Tag Archives: Tanzania

Tanzania to Auction Hunting Concessions

Editor’s Note: TAWA has released updated information including extensions for foreign bidders to have enough time to meet the requirements. This additional information can be found here.

The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) has announced it will auction 82 vacant hunting concessions in that country through an online bidding process to be conducted over two stages.

Left to right: TAWA Director General Dr. James Wakibara, SCIF Conservation Manager Joe Goergen, President of TAHOA Michel Mantheakis, and SCIF Director of Conservation Chris Comer and at the 16th African Wildlife Consultative Forum in Kampala.

The first auction takes place June 10-16, 2019 and will offer 26 concessions. TAWA’s conservation commissioner distributed an invitation for qualified companies to register for the auction in mid-May. The Conservation Department of Safari Club International Foundation shared the invitation with Safari Times.

SCI members will recall that Tanzania Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Dr. Hamisi Kigwangalla first proposed changing the country’s system of allocating hunting concessions from a tendering process to that of an auction in October 2017, just after being appointed.

He intended to revoke allocations that had been tendered in December 2016 and hold an auction within 60 days. After protests from the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA) and Tanzania Professional Hunters Association (TPHA) followed by numerous stakeholder meetings, including one during the SCIF-sponsored 2017 African Wildlife Consultative Forum in Arusha, the minister agreed to extend the allocations to 2020 while TAWA researched and created a workable auction process. TAWA is now ready to move forward with those auctions, beginning with concessions that safari operators returned to the government over the last three years and are currently vacant.

About 70 percent (18) of the concessions up for the June auction are in the Selous-Mikumi ecosystem. Another four lie in Katavi-Rukwa, three in Ruaha-Rungwa and one in the Malagarasi-Muyovosi ecosystem. Only five of the areas, all in the Selous, are considered Category I (top quality) areas.

Fourteen areas are listed as Category II (medium quality) areas, and another seven make up the lower quality Category III areas. (See sidebar for a complete list of the concessions up for bidding this month.) Qualified companies may be allocated up to five areas each, which must be a mix of categories. So, no one company will be allocated all five of the better-quality areas. The remaining unoccupied blocks will go to auction between September and October 2019, according to sources at TAWA.

Along with the new auction method of allocating hunting blocks, TAWA also has changed the way it categorizes hunting blocks and the lengths for concession leases. Blocks were previously divided into five categories of quality but are now sorted into three.

Maj. General Gaudence Milanzi, Permanent Secretary of the Tanzania Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (l) and SCIF President Warren Sackman.(r)

The criteria are based on the 2015 Wildlife Conservation Tourist Hunting Regulations and include: habitat diversity; level of human activity; diversity of game species and their value weighted by possible safari days; proximity to national parks or conservation areas; and availability of water. Also, the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, which oversees tourist safari hunting, has introduced an amendment to the Wildlife Conservation Act that would increase the lease periods on blocks from five years for all blocks to 10 years for Category I and II areas, and 15 years for the Category III areas. However, these changes depend on the Parliament’s approval when lawmakers are next in session.

Companies interested in bidding on a concession must meet a list of requirements specified in the Tanzanian Wildlife Conservation Act 2009. At least one of the company’s directors must have five years’ experience in a wildlife-based business and in conservation in Tanzania; the company must also be registered with the Registrar of Companies. Anyone who does not already have a safari company in Tanzania will likely find it difficult to participate in this round of bidding, as registering a company in Tanzania reportedly can take up to six months. Additionally, participating companies must have established office premises, a fleet of vehicles registered in Tanzania under the company name, proof of “reliable communication facilities,” and a specific list of camp equipment. In lieu of that, Tanzanian-owned companies must have at least the equivalent of $300,000 in a bank bond for the purchase of required equipment after the allocation (such as two safari vehicles and six tents).

Foreign-owned companies must have $100,000,000 in a bond or more equipment than the domestic-owned companies (five safari vehicles and 12 tents). Additionally, all companies must have a good history of paying government fees. Hunting companies can register online to participate in the auction at http://portal.mnrt.go.tz.

TAWA estimates generating approximately 3.4 million USD per year from all the block fees and associated fees from the utilization of wildlife. Some in the industry question whether that is realistic, considering some concessions have gone without management or counter poaching operations for more than two years. Others question whether the buyers will be companies offering hunting safaris to the public or wealthy individuals who essentially will use the areas as private hunting reserves.

When asked whether the new system of auctioning hunting blocks is likely to produce the results TAWA expects, Michel Mantheakis, president of the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA) said, “We hope all the concessions on auction sell well and to good conservation-oriented outfitters but have reservations about both.”

While having empty concessions re-occupied by safari operators is a positive development, the timing of the auction creates some real challenges for would-be owners. Among those challenges is that the auction takes place on the eve of the 2019 hunting season, opening July 1st. That makes it impossible for concession holders to build camps, cut roads, hire staff, do reconnaissance and market hunts for the season.

Nonetheless, concession holders will be responsible for paying 40 percent of their quotas as well as the community development investments and counter-poaching programs for the 2019 season, whether they sell safaris or not. Established operators with an existing client base and who may have planned for this scenario might be able to organize some safaris in these areas, but hunters should be prepared to work a bit harder and to do so in rougher-than-usual conditions.

As for the safari operators who currently have operating concessions, their concession rights extend through the end of 2020. However, according to TAWA officials, those blocks will go to auction, starting in September/October 2020.

