Hunting Zambia for Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Sable, Hippo and Plains Game.

Zambia Cape Buffalo HuntingThe Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in south central Africa with a tropical climate and topography that consists mostly of high plateaus, with some hills and mountains, which are dissected by river valleys. Zambia is the 39th largest country in the world and is bordered to the north by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to the southeast, Botswana and Namibia to the southwest, and Angola to the west/northwest. The Zambezi River forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe to the southeast and Botswana to the southwest.

Zambia has a surface area of 290,586 mi2 (752,614 km2) with an estimated population of 12,935,000 people living within nine provinces including Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka, Northern, North-Western, Southern and Eastern provinces. Lusaka is the capital of Zambia as well the largest city in the country, with a metropolitan population estimated at 1.46 million residents. Kitwe is the second largest city in Zambia, with a population estimated at 547,700 residents.

Zambia Hippo HuntingZambia has been inhabited for thousands of years by hunter-gatherers and migrating tribes. After sporadic visits by European explorers starting in the 18th century, Zambia was gradually claimed and occupied by the British as protectorate of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century.

The earliest account of a European visiting the area was Francisco de Lacerda in the late 18th century, followed by other explorers in the 19th century. The most prominent of these European explores was Dr. David Livingstone, who had a vision of ending the slave trade through the "3 C's" (Christianity, Commerce and Civilization). He was the first European to see the magnificent waterfalls on the Zambezi River in 1855, naming them Victoria Falls after Queen Victoria. The town of Livingstone, near the falls, is named after the prominent African explorer.

The British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia was granted independence on Zambia Leopard HuntingOctober 24, 1964 and derived its’ name from the Zambezi River which flows through the country. Zambia was governed for 27 years under the single party rule of President Kenneth Kaunda, whose socialist policies are said to have hurt the economy of the country. In 1991, President Kaunda acceded to opposition demands for multi-party elections and peacefully relinquished power. Since that time Zambia has been a multi-party democracy yet still faces steep challenges from poverty and AIDS, with an estimated 10% of the native population being HIV positive.

According to the World Bank, the annual per capita income in Zambia is $1,150 (in US dollars), with approximately 55% of the population reportedly living on $2 per day.

Location(s) of Hunt

This Zambian safari outfitter operates in two separate Game Management Areas in Zambia including the Lunga Busanga and Chiawa areas (see map below).

Zambia Hunting map

Lunga Busanga GMA
The Lunga Busanga Game Management Area (GMA) is located on the north end of the Kafue National Park in west central Zambia and covers an area of approximately 3,500 km2 (1,340 mi2) with the Lunga river as it’s eastern boundary and the Lufupa River as it’s western boundary. The area exhibits a diverse range of habitats including open miombo woodlands, huge dambos that are seasonally flooded, thick riverine habitats, open savannah and papyrus/reed swamps which harbor one of the largest range of species found in any single area in Zambia.

The Busanga swamp encompasses an area of approximately 50 km2 (19 mi2) that is fed by the Lufupa River. The swamp is comprised of a unique habitat of permanent water pools, papyrus/phragmities reeds, and small watercourses that is home to red lechwe and a very large population of Zambezi sitatunga.

Chiawa Safari Area
The Chiawa Game Management Area (GHA) is located in the floodplains of the lower Zambezi valley about 190 km (118 miles) south of Lusaka. The area encompasses approximately 300,000 acres including approximately 40 km (25 miles) of river frontage on the Zambezi River – which forms the international boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe and separates the hunting concession from the world famous Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwe (south) side of the river. To the east, the concession shares a common boundary with Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park while the Zambezi Escarpment forms a natural barrier to the north.

The Chiawa GMA incorporates a wide range of habitat types including forested areas typical of the rolling escarpment foothills stretching down through mixed woodlands to the floodplain of the Zambezi River.

Arrival/Departure Airport(s)

The arrival/departure point will be Lusaka International Airport, Lusaka, Republic of Zambia. Clients will be met at the airport and transferred by either vehicle or charter aircraft to the hunt area.

