Johnny du Plooy is a proud Zambian native whose family has been in country for more than 120 years, and who sees the wildlife industry as a way of life to which he is committed. His career as a PH began when his brother and experienced professional hunter, Abie, encouraged him to undertake an apprenticeship and gain experience working with a variety of safari companies. In 1987 at the age of 19, du Plooy was licensed as a PH and went on to form his own safari company, Muchinga Adventures, in 1993.
du Plooy hunts all species available in Zambia including lion, leopard and full-bossed buffalo. Muchinga is licensed to operate several exceptional Game Management Areas, and du Plooy has hunted almost all the Zambian hunting blocks guiding his clients to excellent trophies. Commenting on his philosophy, du Plooy says, “Muchinga is a family-run operation providing an authentic fair chase Zambian safari experience while ensuring that the welfare of clients, wildlife and communities are at the heart of all we do.”
For dangerous game, du Plooy’s choice in firearms includes a .470 Double Merkel and a custom-made TT Proctor. He considers .375 an all round caliber.
Though his years afield have produced many notable experiences, the one du Plooy considers most memorable is so because it touched the lives of so many people beyond the hunter’s and epitomized the outreach and benefits of conservation. “The hunting of Zambian elephants was closed in 1981,” recalls du Plooy. “The first elephant tag issued for what is now Nyaminga GMA was hunted in May 2011. We looked at quite a few elephants and turned them down because Zambia has strict regulations regarding size and weight on any elephant trophy.”
“Doug [the hunter] was accompanied on the elephant hunt by his wife Diane, an excellent hunter in her own right. A number of elephants were stalked at various waterholes and along the Luangwa River. Eventually Doug and I found six bulls together by a waterhole. We watched for fifteen minutes before a shoulder shot presented itself. Using a .416 at 25 yards, Doug made a solid shoulder shot with an excellent second shot to the shoulder as the elephant started to run away.
“Doug wanted a life size mount. It took more than half a day for the camp skinners to remove the hide from the body. The tusks, an impressive 1.98 meters in length, were successfully imported into the United States.
“It took a full day to cut up the elephant meat into a manageable sizes and load it onto five vehicles that were sent to various locations around the Game Management Area for further distribution from the schools, clinic and village meeting areas. More than 1,240 people in 69 villages received enough meat to feed their families for more than a month.”
All the funds raised from the elephant hunt were invested in rural community engagement including building a maternity health clinic, donating four vehicles for anti-poaching, providing material to rural schools and educate the rural communities about wildlife conservation. As an Honorary Wildlife Police Officer, du Plooy is involved in anti-poaching activities. He set up a reward with ZAWA for the handling of illegal weapons that resulted in the removal of more than a hundred illegal firearms from the Luangwa region.
In addition to hunting, Muchinga Adventures offers fishing in the Kafue and Zambezi Rivers and arranges tours to Victoria Falls.
du Plooy is a SCI Life Member and Muchinga Adventures exhibits at SCI Conventions. He also donates hunts to various SCI Chapters for their fundraising efforts. His wife, Laura, works with him managing their business.