Hunter, Gun writer, PH, Outdoorsman, Speaker
Who is Andries Marais
Website owner. Former fast jet combat pilot, life-long hunter and outdoor's man, hunters' guide in Colorado, USA, aviation safety and risk management specialist, registered Africa Professional Hunter, hunters' / travellers' companion and advisor. My favourite guns? They are favourites because of their looks after 40 years of hunting, their untouched better than 1/2 MOA accuracy as they came off the shelf the very first day, and the trust I have in them for flawless operation no matter the circumstances: Apart from nyala, elephant, lion and leopard (which I have not hunted), there is not one animal of those many species we hunt out here that have not gone down with a single shot into the heart or brain with these rifles:
A Musgrave Model 98 in 30-06, a Musgrave Model Free State in .308W, a beautifully sporterised Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1 .303 Brit, a very rare 12g Gamba Ugertechea side by side boxlock shotgun, a CZ 550 in .416 Rigby that lives in Mozambique, and a rare Walther .22 Hornet.
Why this website and "safari " thing?
Of course we want to show Africa to you - but there also is an endless tail-chasing debate in the gun media about gun and ammunition issues, presented at the altars of kinetic energy and hydrostatic shock, and fast little light weight bullets, and this calibre vs. THAT calibre which we wish to air in the website pages - and let these be reviewed for validity in real life.
Having lived and operated in the USA since 2009, and having reviewed threads and posts and opinions and bickering and the belittling and often deletion of new views that are opposite to the main stream gun talk, there are very few - what I call "gun religion" issues - that are in fact valid discussion points. Most indicate a blind trust in firearm and ammunition performance and physics as had been punted by manufacturers over many years, and popularised by gun writers who mostly act as virtual salesmen of the products they had "tested" and then report about. This gets lapped up by armchair hunters and re-represented as fact in gun forums.
One also encounters those salesmen behind the counter in pawn shops and even high end gundealers' shops who present simplistic or often thumbsucked false physics as facts in order to market diverse ideas or concepts - many times a try to sell the slow moving line which is burdening the shelves. Young salesmen in gun shops invariably carry an unwarranted air of superior knowledge, and worse - many unsuspecting buyers subsequently get themselves talked into believing grand sounding terms, often buying ammunition that are wrong for the task.
So, get your objective, tested facts here.
I have lived the pleasant as well as the scary experiences with close encounters with all things wild in Africa - from the smallest to the largest, mostly with a rifle in my hands but often not. Killed my first Cape buffalo at the age of 17 with a .375 H&H. That was 57 years ago and that started it all. However, the memories that stay with me are those without a rifle - or carrying a rifle but standing your ground and not shooting. Particularly that time when a friend and I were confronted by a very angry lioness with cubs 20 yards off, wound up like a spring and on the brink of exploding into a charge. We both carried SAKO .375 H&H rifles and he just kept on whispering: "Please don't shoot her - my dad will kill us". Kids were in those days more afraid of their dads than an angry lioness.
What will you find here?
Just honest to goodness advice on any question or issue you may have regarding firearms and ammunition, or employing these in the field - but also on the target range. Life was kind to me to have been there and done it - in fact still doing it. Fifty seven years of hunting big game in Africa fostered a lifelong interest to find out why things are as they are, or happen as they do. I've seen virtually all calibres and bullets in action on all game in Africa, and on elk and deer in the USA - saw them accomplish the task at hand and saw them fail.
So what is the most important factor in a successful Africa hunt?
Above everything else in the killing equation I value a well designed, heavy in the calibre, best quality bullet as being the highest priority. Shot placement into the heart top chambers, no matter the animal, is old, axiomatic knowledge and needs not even be mentioned.
Training the trainer regarding all things about firearms and outdoor life. Spoor identification and tracking, survival principles - or just how to plan and safely execute a one or two-vehicle photo safari in the African wilderness
All things hunting; animal anatomy and physiology - when shooting: "always aim for the heart top chambers"; skinning, quartering and processing your meat; stealth, and camouflage science; gun technical: calibres, cartridges and their applications; rifle actions and their strengths and weaknesses, etc.