Welcome to the John X Safaris website!
John X Safaris was formed in 1983 where Rick and Sue van Zijl owned and operated a small Country Hotel and General Dealership called John X House & Store at the tiny settlement of Merriman in the Great Karoo. Merriman was named after John Xavier Merriman, the last premier of the Cape Colony, which in 1910 became part of what was then the Union of South Africa.
Merriman was the company headquarters until 1996, when Rick and Sue acquired the first farm towards fulfilling their dream of creating a big 5 game reserve. John X Safaris headquarters was then moved to the little hamlet of Sidbury, 45 km west of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. Six years later, Lalibela was established as a big 5 game reserve and the home of John X Safaris
In 2008, after 25 years, Rick and Sue decided to step aside. Today, John X Safaris is in the capable hands of their son Carl van Zijl and son-in-law Gary Philips. Together, they have over 20 years experience as international hunting outfitters and professional hunters. They have retained great concessions throughout the Eastern Cape and Karoo areas, as well as, expanded their operations to include Mozambique and Botswana
To further enhance the team, in the early 1990's Dave Harwood came on board to handle our clients in the United States. Dave has spent over 40 years hunting big game with almost 30 of those years spent hunting internationally. He is a five term past President of a Safari Club International Chapter, a member of the Dallas Safari Club and the International Professional Hunters Association. In addition, Dave is a Certified Travel Consultant and owner of Harwood Travel, LLC. Part of his job is to help our clients coordinate their flight and travel itineraries in and to Africa.
It is our goal to continue to produce the finest trophies for our clients while at the same time providing an unforgettable African experience!
Additional South Africa Information