Zimbabwe Traditional Bow Hunting Itinerary


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Day 1 – Harare to Save Valley Conservancy

Our courteous staff will pick you up from your hotel in Harare where you arrived the day before (we can help find a good hotel for you if necessary) and load your belongings into the vehicles with the rest of the group.  We will then drive for 5-6 hours to Humani Ranch in the Save Valley Conservancy, located at the junction of the Turgwe & Save Rivers in Zimbabwe’s South East lowveld. Humani is the focal point of the Save Conservancy and is striking in its natural diversity comprising of dense riverine woodland, vast mopani and fever tree forests, open plains and broken hill country.  


With this rich diversity of habitat comes an equally diverse range of wildlife, from the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo) and an impressive array of plains game species, to the smallest creatures and a wealth of beautiful birds.  We will be ideally situated on an elevated segment of the Turgwe River, which boasts stunning river views and an almost constant refreshing breeze.  


Upon your arrival at Humani Ranch, your guides will give you an overview of the program schedule and activities planned for the next two weeks, along with an introduction to the preserve and it’s ecology.  We will then have an familiarization game drive and bush walk through the conservancy, where you will get your first glimpse of the myriad of wildlife and various habitats that it contains!


Accommodations:  Turgwe River Lodge

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Days 2 & 3 - Save Valley Conservancy

During your initial stay at Humani Ranch, a traditional bow hunting specialist will join us and spend several hours a day instructing and helping you craft an African long bow from a stave made of local wood using traditional methods.  He will guide you in fashioning your bow so that it is custom to your build and strength, so that it will be a proper hunting tool when you are finished.  As it takes a lot of effort and time to build a bow, we will spend several days on this task and will work on it throughout the middle part of each day (with a break for lunch). The goal will be to get through  a significant portion of the bow making process during our time here. 


In the early mornings and afternoons, we will be conducting bush walks with our expert native and western guides learning the basics of tracking and looking for other animal sign.  We will conduct additional game drives where we will see amazing large animals like lions up close while studying various animal behaviors, especially noting habits of the prey species that we will be hunting later.  And we will begin to familiarize ourselves with the terrain, hunting locations and animal movements.


Accommodations:  Turgwe River Lodge

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Days 4, 5, 6, & 7 - Gonarezhou National Park

We leave the Save Valley Conservancy in the morning and head south to Gonarezhou National Park where we will be staying for the next four days.  Gonarezhou is Zimbabwe’s second-largest national park, covering an area in excess of 1900 square miles and extending across a vast area of baobab-dotted scrubland and pale orange sandstone cliffs.  It a breathtakingly scenic area, comprising some of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes to be found anywhere in Southern Africa and is home to four of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ – elephant, leopard, lion and buffalo – as well as a multiplicity of other animal and bird species. 


Gonarezhou literally means, "The place of many elephants" as it is estimated to have an over-population of these gentle giants, in excess of nine thousand total in the park.  The park also has good numbers of the majority of larger mammal species and we we will explore the complete wilderness that is Gonarezhou where 36 different types of mammals have been recorded including charismatic species such as the lion, leopard and painted hunting dogs.  


In Gonarezhou, you will continue working on your long bows while we set up bush tents at two remote spots in the heart of the park. We will be camping on the banks of the Runde River overlooking the gently flowing water, and we will have two nights at the famous Chilojo Cliffs. The red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs and riverine forest on the opposite bank of the river provide one of the most spectacular backdrops to be found anywhere in Africa.  Once you have finished your bow, you will also begin archery practice on various targets we have setup using the instinctive aiming method.  Doing this for several days will help prepare you for the actual hunt so that you gain confidence in shooting your new bow with accuracy in a variety of situations. 


