Safari hunt types in Zambia
Zambia has a complicated system of safari hunts which call for certain species to be hunted over certain specified periods. When these regulations were enacted it didn't matter as much because in those early days if you did make it to Africa then more than likely you would stay for at least a month and you would hunt most of the game the country had to offer. This led to the term the classical safari which is still in use today but has now taken on a whole new meaning as well as raising prices through the roof for certain species.
At the heart of the classical safari lies the presumption that to be able to hunt Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo you need time, it can't be done over a weekend like they do in South Africa! So naturally these prime animals are tied to a minimum number of days that you need to pay for and hunt for. If you shoot everything in a week then you still pay for 2 or 3 weeks depending.
In Zambia the term classical safari doesn't mean you're going to be sharing gin and tonics with Roosevelt, it is used to describe a type of safari license, issued in your name which allows you to hunt some or all of the prime species Zambia has to offer. In theory there is only one fee to the Wildlife authority for the classic license and it allows the client to shoot all species in Zambia.
Traditionally a 21 day classic safari meant you could take Lion, Leopard, Buffalo and all the other animals Zambia had available to hunt, even if it meant moving from one GMA to another. Today however, very few safari operators are selling both cats on a 21 day hunt, demanding more days, usually 24 - 28 days for this full bag type of safari. It is perhaps a sign of cats becoming scarce and demand dictating that a split means more money for the operator. In any case, the classic safari allows you to shoot cats as well as buffalo and all the other species.
Typically Lion alone are sold on a 18-21 day hunt depending upon the safari operator and the status of their area, while Leopard are sold on a similar basis over 14-16 days. In addition there are certain antelope species which can only be hunted if a classical license is in hand and these are - sable, Roan and Livingstones Eland.
The stalwart of the hunting industry across Africa is the surly Buffalo and is of course your best bet form a price viewpoint. The minimum hunting days are 7 and you can increase these up to 10, but Buffalo is the main target with an additional 6 other species allowed to be taken. these are usually plains game yet in the Luangwa areas you can take Hippo and Crocodile. This is a relative newcomer to the industry, perhaps with the advent of modern jet travel, introduced in the early 1980's.
Then there are the swamp creatures which call for a specialized license which is typically only 5 days long although you can extend this to 7 or 10 days by buying 2 licenses, they are relatively inexpensive. They apply to the wetland GMA's which are considered 'pool' concessions as all safari operators are allowed to use them for the unique species that occur there. These are the hunts for Sitatunga and Black and Kafue Lechwe.
Recently Zambia has started hunting their small population of Elephants, a move which should go against the grain of ethical PH's yet the fact remains, up to 20 elephant per year are allowed to hunted and exported to Europe and the rest of the world except the US. These are usually 10 day hunts in very specific GMA's and target older bulls although there are no restrictions and anything can be shot.