PH Spotlight – Peter and Stephen Tam of Tam Safaris

Peter and Stephen are the second-generation operating family owned Tam Safaris founded by their father Irvin in 1995. Growing up in the wilderness instilled in Peter and Stephen a passion for the outdoors. Mentored by their father, they learned to hunt and enjoy the lifestyle. Peter followed his dream of becoming a professional hunter, joined his parents in 2001 and became a qualified Big Game hunter in 2003.  Stephen, who shares the same passion for the outdoors, teamed up with his father and brother in 2007. He is a licensed pilot and operates the company’s Robinson R44 helicopter.

Tam Safaris headquarters is based in the Eastern Cape, Karoo of South Africa. It is home to three of Africa’s Big 5 – Lion, Rhino and Buffalo. Its land covers over 60,000 acres in a diverse environment. Species in the area include Black and /White Rhino Lion, Buffalo, Sable, Roan, a variety of Plains Game and African Exotics. Over 40 species are offered.

Peter explains what sets their operation apart from others.  “It is the attention to details, along with the extra personalized service. The warm hospitality makes everyone feel apart of the Tam family. In 2018, Tam Safaris was the overall winner of the WRSA Eastern Cape Wildlife Rancher of the year award and also the Outfitter of the Year.”

Peter and Stephen state the firearms they carry on hunts. “We prefer the .470 NE that packs a good punch without having to reload for a quick follow up shot when necessary.”

Years afield provide many memorable hunts, some wildly exciting and some terrifying.  Peter and Stephen recount their experiences.

Peter: “One of my very first bow hunts for Lion I can recall not having fixed the bait to the tree well enough. The lions managed to pull it down and feed on most of the bait. Observing from a distance, the lions were still in close proximity to the bait area. We decided to try and sneak into the blind with the hope that one of the lions might return to the remains that were left. Right about the time we reached the blind a lioness jumped out from it to surprise us. She was just as startled as we were!”

Stephen: “Having so many fond memories and experiences it’s tough to pick out the most memorable. Mountain hunting has always been a firm favorite especially chasing after the elusive Vaal Rhebok. One of my first Vaal Rhebok hunts in the mountains was with a retired game warden from Canada. We hiked from sunrise until sunset in snow and rain. It was miserable, but we actually enjoyed it, believe it or not. The challenges we encountered that day from weather and terrain were not typical of the Karoo. Even though we were unsuccessful that day we could enjoy a drink around the campfire sharing the day’s events.”

One of Tam’s success stories is their rhino project. In 1997, they reintroduced the first rhino into the reserve and since then have had huge success in growing their herd. With the increase of poaching activity, anti-poaching has become an important part of the program. Tam Safaris is involved in a number of charitable projects. Together with partners in the wildlife industry and hunters’ dollars, Tam secured a children’s center, constructed schools, provided scholarships and dedicated time and resources in caring for over 150 vulnerable children within their community.

In addition to hunts, Tam Safaris offers activities including game drives, helicopter tours and visiting local attractions. Fishing trips can be arranged.

For more than 20 years, Tam Safaris has exhibited at the annual SCI Convention and is among the top 100 exhibitors. Peter and Stephen are SCI Life Members.

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