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I’ve always been a little leery about African big game hunting. What used to come to mind are guys who kill big game animals that they’ve never seen or heard of before in order to get the head. Then, once the animal was down, I imagined them leaving the guides to deal with the carcass while they drove back to camp to enjoy some appetizers and white wine. Over the last few years, though, I’ve taken the time to do some armchair studying about African hunting. Much of what I’ve found has really surprised me, in a good way. Certainly there are some wasteful jackasses hunting in Africa, just as we’ve got a few of them hunting right here in the U.S.  But there are also many adventurous and respectful Americans who want to experience African hunting as an immersive adventure in culture, food, and hard work. Here’s a dispatch from one such hunter, Chris Eberhart, who’s best known for his great books on low-budget, do-it-yourself whitetail deer hunting. Looking at his grip-and-grub photos from Africa has me feeling pretty envious of his trip. Some day, this is something I’m gonna have to do. -SR

I just recently returned from my first trip to Africa. It was an amazing experience that I will no doubt never forget. The main thing I want to share with MeatEater readers is that, like hunting everywhere, Africa is what you make it. If you want free-range hunting, great eating, and only have a small budget you can get some of the best that Africa has to offer.

I have been interested in hunting in Africa for a very long time, but as I researched hunting there I found it either too expensive or ethically questionable in a lot of areas; as a diehard do-it-yourself hunter I was skeptical of hunting with a PH, and I wanted to be really involved in the hunting including planning, shooting, butchering, and even cooking.  Plus I don’t have that much money, so a hunt had to be about the same price as a weeklong guided whitetail hunt in North America. And I sure didn’t want to hunt behind any high fence, like a large portion of hunting in South Africa. I began to think my search for such a hunt was just a pipedream, that is, until I was introduced to Henning Schuenemann of Namibia.  Henning owns Zighenzani Safaris and his idea of hunting is the same as mine.  Everything is free range, the hunter is completely involved in every aspect, and his prices are totally reasonable. When I asked if butchering and cooking would be a problem, immediately the processing building, walk in cooler, kitchen and grill were at my disposal.  One thing you don’t hear much about is eating African game. It is incredible, some of the finest I have ever tasted. In fact, zebra is my new favorite meat.  No part of any animal we killed in Africa went to waste. Above are a few photos of what was killed on my hunt, and what it looked liked cooked.  If you’ve always dreamed about hunting in Africa but had the same reservations I did, it might be worth it for you to take another look and fulfill that dream. You will be glad you did. Africa is what you make of it.