Mode of Transportation

As stated above, transportation to/from the various concessions can be arranged via air charter or vehicle. Air charter costs will vary based on the number of people traveling to/from the concession, the final destination (Lunga Busanga or Chiawa), and whether a single or twin-engine aircraft is required for the charter. Expected charter costs will be quoted in conjunction with specific inquiries. Travel times to the two concession areas are outlined below:

  • Lusaka to Lunga Busanga (or return)
    • one (1) hour by air charter or nine (9) hours by vehicle
  • Lusaka to Chiawa (or return)
    • twenty (20) minutes by air charter or three (3) hours by vehicle

The client will be responsible for transportation costs to/from the hunting area(s) from Lusaka. Ground transfers to the Lunga Busanga GMA are priced at $1,200 round-trip, with transfers to the Chiawa GMA priced at $600 round-trip.

Once in the hunting concession, ground transportation consisting of a four wheel drive vehicle will be provided within the hunt area.


The Lunga Busanga camp sits on the banks of the Lunga River and consists of six chalets with en-suite bathrooms. All of the bedrooms have hot and cold running water and flush toilets. This camp has intermittent electrical service (220 volt).

There are two camps within the Chiawa GMA – one camp sits on a hill overlooking the Zambezi River floodplain while the other camp sits right on the Zambezi River. The camp on the hill is a traditional tented camp with en-suite bathrooms, hot and cold running water and flush toilets. The camp on the Zambezi River is a permanent camp with the same amenities mentioned above. Both camps also have intermittent electrical service (220 volt).

Daily laundry service is provided at all camps as a courtesy for the guests.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast and dinner will be served each day and will include a selection of breads, meats, fruits and vegetables based on availability and individual preferences. Meats served during your stay will include a sampling of the local wild game and will be expertly prepared for your dining pleasure.

On most days, the hunting party will return to camp for lunch and an opportunity to rest during the middle of the day when most of the game animals are laying down in the thick jess. In those instances where the hunting party will stay out all day, packed lunches and drinks will be provided

Alcoholic beverages will be provided and will include a selection of wines, domestic beer and a limited supply of distilled spirits. Those individuals wishing to imbibe a specific brand of American, Canadian or Scottish spirits would be advised to purchase a bottle in the duty free shops in transit to ensure that your preferred brand is available. Mineral waters are also provided.

Hunting Overview

Fair chase hunting utilizing spot and stalk techniques early and late in the day. Hunting sitatunga in the Busanga swamp will involve hunting out of an elevated machan (stand) early and late in the hope of sighting a good bull out in the reeds.

Cat hunting will involve baiting – once a bait has been hit, a blind will be built and the hunter will typically spend the early morning and late afternoon hours in the blind waiting for the cat to return to the bait to feed.

Elephant and buffalo hunting in the Chiawa GMA will be conducted almost entirely by tracking, with the early morning hours spent cruising local roads within the concession looking for fresh tracks. Once a suitable track has been located, the hunting party will follow the track until the quarry has been located or the track become untenable.

Species Available

Baboon, blue wildebeest, bushbuck (Chobe), bushpig, cape buffalo, civet, common reedbuck, crocodile, elephant bull, duiker (both southern bush and yellow-backed) grysbok, hartebeest, hippo, hyena, impala, jackal, lechwe (including black, Kafue and red), leopard, lion, Livingstone’s eland, oribi, puku, roan, sable, serval, southern greater kudu, tsessebe, warthog, waterbuck (both common and Crawshay’s), Zambezi sitatunga and zebra.

Season(s) and Optimum Dates for Specific Species

The hunting season in Zambia generally runs from May through November, with the optimum season being May through September.

Weapons/Calibers Recommended

While any flat-shooting caliber from the .270 Winchester upwards should be sufficient for most of the smaller plains game species, we recommend a .300 Winchester Magnum or equivalent if available – particularly for eland, lechwe, roan, sable, sitatunga, wildebeest and zebra. Shots at lechwe on the Kafue flats and sitatunga in the papyrus swamps can often involve shooting at long distances under windy conditions, so a flat shooting rifle capable of reaching out beyond 300 yards is particularly important when hunting these species. Likewise, the bullet selected should be a premium bonded core soft point. Specific recommendations can be made upon request.

