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
"Great effort by all, you made a great safari experience! The extra work combined with truly exceptional access to hunting land was magnificent, but the real "icing on the cake" was the great fun, laughter and camaraderie with the team. I feel like we came as strangers and leave as friends, and all this for a beginner! Thanks for the patience ..."~ Alex Good '12 from USA
"Being part of the John X team was a privilege once again. Always having fun and hunting some good animals. Thank you Carl and the John X Team. I will be back!"~ Bjorn Hagman '13 from Sweden
Attempting to recount a South African safari experience can be a very difficult task. Telling stories and sharing photos can only begin to paint a picture of what one can expect to see when hunting plains game. Being my 2nd trip over to hunt with Carl & the John X crew, I wondered if the experience would be less exciting than my maiden voyage. I could not have been more wrong! Hunting from the mountains in the Karoo, to the dense forests on the coast, this trip could not have been scripted any better. The thrill of chasing a new trophy quality animal every day, the stories told around the dinner table each night, and the friendships made that will last a lifetime are just a few of the reasons that a person needs to visit South Africa once in his or her lifetime! Garrett Wall - Gunwerks~ Garrett Wall '15 from USA
Memories of crawling through thorn bushes, mud and laying on ant piles waiting for a huge horned animal to step out into the clearing. Taking numerous magnificent trophies and hanging out with the great members of John X Safaris and Gunwerks team will be memories that last. The nightly stories with the gang were awesome. Keep doing what you do... Trevor Krueger - Gunwerks~ Trevor Kruger '15 from USA
"Thank you all for a fantastic first hunting safari. It was a magic week, I will be back!"~ Uno Kristiansson '13 from Sweden
"John X did it again! I never would have guessed my 2nd safari with John X would be able to be better
than my first. Carl did everything he could to make each hunting experience world-class. I cannot thank Carl and the staff enough. I am bringing my son on his first safari next June. Hopefully time will fly by! Until we meet again …"