ZIMBABWE: aborted hunt

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by turco, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. turco

    turco New Member

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    I had booked a safari last May with HWANGE Safaris (Gordon and Allan Banks).First 2 weeks in Hwange looking for elephant then one week in the Zambezi Valley for buffalo and plains game. Transfer from Hwange to the Valley by chartered plane at an unspecified date (depending on the outcome of the elephant hunt). Everything was paid in advance and I mean everything: daily fees, trophy fees, transfers, chartered plane.It started rather well but after only four days I decide to cancel the whole affair and return home. Now I know the rules having 12 safaris in Africa in my memory box, therefore I did not expect any refund nor did I ask for any with one exception however: the 2500 US dollars paid for the charter plane. I have been trying to get that money back from Hwange Safaris tried to get in touch with ZPHA no reply! with the Zimb. tourist authority no reply! I do not seem to be able to find any trace of the Banks brothers in the various PH organisations. I have the feeling that I have been had. So, my brothers hunters two pieces of advice:1, never pay everything in advance and 2, if you want to hunt in Zimb. avoid Hwange Safaris.
  2. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    turco..........sorry to hear about your difficulties. I am curious though.......given your obvious experience with 12 safaris under your belt, why would you have paid the full amount up front and in advance? I would not do that here at home, as much can go wrong in a year or two for an operation and getting blood out of a stone is tough even if the outfitter is in the next state or province never mind half way around the world. Zimbabwe has always been notoriously tight with currency coming and going and I have known many operators in the past who maintain a US account on this side of the pond to hold deposits, etc.

    It is a terrible loss for you to be sure...........and it should serve as a warning to all hunters. Sadly there are going to be a lot of operations in many countries that do not survive the current global monetary crisis and many have already gone under. Be cautious and do your homework is all I can say.
  3. Leeukop Safaris

    Leeukop Safaris AH Veteran

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    Sorry to hear turco!

    Beside from all the money you lost, I knew this was a dream that you were looking forward to and for not less than a year you were waiting for this dream to become reality. I think this is the saddest part of it all. I do not know this safari company but you should really try to contact the professional hunters association in S.A. or Zim and bring this under their attention. I know that if this company is in S.A. the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) will definitely attend to your problem. Thank you for bringing this under everybody on this forum's attention.

    Sorry again!
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I have to agree with Kelly Ross, I would never pay everything up front. It creates problems. I have seen outfitters get complacent. They figure you have the money to burn....etc. And in no way am I saying every outfitter is like that too.

    I have one question for you though...why did you cancel the safari?The areas you mentioned as suppose to have really great hunting...I know because I wish I could hunt in the area for Buffalo and Sable.

    I would have to say your chances at a refund are 0 %, because of the distance.

    And Kelly is right there are going to be a whole lot of house cleaning after this economic crunch...things are tough out there :(. Outfitters and clients are all feeling the pinch.
  5. Cleathorn

    Cleathorn AH Senior Member

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    Turco - Thats aweful. I am going to Zim next year, not with the same outfit. Can you tell us what happened. If its personal, I am sorry to intrude. If it was a problem with the Safari operator or worse, with some kind of Government problems, please help out your fellow hunters and shed some light on why you cancelled after 4 hours? Its 24 hours just to get there?
  6. daggaboyblog

    daggaboyblog AH Veteran

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    I was hunting all through that country just eight weeks ago. We drove through Hwange National Park every day and had regular encounters with police and military (the VP had just died), with the holders of the concessions and private 'anti-poaching patrols'.
    Saw lots of elephant and a 55 pounder was shot by a nice Austrian lady on my first day in camp. I hunted buff and sable in the area and thought it was an amazing place - a very challenging hunt.
    Turco, surely it must be a problem with the outfitter because it's a great place to visit and hunt. We'd all like to hear more on this one...
    Let us know if you need a reputable and long established outfitter to hunt around Hwange.
  7. turco

    turco New Member

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    thanks for all comments and sorry i could not react sooner.Here are my replies:

    1° I had to settle all in advance for practical reasons, I would normally never do that
    2° I had to cancel for reasons that had nothing to do with government or the like. I was outraged by the differences between what was said by Hwange before my trip and what actually happened there; without going into to much details I had the distinct feeling of having been taken for a ride.
    3° I did try to get in touch with the Zimbabwe PH Association (Sally) with no reply and with the Zimbabwe tourist Authority, no reply either!
    Successfull hunts to all, Turco
  8. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Turco I am very sorry to hear about what happened.

    The fact of the matter is that they should have paid some of your money back if not the whole amount.

    I would once again have to agree with Kelly and Enessy there is a lot of work to be done to clean up this industry sorry to say but the system might be flawed these days every guy with a hunting truck calls himself a Hunting Outfitter now you can go and say he must be a member of this or that but the true answer here is that there needs to be certain regulations such as you need to have property or a hunting concession of your own, the company has to be registered this is not that difficult but if a Outfit has any of the above it would almost ensure that you are dealing with professional people.

