This won't be exactly the same as my usual hunt reports. Fear not, it will still be far longer than it needs to be, but it will also be part travelogue, for reasons which are set forth immediately below. If you find the non-hunting stuff boring, well, you could just skip it, but then you likely won't find the hunting stuff that exciting either. This was just a nice, leisurely hunt, checking out a new destination for me. In the spring of 2018, the PH I’ve used for all of my hunts in Zimbabwe, and who sometimes accompanies me on various other hunts to less congenial places, Dean Stobbs of Touch Africa Safaris, e-mailed me to say that an opportunity had opened up in the Bubye Valley Conservancy, and to ask if I had any interest. At this point I was living in London, where I had been since September, 2017, while my wife was back home in Calgary. I didn’t think it would be a great idea to suggest that three weeks after getting home in early September, I would be heading to Africa on a hunting trip, especially since I already had a trip scheduled for Cameroon in January of 2019 for LDE. My wife, though, had been asking for some years when we might go on a photo safari, as many of her friends had. I had said I had little interest in driving around looking at animals with lots of other people, since we could do that in a safari park. But I raised the idea with her – would she like to go to Zimbabwe, and see most of the animals she would see on a photo safari but do it without the crowd, the price being that I might just shoot one or two of those animals along the way? To my surprise, she said she’d love to go, and that as long as I kept the shooting to a minimum, she thought she could tolerate it. Well, given that the range between my minimum and my maximum is actually fairly narrow, I thought that was a deal I could accept. So plans were made, and we were scheduled to leave I wasn’t bringing any rifles on this hunt. Canada enforces the UN embargo on firearms to Zimbabwe, even for temporary purposes, so taking my own rifles was out. But that wasn’t a big problem. When the embargo was first announced many years ago, I, ahem, helped my PH to acquire a couple of decent rifles. He rents them to others and when I’m there, I use them and ammo is supplied. Works well for both of us. One rifle is a Remington 700 .300 Win Mag with a Leopold 3-9x scope. Dean had 135 grain Barnes triple shocks as well as more conventional 180 grain Hornady’s of some sort. The second rifle is a CZ Safari Magnum in .375 H&H, with a Leupold 1.5-5x scope, and here I was using 300 grain triple shocks. Victoria Falls Since this was my wife’s first trip to Africa, I decided to start easy. We began in Victoria Falls, staying at the beautiful Victoria Falls Hotel. If you don’t mind spending what it costs to stay here (multiples of any other place in Vic Falls), it’s well worth it. A step back in time to the turn of the 20th century. Incredible views, lovely staff, good food, old rooms of decent size with just enough wear and tear to seem authentic to the period. The first thing my wife did the first morning after our arrival was head to Zambia for a trip to the Devils Pool. I was against it, and refused to have anything to do with it. For those of you who like things like bungee jumping, this might be for you. From the Zambian side you swim just above the Falls to a small pool where the water seems to eddy before going over the edge. To your right the Zambezi is rushing headlong over the Falls, with a massive roar and mist which can be seen and heard for miles. But things are quieter just a few feet away . . . and from this point, you get to look over the falls . . . as the water is going over the Falls around you. I should mention that someone hangs on to your legs to make sure you don’t join the water. Lunacy. The people you see are standing in a pool . . . but note that the water still goes over the Falls. The lunatic with the red bathing suit standing up in the water is the guy in charge. He makes sure no one does anything more stupid than he does. We were having lunch on the veranda of the hotel when my wife, somewhat to my surprise, returned alive from the Devil’s Pool. That afternoon we just rested, trying to get over the jet lag. We had an exceptional dinner in the Hotel's main dining room - the Livingstone Room - and had no difficulty pretending we were living in the times of Rhodes and Selous. I am not a big tourist type of thing person, but the next evening we had a Zambezi dinner cruise on the Zambezi Explorer, one of the many ships which ply the Zambezi above the Falls. It was a leisurely cruise up the river, seeing animals (elephant, hippo and croc) while watching the sun go down. Drinks and dinner were first rate – a better meal than I’ve had in many first class restaurants. A lovely way to get introduced to Africa (though I think there are some bad boats plying the same waters . . .). This was well worth the price. Night on the Mighty Zambezi Next day was a visit to the Falls themselves, which are the largest in the world. I have seen Victoria Falls both in the rainy season and the dry season, and they are very impressive in the dry season. In the rainy season, the Falls are something else again (which explains why this is one of the seven natural wonders of the world). During the rainy season this is an entire wall of water Lunch at the Lookout – decent food and great views of the Zambezi River gorge as well as the zip liners going across. We went to the local croc farm in the afternoon, and had a wonderful old man as a guide – a tour all to ourselves, since we were the only people there. An interesting place, and if you were looking to buy crocodile luggage or bags, it’s the cheapest place I’ve seen. Not entirely clear that you’d get them back home though! Lunchtime . . . at the vulture restaurant Dinner at the Boma, about as touristy as things can get. This was my second visit, the first being ten years ago, and it has gone badly downhill. You used to be able to try all sorts of game . . . and mopane worms . . . not the same now. I would say you should give this a miss. The next morning, Dean had been able to find gasoline (which was in short supply – line-ups were 3-4 hours long), and we were able to get started. We headed for Bulawayo to have lunch at Dean’s, pick up our trackers and then to head to the BVC. We encountered fewer road blocks than in the past, and those we did hit – whether army or police – just waved us through. No gasoline maybe, but no stops at roadbocks!