Monday, November 30, 2009

Problems in Zimbabwe

Good day. Here is a letter I wrote at the request of my PH Gary Hopkins regarding the absolute worst hunting camp I was ever in in 14 overseas hunts (13 to Africa). I would avoid Theo's area of Matetsi at all costs. Anyway, I found this in my files and will post it for your interest.

December 17, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

I write this letter at the request of my friend and PH, Gary Hopkins of Bulawayo. I have known Gary for several years and have hunted with him and vacationed at his home. I should also like to state I have visited Zimbabwe on eight occasions, will continue to do so, and that Zimbabwe is my favorite country in Africa. I encourage many of my friends to visit your beautiful country. However, I would not visit again the Kisibi hunting concession due to the following reasons (I was there between September 3 and 12, 2008):

The camp was in very poor condition. One of the two showers was infested with ants making the facilities difficult and uncomfortable to use.

The fire pit was also ant-infested. The two friends I brought with me from the States for their first African experience, were quite disappointed they could not experience the African tradition of sitting by the camp fire after a hard day of hunting, enjoying the fire and a drink at sundown whilst waiting for dinner, due to the ants.

One friend, Ron Williams, enjoys wine with his dinner. This was requested weeks in advance. However, it was not until approximately one half way through the safari that the camp manager, Adrian, brought a box of low- quality wine. We noticed later that some wine was in the store house at the Woodlands concession. Very unprofessional.

I am diabetic and need diet drinks. I am unable to drink regular soft drinks, beer, or fruit juice. Upon arrival in camp there were a few diet drinks and my PH brought some he purchased from his own funds. The diet drinks were requested weeks in advance. When I asked the manager for diet drinks I was told they, "are too expensive in Botswana" so none were available. The last night of my hunt, Theo Bronkhorst brought some diet drinks for me. I replied in a sarcastic manner, "Thank you. I'll try to drink them before departing at 6 in the morning!"

The buffalo were not in the area contracted for my hunt. Gary Hopkins asked Theo many times for a chance to hunt the Woodlands concession where the buffalo were known to be. After five days, Theo granted us one day to hunt there and I did shoot a sub-standard bull. However, upon my arrival, Theo had a leopard hunter in the area I was contracted to hunt. Fair play should have dictated I could have hunted Woodlands more than the one day allowed (and that was after days of asking)

When Gary and I were hunting we came to another PH and his client who was from California. (I do not remember the name of the PH but he was white, about 5'10" to 6' in height, blondish hair and a full beard). We engaged is a short conversation whereby he told Gary and I that the leopard hunting was rather poor on Woodlands so Theo gave them the opportunity to hunt in the area were I was hunting buffalo. Such sharing of game blocks does not do either hunter well as shots from one scare the quarry the other is after (i.e. shooting leopard bait and building hides whilst I was stalking buffalo.)

The staff in camp was very poor. The workers had a poor attitude--did not give thanks for the gifts they were presented with (torches, batteries, knives, hats, gloves) and two threw their tip money back and said, "Not enough."

The cook was excellent but requests for a repeat of a good dish was ignored. We asked for a repeat of his pizza but the manager did not comply.

The lunches provided, however, were very low quality. One slice of poor quality cold meat and bread. We complained and the lunch quality improved--a bit.

In closing, allow me to state again my desire to visit Zimbabwe many times in the future and I will bring many friends with me. I will NOT visit Kasibi again and post my experiences there on my website as well as the articles I write for several hunting magazines. In these economic times, I believe operators in Zimbabwe should do the best they can to bring in American currency--not to provide low-end services whereby the client departs with no desire to return.

Please feel free to contact me if I can elaborate more or can clarify my experiences further.

Sincerely,

Cal Pappas
Willow Alaska USA