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
"Everything was great. Top three hunts ever. I will be back!"~ Martin Osthulm '13 from
"I can't say that my time in Africa was the trip of my lifetime, because I'll be back. It was more than I expected and truly a dream come true. Carl, you and your entire staff were beyond energetic, like I have never seen before. your enthusiasm was surpassed by none. Thanks again!"~ Dave Kjelstrup '12 from USA
"My two sons and I had the best trip ever! My boys have thanked me numerous times for the trip of a life time. They are begging for round two. I also enjoyed the trip and loved seeing the joy on my boys’ faces! The staff, food, lodges and professional hunter were second to none. We felt like royalty! Thank you John X Safaris for the outstanding memories!"~ Brian Lind '14 from
"Our African experience have left us with a lifetime of memories. Our ranger Kelly went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we saw all of the animals. The food was fine dining at it's best. We also want to thank Carl for our hunts of a lifetime! His hunting experience is world class, so was the hospitality he showed us. We loved it 100% ...... Perfect!"~ Randall & Cherie De Freece '12 from USA
" ... Awesome experience! Got a once in a lifetime chance at Lynx and Bushpig, trophy animals everywhere. Wonderful accommodations, we never waited for anything. Gary did a great job and was very patient. We could not have asked for a better honeymoon. Thanks for everything. We will be back!"~ Dusty & Candace Phillips '12 from USA
"John X Safaris not only produces South Africa's top trophies, Carl and his expert team are masters at creating a total safari experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. Each of our four John X safaris has been a uniquely different experience. Carl is both our trusted PH and best friend. Now that he is introduced us to the Tiny 10, we will be back for another incredible safari with John X Safaris."~ Chris & Martie Petersen '12 from USA