Hunting Zimbabwe Given the prevailing political, economic and human rights situation in this country, as a hunter or traveler, one may be tempted to avoid Zimbabwe altogether. This country, formerly known as Rhodesia, was once one of the most prosperous countries in Africa while under rule of the British Empire. After gaining its independence and, even more so under the rule of Robert Mugabe, this prosperity has come to an abrupt end. In the last ten years, the policies enacted by Robert Mugabe against white Zimbabweans, including the redistribution of agricultural land, have brought on a rapid and devastating economic collapse. As a result, famine has become a driving force among the Zimbabweans and has led to significant poaching. According to some sources, these activities have led to the disappearance of 70 to 80% of the game in some areas. Surprisingly, tourists and hunters continue to visit Zimbabwe. To date, there have been no incidents involving foreign tourist or foreign hunters. In addition, most of the safari operators continue to offer hunts in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe continues to be an important hunting destination. The current situation will not last forever and the continued presence in the bush and in the hunting areas of the hunting structures such as the: camps, lodges, vehicles, and more, as well as the presence of hunters, PH's, trackers, game scouts, etc... all may help to slow the effects of poaching... even though for many of these poachers, poaching is a matter of survival. It is likely that one day soon Zimbabwe will again be the peaceful and beautiful hunting destination that it had been for decades though this return to normalcy may take several years. Zimbabwe, as is the case for other countries in Africa, has no access to the sea. Zimbabwe is bordered to the east by Mozambique, to the south by the Republic of South Africa, to the west by Botswana, and to the north by Zambia. Zimbabwe is home to an Elephant population estimated at 100,000 animals, with a threshold at 50,000, mostly in the Zambezi Valley. Hunting of Elephants is allowed. Lion and Leopard hunting are also allowed. Lions and Leopards are hunted exclusively with bait and can be found in almost all areas. Zimbabwean Leopards are well known for their size. It is worth mentioning that among the cats, Cheetah hunting is also permitted. There are also large herds of Buffalo (Syncerus Caffer Caffer) in Zimbabwe and so this country offers the possibility to hunt four of the renowned "Big Five"... Zimbabwe is also home to a large variety of antelope as well, among these, a strong population of Sable (Hippotragus Niger), additionally one can also hunt in Zimbabwe Roan Antelope (Hippotragus Equinus), Cape Eland (Taurotragus Oryx), Lesser Kudu (Tragelaphus Strepsiceros), Forest Nyala (Tragelaphus Angasii), Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes Taurinus), Tsessebe (Damaliscus Lunatus), Common Waterbuck (Kobus Ellipsiprymnus), Impala (Aepyceros Melampus), Burchell's Zebra (Equus Burchelli), Reedbuck (Redunca Redunca), Bushbuck (Tragelaphus Scriptus), Bushpig (Potamochoerus Porcus), Warthog (Phacochoerus Aethiopicus), Common Duiker (Sylvicapra Grimmia), Steenbok (Raphiceros Campestri), Klipspringer (Oreotragus Oreotragus) Hippos and Crocodiles are abundant in most of the rivers and can also be hunted. The vegetation of Zimbabwe consists mostly of mopane (Colophospermum mopane) forests, one of the more common trees of southern Africa and dry and grassy savanna broken up by areas of dense forest. The hunting areas are spread out over a large part of Zimbabwe. Hunting is permitted in three different types of areas: governmental hunting areas, tribal hunting areas and private hunting areas. Each one of these hunting areas has their own hunting rules. Governmental areas and the private territories are huge; they can reach hundreds of thousands of acres. All these territories are non fenced and open. In Zimbabwe hunting is done on foot but given the vastness of the hunting areas, it is often necessary to travel by vehicle. The hunting areas are not very rugged and the actual hunting is not especially physically rigorous. The professional hunters are most often White Zimbabwean, but there are also South-African, white Zambian and occasionally European ones as well. The accommodations on private hunting areas are usually comfortable lodges. On governmental areas accommodations are usually large and comfortable tent camps, including electricity in most cases. Depending upon the location of the hunting area, most are accessible by road from the country's capital, Harare, or from a secondary city, like Victoria Falls. The roads are good and drive time averages 3 to 6 hours. But since many hunting areas have their own airstrip, transfer by chartered plane will often be possible.