Elephant Hunting in modern times: What Country has the best Elephant hunting?

What Country has the best Elephant hunting?

  • Botswana

    Votes: 27 64.3%
  • Zimbabwe

    Votes: 9 21.4%
  • Tanzania

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Mozambique

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • Zambia

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Namibia

    Votes: 2 4.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    42

skydiver386

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Most of us have read the old classics about hunting Africa 75 or even 100 years ago, and the fantastic size of some Elephant in those times. 1905 might have been a great time to hunt Africa when 100 pounders were a possibility, but in modern times what is a reasonable size expectation, and what would be your top choice of Country or Outfitter?

Some of the deals offered by Sponsors on this website have really put my mind to thinking an Ele might replace Ibex or Markor at the top of my list. The Boss Lady has given the green light, as long as she can hunt Zebra, or one of the tinnies.
 
I hunted Botswana in 2021 and took a 75 pounder. I now have the ivory and skin panels. It is reasonable to expect at least a 50 pounder in the best areas and there’s always the chance for an 80+ pounder due to bordering the unhunted national parks, reserves and photo-only areas. Send me a pm if you want more info.

I also hunted in Tanzania in 2023 and split a full bag with a friend. We saw lots of bulls and he took a nice bull in the 60 pound range with a handgun. The PH takes 80 pounders every year and has taken a few 100 pounders. It is an expensive place to hunt but you will get a good bull.
 
What defines "Best"?

Does best mean importable to your country? That changes the list.
Does best mean the heaviest tusks? That changes the list.
Does best mean the longest tusks? That changes the list.
Does best mean the biggest bodied? That changes the list.
Does best mean the easiest hunt? That changes the list.
Does best mean the hardest hunt? That changes the list.
Does best mean the closest hunt? That changes the list.
Does best mean an open country hunt? That changes the list.
Does best mean a hunt in the Jesse? That changes the list.

You can see where I'm going with this.
 
I have not hunted elephant yet. I am not sure how much my opinion matters.
I voted for Zimbabwe, because some of the most economic prices that I follow are Zimbabwe offers.
For me best elephant hunting is affordable elephant hunting.

However, for somebody who can afford more, this does not need to be the same.
Exportability is one factor.
Size of tusk is another factor.
There could be other factors.
 
Best is certainly subjective. For me the priorities in order might be the opportunity to see large numbers of decent bulls, tusk weight, difficult terrain, and a PH that made the hunt something I'd want to do again and again.

Lodging, wifi, gourmet food and swimming pools are nice, but they are at the bottom of my list of priorities. I'd rather be sore, eating cold Beanie Weenie's out of a can, and sleeping in a hammock if it meant a good hunt.
 
I've hunted bull elephant in both Botswana & Zimbabwe. I highly enjoyed both the hunts.

Would love to hunt a nice tusker in Tanzania, someday.
Quite a few of us here on AH would like nothing more than accompanying you on such a hunt my friend.
 
Choosing between Markhor and Elephant isn’t going to be easy.
On the one hand you get to hunt the largest herbivore alive.
On the other hand you get to hunt the Himalayas or Karakoram ranges for one of the most prized trophies on earth.
 
You and @Scott CWO are the men!!! please refer me to your reports so I can enjoy!!!
 
You and @Scott CWO are the men!!! please refer me to your reports so I can enjoy!!!
 
You and @Scott CWO are the men!!! please refer me to your reports so I can enjoy!!!
 
I haven't hunted elephant in Botswana, but I understand your odds of getting the biggest tusks are pretty much there. So on that basis - and on that basis alone - I would say it was the best.

However, life isn't that simple. Botswana is likely also the most expensive place to hunt elephant.

Taking all things into account - size, cost, style of hunting and availability - I would say that the best place to hunt elephant today is Zimbabwe. I hunted an elephant a few years ago in Matetsi Unit 2 andd shot one, fewer than 100 yards from the Bots border. It could have been a Botswana elephant . . . in fact, I'm almost certain he'd just snuck into Zimbabwe to check it out (!) . . . big body and 55 pounds a side. Not huge tusks, but plenty big enough for me.

I believe Unit 2 is still a great place to hunt elephant, as is Kazuma right next door. One day . . .
 
