African Safaris outfitted by John X Safaris was introduced to the world 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 outpost 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 company headquarters until 1996, when Rick and Sue acquired their first land towards fulfilling their dream of creating a Big 5 Game Reserve. John X Safaris headquarters was then moved to the tiny 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 2016, after twenty years at Lalibela, John X Safaris once again took a further step forward in our proud history with the acquisition of a new base and home in the game rich region of Bedford in the diverse Eastern Cape, creating arguably the greatest hunting destination the safari enthusiast has ever seen.
With over 33 years experience as an international outfitter, John X Safaris has retained its renowned concessions in South Africa, as well as expanded its operations to include Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Cameroon, and Zambia.
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.
After 33 years we’re still continuing the fine tradition of African hunting… It is our goal to continue to produce the finest trophies for our clients while at the same time providing an unforgettable African experience!
JXS Current Rates
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Craig Boddington chose to endorse John X Safaris and recognize us as one of the top outfits in the world.
Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitter
What People Are Saying
"The opportunity to shoot in tough conditions was a perfect learning experience. Carl gave us the shooting and the trophies we were after. The Karoo was just like hunting the west, long shots in the wind were mandatory. The coast was like a different world. Chasing big animals in small clearings and big valleys made awesome TV! Thanks again I cannot wait to be back!"
Aaron Davidson - Owner Gunwerks
"The hunting was superb and the trophies excellent. Greg and Bless are the best team I have hunted with in Africa. The food and accommodation at Oude Kraal and Lalibela were brilliant, thanks to Lauren and Charmaine, and Pam and I loved our 10 days in the Cape Province."~ Max King '14 from
"What an incredible experience. John X Safaris far exceeded our expectations. We had a wonderful time. It was great to see so much diverse country and we were able to stay several days in three different locations. Everyone was so professional and courteous. You really go the extra mile in taking care of your clients. Our PH, Sean, was awesome, as was the whole staff. This is a trip we will never forget. We are already making plans for our next safari. Thank you!"~ Larry & Claudia Fullmer '14 from
"I thought I was going on safari to ride an elephant and be able to cross that experience off my bucket list. Indeed, I can successfully cross it off! But with JXS, I experienced so much more that made my African adventure such a memorable one. The hospitality and friendliness of the team, made everyday truly a vacation. The sights and sounds of the wild, the animals, birds and game made the photo opportunities terrific. I came to ride an elephant, I left with memories, my first trophy and an unforgettable experience."~ Mike & Cindi McNair '13 from USA
"I had a great time!!!! Could not have been better. The staff were friendly and so helpful. Schalk was superb and put in endless effort to ensure our hunt with bow and rifle was a great success."~ Josh Wilde '12 from USA
"It was fantastic to return to the Dark Continent in 2014 by way of John X Safaris in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Carl, Etresia, Greg, Bless and the entire JXS staff created a fantastic adventure for me. From the Waterbuck that was so large that I named him the "Battleship Texas" to my last and favourite stalk of the hunt on a beautiful Eastern Cape Kudu, my hunting experience was "First Cabin" in every respect."~ Craig Horan '14 from