Dr. David Livingston, the man who discovered the magnificent Victoria Falls, makes mention in his journals of the great herds of game he encountered in his trip down the Zambezi River in 1851. In the 1880s the country became a British colony, called Southern Rhodesia - Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe is blessed with a variety of habitats and a colossal wildlife resource. From the rich flood plains of the Zambezi Valley, to the vast Mopane woodland of Hwange, and Matebeleland, and the Ironwood thickets of the Malapati in the lowveld, Zimbabwe has drawn hunters since its first discovery and remains today a fantastic safari destination.
For all of Zimbabwe’s troubled history and political problems, it seems that the country is now stabilizing and due to a large number of luxurious camps opening, the numbers of people venturing to Zimbabwe is increasing.
Wildlife in Zimbabwe suffered tremendously during Robert Mugabe land reform programme, which made way for illegal criminal poaching enterprises to flourish.
Without conservation hunting, Zimbabwe would have undoubtedly seen continuing human-wildlife conflict increase, a rapid loss of animal habitat to human activities, and an irreplaceable loss of economic support for the local communities.
Many of Zimbabwe’s hunting concessions now have increasing wildlife populations directly attributed to revenue from well-regulated sustainable conservation hunting management. This has supported local communities, negating the need for them to indiscriminately hunt wildlife for bushmeat, as well as supporting ivory anti-poaching efforts.
Hunting in Zimbabwe is allowed throughout the year, however due to the rains, the most popular months for hunting are from April through to October.
• Chete Safari area, Lake Kariba
On the shores of Lake Kariba, the Chete hunting concession is situated between the Senkwe and Muenda rivers. The land is mostly Mopane forest and rugged Volcanic ridges, with some areas only accessible on foot, a great deal of the hunting is accessed by boat, with limited area approached by vehicle.
Kudu, Impala, Klipspringer, Warthog, Waterbuck along with good populations of Cape Buffalo are available in the Chete hunting area - the 25-mile shoreline can produce some of the best crocodile hunting in Africa, along with fishing for outstanding Tiger, Tilapia, Catfish. Chessa, Vundu, and Electric Catfish amongst others - easily accessed from the lake view shore camp.
• Chirisa Safari area, Sengwa / Gokwe District
Between Victoria Falls and Harare is the Sengwa concession. The Chirisa Safari area is said to be one of the best big game concessions in Zimbabwe. The Safari area is an important link in the routes of elephant migration from the Zambezi Valley through to the central plateau and Hwange National Park which is on the Western border of Zimbabwe.
The huge floodplains and rolling plateaus of Mopane woodland and sandveld ridges provide great habitat for plains game such as Eland, Kudu, Impala, Grysbok, Klipspringer, Bushbuck and Warthog, as well as large herds of elephant and buffalo,
Zimbabwe enjoys a pleasantly temperate-to-tropical climate year-round, though with significant variations influenced by the country’s topography as well as the seasons.
The hot and dry season runs from August through to October, and the rainy season from November through to March. The best wildlife viewing months to visit are April to September, when temperatures range from 7°C at night to 20°C in the day - it is drier and cooler during this time and animals congregate around the rivers and waterholes.