packages 2019