Flight Booking & Luggage Arrangements for South African Hunting Safaris

We do not do Port Elizabeth ( PE ) transfers in the dark due to game on the road eg. Kudu and some narrow roads, so please ensure arrival in PE is between 12 noon and 2 - 3 pm ( depending on the season ) for our pick up.

We get you back to PE at about 11 am on your last day, well in time to fly home.


Only South African Airways ( SAA ) will fly your guns inside South Africa - This is very important when booking your flights !

Airport codes are -  JNB : Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport  and  PLZ : Port Elizabeth Airport.

The BEST flights to book for JNB - PLZ are on SAA Flight number SA 405 which arrives PLZ about 12.30 pm which is a suitable time to pick you up and then going out/ home book PLZ - JNB on SA 410 which leaves PLZ around 1 pm which suits our drop off time in PLZ.

Both these above flights also give you enough time in JNB so you don't need to rush checking in for your flight to PLZ  nor rush to catch your International flight home in JNB.

SAAirlink, Mango, SAFAIR, Kalula and the other type of budget airlines will NOT carry your guns inside south africa.
If The flight says SAA operated by Airlink or Mango then these will NOT carry guns. Flight MUST say ' OPERATED BY SAA '.

British Airways ( BA ) apparently carry guns but they charge extra for your rifle and for your ammo case.



The above only refers to flights on budget airlines INSIDE SA.

Be very careful who you book flights with re guns carriers.

FOR InternationaL FLIGHTS there are many airlines which will carry guns, some charge handling fee for rifles and ammo and some Don't. Delta Airlines do NOT charge a firearm and ammo handling fee.



We use Custom Travel for all our bookings because they book you with airlines which cary rifles/ guns as they specialize in booking flights for hunters. Numerous airlines do NOT carry guns, eg. the local South African budget airlines like Kalula, Mango and Comair. These budget airlines are usually owned by larger well known airlines that do carry guns, eg. Delta, South Africa Airways, British Airways. So enquire before you book flights that the specific airline will carry your guns all the way to PE for your round trip. This is why when it comes to guns it is better to use a reputable travel agent as doing flight bookings on line can create problems.

You do not have to get your flights through Custom Travel and can do these on your own. However, the other advantage of using Custom Travel is that I can follow up with any problems and take all the work out of flights for you. RHS do not make a commission on this as it is part of the service we provide. You will also (once booked and paid for) get a big package with a lot of helpful information about your safari to Africa from Custom Travel. If you book your flights on your own I cannot assist you with any problems you may have and can't guarantee anything. Custom Travel has proven to me to be very good over many years and I recommend using them.



President and Owner, Custom Travel
Debbie Trinidad 
9415 W Forest Home Ave, Suite 201
Hales Corners, WI 53130, USA
Melinda Kuglitsch
President and Owner South Africa Specialist


or see Custom Travel website:  www.customtravelafrica.com

Budget $1,300 - 2,000.00 total per person for airfare for most times. June and July, and the very first part of August airfare is usually at its highest. This would be from the USA to PE ( Port Elizabeth - the pick up and return point of your safari ).

RHS must be assured that you have flights and waiting till the last minute for these (paying) will result in your party having NO SEATS and/or paying higher rates. Here is an example of what Custom Travel does- clients were scheduled to leave home (Missouri), fly to Wash/Dulles and depart on Saturday. A big snow storm was coming (predicted up to 30 inches) to Washington and flights were being cancelled before the storm even hit. Debbie at Custom Travel called our hunters and asked if they could leave a day early. They did leave on Friday and departed Washington before the storm hit. The storm closed Washington down for days and had the hunters departed on their original schedule to Washington they would have been stranded there - Custom travel was a life saver and their safari happened !


Airlines have their own additional requirements on the carriage of firearms and the amount of ammunition that you may have in your checked baggage. Therefore, travelers should contact the airline regarding its firearm and ammunition carriage policies and its luggage/ baggage policies.

