In 2007, The Hunting Report published an overview on hunting in the West African country of Benin, specifically with Safaris Chelet (See Article 1876 in our online database.) Chelet is based in Spain, caters mainly to Europeans and, until only a few years ago, was largely unknown to American hunters. In 2007, safari operator Jose Chelet was just beginning to market to American hunters. Since then we've had a number of Hunting Report subscribers hunt with Chelet, the latest being Bob Keagy. So, what do American hunters have to say about hunting Benin and Safaris Chelet? Keagy's report largely echoes others, clearly demonstrating consistent performance. Keagy reports an "excellent" experience. You can see photos of his trophies in our online Trophy Gallery at www.huntingreport.com. Safaris Chelet is family-run and hunts in Djona, an extensive concession in the far northeast of the country, adjacent to W National Park, which spans the borders of Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso. It derives its name from the "W"-shaped squiggle in the Niger River. The area encompasses about 280,000 acres of open savannahs and highland bush.
While the terrain is mostly flat, don't think that hunting in Benin is easy. Keagy tells us it involves lots of walking in uncomfortable temperatures (up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit by late March). The extreme heat makes long stalks arduous and constant hydration critical. Subscriber Dave Polke, who hunted with Chelet in 2010 (see Report 7653), says he was soaked in sweat his entire safari and suffered leg cramps every night. "Take powdered Gatorade to replace your electrolytes," he advises. Despite the difficulties, he says he would "do it again in a heart beat."
As the season becomes drier and hotter, the animals concentrate near water. Typically, hunters drive roads near rivers or waterholes. Once good tracks are cut, hunting is on foot. Expect to stalk game for hours at a time and cover up to 10 miles a day.
Game populations are not super-abundant in Benin, but hunters report seeing plenty. Keagy says he killed........(continued)