We would also recommend a variable power scope with a low power setting somewhere around 3X to 4X and a high power setting somewhere around 10X to 12X.

Be advised that semi-automatic and/or military-style rifles are generally not allowed in Africa.

For dangerous game such as cape buffalo, hippo, lion and rhino, the minimum acceptable caliber should be a .375, whether the .375 Ruger, .375 H & H Magnum or equivalent. Again, specific recommendations for calibers and bullets can be made upon request.

Much of the shooting will be done while standing utilizing shooting sticks – as is standard practice throughout Africa. We highly recommend that you obtain a pair of shooting sticks such as those offered by Long Grass Outfitters or African Sporting Creations and practice shooting from the standing position off of the sticks. Shots on some plains game species often exceed 200 yards, so you need to know the ballistics of your rifle and be comfortable shooting out to 400 yards. In other words, practice, practice, practice!

Clothing/Equipment Suggestions

A list of recommended clothing and equipment will be furnished upon booking. For initial hunt planning purposes, general recommendations can be made upon request.

Climatic Considerations

Zimbabwe experiences a subtropical climate subject to altitudinal influences. As with the northern hemisphere, Zimbabwe experiences four distinct season as follows:

  • a summer season that is warm and wet, running from November to March;
  • a fall (transitional) season that runs from April to May;
  • a cool, dry winter season that runs from May to August; and
  • a warm, dry spring season that runs from August through October.

Average daytime temperatures in Harare range from 45°F to 70ºF in June and from 61°F to 81ºF in November. Depending upon the altitude, frost may occur between May and September, with the highest incidences of frost occurring in June and July. Frost occurs more frequently at mid and high elevations. The mid Zambezi valley and the southeastern lowveld of Zimbabwe are probably the only regions in the country that are frost free. As a consequence, a coat is recommended for the early morning and late evening hours in those concessions outside of the Zambezi valley.

It should be remembered that although Harare has daytime highs around 81°F, most of the hunting areas are at located at much lower elevations and temperatures can be considerably hotter as a result – with daytime temperatures potentially exceeding 100°F in October and November!

The rainy season begins in November and continues through March.

Special Hunt Considerations

Take a small digital camera that you can carry in your shirt or vest pocket for your trophy photos and learn how to use the camera before your trip. I would also recommend taking a slightly larger camera such as the Canon PowerShot SX-1 IS or the PowerShot SX-10 IS, both of which have a 20X optical zoom (equal to a 560 mm telephoto lens) for shots of wildlife while you are driving around the bush or sitting at the waterhole. After four trips to Africa, I assure you that you won’t regret the investment and you will bring home outstanding photos of the African wildlife that the smaller cameras just don’t have the optical zoom to capture.

Hunt Difficulty/Health Level

Hunting plains game within the Save Valley Conservancy is not especially demanding. The general terrain within the lowveld of Zimbabwe is fairly level, which is typical of the thorn bush savannah, with interspersed rocky kopjes throughout. These thorn bush savannahs are dissected by intermittent watercourses which often exhibit thick, brushy vegetation typical of these riverine (riparian) areas.

Dangerous game hunting including buffalo and elephant may involve considerable walking as one tracks herds and individual animals, so the hunter wishing to pursue these animals should be accustomed to walking long distances each day. Again, the terrain should not be overly challenging and the tracking process is typically slow and methodical up until the point that the quarry is sighted and then it may be necessary to move quickly in order to get into position for a shot. Make sure that your hunting boots are well broken in before your safari!

On a fitness scale of one to ten (with one being very poor physical condition and ten being excellent physical condition), I would only rate the physical level of this hunt at a four or five. So long as the hunter is able to walk reasonable distances with some climbing over or around the rocky kopjes, there should not be a problem from a physical standpoint.

Keep in mind that your Professional Hunter will be very happy to gear the pace of the hunt to fit your particular physical abilities – so don’t hesitate to advise if he is moving too fast, walking too far, etc. After all, it is your safari, so don’t be afraid to speak up and advise your PH of your expectations, physical abilities or physical limitations!

