The African Elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the lion, the leopard and the rhinoceros—these are just the latest attractions at the local zoo. These animals make up the “Big Five Game,” the most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt in Africa. For Andre Nortje the Big Five are the ultimate trophies that drive thrill-seeking hunters to his company, World To Africa Hunting, which he founded in 2008. World To Africa Hunting offers both dangerous game and plains game hunting, which includes Black Wildebeast, Red Hartebeast, Blesbuck, Impala and Springbuck.
Click through the slides as Nortje shares his story with FOX Business:
“After being involved with safari companies and trophy hunting, we identified an opportunity in South Africa to specialize in quality, trophy plains game animals and to give a high level of service before and after the hunt. We had to undergo training courses at a professional hunting school for 12 full days and master the practical and legal side of hunting with foreign clients.”
“Our hunting season usually starts in April and ends in October as these are the colder months in South Africa. I have three full-time employees and 10 seasonal workers. As the owner, I work year round taking care of all the marketing and management issues. I make sure that the animals the clients are looking for can be found at our farms or concessions, make sure that the clients are met at the airport and transferred to the lodge, arrange all other activities and needs that may arise while clients are in camp with us, make sure the taxidermists have clear instructions on the clients’ trophies once delivered and continuously make sure that things at camp and while the clients are hunting run smoothly.”
“I have a right-hand man who handles all the logistics on the ground and manages the hunting areas while clients are in camp. My wife handles the administration and marketing. We have four skinners and capers who look after the clients’ trophies from when they are hunted until they are delivered safely to a taxidermist, then dried and salted. We also have six staff people who clean, cook and do general work to maintain the lodge. And, throughout the world, we have agents who book hunts for us.”
What makes your business risky from an operational standpoint?
“Without a doubt the economic situation in the world and not sacrificing quality hunts for a quick income. The biggest challenge then and now is filling all the dates in the hunting season. We didn’t see major growth in numbers the past couple of years. We averaged about 15 to 20 hunters, and the same amount of non-hunters per season--so about 30 to 40 people per year. Ninety percent of our clients return to hunt with us at this stage and usually bring a few new hunters with them. At this stage, the international hunting market is very slow. We hunt with local corporate groups for meat to support our income stream.”
What can someone who books a package with you expect?
“The clients are met at the Johannesburg or Cape Town International airports where we assist them in getting an import and export permit for their rifles. We do offer a rifle rental service, if they don’t want to travel with rifles. We then take them to the designated lodge and we sight the rifles [make sure that the rifle shoots straight]. After that, we discuss shot placement and plan the hunt in accordance with what the clients are looking to take. Our clients learn from what distance to expect to take a certain type of animal and the vital areas of African animals since they differ to that of deer and antelope in other countries.”
Who are your clients?
Most hunters from around the world have similar personalities. They all love the outdoors and have a huge respect for the animals they hunt. We help our clients fulfill the dream of hunting in Africa. Seeing them satisfied and content while on Safari is definitely the most rewarding. They arrive as clients, but leave as our friends.”
FOX Business profiles thrill-seeking entrepreneurs who followed their extracurricular passions and launched risky businesses that generate big profits.