What I've learned about Zimbabwe Air Travel With Guns

rookhawk

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I feel like every year the story changes about Zimbabwe and air travel but here is the current state of the union.

If you are coming from the USA headed to Harare, it appears the ONLY way to get to Harare legit with guns is on Emirates.

With KLM you have to intentionally withold knowledge that you are heading to Zimbabwe and make a detour to South Africa first, then use a different travel agent/booking for the last leg so KLM doesn't know your final destination is Zimababwe.

Lufthansa, Air France, British Air and all the other EU members have a present sanction against bringing firearms into Zimbabwe so there is a no-go there.

Delta and South Africa Airways can be flown from the US into Jo'Burg and then on to Zimbabwe but you'll probably need an overnight at Afton House, SAPS paperwork, etc.

So if you need to get to Harare and don't want to pay for boarding houses and additional rifle permits in foreign lands, Emirates is the only option into Harare from the USA.

Alternatively, if you don't need or want to go to Harare but you need to head to Bulawayo, you have a few choices. Emirates into Jo'Burg. Delta into Jo'Burg. SAA into Jo'Burg. Then clear customs as they won't usually check your guns through. Fill out SAPS paperwork, then hop on SAA Airlink from Jo'Burg to Bulawayo.

If going into RSA is too stressful and adds too much time, then you're stuck with emirates into Harare and then you have to figure out how to get out of Harare to say Bulawayo or Vic Falls. Those options at present are: Air Zimbabwe flights for $200 roundtrip plus gun fees for overweight. (only for sale inside Zimbabwe presently) Or, a charter flight. It appears charter flights are running $3000 roundtrip to Vic or Bulawayo from Harare.

In short, it is not easy to fly into Zim with guns these days and all it will take is a policy change or two from either Air Zimbabwe, SAA Skylink or Emirates to effectively end bringing a gun into that country for a safari.
 

rinehart0050

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Thanks for the information Rookhawk. Sorry that you have to fight your way through this mess for your upcoming hunt. I hope all goes well.
 

CAustin

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What a pain!
 

rookhawk

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Thanks for the information Rookhawk. Sorry that you have to fight your way through this mess for your upcoming hunt. I hope all goes well.
I feel sorry for the wonderful people of Zimbabwe. There are some many barriers to a Zim safari that it is killing their living. If I wasn't very, very fond of the Zim people I know I'd never step foot in that country. I hear Namibia is a friendly place with some fine sport to be had.

Think I might be overstating things? I printed over 50 documents tonight and that is just the start of my paperwork collection for a Zim hunt. Examples of things you need:

1. A power of attorney document listing every person you know in Zimbabwe with a pulse. If you don't have one signed by a notary, they won't release your guns to anyone but you and they won't bring your guns to camp. A few hundred dollar bribe was required to release my guns to a PH two years ago because my passport, my 4457, my gun permits, and my personal release letter were "not good enough" when not signed by a commissioner of oaths. (British Law term for a notary)

2.) Zim form 47 declaration

3.) Receipts for all wire transfers in triplicate

4.) Gun permit app in triplicate "visitors firearm certificate"

5.) Copies of the IATA Statute 302 so you can shove it up the &%$*$ of the airline that tries to charge you a few hundred bucks to haul your luggage the last mile in contravention to a signed treaty

6.) Copies of TSA and other US statutes to argue with the American baggage counter people that 5KG of ammunition does not include the weight of the boxes, the locks, the foam or the cases.

7.) Weights and measures of every piece of ammo by the gram and a tally of them all to prove you're under 5kg

8.) Laminated business cards with your address and name to put on all trophies so they don't disappear or get mixed up at camp, dip/pack, or taxidermy

9.) ZIMRA Customs Declaration of cash

10.) Phone numbers of taxidermy, dip/pack, pilots, ZimParks, Global Rescue and other contacts to have in the bush when %^%$&^ hits the fan...and it often does.

11.) 4457 forms in triplicate, signed in last six months for all guns and valuables.

12.) Letter of Intent in case some bizarre problem thrusts you into south Africa and you need one for a SAPS permit

13.) Letter of invitation from your PH in case you need one from some country or airline to get through their bureaucracy

14.) Check through to <Insert Airport Code Here> signage to place on all four sides of your gun case some a baggage handler doesn't forward it to the police at an airport in route

15.) Address of your PH to list as the physical address while you're in Zim, even though you won't be within 500KM of that location

16.) Receipts for all your weapons when they decide to reject your 4457 forms because the OMB expiration date on them is out of date

17.) Receipts for all your weapons when they decide to reject your 4457 forms because the signature of the customs agent that signed them is older than 6 months ago

18.) A copy of your FFL, C&R FFL, or Firearms ID Card if applicable so you can give them proof your firearms are "registered" since they don't believe you if you claim you don't have to register guns in America

19.) Documents to show that the name you put on the firearm form has synonyms so they don't claim you have the wrong ammo and demand a bribe. (e.g. 500 BPE, NFB, NE, Nitro Express, 500 Basic, etc.)

20.) Airline gun permit application

21.) All the crazy forms required to receive airline gun permit



This is just some of the fun! This is why Zimbabwe's outfitters and professional hunters are struggling due to no fault of their own. This is what it takes to have a shot at not getting harassed and getting all your stuff into the country properly.
 

