At the risk of creating too much travel anxiety, we have another cautionary note to pass along. It's from Hunting Report subscriber Terry Blauwkamp, who says he very nearly lost his guns at Johannesburg International Airport (JIA) recently when a porter simply picked them up and started walking toward the exit with them. Here is how he describes what happened: "On May 6, my wife and I arrived from Windhoek, Namibia, on South African Airways. My wife waited at the carousel to retrieve our baggage, while I went to the Security Office to wait for my guns to be delivered there. As I looked over the crowd of people, I saw my two gun cases going across the floor toward the "Nothing To Declare" customs line. They were being carried by a porter. I caught up with him and said, "Those are my guns!" He said, " I carry them to the car for you." Clearly, the porter was intent on stealing my guns. If I had not seen him, he would have been out the door with them. When I complained about this to the security person at the exit, he replied in a language I couldn't understand. I got the distinct impression that he knew what I was saying, but he wanted to bluff me into thinking he didn't understand English because he was in on the deal. My advice is to be careful at JIA...."
Here at The Hunting Report, we certainly second that advice. Continuing subscribers know we did a lengthy report on the security situation at JIA last year (see November 1998 issue, page 3), and we concluded that South African Airways was on top of the problem. Porters simply walking out the door with guns was a possibility we hadn't considered, however. Neither had anyone else we spoke to. Suffice it to say, we've sent some sharply worded e-mails on this subject of porters inside the baggage area, and we know the matter is being looked into. In the meantime, don't let jet lag get the best of you on arrival at JIA. Stay alert until you get........(continued)