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
Wondering what our current rates are? Click to download the JXS Rate Sheet
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
"We can’t express ourselves enough, the gratitude towards everyone. Carl, Juan, the staff - such warm hearted people. Not only to mention our hunts were more than we dreamed it to be. Many thanks to everyone, new friends and memories to last a life time."~ Dennis & Nan Roberg '13 from
"John X Safaris delivered again.Thanks Carl and all the staff for a fantastic time.
Thanks Carl and Zwayi for your hard work,we had some of the best hunts with the Black Springbok and the magic Kalahari Springbok, not to mention the quickest Klipspringer hunt ever.
Tack så mycket för i år. See you all next year."
"Rich tradition combined with world class staff – John X Safaris. I would like to thank John X Safaris and all the staff for a true once in a lifetime South African experience. Eight species in nine days! This was our first African Safari and John X Safaris and staff exceeded our expectations! We look forward to returning again and again."~ Chad & Jennifer Fraughton '13 from
"Our first African Safari experience exceeded all expectations. Thanks Carl and Trish and all the John X staff for their caring and generous commitment of time and efforts to make this a trip of a lifetime! A special thanks to Greg Hayes and Bless for their knowledge, effort and friendship that made this such a wonderful experience and successful hunt. We are already planning our next trip. A truly professional organization at all levels. Thanks again!"~ Dave Stark '14 from
"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
"If you have already been on a safari, you have come to know that it is more than the hunt … much more! On our 6th safari, we had the good fortune to share JXS with our 2 best friends who were on their 1st safari. And what a safari experience it turned out to be. Everything from riding elephants, to fishing, to hunting waterfowl. The highlight of our experience was being able to take a magnificent Blue Duiker from a ground blind. JXS slogan is “Going the Distance” … and they never cease to amaze us … creating a safari experience that is unmatched anywhere."~ Chris & Marie Petersen '13 from USA