Firearms in South Africa
Taking firearms into South Africa is no problem providing you have all of the correct documentation.
The first step is to complete the SAPS520 (download) Temporary Import Application in black ink. I can assist you with this as to save time it is better to fill it in before arrival provided you do not sign it. It must be signed in front of a Police Officer in the airport.
Please allow at least 3 hours for firearms importation as at peak times there can be a queue. In reality it usually takes approximately 30minutes.
The following documents are also required:
2. Return Airline Ticket
3. Proof of Ownership:
3a. Firearm licenses, documentary proof, etc. For USA Citizens, Customs Declaration Form 4457 (officially stamped) is acceptable
4. Documentary proof of export from the country of origin. This is now a required document for South Africa only. You will need to apply to the UK Border Force at least 2 weeks before you fly to get the required paperwork. Outfitters letter (provided by us), flight dates and copy of firearms licence need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to specify which firearm and how much ammunition is being taken. Please note that no image intensifying equipment will be allowed under this licence.
5. Motivation Letter from yourself. This is a letter from the yourself stating that you are temporarily importing the referred to firearm/s for the purpose of hunting, to include that the firearm/s are required as you will be hunting (list the species to be hunted), etc.
6. Invitation Letter from the Hunting Outfitter. This I will sort for you.This is supporting documentation from the Hunting Outfitter with whom you will be hunting, to include full name of company, full contact details and address, dates and location where you will be hunting and confirming that the applicant will be using the specific firearms as applied for.
7. Any Other Supporting Documents.
Please also note the following:
1. No more than one firearm per caliber and 200 rounds per firearm will be permitted. An exception to this may apply for shotguns where more than one of the same calibre may be allowed for bird hunting purposes if the client produces on arrival at the SAPS Office an acceptable written motivation as to why more than one is required.
2. Firearms must bear the manufacturer's serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified. The identification number must be stamped and the mark affixed in the prescribed manner on the barrel or the frame or the receiver of the firearm.
3. Handguns will be allowed into the country, but only for hunting purposes. Any visitor wanting to bring in a handgun in this regard needs to have a letter from an association in the country of origin, stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes.
4. Prohibited firearms which may NOT be imported into South Africa include:
4a. Any fully automatic weapon
4b. Any semi-automatic weapon
4c. Handgun/s for self-defense
4d. Weapons which fall under military categories
5. A semi-automatic shotgun for hunting purposes may be allowed if an application is made at least 21 days before arrival through the Central Firearms Register with a motivation letter as to why this type of firearm is required.
Rifle type and calibre are a personal preference and you must be comfortable shooting it. Being wary of recoil is of no use to anyone so do not go over gunned.
For plains game a rifle in .243, .270, 30-06 or .300 etc is ample. For dangerous game the minimum requirement is .375.
Ammunition must be carried in a separate lockable container from the rifle. A quantity of 40 – 60 will suffice, they must be in fixed boxes and not loose.
If you decide not to bring your own rifle it is not a problem as estate rifles are available.