Luxury Wild Birds shooting in South Africa
Travel with the legendary Rovos Train and shoot the best Bird destinations in South Africa
The Rovos Hunting Train
This is without any doubt one of the most exclusive and ultimate bird shooting trips in the world. The train is your private shooting lodge, which travels from one shooting area to the next. Guns disembark and travel, usually a short distance, by vehicle to shoot Doves, Pigeons, Ducks, Geese, Sand Grouse or driven Guinea Fowl and Francolin.
This panoramic eight-day sojourn, designed for bird shooters and plains game hunters, commences in Pretoria and winds its way to the western reaches of South Africa. First stops are Mareetsane and Kameel with two full days of shooting. The train travels then south to Warrenton, and Kimberley. Hunters enjoy two days of shooting with a day’s break. Travelling east, the guns keep busy in the Kloofeind area, and then after a memorable 1400-kilometre safari in the bush, the train departs for journey’s end at Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria.
The Deluxe Suites (±10 sq. meters/±108 sq. feet) accommodate two passengers in either twin or double beds and have a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower. The wood-paneled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodeled and refurbished to mint condition, offers every modern convenience and comfort. The train features an observation car with a panoramic view and a bar, where you can relax with a drink and watch the African countryside roll by, as well as dining and lounge cars. The Edwardian design and the old-fashioned furnishings will transport you to a bygone era, while air conditioning and every other modern convenience will allow you to enjoy your trip in true comfort.
The Driven Shooting
Our guineafowl and francolin shoots are driven, trying to mimic the classic English shoot but with distinctive African spice. We make use of up to 120 chanting African beaters. Unlike the driven pheasant shoots in England, where you might not see the 15 or so beaters, this colourful, chanting singing bunch will come right up to you, and many a bird will be flushed right at your feet. Don’t be surprised when other creatures like kudu, warthog or duiker break through the line. If you were a bit out of breath after drawing the last peg, you will understand the odd pearl of sweat on the beater’s brow because they often cover up to three kilometres driving the birds towards you. The flock has to be flushed several times before the birds reach the gun line in order to confuse the birds and to disperse the flock. We try and provide at least nine drives in a day, resulting in the beaters covering on foot around 30 kilometres. As the sinister chorus of the African beaters draw closer, be sure that your hair will stand on end.
The Waterfowl and Dove Shooting
Our waterfowl are shot during the late afternoons, as they come in to feed on harvested grain fields. Meticulous planning starting months before your arrival will ensure that your butt is placed right under the flight line.
The variety of birds on a duck and goose shoot is incredible, where shooting seven species of waterfowl by a single gun in an afternoon is not out of the norm. The birds range, amongst others, from the gigantic spur winged goose which can reach a weight of up to 25 pounds with a wingspread sometimes reaching six feet, to the Egyptian goose, the white faced duck, the yellow billed duck which is about the size of a mallard, to the swift little red billed teal.
The shooting is normally fast, with the wide variety of birds coming in at different flight speeds and heights, making for some challenging shooting. Decoys are often used and bird pickers assist each gun.
Our pigeon and dove are shot flighted, from butts. With the aid of decoys. These birds will keep the best of shots humble, as they rocket over your butt in their hundreds. Here the shooting is more instinctive than a matter of calculating lead. Five different species of pigeon and dove are encountered. Real hot barrelled stuff.