Bringing Hunting Firearms into South Africa
It is always best to bring your own guns/rifle(s) for your African hunting safari.
US 4457 is the only USA document you need to leave the USA with your firearms, but check with your airline on booking if they require any other documents, as airlines sometimes change policy and other countries have a different form than the USA.
ADVISE AIRLINES at least 30 days before you fly that you will have rifles. Some AIRLINES require an additional notice 72 hours before you fly to confirm your flying with rifles.
Pre Approved Gun permit - getting your SAPS 520 permit done by a rep before you leave home for your safari
AIRLINES require you present a pre-approved gun permit before you leave home - at check in for your flight !!
Email AFTON direct at
AFTON will get your pre-approved permit for you well in advance. You need to remind AFTON to email it to you so you have it before flying out.
Afton guest house will do this for you but you must give Afton at least 21 days notice prior to travel. The fee payable to Afton on arrival is about $ 100. Email Afton direct at
Doing your SAPS 520 on your own does not cost anything but we STRONGLY advise to do pre approved in these new times.
South African Police Services
The SAPS official website has a page dedicated to information on the importation of firearms to the Republic of South Africa :
Anyone experiencing a problem is encouraged to contact The Hunting Report in USA at 305 253 5301 or email@example.com.
We also advise hunters to take their Letter of invitation and Hunting Contract from the Outfitter Richard Holmes Safaris with them to check-in.
SAPS 520 form
Below is a summary of what is required to bring firearms into South Africa. For the details go to : https://www.capeafricanhunting.co.za/page/gunsammo_and_hunt_preparation
Check list to bring to Johannesburg airport gun permit office - You will need your completed SAPS 520 with :
- Blank SAPS 520 form - in case you made a mistake filling it out - this may change since the above new requirements for USA hunters - ask your USA travel agent. Custom Travel who we use a lot is on top of this.
- COPY of Passport - preferably certified/notarized; the first 2 pages of your passport, those with your photo and particulars will be sufficient.
- COPY of round trip air ticket. (One-way tickets can create problems with Immigration).
- Boarding Pass.
- COPY of Letter of Invitation - this RHS email to you when we have your full names, addresses and passport numbers from the contract.
- COPY of Letter of Intent - eg. "To whom it may concern" I , Jack Frostie, intend to hunt in South Africa and use the listed firearms. Some of the species I intend to hunt are….. and signed & dated for the arrival date in Johannesburg.
- COPY of Customs declaration form 4457 / an Official Signed Customs form from your Government proving that the gun/s you are bringing are your property and are fully detailed on such form - preferably certified / notarized - get this at your local US Customs office/ Your contries Customs office and ensure the form is one dated for the year of travel, not an old form dated for previous years and unexpired form not older than 6 months ! This document also protects you when you return home from your own countries customs, proving the rifle/s or any valuables you listed on it are your property and you did not buy such outside on your safari, so cannot being charged import taxes.
- Have the originals of all these documents handy when you are getting the gun permits in Johannesburg.
Only AIRLINK and FLYSAFAIR will fly your guns and ammo inside South Africa - This is very important when booking your flights !