First, you need to be aware that guns are now being cleared into the country by the police, not customs. On arrival in the country, once you have claimed your firearm, ask where you need to go to clear your gun with the police. There have been some problems recently, particularly in Johannesburg International Airport, with visitors not being able to find the police station. Some have mistakenly passed through Customs looking for it. At this writing, the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa is working with airport authorities to get proper signage in place. In the meantime, take the initiative yourself to find the police station.
What the police will be looking for from you is a filled-out SAP 311 Form, or "Application For An Import/Export Permit." It is highly advisable that you get your outfitter or PHASA to fax you a copy ahead of time. Fill it out carefully before you leave home, but leave it unsigned. You will be required to sign the form in front of the police officer clearing your guns into the country. Second, if you come from a country that requires that firearms be registered (most European countries do), be prepared to show your registration forms for each firearm you are importing. US citizens, of course, don't have to register their firearms, and in fact strongly resist doing so. We have conveyed that message to PHASA, who says the police reply was, "They would like (emphasis ours) US citizens to be able to provide proof of ownership of any firearms they bring in." At this writing, the operative word here is "like." We have been assured that no US citizen will........(continued)