LivingTheDream

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Good lord man! They did hit you hard! I didn't have to do half that stuff when I went on tuskless. I can't believe it.

I agree with you it is truly a shame, I loved Zimbabwe, I felt honored to hunt it. I hope to make it back there again!
 

wesheltonj

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I would not call it being "stuck on emirates." Better airline when delta, saa
 

rookhawk

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Good lord man! They did hit you hard! I didn't have to do half that stuff when I went on tuskless. I can't believe it.

I agree with you it is truly a shame, I loved Zimbabwe, I felt honored to hunt it. I hope to make it back there again!
Tuskless is actually a brilliant, brilliant move @LivingTheDream . Nothing to export. Paperwork wrong? Who cares! They get to keep it any way!

I'm nearing critical mass on my own trophy collection. I think if I can keep going to Africa annually in the future, I might very well just buy a gun and some ammo, some clothes and essentials and leave it all there. Forget exporting trophies. Just kill it and grill it. Pay extra thrashings for in-country ammo and be done with it!
 

sierraone

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Tuskless is actually a brilliant, brilliant move @LivingTheDream . Nothing to export. Paperwork wrong? Who cares! They get to keep it any way!

I'm nearing critical mass on my own trophy collection. I think if I can keep going to Africa annually in the future, I might very well just buy a gun and some ammo, some clothes and essentials and leave it all there. Forget exporting trophies. Just kill it and grill it. Pay extra thrashings for in-country ammo and be done with it!
Even though I will make my first trip in July, I have wondered for several years why a hunter doesn't do just as you suggest if he is relatively sure he will go back to the same location and outfitter for several/many years. So much less stress, planning and end costs. Make a phone call, pick a date, buy a ticket and go!
 

rookhawk

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Even though I will make my first trip in July, I have wondered for several years why a hunter doesn't do just as you suggest if he is relatively sure he will go back to the same location and outfitter for several/many years. So much less stress, planning and end costs. Make a phone call, pick a date, buy a ticket and go!
@sierraone A well to do acquaintance stopped by on Wednesday that has been to Africa "a lot". He was telling me he's looking for the deal of the century on TEN Remington Model 700 30-06 rifles at present. He thinks he can get a ten pack for around $3000 if he shops hard enough. He was then going to bulk buy leupold scopes. The plan is that he is going to sprinkle them around the world. If they go missing...so what. If he never returns...so what. Frankly, for not that much money, it's actually a pretty decent plan. What's a person's sanity worth anyway? For $5000 you could have 10 fully outfitted hunting rifle/scope/ring packages buried in every backwater town from Fairbanks to Bulawayo just to not have to worry about paperwork, baggage fees and delays.
 

LivingTheDream

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I said tuskless was going to be a once in a lifetime thing. But with no taxidermy and no shipping, it felt good leaving knowing there were no more bills coming nothing to stress about with USFW. Just beautiful pictures and fond memories. It is definitely a trip I would do again.

I like the idea of buying it and leaving it there. Not sure what the legal ramifications would be. But the stuff we go through to get stuff in and out of countries is insanity.

I think I will have a few more export trips, but I am sure I will have many more non export trips. Minus the sentimental value, I would just rent one and be done with it. Show up, hunt, take pictures and leave.
 

sierraone

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@sierraone A well to do acquaintance stopped by on Wednesday that has been to Africa "a lot". He was telling me he's looking for the deal of the century on TEN Remington Model 700 30-06 rifles at present. He thinks he can get a ten pack for around $3000 if he shops hard enough. He was then going to bulk buy leupold scopes. The plan is that he is going to sprinkle them around the world. If they go missing...so what. If he never returns...so what. Frankly, for not that much money, it's actually a pretty decent plan. What's a person's sanity worth anyway? For $5000 you could have 10 fully outfitted hunting rifle/scope/ring packages buried in every backwater town from Fairbanks to Bulawayo just to not have to worry about paperwork, baggage fees and delays.
If it works for him, who can fault him?
 

edward

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if you bring it in,you better take it out,or ELSE!!! that my understanding???
 

rookhawk

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if you bring it in,you better take it out,or ELSE!!! that my understanding???
Or pay duty on it and let a PH put it on their permit. That's the legit way.
 

edward

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Or pay duty on it and let a PH put it on their permit. That's the legit way.
dont think that would work for a handgun,thats my choice of fire arm.not in south africa at least.
 

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No more Zim for me! Too much trouble..
 

375 Ruger Fan

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No more Zim for me! Too much trouble..
Don't write off Zim, just rent a rifle from the PH. Makes travelling much easier. Flying into and out of Bulawayo was no hassle and it's actually a pretty nice, small airport. Cleared customs and immigration and had my bags in about 15-20 minutes.
 

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Wow this sounds like a huge PITA. I have no interest in booking a hunt if I can't hunt with my own rifle. Definitely something to consider when booking a hunt in the future.
 

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I had the thrill of hunting with my own rifle once. When and if I go back I'll be renting a rifle just to eliminate the hassle of bringing in a firearm into any of the African countries.
 

sestoppelman

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Don't write off Zim, just rent a rifle from the PH. Makes travelling much easier. Flying into and out of Bulawayo was no hassle and it's actually a pretty nice, small airport. Cleared customs and immigration and had my bags in about 15-20 minutes.
Been there twice, no real need to go there again. Nothing there that I cant get somewhere else with less hassle.
 
 

 

 

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