The Mugabe government’s ‘land reallocation,’ starting in 2000, converted hundreds of productive farms into subsistence ice-age, and much of the long-nurtured plains game is simply gone. There are a few good ‘general bag’ areas remaining, especially the large conservancies, but Zimbabwe no longer competes effectively in the plains game market, and has slipped to the third-most popular safari destination, after South Africa and Namibia. However, the designated Safari Areas remain superb for buffalo and elephant, and thanks to many years of conservative quotas Zimbabwe is becoming a surprisingly good destination for lion, with a fine selection of kudu, eland, sable, bushbuck, and waterbuck. Common game includes zebra, impala, warthog, grey duiker, and steenbok, with spotty distribution of reedbuck, tsessebe, nyala, klipspringer, and Sharpe’s grysbok. All of these species (and more) remain huntable, though the concentrations of plains game once found on private lands is now greatly reduced. Zimbabwe is typically heavy mopane woodland – thornbush – and as such offers ideal leopard habitat with a CITES quota of 500 exportable leopards plus the largest CITES quota for elephant. Zimbabwe almost certainly offers the best combination of availability and affordability. Buffalo hunting is also some of the continent’s best, with many thousands of buffalo still roaming the Zambezi Valley to the north and the Hwange Park corridor to the west.

The land reallocation has been devastating, primarily on private land. It has been estimated that Zimbabwe has lost 80% of her sable since 2000. The economy is/was in dire straits, and the political process has been widely questioned. However Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife continues to do a fine job, as do Zimbabwe’s professional hunters and safari operators. Zimbabwe has the most rigid professional hunter licensing standards on the African continent, a genuine (and lengthy) appren-ticeship followed by rigorous written and practical exams. A Zimbabwe PH licence means something, and there remain many great areas where some of Africa’s best PHs and safari operators are able to offer superb hunting experiences. At this writing it appears that the ‘power-sharing’ government is increasing in efficiency, and Zimbabweans are guardedly optimistic toward the future. In terms of either safety or results there is no reason to not consider a Zimbabwe safari, but due caution must be exerted in selecting an outfitter, and remember that only a Zimbabwe citizen can hold a Zimbabwe professional hunter’s licence.

Established: 1981

Formerly: Rhodesia (1890-1979), Zimbabwe-Rhodesia (1979-1981)

Area: 390,624 sq. km.

Population: 12,236,000 (2009)

Primary Access: Commercial air, Bulawayo, Harare, Victoria Falls; road and charter to hunting areas.

Elevation: Low: 162 m (confluence of Save and Runde Rivers) High: 2592 m (Inyangani)

Language: English (official)

Currency: Zimbabwe Dollar (essentially frozen in 2009; U.S. Dollars and Euros widely legally accepted.)

Hunting Season: Year-Round (some areas more restrictive; hunting generally practical April-November) Firearms Permit: Issued upon entry. (Recommendation: Obtain form from outfitter, fill out in advance in triplicate.)

Registered Outfitters in Zimbabwe

Acacia Safaris

African Dream Safaris

African Hunting Company

Big Five Safaris

Bishopstone Safaris

Brooklands Hunting

  • Bubye Valley Conservance – Mazunga Safaris P/L Beitbridge
  • Bulembi Safaris Bushman
  • Safaris Bvekenya Safaris
  • Chapungu Safaris
  • Chifuti Safaris
  • Chinyika Ranch Safaris
  • Chipitani Safari Company
  • Chishakwe / Rovambira Dindingwe Safaris
  • Doug Carlisle Classic Safaris
  • Fair Range Estates
  • Ganyana Safaris (Matetse)
  • Georgia Safaris
  • Greater Kuduland
  • Guy Whittall Safaris
  • Guyu Safaris
  • HHK Safaris (Famba)
  • Hippo Valley Safaris
  • Hwange Safaris
  • Ingwe Safaris
  • Inyati Hunters
  • Jabulani Safaris
  • John Sharp Safaris
  • Jumbo Safaris
  • Kazungula Safaris
  • Lalapansi Safaris
  • Leopard Ridge Hunting
  • Lowveld Hunters
  • M T Trading Makuti
  • Game Safaris
  • Malilangwe Trust
  • Manange Safaris
  • Matupula Safaris
  • Mazunga Safaris
  • Mbalabala Safaris
  • Mokore Safaris
  • Mopani Safaris
  • National Safaris
  • Nengasha Safaris
  • Ngamo Safaris
  • Nkunzi Safaris
  • Norzim Bush Treks
  • Novatown T/A Save Valley Safaris
  • Nyala Safaris
  • Nyavasha Ranching
  • Pro-Safaris Africa
  • Redberth Safaris
  • Rifa Wildlife / Sportsman Adventures
  • Roger Whitthal Safaris
  • Rolling River Safaris
  • Rosslyn Safaris
  • Royal Zambezi Wildlife
  • Russbroom Safaris
  • Ruwesi Canoe Trails
  • Safadec Services
  • Safari Trackers
  • Safari Video Producations
  • Sango Safaris
  • Savannah Safaris
  • Senanga Safaris
  • Sentinel Limpopo Safaris
  • Specialised Adventure Safaris
  • Swainsons Safaris
  • Swanepoel & Scandrol Safaris
  • Threeway Safaris
  • Thungatha Track A Hunt Safaris
  • Trophy Hunters Africa (PVT.) Ltd
  • Tshabezi Ranching
  • Tuli Hunters Ukhozi Safaris
  • Van Der Reit Western Safaris
  • Zambezi Hunters
  • Zambezi Wilderness