Big game hunting means big money in South Africa

It sounds like a throwback to a colonial age of pith helmets and native porters, but big game hunting is still popular in South Africa. In fact, it’s on the rise.

A recent study by a South African professor says that some 200,000 South Africans engage in the sport, plus an unknown number of tourists. This translates to millions of dollars in revenue every year and thousands of jobs. There are also knock-on bonuses such as increased hotel and retail revenue.

The study urges the Department of Tourism to “promote the industry aggressively” as a means for rural development.

The most popular animal to hunt is springbok, pictured here, followed by impala, blesbok, kudu and warthog. Much of the hunting is actually for meat, but trophy hunting is also in demand. Classic big game such as leopard and elephant, so popular with the pith helmet crowd, are now illegal to hunt. Some of these animals are endangered and all have much smaller populations than in the past, thanks to human encroachment into their lands and, you guessed it, too much hunting. South Africa now has rules in place to hopefully stop this from happening with animals such as the impala and springbok.

Photo courtesy