Monday, May 17, 2010

Introduction to hunting in Zambia

Hunting in Zambia
Zambia offers hunting in the classical sense, vast open wilderness concessions where Africa's large beasts wander freely, pretty much as they did a 100 years ago in relative solitude. As a hunter you get the feeling that your time here is temporary and at best, fractious, able to change in an instant. Of all Africa's hunting countries, Zambia must stand amongst the top 3 as the destination of choice for those seeking the true African hunting experience. No matter if you're after the larger beasts or simply seeking the solitude of an African wilderness hunt, Zambia is where you'll find the safari of your dreams.

However, hunting in Zambia is expensive, as are all the other classical hunting destinations which makes your choice of hunting area and safari operator of critical importance. You see, although Zambia offers hunting in the true sense, not all hunting areas are created equally as some have been afforded more protection from poachers and human encroachment than others. In addition, Zambia's wildlife industry and hunting set up does tend to be influenced by political nepotism thus you'll find inexperienced outfitters or operators holding hunting rights without knowing what the business really involves.

As tradition, hunting for food has been a part of most of Zambia's tribal groupings, often an honor bestowed upon a family through the generations. However when Zambia fell under British colonial rule, the traditional rights of hunting for almost all tribes was rendered null and void with the introduction of the colonial game laws. Although a good move, this disempowered many people especially the men whose traditional role was that of hunting on their tribal land. As can be expected, there was was no conception of these 'foreign' laws until enforced upon those who trespassed. Poaching thus became a way of life for many Zambians as they lived amongst the wildlife but were forbidden to touch unless they held expensive permits and licenses.

The birth of Safari hunting in Zambia could be seen as a reaction to rectify this situation as an idea was put forward to allow both photographic and hunting safaris in certain tribal lands as a form of revenue and alternate meat generation for the local people instead of the culling program which existed.

With the success of these pilot schemes, many tribal lands were demarcated and declared hunting zones which we today know as game management areas or GMA's. These are more often than not vast uninterrupted tracts of African bush where rivers and jagged peaks form boundaries, not fences, and literally do run forever. Interspersed by rivers or fertile land, settlements exists where local tribes live in unison with the game animals, much as their ancestors did when David Livingstone first forged his missionary path through the continent. Although times have moved on, parts of Zambia remain very much as they did way back when the ivory hunters and explorers opened up this part of Africa.

Zambia provides African hunting at its best and ranks top of all the countries for Africa's largest predators, Lion and Leopard. Today, if you hunt in a good GMA you'll not only succeed in your quest but also you'll bag the cat of your dreams.