Can hunting pistols be imported into Zimbabwe?

Most Zimbabwean professional guides will advise this unless the client has specifically requested to use it in a hunt and he/she has experience with it. Handguns are unnecessary weight on the client when hunting . Even a slight deviation in angle of a revolver when aimed will result in a very different direction of the shot and potentially hit an animal that cannot be hunted by law. Some professional guides will carry a small guns as additional security if there is a close encounter with a dangerous animal.

What kind of bullets are legally imported into Zimbabwe?

Buy bullets outside of the country as it can be very difficult to find the bullets in Zimbabwe or very expensive. Request information on what kind of bullets to buy depending on what animal that will be hunted. Most professional hunters will advise bringing the same weight of bullet and a combination of expanding bullets and solids. The kinds of bullets will also depend on what kind of rifle they will be used in. 450 or 500 bullets are the most preferred for the bigger animals with smaller bullets for the smaller animals like impala and hyenas.

Taking hunting rifles and handguns into Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe is one of the easiest countries to import hunting equipment temporary into the country as it only requires that an application form be done and submitted to National Parks. The rifles will need to be transported in a secure case. It is advisable to transport your ammunition and rifle bolt separately to the rest of the gun. There have been rare cases of the bolt  been stolen in some airports in Africa during transits. The other option is to rent a rifle from the professional guide or camp operator in Zimbabwe.

See the attached letter on traveling with firearms into Zimbabwe, write in the required information and show it to customs when entering the country. The customs officials will check the serial numbers, etc.

What hunting guns and rifles to use in Zimbabwe?

Depends on the kind of animal that will be hunted. Profesional hunters can hunt most Zimbabwean animals with a  .375 bolt-action hunting rifle. For birds a shotgun will need be needed. A client should familiarise himself with new equipment to see if the recoil can be handled. This will avoid problems with bruising around the eye from the scope, known as scope eye. Scope eye can affect the hunt as the hunter will flinch when pulling the trigger and  affect the accuracy of the shot. Big recoil is common with heavier calibre rifles.

Heavier weighted bullets with heavier calibre rifles are needed to hunt bigger animals. With this ammunition there is less chance of sticks, stones or branches that are not always seen in the scope of the rifle deflecting the shot.

What are the hunting regulations of Zimbabwe?

National Parks of Zimbabwe will give individual hunting operators a quota for each animal that can be legally hunted. The hunting operator will then do a pre-hunt form based on what animals the client wants and this is submitted to National Parks for approval. This process applies to private conservancies, private ranches, safari areas and Campfire areas.

Some operators and professional hunters will apply for twice the number of animals than what the client has asked for in the rare event that an animal is shot but the body is not discovered. The professional hunter will then offer the client the choice of paying for the second animal.

If an animal is shot but the body is not found on the day but is found later after the client leaves, the trophy is still legally the ownership of the client up until 14 days after his/her day of departure from Zimbabwe.

Professional hunters will either have a full or a restricted licences. Restricted licences means that the professional hunter is limited to what he or she can hunt with a client.

Lions that are 5 years or older can only be legally hunted. The professional guide is responsible for deciding the age of a hunted lion. Only a close examination of the colour of the nose and condition of the teeth can determine the lion´s age, very difficult from a distance. Photos of the hunted lion need to be done and posted to National Parks.

National Parks will determine the age of the lion based on the hunt. If the age is too young then the professional hunter will be given a big monetary penalty. This is to prevent the hunting of young lions.

Where can the big five be hunted in Zimbabwe?

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Bubiyani Conservancy and the Savi Conservancy near Bulawayo have the big five. Rhino cannot be hunted in Zimbabwe and only in South Africa can this be done. Private conservancies are good for hunting of the big five for two reasons:

1.     They each have good anti-poaching units

2.     There are privately owned and have better management than National Parks or Campfire areas.

The Gache Gachce Campfire area on the eastern part of Lake Kariba is also good for the hunting of the big five as well as the hunting of crocodile and hippo. Campfire areas do have villages of local Zimbabweans so hunters will see the local people.

What is the difference between Campfire areas, National Parks, safari areas and private conservancies in Zimbabwe?

Campfire areas are hunting areas where local Zimbabweans have homes. There are agreements with the hunting operators to hunt lions, elephants, buffalo and more. Local people get some of the trophy fees and the meat of the hunted animals.

National Parks are unfenced areas of land that are used to protect animals. No hunting is permitted in these parks. These areas belong to the government.

Safari areas belong to National Parks and are on the borders of the national parks. There are no fences between safari areas and National Parks. In these areas hunting is permitted.

Private conservancies are fenced areas of land that are privately owned. They are very well operated and allow hunting and photographic safaris.