South Africa is not a country for the classical "Hemmingway Safari", there are no vast untrammeled hunting concessions where civilisation is kept at bay by tsetse fly and deep gushing crocodile infested rivers. In South Africa there are very few places not touched by the influences and presence of mankind, or more to the point, of western civilisation as we are used to back home.
If you're expecting to forage into Tarzans deep dark jungles where savage natives and ferocious beasts lie in wait then you'll be disappointed. Most South African hunting safaris take place on private game ranches that have been fenced for decades yet have also been refuges for some of the continents most incredible species.
In South Africa you'll find the widest variation of huntable game species in all of the continent, including some highly endangered animals which a have been more or less saved from extinction by these game ranches.
Don't get the wrong impression from the term "ranch hunting", forget illusions of hand reared family pets and caged zoo animals being offered up for the chase. There are no feeding pens where game is carefully propagated with feed mixtures and steriods so their horns grow bigger. You are getting the real deal, there are cats that can bite you, snakes that chase and buffalo that gore, the presence of a fence is merely how the hunting in South Africa is set up and does not delude from the hunting experience.
Most game species are elusive and wary, providing days of excitement and challenge. Perhaps here more than anywhere else in Africa, is the hunter able to dictate the method and manner of the hunt to suit their personal hunting ethics.
Some of these ranches or conservation areas are huge, sometimes upwards of 200,000 acres, vast areas of wilderness which support naturally sustaining herds in a more or less truly wild setting. Howere most will be in the 5000 to 20,000 acre range, still offering a great hunt.
Today over 33 million acres are dedicated to game ranching and private reserves, almost twice the combined area of government parks and reserves. Land once used for farming now plays host to the majority of South Africa's varied game population and results in an unchallenged variety of trophies for the visiting hunter.
The term safari is no more or no less fulfilled here than in other countries, it remains as it always has, a personal experience to each individual seeking adventure.