4 Great Options for a First Safari: Zimbabwe

4 Great Options for a First Safari: Zimbabwe

Due to the huge losses of game on "reallocated" private lands, Zimbabwe is no longer a primary destination for a plains game safari, and options for a buffalo-plus-plains game safari are much more limited. However, buffalo hunting remains excellent in the designated safari areas and some of the forestry reserves and communal lands on the periphery of the country.

Many of these areas, such as the great Zambezi Valley, never were particularly good plains game country. But they are still wild Africa — areas where buffalo roam — and there are certainly pockets of good plains game. A buffalo/kudu combination is very possible, and there are zebra, waterbuck, sable, bushbuck, lots of impala, and other species.

However, in many of the better areas the buffalo quota is likely to far exceed that of any other species except impala. This means that a Zimbabwe safari is becoming ever more specialized, and on many short buffalo safaris the available bag is limited to buffalo, impala, and perhaps hyena and grysbok.

If a larger combination is so desired, today it's almost essential to commit to the desired licenses at the time of booking. Hunting in Zimbabwe is generally marketed as a daily rate plus trophy fees, so if you have a kudu and don't take one, you don't have to pay for it and your kudu can generally be offered to another hunter later in the season. But if you don't have a kudu on your  hunting license, you can't take one. The Mozambique situation is very similar, except that in Mozambique's huge concessions, quota is generally only a problem for relatively scarce animals, such as eland, hartebeest, and zebra.

The exceptions to all this are Zimbabwe's large conservancies, all managed as private lands. They are excellent, with limited and well-managed buffalo hunting and amazing densities of plains game. Understandably, a buffalo/plains game safari in these areas carries a premium, but they are very good.

As for the politics, Zimbabwe has its challenges, but the vast majority of Zimbabweans seem well aware that you and I as hunting tourists are not part of the problem. In recent years I have spent a lot of time in both Mozambique and Zimbabwe and have not felt unsafe or threatened. So long as you perform due diligence in your choice of an outfitter and place yourself in his hands, you can hunt these countries with confidence.

So those are my four picks for a first African safari. Namibia and South Africa for plains game; Mozambique and Zimbabwe for "buffalo plus." There are a dozen other countries in the "roll call" of African hunting. Each has its charm and attraction, and most have their own unique prizes. Don't worry! Once you get that first safari under your belt, you'll want to return'¦and there are plenty of options!

Recommended for You

North America

The Best Units for Hunting Elk, Mule Deer & Antelope

Chuck Smock

These are the must-apply units for trophy elk, mule deer, and antelope in the West.


Best Rimfire Rifles for 2019

Keith Wood - April 23, 2019

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators.

North America Big Game

How to Field Judge Bears

Jospeh Von Benedikt

Use these steps to accurately estimate a bruin's size.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Is The 6.5 The Perfect Hunting Caliber?

Mike Schoby - August 18, 2017

The current 6.5 (.264 caliber) craze, is best attributed to the,'6.5 Creedmoor, but once...


8 Best Venison Marinades

Hank Shaw - August 20, 2013

Perhaps the most common question I get about cooking venison is what marinades I use the most.

North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

See More Stories

More Worldwide


Trophy Red Stags

PHTV Adventures - June 26, 2015

Kevin Steele visits a red stag trophy room in New Zealand and then sets out to hunt one for...


Fast Action For New Zealand Tahr

PHTV Adventures - June 27, 2015

Kevin Steele, Tom Rice and Jason Morton of Petersen's Hunting are hunting New Zealand Tahr and...


Boddington: Hunting the World's Big Bears

Craig Boddington - November 13, 2013

Modern humans love statistics, and we hunters are as bad as anyone. We attach importance to...

See More Worldwide

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.