South Africa requires a temporary import/export permit for firearms and ammunition when traveling to South Africa.
The following are rules & regulations for the import/export/transit of firearms to South Africa;
- You may temporarily import a maximum of four firearms per hunter, but not more than one of the same caliber.
- You may only bring ammunition applicable to the firearms that you will be carrying.
- No person under the age of 21 may bring firearms into South Africa or apply for a temporary import permit in his / her name.
- The barrel, frame or action is to be marked with the same serial number.
- Semi automatic shotguns for bird hunting or a custom made handgun can be bought into South Africa for hunting purposes only.
- No self protection firearms allowed.
- If in transit, permits are required by any passenger spending the night in South Africa while in transit to a third country. The same pre-requisites apply as to obtain the normal temporary import permit.
Firearm Import/Export permits can be issued at both our international ports of entry, Johannesburg and Cape Town International airports, or applied for before your arrival in South Africa. We strongly recommend using Air 2000 / Hunters Support to assist you through this process. Follow the link, for all documentation and requirements. By sending Air 2000/Hunters Support the required details, they will apply for the permit on your behalf; meet you at the airport and walking you through customs onto your connecting flight. Please note Air 2000 Hunters Support does charge a minimal fee for this service – be sure to double check rates with them at the time of the service.
If you will be using the Air 2000 Hunters Support service to assist in the clearance of your rifle/s upon arrival and departure, then please take note of the following.
- All applications must be completed in black ink and in the original form, no Photostats or emailed copies will be accepted.
- The copy of the signature and photo page of the passport must be notarized by a notary with a notation specifying : I hereby confirm this is a true copy of the original document signed and stamped.
- The copy of the proof of ownership i.e. copy of the firearm license or US Customs form 4457 must also be notarized with the notation specifying: I hereby confirm this is a true copy of the original document signed and stamped.
Very Important : No applications will be accepted by Air 2000 Hunters Support if the lead time is less than 4-6 weeks prior to your arrival in South Africa.
Permits for semi-automatic shotguns must be submitted to Central Firearms 90 days prior to arrival into South Africa, and the letter of motivation must be in the original format as per the requirements of the Firearms Control Act.
Don’t forget to send off your Hunters Support paperwork sooner rather than later, not forgetting we need all of the following:
- Hunters Support form
- SAPS 520
- Notarized copy of the passport
- Notarized copy of the US Customs form 4457 or License (which ever is applicable)
- Hard copy of your flight itinerary
If you have any queries or questions please just email Air 2000 on firstname.lastname@example.org and they will gladly assist.
Lastly - When dealing with Air 2000 Hunters Support and acquiring their custom clearing service/s, be sure to specify if you would like to be met upon international arrival only OR upon arrival and departure into/from South Africa.
Traveling with Ammunition for your Rifle/s
ALL ammunition you are traveling with, within South Africa and regionally within Southern Africa on South African Airways, SA Air link and SA Express must be in a separate locked hard ammunition case.
At this time there is no problem arriving into South Africa with your ammunition in your checked bag but you will need to place it in its very own hard case, SEPARATE from either your checked luggage or Rifle hard case, before catching your connection to your final destination. All ammunition in its own hard case will travel with the firearm but separate from the firearm/s hard case from your port of entry into South Africa onto final destination.
Also note a maximum of 200 rounds of ammunition is allowed per firearm/per caliber. Most airlines have a weight limit on ammunition of +-11 lbs, which is approximately 140 rounds of 243 / 120 rounds of 300 Win Mag / 100 rounds of 375. From past experience we would recommend no more than 80 rounds per caliber.
To make this as hassle free process as possible, for the benefit of our clients, John X Safaris has installed links for both the required application forms.
SAP 520 Application for the temporary import/export of firearms to South Africa.
US Customs Form 4457 for proof of ownership of the rifle/s from the USA.
For additional questions regarding traveling to South Africa with rifles or for a safari review this resource.
Lastly, hunters traveling with rifles will require a Letter of Invitation from John X Safaris. Hit the link and complete the required fields prior to submitting your Letter of Invitation to Air 2000 Hunters Support or arriving at either of our international airports.
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What People Are Saying
"Our 2014 reunion tour was much more than I dreamed of. The John X team members all went way above their positions to make me feel like family. From the quality of trophies harvested, the fantastic meals, and great accommodations to the camaraderie in the evenings, everything was perfect. A very special thank you to my PH, Stix, his patience and encouragement in helping me harvest extremely nice mature trophies will never be forgotten."~ Dave Moser '14 from
"We have had such a great time! The experience of a lifetime! Our guide Ed was fantastic, we loved him. He and Chris got along so well. Carl has taken very good care of both of us this trip. The food and lodging was so great. We were able to stay at Tree Tops and the staff there was wonderful to us.
Thanks for everything, we had a wonderful vacation!"
"My man Rusty – he is awesome! The best!"~ Peter Corrado '13 from
"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
"Thank you all for a fantastic first hunting safari. It was a magic week, I will be back!"~ Uno Kristiansson '13 from Sweden