Looking for some advise on Hunting Zimbabwe

Iloutdoorsman

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I was planning a trip to Zimbabwe and have had alot of mixed conversations between PH's, granted they can be bias, and rightfully so. I'd like to ask the guys here that have hunted Zim to give me some advise on best areas to hunt and if you have an outfit to recommend that is fine too. My primary target is Cape Buffalo and I'd like to hunt some plains game as well. Kudu & Waterbuck top my list. It would be nice for the area to be more than just thick brush, some open area would be good. Was considerting June - July timeframe.

I was looking at hunting in one of the Matetsi units. Reasons being I've heard of solid animal numbers, no fences, no needed charter and it's close to Victoria Falls which my wife would like to see.

Also looking at Save Valley Conservancy. Reasons being, someone I know personally hunted there and gave a great recommendation, it's a solid conservation success story, good animal numbers and affordable.

Any Advise?

Thanks
 
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MT Griz

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I hunted in the Save Valley Conservancy in 2010 and had an absolute blast. Great place, big area, no internal fences, big 5 all present. There are several good outfits that operate in the Save.
 

Hank2211

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I’ve hunted the Matetsi units three times, although the last time was some years ago now, and a lot can happen in a few years with poaching. Game numbers were high when I was there, quality was excellent (I took a 31” waterbuck and a 44 5/8” sable there, as well as a 55lb elephant, among other things) and a good variety was available. Wildebeest and tsessebe were non existent though, and bushbuck were scarce. Camps were not luxury, but were very comfortable and in reasonable shape. As you said, no fences, not even along the border with Botswana.

I have also hunted the southern parts of Zim, close to South Africa, and while the areas were good for hippos and croc, plains game seemed a bit scarcer. Good quantity and quality of giraffe, but hunting plains game was hard.

I have heard that the Bubye Valley Conservancy is excellent - and will be able to report firsthand in a month. While I’m not hunting Matetsi - or Kazuma which is in the same area - I am flying into Victoria Falls so my wife can get acclimated a bit more slowly. . . . The Victoria Falls hotel is a wonderful relic of colonial times, if over-priced for the country.

Much depends on your outfitter, and how the area has been managed. Do your homework and you should be fine. Zimbabwe is one of the last “old style” safari areas available at a (relatively) reasonable price in Africa.
 

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I hunted Zim in 2015, with PH John Sharp and hunted the Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC). A lot of game, with the exception of kudu and oryx. There's something like 880,000 acres and no cross fencing. Flying into Bulawayo is quick and easy too. About a 4 hour drive south to the BVC on good road. I hunted late May and the brush was dense. Hunting later, Aug or Sept is probably better. It will be hotter, but better chance to get a buff.
 

IdaRam

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I was planning a trip to Zimbabwe and have had alot of mixed conversations between PH's, granted they can be bias, and rightfully so. I'd like to ask the guys here that have hunted Zim to give me some advise on best areas to hunt and if you have an outfit to recommend that is fine too. My primary target is Cape Buffalo and I'd like to hunt some plains game as well. Kudu & Waterbuck top my list. It would be nice for the area to be more than just thick brush, some open area would be good. Was considerting June - July timeframe.

I was looking at hunting in one of the Matetsi units. Reasons being I've heard of solid animal numbers, no fences, no needed charter and it's close to Victoria Falls which my wife would like to see.

Also looking at Save Valley Conservancy. Reasons being, someone I know personally hunted there and gave a great recommendation, it's a solid conservation success story, good animal numbers and affordable.

Any Advise?

Thanks
I just returned from my one and only trip to Zimbabwe, so my experience is limited to the area I hunted, which was Sengwa with Mokore Safaris. I would recommend the area and the outfitter without reservation! Absolutely superb.
For the animals you have mentioned it would be a great choice. They have been rebuilding the Cape Buffalo population for the past seven years and just started hunting trophy bulls last year. The waterbuck trophy quality there is excellent and they have taken their largest 2 bulls the last 2 years. Both 33 1/2” :eek:
Kudu are plentiful as well with a very reasonable expectation of a mid-fifties bull.
Livingstone Eland and Chobe bushbuck populations are strong with excellent trophy quality and impala and warthog are abundant.
I have heard nothing but great things about the Save Valley and I am sure you wouldn’t go wrong with that choice either!
Good luck and let us know what you decide :) (y)
 

WAB

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We hunted the Save last year and had quite an adventure. There’s a hunt report about it on here somewhere. I would go back in a heartbeat. However I’d love to hunt Bubye and Matetsi as well. So many hunts, so little time!
 

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I shopped by looking at PH's that hunted the way I wanted to conduct a hunt....on foot, less driving-more tracking, dugga boys only- no herds, area managed well, make my own shots. Ended up with PH Len Taylor in the Zambezi Valley(Dande) and Charlton McCallum Safaris, and it was everything and more. It was a toss up between Len and Alan Shearing who had a hunter on dates I wanted and shared camp with him, good guy too. Happened to like they do banking in US and have real office staff for easy emails, quick answers.

I think a number of the suggestions made here are very good also.
 

Iloutdoorsman

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Thanks for the replies, can't beat 1st hand experience. I'll keep checking back and if anyone has a PH to recommend feel free to send me a PM.

I was under the impression that June and July were "winter months" but if I understand correctly there may be less vegetation in August and September?
 

meigsbucks

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I hunted Zim in 2015, with PH John Sharp and hunted the Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC). A lot of game, with the exception of kudu and oryx. There's something like 880,000 acres and no cross fencing. Flying into Bulawayo is quick and easy too. About a 4 hour drive south to the BVC on good road. I hunted late May and the brush was dense. Hunting later, Aug or Sept is probably better. It will be hotter, but better chance to get a buff.
I hunted the Bubye Valley Conservency in 2013. I took the buff in my avatar, a 50" kudu but saw bigger, a decent waterbuck but saw bigger and eight other PG animals.
I believe Mazunga Safaris runs the operation, but you can book directly with the PH's like John Sharp. I hunted with Ade Langley but 2018 was his last year in the BVC and will be concentrating on his operation in Uganda.
 

Hank2211

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Thanks for the replies, can't beat 1st hand experience. I'll keep checking back and if anyone has a PH to recommend feel free to send me a PM.

I was under the impression that June and July were "winter months" but if I understand correctly there may be less vegetation in August and September?
You are correct.

June, July and August are winter in the Southern Hemisphere, so all, or most, of the leaves are off the trees, and much of the tall green grass has been eaten, beaten down or burned off. This is also the dry season. So overall it’s much easier to hunt, and the temperatures are much more bearable than they are in their summer. Easier doesn’t mean easy though - vegetation can still be very thick, depending on the area.

Temperatures start to get hotter around September and are scorching by December/January, when many areas are impassable due to rains, and start to moderate again around May-ish.
 

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I was under the impression that June and July were "winter months" but if I understand correctly there may be less vegetation in August and September?

June , July are winter but just depends on when the rains finish and how heavy they are...but bush in June will still be thick depending if any burning been done....by Aug it will be more flattened and later in month will be warming up a bit...aug Sept nice months to hunt
 

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