I haven't hunted elephant in Botswana, but I understand your odds of getting the biggest tusks are pretty much there. So on that basis - and on that basis alone - I would say it was the best.

However, life isn't that simple. Botswana is likely also the most expensive place to hunt elephant.

Taking all things into account - size, cost, style of hunting and availability - I would say that the best place to hunt elephant today is Zimbabwe. I hunted an elephant a few years ago in Matetsi Unit 2 andd shot one, fewer than 100 yards from the Bots border. It could have been a Botswana elephant . . . in fact, I'm almost certain he'd just snuck into Zimbabwe to check it out (!) . . . big body and 55 pounds a side. Not huge tusks, but plenty big enough for me.

I believe Unit 2 is still a great place to hunt elephant, as is Kazuma right next door. One day . . .
From my perspective, Botswana is not the most expensive place to hunt elephant and is also not where I would go if I was targeting the 100# dream. Where it shines is delivering the best odds of taking an animal 60+ # in a relatively condensed timeframe.

Agreed that Kazuma would be an exceptional hunt. It’s an area that consistently produces 60#.

Your bull sounds amazing.
 
These are just my opinions based on my research. I'm sure others who've done equal or more research will chime in

Best chance for a bull over 100lbs - Tanzania
Best chance for a bull 60-80lbs - Botswana, Tanzania, or parts of Namibia
Opportunity to see lots of Elephants on your hunt - Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, RSA (pick your area)
Biggest Bodied - Kazuma
Longest Ivory - Tanzania
Thick Heavy Ivory - Namibia or Botswana
Cheapest - PAC Hunt Namibia (chance opportunity when hunting, can't really plan)
Best Bang for your Buck (Cost vs Size opportunity) - Zimbabwe
Prettiest Ivory for the dollar - Zambezi Valley
Tuskless - Zimbabwe or Zambia
Hardest Earned - Forests/slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Least Hunted - Mozambique or Tanzania
Easiest Travel from USA - South Africa
Easiest to Import - Ask Conservation Force
Best w/ Plains Game Opportunities - South Africa


I think if you divide your budget into a few categories it'll change the list since some countries will be ruled out (ex: Botswana & Tanzania are only really apply to the last 3 pricing tiers)
Sub $20K
$20-40K
$40-70K
$70-100K
$100K +
 
These are just my opinions based on my research. I'm sure others who've done equal or more research will chime in

Best chance for a bull over 100lbs - Tanzania
Best chance for a bull 60-80lbs - Botswana, Tanzania, or parts of Namibia
Opportunity to see lots of Elephants on your hunt - Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, RSA (pick your area)
Biggest Bodied - Kazuma
Longest Ivory - Tanzania
Thick Heavy Ivory - Namibia or Botswana
Cheapest - PAC Hunt Namibia (chance opportunity when hunting, can't really plan)
Best Bang for your Buck (Cost vs Size opportunity) - Zimbabwe
Prettiest Ivory for the dollar - Zambezi Valley
Tuskless - Zimbabwe or Zambia
Hardest Earned - Forests/slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Least Hunted - Mozambique or Tanzania
Easiest Travel from USA - South Africa
Easiest to Import - Ask Conservation Force
Best w/ Plains Game Opportunities - South Africa


I think if you divide your budget into a few categories it'll change the list since some countries will be ruled out (ex: Botswana & Tanzania are only really apply to the last 3 pricing tiers)
Sub $20K
$20-40K
$40-70K
$70-100K
$100K +
A few other considerations to think about. I didn’t vote because I think best is too subjective, but I think Botswana likely has the best opportunity currently at a very good bull.
South Africa seems to have problems year to year issuing permits that other countries don’t have. The bulls are also limited in the weight of ivory that can be taken but the Kruger bulls have huge bodies.
Botswana doesn’t seem the tracking hunt other countries are. It seems some hunts are primarily spot and stalk, but gives the opportunity to look at more bulls that would be an immediate trophy elsewhere.
The Caprivi in Namibia has a lot of concurrent tourism operations in the hunting areas. Some concessions are better than others for this. It has some very reputable outfitters to choose from though.
Mozambique has a lot of elephant poaching issues. There are areas that were hunted that aren’t viable anymore.
Zimbabwe provides a good tracking hunt at a reasonable sized bull with a lot of experienced PHs to choose from, but can be a tough hunt.
 

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