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 day was wonderful, I was happy and thoroughly enjoyed a stress free experience. The people were lovely and I could not have chosen a better venue. All in all a perfect day with perfect surroundings. Thank you to all involved for making my dreams come true. We will definitely be back."~ Rusmira Fairchild '14 from
"This was the hunt of a lifetime and something I will never forget. I have never been treated so nicely and had so much fun. The folks at John X Safaris are the most professional I have dealt with.
You are all the BEST!!!"
" ... 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
"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
"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
"We were here 2 years ago and had so much fun we wanted to come back with friends. This time there were six of us. The hunting was great and the hospitality was even better than I remember. When you come on a John X Safari you are treated like royalty. Thanks again."~ Larry & Rita Heim '13 from