You will also continue to go on bush walks as led by our expert guides, learning to idenitfy tracks and also how to trail animals that you are pursuing, and hence understanding their movement patterns, feeding behaviors, sleeping ares, etc.  We will walk down elephant trails wide enough to ride mountain bikes on that lead to cliffs stunning views of the landscape below.  You’ll see you worn down elephant rubbing posts near remote pans and glimpse secret migration routes that have been in existence for eons.


We will also be learning about bird language, which is a vital skill that will teach you about what animals are in the vicinity, what activity they are engaging in, and what direction they may be moving which is important both in terms of becoming a proficient hunter as well as for understanding where predators may be located. The three major rivers, the Chilojo cliffs and the vast water pans in the park support a rich variety of birdlife, including kingfishers, hornbills, eagles, and raptors.  Over 400 bird species have been recorded here, making Gonarezhou one of Southern Africa’s top birding destinations and giving us plenty of opportunities for watching and listening to what they are telling us!


Accommodations:  Edutours Bush Camp in Gonarezhou

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Days 8 - Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

In the morning we will leave from the center of Gonarezhou National Park and spend a day and night at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge which is located on the outskirts of the park. The lodge is a luxury facility constructed in stone, thatch, ancient leadwood and teak, to blend effortlessly with the surroundings. The outside wooden decking areas creates a spacious and serene viewing platform down the gorge, across the Save River into Gonarezhou.  


The beautifully appointed, thatched Luxury King/Twin Lodges are largely inspired by nature, but with a designer’s passion for elegance, simplicity and luxurious touches. Each Lodge has its own private balcony offering spectacular sunsets and the opportunity for you to relax watching our resident elephants, crocodiles and hippos in the deep river trench that flows all year or to observe the diverse number of other river visitors through the day.


We will spend a day here to recharge our batteries and do final preparations for the traditional bow hunt beginning the following day.  In the morning we will do a bush walk to hone your tracking and trailing skills, followed by archery practice in the afternoon and a discussion about hunting strategy and tactics including topics like how to approach animals, how to construct a brush blind, the importance of wind direction and scent, how to move quietly through the bush, etc.


Accommodations:  Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Days 9, 10, 11 & 12 - Save Valley Conservancy

In the morning we now return to Humani Ranch and the Save Valley Conservancy where upon arrival we will make final preparations for the hunt including last rounds of archery practice, selecting hunting locations, and constructing blinds as approprate.  At that, you will be ready for the high point of your African adventure!  Over the next several days your expert guides will lead you into the bush to conduct hunts for antelope and will be on hand to advise you and help you to maximize your chances for success.  Hunts will be conducted under the eye of Save Valley Conservancy authorities with necessary permissions in place and joined by a professional hunter for any backup support that we require.  


While we cannot guarantee success when it comes to harvesting an animal, under the direction and close supervision of our expert guides and in conjunction with parks officials, you will be given the best chance possible to be successful and to ensure that we don’t injure any animals unnecessarily.  Sometime during the hunt one of the local guides will take us through a dissection of the animals harvested. He will demonstrate the steps involved in processing an animal and in the event you are successful in harvesting one, one of the guides will be availble to assist you as needed. 


During the evenings and periods of the day when you are not out hunting, various guest speakers will join us to discuss topics of interest and answer your questions. They will share information on the anti poaching initiatives taking place, the history of the conservancy, the plans for the trans frontier national park as well as the rhino breeding program.


Accommodations: Turgwe River Lodge

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Days 13 – Save Valley Conservancy to Harare and Departure

In the morning we will say our final goodbye’s before transfer by vehicle for the 5-6 hour drive to Harare where our expedition will come to an end.  Our staff can either take you directly to the airport, or if you are planning to stay longer in Harare we can drop you off at the hotel where you have a reservation.  As you board the plane headed for home, you will be taking with you wonderful memories of your expedition along with a beautiful long bow, stunning photos of your amazing adventure, newfound knowledge related to tracking animals and traditional hunting tactics, and perhaps even a riveting story of a successful hunt!


Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch


End of Trip

Zimbabwe Traditional Bow Hunting Adventure