According to an article by Antoinette Slabbert in Moneyweb, game ranching yields better returns than the JSE. The South African game industry’s annual turnover has grown from R62 million to R864 million over the last ten years, as measured by game and livestock marketer Vleissentraal’s auctions. Game farming gives a higher return per hectare than any other farming activity. The bulk of the revenue over the last ten years was from rare species (R788 million).

A total of 9,825 plains game and 1,751 rare game was sold last year. Taking into account the value of the offspring and production cost, it is estimated by a rare species game rancher that the annual return on capital employed can be 84.86% per year on nyala, 130% on black impala breeding with regular impala ewes. In comparison, last year the JSE All Share Index (ALSI) showed a total return with dividends reinvested of 26.68%. Game breeding also clearly outperforms investment in property, which has a typical return of 10%.

Demand seems to be driven by trophy hunting. Restrictions on hunting in countries like Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia have benefited the South African hunting industry, and the rest of Africa is perceived as dangerous.

The annual income from international hunters in 2010 was estimated at R557 million. This includes the hunter’s day fees (safari, accommodation, etc.), as well as the trophy fees for animals hunted. It excludes the value added by taxidermy, flights, sightseeing activities, rifle import permits, etc.