    So if you have a registered company and have your own land you have something to protect or lose ( you have a name and usually property with great value) and this kind of thing will never happen and if it does the company would lose all their business very quickly.

    Turco once again I am so sorry about what happened to you but if a hunting Outfit has something to lose when they b#$@t people it will make a big difference on the outcome of matters my advice would be to hunt with a Outfit that has land of their own in some part of the country.

    It is things like this that causes the further crippling of an already crippled hunting industry.:mad:
  9. Kevin Thomas Safaris

    Kevin Thomas Safaris AH Senior Member

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    Response To Turco Aborted Hunt Hwange

    Firstly I'd like to say that I'm sorry Turco was ripped off so badly, but thus far nobody has queried what a hunting safari operator (the brothers aka Hwange Safaris) is doing selling safaris inside Hwange National Park to foreign clients - and I must assume that was the venue because Turco only mentions Hwange. Was it an adjoining state owned safari area, a CAMPFIRE area or what? Visiting sport hunters need to understand that Zimbabwe is in a horrific state by way of their wildlife resource management, due to the current political impasse. Unscrupulous Zimbabwean politicians and other well "connected" individuals have sadly gone into cahoots with a number of equally unscrupulous South African and Zimbabwean safari operators. The name of the game - "let's milk it while we can". Hwange National Park is just like any other National Park worldwide, it is not a hunting concession - would American guides be allowed to sell safaris to sport hunters in say Yellowstone National Park? I doubt it. South African safari operators certainly aren't allowed to sell hunting safaris inside Kruger National Park. Imagine if some Zimbabwean safari operators suddenly went into cahoots with a bunch of corrupt South African politicians and started selling hunting safaris inside Kruger National Park? There'd be a global outcry. One week ago I was sent an attractive looking safari marketing spiel by a client of mine. An agent had tried to sell him an elephant, buffalo & plains game hunt in Zimbabwe's south east, opposite Kruger National Park (the Limpopo River is the boundary). It was also a "Package Hunt" - which means, "No trophy, no trophy refund" the daily rates and trophy fee(s) are all lumped together. I know the area well because as young National Parks game rangers' in that area in the late 1960s we were doing elephant control there. Right now, it's been poached to hell with little left. On a moonlight night if you sit in the middle of the Limpopo River bed, you might be lucky and see an elephant or buffalo wandering into the riverbed from South Africa's Kruger National Park. Nice safari, BUT more importantly the two listed PHs aren't Zimbabwean or licensed there. To carry a legal Zimbabwe PH license, there is two criteria 1) You've have to have gone through the full two-year apprenticeship & 2) You've got to be a Zimbabawean BORN citizen. If a PH cannot prove that to a potential client, be wary, very wary, unless the PH is an honest man who tells his client that he is organising the hunt through an ESTABLISHED Zimbabwean operation of long standing integrity and repute. There are a number of them in that country, and in closure, indeed there are two brothers of dubious reputation inside Zimbabwe, reputedly in business with a South African and some Zimbabwean politicians, but their name isn't Kelly, and if any sport hunter is offered a hunt in Hwange National Park, please as conservationists, refrain. No true sport hunter should be hunting inside a world reknown National Park on account of a country's political woes and instability. Research properly who you're going to hunt with, and you won't get ripped off or become tainted with having hunted inside a landmass that is off limits to sport hunters.
  10. Kevin Thomas Safaris

    Kevin Thomas Safaris AH Senior Member

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    ktsafaris apology on name screw up

    ....May with HWANGE Safaris (Gordon and Allan Banks)...

    I copied and pasted the above from Turcos original post, and in my anger as a Zimbabwean citizen & PH at what he'd experienced, I responded too quickly, ...when I said they weren't Kelly brothers, I meant they weren't Banks brothers, between myself and my Zimbabwean colleagues were're pretty sure we know exactly who they are. At the end of the day, a handful of us are afterall ex government game rangers, turned professional hunters, with a very real concern about the future of our wildlife in a country we love.
  11. Kevin Thomas Safaris

    Kevin Thomas Safaris AH Senior Member

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    Turco, I've been informed on pretty good authority that you probably hunted in an area known as the Deka Tail, which fortunately isn't inside Hwange National Park, however the concession holders now appear to have lost that Deka concession, although this is still to be confirmed. I sent your post to a PH colleague of mine in Zimbabwe and he has passed it on to the neccessary Zimbabwe authorities, so hopefully you will be able to get some form of redress. If you want to send me the full written scenario of how you were ripped off, I will ensure that from our side as ethical PHs and outfitters, it goes to the right people. You can send it to my email address at buffhunt@mweb.co.za Good Luck.
  12. wswat

    wswat AH Member

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    Very inpressed with you Kevin Thomas Safaris.


    Not being the safaris that Turco hunted with yet all the time and effort you went through to help is great to see!! Makes me feel like this website is full of some great people!

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