Do not put any gun parts (eg. your Rifle Bolt ) in your carry on bag nor in any checked bag !!!

A hard gun case is a must. If there are 2 hunters and you are each only taking 1 gun, use 1 case that both guns can be fitted in. Lock with your own lock.

Weigh your bags !

The SAA policy may be viewed online at 


then search baggage allowance.

It also has Terms & Conditions of all SAA tickets, including flights purchased online.

Passengers travelling on multi-sector/multi-carrier tickets and SAA code-share partner flights, i.e. tickets purchased from SAA for a flight with an SA flight number, but operated by another airline, should check with the other airlines to see which baggage policy is applicable.

The best policy for bags is on tickets for all flights operated by SAA, i.e. using an SAA aircraft and crew and having an SAA flight number.

For tickets involving joint international transport services (code share) provided by SAA and other foreign airlines check their baggage and excess baggage charge policy, which are usually much stricter than SAA, so you will probably pay for extra bags, on share code flights.

Check for updates on the above with the airline you are using.



  • 1 Hard sided case so your breakables are safe - Binoculars, Rangefinder and Camera etc.
  • 1 hard gun case or share one with a hunting partner. TUFF PAK makes a very nice plastic case and it looks like a golf case so those anti hunting baggage handlers don’t know its guns. Mark all your bags-laminating a name tag and securing it with tie strap. Put an extra tag inside in case the outside tags are torn off.
  • Carry a small backpack as a carry on, with an extra set of clothes, some toiletries, book and all documents - this frees you up to pull your case and gun case.



Please be advised that South African Airways has implemented a Firearm Handling Fee, effective immediately.


Firearms and other devices that discharge projectiles, i.e. devices capable (or appearing capable) of being used to cause serious injury by discharging a projectile, and ammunition are prohibited for carriage with the passenger or as hand baggage. These items may only be carried as checked baggage and SAA will require notification and approval in advance.

Firearm Acceptance and Issuance:
There is a limit of 5kg (11lb) of ammunition (cartridges for weapons) per person (IATA Division 1.4S; UN numbers 0012 and 0014). This is for that person’s own use only and excludes ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles.

The carriage of firearms or ammunition is subject to the following charge per sector:

• International tickets USD100
• Regional tickets USD60
• Domestic Tickets USD30 ( inside south africa )

• The new charge is applicable for all tickets sold on or after the 15th of May 2019
• The charge is inclusive of ammunition e.g. firearm plus 5kg ammunition = $100.00 for JNBJFK
• The charge is per firearm. 1 rifle = $100 and 2 rifles = $200
• The charge is per sector e.g. JFKJNBPLZ = $130
• EMD is issued per passenger, even for group bookings the EMD must be issued per passenger.
• Please note that Mango does not accept or transport any firearms on their flights.

Passengers must pay the handling fee charge applicable for each sector of travel and the fee is payable in advance or at the airport. An WEAP EMD will be issued in association with the passenger’s confirmed travel ticket for each case or bag containing a firearm or ammunition.

Notification before flight:

Passengers must contact South African Airways reservation department for assistance at 1 800 722 9675 at least one week in advance of the flight to request approval and to ensure compliance with government embargoes and restrictions for the below items. If passengers fail to notify us, they will not be able to travel with their firearms/ammunition:

• firearms of all types, such as pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns
• replicas and imitation firearms capable of being mistaken for real weapons
• component parts of firearms, excluding telescopic sights
• compressed air and CO2 guns, such as pistols, pellet guns, rifles and ball-bearing guns
• signal flare pistols and starter pistols.

All these items can be carried as checked baggage. Passengers will need to provide the appropriate licenses and documentation for the firearms and ammunition, e.g. export/import licenses and authorization from local and national authorities.

Passengers will need to specify:

• the quantity of firearms they wish to transport
• the type (handgun, rifle, shotgun)
• the make/model and caliber
• the quantity (in weight) and caliber of ammunition

Passengers may arrive at the airport with their firearms but the firearms must meet the terms and conditions above.

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