I've been hunting in Zambia since I can remember and have had the good fortune to traverse this country perhaps more than any other modern day outfitter / PH - simply put I have earned the miles I've put in across the country born out of a desire to see it all, to hunt those parts of this magnificent wilderness and get to know what's out there.
However of late, especially since 2003, I have been disappointed in what is happening here in Zambia - the once great hunting areas are slowly being eroded - I can say this because I have hunted them for decades and know how they used to be. There are very few GMA's that are improving from the benefits of safari operations - only a handful. Don't get me wrong here - hunting does help, it slows the decay, but it is still there, the ever present encroachment from locals, the poaching, the over fishing and snaring and tree felling and wood burning - in Zambia it is constant and I often think that the current safari operators are simply overwhelmed by the onslaught, caught between the demands from government as well as relentless pressure from local inhabitants.
2009 saw me hunting on private land, not a fenced game ranch but rather a private reserve without fences in the heart of one of our greatest wilderness repositories - the Luangwa. The reserve was set up
by local and international investors who sought the opportunity to resurrect and conserve a classic piece of Africa by involving and extending support to the local Luembe community. Sure I thought as I drove east towards the reserve, conservation amidst today's incessant poaching - lets see!
I eat my words and it was more than I hoped for - Munyamadzi lies at the southernmost end of the Luangwa valley,
a substantial chunk of
big game country and very far from what you'd perceive to be a reserve. I got the hell chased out of me by angry elephants, had a 15 yard stand off with a hungry lion and saw a belligerent hippo bull slice his incisors through anothers rump!
What is so different about Munyamadzi is that there is no incessant government interference, the land is unashamedly private which leaves hunters pretty much to their own ends - I don't mean where you can embark upon a species jihad - I mean you don't have to stick to the norms that everyone else does throughout the industry. As a PH it lifted a great weight off my shoulders as I didn't have to constantly worry about the greedy eye of the monitoring game scouts,
resident hunters or tourists.
During any safari clients have exclusive rights and access to the entire estate, something which is fast fading amongst Zambia's safari operators.
When I arrived I found a camp on the banks of that great river, the Luangwa with dramatic views - a staff so eager to please that they fell over themselves to get you a beer and a hunting area so scenic it harkened back to the early days I had spent up in the North Luangwa - Munyamadzi to me was old Africa and it was perfect.
The Professional hunters are Andrew Baldry and Thor Kirchner, very likable and hardworking professionals. Andrew is the senior hunter and part owner of the estate
Here follows a pictorial account of the hunts we did, the great trophies we shot and the magnificence of this untouched piece of Africa.