From humble beginnings we have, over the years, fashioned a legendary reputation as pioneers in the South African game and hunting industry. Coenraad Vermaak Safaris (CVS) celebrates 50 years of excellence in 2020, making us the oldest hunting safari company in South Africa.
CVS was formed by well-known hunter and conservationist Coenraad Vermaak in 1970 as a small “one man enterprise” when professional hunting was virtually unknown in South Africa. The Vermaak hunting legacy began with Coenraad’s Grandfather, C.M. Vermaak in the early 1900’s when an average hunting safari lasted 2 months! This legacy was passed through the generations and as a result Coenraad Vermaak Safaris is today still family owned and run.
Initially operating mainly in the Province of Natal (Zululand), the enterprise grew into a small family business that slowly spread its wings throughout South Africa. With Coenraad retired, CVS is now owned and run by Coenraad’s son Hans Vermaak and is based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
ETHICS: We embrace the hunting traditions of our forefathers where fair chase & ethical hunting combined with a deep and sincere respect for wildlife and wild places is simply part of who we are.
CODE OF CONDUCT: Honesty & integrity come first. Hunting is our right but it’s
also a privilege. We respect all fauna and flora and the laws of the land. We abide by the Custodians of Professional Hunting & Conservation SA (CPHC) code of conduct.
We deliver on what we promise. There are no frills, exaggerations or puffery. We correspond quickly and accurately with our clients. We pay full attention to detail and leave no stone unturned in the build up to, during or after your safari. We ensure there are no unwanted surprises and no hidden costs at the conclusion of your safari. CVS team members are hand picked, committed and enthusiastic. They are the best in the business. Quality hunting areas are paramount to the success of your safari. We don’t settle for average destinations. Legal compliance – we know there is zero margin for error.
We love what we do and are passionate about sharing the great outdoors with our discerning clients. We take the details and the success of your safari as seriously as you do! Consistency has earned CVS its impeccable international reputation. We guarantee you the real thing – a memorable, authentic African safari and total piece of mind.
``You don't get to be the best by being the oldest; You get to be the oldest by being the best!”
The Vermaak family settled in South Africa in 1709. They were hunters and keen outdoorsmen and the passion they had for wildlife and the great outdoors ensured that these traditions were passed on to future generations. This is why the Vermaaks can proudly say that 310 year later, the hunting legacy of their forefathers lives on through Coenraad and Hans Vermaak’s families.
The Vermaaks were involved in South Africa’s history and during the Anglo Boer War the family ranch, Vermaakskraal, was used as a base camp for British soldiers before they entered Zululand to take on the fearless and revered Zulus during the famous battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift in 1879.
Over the years, hunting & wildlife became an integral part of the Vermaak way of life. Our forefathers hunted for the pot, for the trophies and most of all for the enjoyment of being part of the great outdoors! And so it was that in 1970 Coenraad Vermaak turned his passion into a family business and became an iconic figure and pioneer in the South African hunting and conservation industry.
- Coenraad is a founder member of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa and served as its Vice President for 15 years.
- Hans Vermaak served on the board of this organization for 10 years, 2 of which he served as the Association’s President.
- Coenraad was the first ever recipient of the PHASA “Uncle Stevie” Trophy of the Year Award in 1986.
- Hans Vermaak was presented with this same esteemed award in 2014 for the best trophy taken – a new world record Springbok.
- Coenraad and Hans are both founding members of the Custodians of Professional Hunting & Conservation South Africa (CPHC) and Hans currently serves on the board.
- CVS is the longest established hunting safari company in South Africa and boasts an impeccable international reputation.
- CVS has exhibited at every Safari Club International & Dallas Safari Club show since their inceptions!
- In 1988 Coenraad received the distinction of being the first Dallas Safari Club Outfitter of the Year.
- Hans was the Student of the year in 1994 at the Goss Hunting Academy.
- Coenraad was the first officially licensed Professional Hunter in South Africa.
- Mpahleni Madonsela, better known as Patches, became one of South Africa’s first active black Professional Hunters.
- Hans and Coenraad have both served as Vice Presidents of the International Professional Hunters Association.
- Coenraad also served on the board of the International Professional Hunters Association (IPHA)
- Hans is an advisor to the Dallas Safari Club Frontline Foundation which assists PH’s and safari staff when injured during safaris.
- In 2014 Robert Mdlolo, Hans’s tracker since 1996, won the PHASA Tracker of the Year award. He was the first recipient of this award!
- Coenraad has been an Honorary Officer of the Natal Parks Board and Ezemvelo Wildlife since 1974.
- In 2020 Coenraad Vermaak Safaris celebrates 50 years as South Africa’s premier outfitter.
- Clive Curtis (CVS Senior PH) was awarded the PHASA Basie Maartens Professional Hunter of the Year Award in 2014.
- 4 CVS Professional Hunters have won the PHASA “trophy of the year” award over the years.
- CVS is well known for its quality hunting concession areas across South Africa. Collectively, these areas comprise all of the diverse South African habitat types, enabling us to offer all of the species occurring in South Africa.
- We have the sole and exclusive hunting rights to South Africa’s largest continuous hunting area. This magnificent area in the Kalahari spans over 230 000 acres and is home to all of the BIG 5, as well as Cheetah, African Wild Dogs and a large variety of quality plains game species.
CVS has a small but highly effective team. Carlien Esterhuizen takes care of every detail of your safari, Delvin Wichmann handles the accounts and general operations, and Eileen Winterton, Coenraad’s daughter, takes care of all of CVS’s marketing and advertising. Hans spends as much time as possible in the field however just like any other business, his office duties keep him desk bound regularly. CVS only contracts the best most experienced PH’s, all of whom have a minimum of 10 years’ experience as full time guides. Our PH’s, headed up by Clive Curtis (our Senior PH), are more than hunters – they are knowledgeable about all fauna and flora, they are passionate about what they do and spending time with them in the field is informative, fun and rewarding. Our trackers are highly skilled and dedicated gentlemen. They were the first trackers in South Africa to be recognized as full field members of PHASA – a testimony to their skills and professionalism.