In August of 2002, I first visited Afton Guesthouse in Johannesburg, SA. The place was recommended by a PH who is no longer in the industry. I was fortunate enough to stay several times during my six weeks and three-country hunt. I was able to harvest all of the Dangerous Seven.
Fast forward to April of 2022, some 20 years later. I was fortunate enough to stay again with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and two clients. What a difference two decades has made.
Afton was, in 2002, a warm and welcoming place for someone who had never been on the African Continent before, or an old pro. It featured old, creaky wood floors and skeleton key access for each room. It offered a few curios here and there and had some recommendations for places near to safely have dinner and cocktails.
Today’s Afton is a beautiful blend of those features, but brought into a more modern world. The rooms are really updated while keeping that warm and homey feel. The meals that are now available are nothing short of outstanding, and enjoying a beer or cocktail in the boma area with a fire pit and nearby swimming pool brings this place to a whole new level.
The trophy room allows guests to get a close-up look at a wide variety of Southern Africa’s diverse wildlife options, while the sitting room is both warm and comfortable. The entire place displays the incredible artwork of the local people, ranging from wonderfully detailed wood carvings to leather work, and even some beautiful hand-made knives with scrimshawed bone handles, all of which are available for purchase.
I truly enjoyed my stay 20 years ago but the new owner/management made my stay now just that much more enjoyable. The other options offered to travelers, even if they do not have the time to stay, are phenomenal. They organize an outstanding meet-and-greet service at the aircraft, which can be incredibly comforting, especially to the first-time Africa traveler. When it comes to assistance with bringing your firearm and getting the license, there simply are no words to describe how smooth they make it.
Just a few years ago I traveled with my wife, three daughters, and their husbands/fiancés, none of whom, other than me, had ever been to Africa before. We did not have time to stay in Johannesburg as we were catching a flight up to Victoria Falls before returning to SA for a 10-day hunt. The issue was we had extra luggage for the hunt and firearms, all of which were a problem going up to Zimbabwe. The Afton staff made arrangements for an aircraft meet, walked our group to customs, and met us again on the other side. They then took possession of our firearms and extra luggage and secured them until our return from Zimbabwe, where they again met us at the aircraft, through customs, and then assisted with getting the firearms and luggage checked for the trip down to Cape Town.
I cannot begin to find words that describe how fantastic Afton was 20 years ago and surely cannot put into words how it has grown into what I can only call the finest customer, hunter, and service organization in Southern Africa. I will, without question, continue to recommend Afton to all my customers or anyone needing to travel through Johannesburg, SA.
Afton is truly the place where “THE SAFARI BEGINS”.
Ron Hugo started A-Fox Hunting consultants. A small family-run booking agency. They book hunting and touring trips worldwide from all of North America to New Zealand and South America but they specialize in African adventures. Ron says, “No other agency will work as hard to get you exactly what you want at the best pricing.”