Sports A Field

How to bring your hunting rifle into South Africa

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Bringing a rifle into South Africa for your safari hunt doesn’t have to be difficult.

Bringing hunting firearms into South Africa is relatively easy, but you do need to be prepared before you arrive or you face a long wait.

Make absolutely sure you have the following documents in hand when you arrive (and copies of each just in case): Passport; return tickets to your country of origin (or copy of your itinerary); a letter of invitation from the outfitter with the outfitter’s permit number on it; a stamped and endorsed Proof of Ownership for your firearms (for U.S. citizens, that’s a U.S. Customs form 4457; for all other citizens, bring a firearms certificate or hunting license with your guns listed); and the SAP 520 form completed in black ink in block letters. (You can download this form at www.saps.gov.za.) The hunter must NOT sign this document at home but rather must do so in the presence of a police officer at the airport in South Africa. This form can be downloaded from the Professional Hunters of South Africa Web site, or your outfitter can arrange to have the form sent to you before you leave.

Many hunters are now reporting that if you have a U.S. Customs form 4457, it must be current and have been filled out and stamped by Customs in the last 6 months.

According to South African customs, the most common mistakes made by international hunters are a) not having the SAP 520 form filled out in BLACK ink; b) not having a letter of invitation from the outfitter with the permit number on it; and c) signing the SAP 520 form before arriving at RSA customs.

Learn more at the website of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa: www.phasa.co.za.

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