Hunt Cost & Hunt Length

Days Hunt Type Client/PH Ratio Daily Rate
Classic Safaris
26 Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, and Plains Game 1x1 $2,500
21 Lion, Buffalo, and Plains Game 1x1 $2,500
18 Leopard, Buffalo, Sable or Sitatunga & Plains Game 1x1 $1,500
14 Leopard, Buffalo, and Plains Game 1x1 $1,400
18 Roan, Sable, Sitatunga & Plains Game 1x1 $1,600
Government Area Fee $6,000
Elephant/Sable Safaris
12 Elephant and Plains Game 1x1 $2,000
12 Sable, Buffalo, Sitatunga and Plains Game 1x1 $1,600
12 Sable, Sitatunga and Plains Game 1x1 $1,500
12 Sable and Plains Game 1x1 $1,200
Government Area Fee $3,500
Plains Game (Mini) Safaris
10 Buffalo, Hippo, Crocodile and Plains Game 1x1 $1,200
10 Buffalo and Plains Game 1x1 $1,000
10 Hippo and Crocodile 1x1 $1,000
10 Sitatunga 1x1 $1,400
Government Area Fee $2,800

Specialized Safaris: Black Lechwe, Kafue Lechwe and Red Lechwe are available on request and will be quoted accordingly.

Royal Zambezi Wildlife Safaris operates on strict and limited quotas, Consequently, it is imperative that the prospective client reserve the species desired when booking your safari to ensure availability. Zambian law dictates that big game licenses must be purchased prior to the commencement of the safari. Transfer of the appropriate license fees will be required prior to your arrival in Zambia. License fees are non-refundable.

Trophy Fees, License fees, Including Any Additional Expenses

Species Area Available In Fees per Species
Available Lunga Busanga Chiawa License Trophy Total
Baboon $ 60 $ 40 $ 100
Buffalo 1,500 1,000 2,500
Bushbuck 380 370 750
Bushpig 320 230 550
680 120 800
Crocodile 1,600 500 2,100
Duiker – Common 350 100 450
Duiker – Yellow Backed
500 500 1,000
2,500 500 3,000
10,000 2,000 12,000
Grysbok 250 200 450
780 570 1,350
Hippo 1,600 750 2,350
Hyena 250 400 650
Impala 120 180 300
260 190 450
Kudu 1,600 500 2,100
Lechwe – Black

1,700 550 2,150
Lechwe – Kafue

1,200 950 2,250
Lechwe – Red

1,200 950 2,150
Leopard 2,650 1,350 4,000
4,200 2,800 7,000
250 300 550
420 380 800
420 330 750
4,000 2,000 6,000
3,000 1,300 4,300
2,800 1,800 4,600
1,550 500 2,050
Warthog 360 190 550
Waterbuck – Common
840 760 1,600
Waterbuck – Crawshay’s
1,200 750 1,950
Wildebeest – Blue
780 520 1,300
Zebra 720 380 1,100

$ 250/day – non-hunting observer.

Additional charges include dip/pack, $150 for the safari license, firearms rental as applicable ($50/rifle/day), customs duty on ammunition), any animals wounded or lost, transfers and charters. Any banking charges incurred resulting from the use of wire transfers or credit card charges will be the responsibility of the client.

Dip and Pack charges are as follows:

  • $ 950 – Mini Safari

  • $1,250 – Elephant Safari

  • $1,300 – Classic Safari

Transfer and Charter expenses are as follows:

As stated previously, air charters are quoted according to the number of people in the party and the aircraft best suited to transport the party and their equipment to/from the hunting area.

Round trip road transfer costs between Lusaka and the two hunting concessions are outlined under the Mode of Transportation heading on page 4. The outfitter does not recommend a road transfer between Lusaka and Lunga Busanga.

An approved CITES permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be required for the importation of crocodile, leopard and lion into the United States. Elephant are not currently importable into the US from Zambia.

Bob AndersonPlease contact the following GSS Hunting Consultant for any questions on this destination:

Bob Anderson
toll free: 888-850-HUNT (4868) ext. 701
local: 307-473-1268
cell: 307-253-0270
Information Request