Google Zimbabwe and things don't look so good - you will find either links to sites decrying human rights violations, electoral abuses and an imploded economy or you will find their diametric opposites promulgated by various government mouthpieces. If you ignore all that, what you have left is a country that has its problems like any other but offers some of the best hunting in Africa.
Zimbabwe's infrastructure has taken more than its fair share of knocks over the past decade, but the road, rail and air networks are still functioning, the pre-independence groundwork establishing the Parks and Wildlife estate and a plethora of adjacent safari areas still survives, and the Safari Operators' Association of Zimbabwe counts among its members some of the finest professional hunters in Africa and strives to promote and maintain ethical, fair chase hunting.
In Zimbabwe, you can hunt the Big Five, or content yourself with a wide variety of plains game. Handgun and archery hunting is available on special application, and a number of Zimbabwe's professional hunters are also members of the prestigious Cleveland Pistol Club in Harare where 300 and 500 yard ranges are available for zeroing and practice and a qualified gunsmith is in attendance. (Zimbabwe has been awarded the IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) Level IV Africa Area Championships in 2012, and officialdom at ports of entry and exit are well used to processing visitors with firearms efficiently and courteously.) Various outfitters offer world class taxidermy services, and hotel accommodation in the cities is on a par with anywhere else in Africa.
In addition, the country boasts an unusual number of ancillary diversions - from Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world to houseboating on Lake Kariba and its excellent tiger fishing opportunities to canoe safaris on the Zambezi river to many superb bass dams to the prehistory of the Great Zimbabwe ruins to the coniferous woodlands of the Eastern Highlands with its magnificent trout fishing.
Like other African destinations, malaria and bilharzia can be a problem, but the major centres can offer medical care to a world class standard and there are a number of critical care paramedic ambulance services and a medical air rescue network throughout the country, as well as a newly-activated mountain rescue unit.
The country's climate is ideal, featuring maybe a little frost on the ground in the morning in the dead of winter and endless days of blue sky and sunshine.
It doesn't take much of a peruse through the pages of Rowland Ward's 28th edition of Records of Big Game to realize how much potential there is in Zimbabwe for the serious hunter - many who have hunted there will go nowhere else in Africa.
Ira Larivers, Editor African Hunter Magazine