Hunting Phrases You May Hear On Your Safari

There’s no denying that South Africa is a mixing pot of people, cultures, traditions, varying landscapes, wildlife and languages. Some real languages, some a mix between Afrikaans, English and IsiXhosa and some stuff we have just made up over the years.


We know that your first time to Africa is a sensory overload, it’s all going to be new, exciting, action packed, adventurous and at times a little confusing, in fact there will be a lot you won’t understand. We call jerky, biltong, fries are chips, we eat our cheese off Salty Crax, put Mrs. Balls on everything, traffic lights are robots, we drive on the left, our burgers are covered in Monkey Gland sauce, sodas are soft drinks, brandy and coke is the go-to drink around the fire but most importantly we live for hunting.


There isn’t enough time or hard drive space left on my computer to explain all the weirdly unique phrases and terminology you are going to hear on your safari, so for the sake of sticking on topic, I’ll keep it strictly hunting.

Below is a helpful list of hunting related phrases, their meanings and when you may hear them. So, when you’re out hunting and you hear one of these phrases come blurting out of the PHs mouth, you don’t have to ask her yourself “What did he just call me?”


VAS [Fa-us]: This is a good one, no really, it’s a positive phrase you want to hear. Especially straight after you pull the trigger and more than likely will be said by your PH. Directly translated from Afrikaans, Vas, means tight, hard or compact. In hunting terms, it means you hit the animal in the right place. “You got him; the shot was vas!”


VELD [Fe-lt]: Another Afrikaans word and this one in essence means bush, vegetation, large open area or in some cases what the hunting grounds are referred to. “We are heading out into the veld to look for Kudu”

AG SHAME MAN [Ugggh Sh-hame man]: You really got to grind that G for emphasis when using this phrase. Ok so this one is a little weird but it’s about as South African as Simba Chips (I’ll get to that one later). This phrase can be used in any situation from hearing a sad story, discussing your shooting ability on the range to complimenting the looks of your baby, seriously we even use it as a compliment.  In the case of hunting, if you come to Africa and pull out a 6.5 Creedmoor you going to hear this phrase.


JUST NOW, NOW NOW AND NOW: This is how we give time in Africa. It’s scientifically proven to give you an indication as to when something is going to happen, without you or anyone for that matter actually knowing when it will happen. South African’s just move at a different pace. Let me provide you with a measuring stick on just how we determine time. You have just finished lunch and you’re ready for the afternoon session, you turn to your PH and ask, “When are we heading out?” These will be his responses and how you should react.

“Just Now” – Head to your room and enjoy a four siesta, then wake up grab yourself a coffee while you relax for another hour or so.

“Now now” – Don’t put on your hunting boots just yet. Help yourself to a second dishing of lunch, put your feet up for fifteen minutes and then ask again. 

“Now” – Why aren’t you in the truck already? Everyone is waiting. Come on man!


OH BLIKSEM [O blick-sim]: This one is not good, especially coming from your PH. To put it in context. If you have taken a shot at let’s, say a Kudu for example and your PH utters these words under his breath then consider it a terrible shot and you have a long day of tracking ahead of you. Alternatively, if your PH shouts these words and you happen to be in the vicinity of Buffalo, then I would suggest you turn and run, preferably faster than him.


GOOI BOETIE {Ggg-oi-ya Bo-tea]: Let ‘em have it, send it, make it rain lead, don’t stop pulling the trigger, pew-pew-pew. I think you get the idea. *cough*hunting baboons*cough*cough*


BAKKIE [Buc-key]: Ok so this is what we call a truck or pick up. And yes, just like most countries round the world, depending on the make or model of your Bakkie you will certainly get cliched comments and cheesy jokes.


BRAAI [Brr-high]: You may know it as a BBQ, we know it as a Braai. It’s the most social thing us South Africans do, and we damn good at it. Throwing a Kudu backstrap on the Braai, gathering round with your brandy and coke and sharing hunting stories is what every South African hunter lives for. There’s no doubt you will experience a few Braais on your hunting trip.

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