“That will involve 25 blocks leased by the least performing companies,” TAWA’s Wildlife Officer for Trophy Hunting Elisante Ombeni told Safari Times in an email. Ombeni says TAWA will review each company’s performance in terms of concession payments, trophy fees paid and other obligations to rank operators into three categories.

Based on that review, a second group of occupied blocks will be auctioned in September/October 2021, and the top 25 blocks leased by the best performing hunting companies will be in the last auction to be conducted in September/October 2022.–Barbara Crown

TOURIST HUNTING BLOCKS AVAILABLE FOR AUCTION 

CATEGORY I
S/N NAME OF BLOCK Category SIZE* ECOSYSTEM

 

1 Selous L1 I 464 Selous – Mikumi
2 Selous LL2 I 1,276 Selous – Mikumi
3 Selous MB1 I 1,093 Selous – Mikumi
4 Selous MB2 I 1,054 Selous – Mikumi
5 Selous N1 I 1,801 Selous – Mikumi
CATEGORY II
S/N NAME OF BLOCK Category SIZE* ECOSYSTEM
6 Inyonga Game Controlled Area (West) II 2,129 Katavi – Rukwa
7 Kizigo GR-(East)-1 II 1,370 Ruaha – Rungwa
8 Lwafi – Nkamba Game Reserve II 3,369 Katavi – Rukwa
9 Mlele GCA (South) II 1,247 Katavi – Rukwa
10 Msima GCA (West) II 2,101 Katavi – Rukwa
11 Muhesi GR II 2,888 Ruaha – Rungwa
12 Selous K3 and LU4 II 1,656 Selous – Mikumi
13 Selous LU6 II 883 Selous – Mikumi
14 Selous LU7 II 1,459 Selous – Mikumi
15 Selous LU8 II 1,629 Selous – Mikumi
16 Selous M1 II 432 Selous – Mikumi
17 Selous MB4 II 1,063 Selous – Mikumi
18 Selous N2 II 1,032 Selous – Mikumi
19 Selous IH1 II 425 Selous – Mikumi
CATEGORY III
S/N NAME OF BLOCK Category SIZE* ECOSYSTEM
20 Ituru Forest Open Area III 2,078

 

Ruaha – Rungwa
21 Kilwa Open Area (South) III 1,159 Selous – Mikumi

 

22 Liparamba Game Reserve III 605 Selous – Mikumi
23 Mwambesi Game Controlled Area III 1,082 Selous – Mikumi

 

24 Mwatisi OA N – Furua OA III 1,826 Selous – Mikumi

 

25 Ruvuma OA III 925 Selous – Mikumi
26 Ugalla Open Area (North) III 1,379 Malagarasi-Muyovosi

*Size of concessions is square kilometers.

 

Advertisements

A Long Journey

lion12_-ViningThe lioness was crouched and switching her tail. “Grab your rifle.  We obviously don’t want to shoot her, but we don’t want her in the Land Cruiser with us either!” exclaimed Hassanali, my PH. It’s the first hour of the first day of a 21-day Tanzania safari, and I am in a stare down with the first lion I have ever seen in the wild. I feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins as I try to look past the female to the male that accompanied her, heading into the bush.

Hilary “Big Cat” Daffi and Hassanali “Lion King” Ladak live up to their reputations of producing Panthera leo.  I had booked this hunt on the strong recommendations of two good friends and SCI Members, Gary Christensen and Nick White, with whom I am privileged to serve on our Central Washington SCI Chapter’s Board of Directors.  I met Hilary the previous year at the SCI Convention and was convinced this was the outfit with which I wanted to hunt dangerous game.  Hilary’s Lunda concession is situated adjacent to Ruaha National Park in close proximity to the village of Tungamarenga in Tanzania’s central highlands.  The area’s topography is generally level interspersed with forested hillsides. Vegetation is a mix of savannah and miombo woodlands with the occasional baobab tree.  

This safari was action-packed from the first day as a big, beautiful leopard was on the bait that first afternoon. I really don’t want to talk about the leopard. Suffice to say I missed and to that end I am in good company.  Obviously I now have a good reason to return and try again.

tembo18_-ViningThe third day produced a great lion on a chance encounter, and the seventh day, following an exciting stalk, I took a magnificent elephant with 52-pound tusks, each measuring 183 centimeters (6 feet).

The daily routine quickly settled in, starting with coffee prepared by Joel, the camp manager. Joel is one of the most delightful people I have met, and made sure that all my camp needs were not only met but also exceeded. Every meal was superb. Bushiri Saidi, the head chef, did wonders, preparing five-star meals over wood fire and hot coals.

Elephants are abundant in the concession, and early on we sighted three likely candidates. The second day and the morning of day three found us on tracks, trying to get on to the big bulls. Big trophies grow old by being really smart, and these big boys were no exception.  The bulls went into the bush early in the morning, making stalking a real challenge. Adding to the challenge was swirling wind and the elephant’s phenomenal sense of smell and hearing. We were busted several times, and each stalk became more exciting then the previous.

After lunch on the third day, we were driving along, winded a kill, and verified lions had taken a zebra.  Dismounting, we observed two lions asleep in the shade across the korongo (gully).  Hassanali advised that both were legal, with one slightly larger and having a bit more mane. I have learned that “the big ones look big,” and it is best to take a hunting opportunity when it presents itself rather than “hold out” for a bigger trophy.   After a short and careful stalk, I took aim with my custom .416 Remington Magnum and sent my hand-loaded 400-grain Swift A-Frame bullet on its way.  The bullet slammed into the lion’s shoulder, resulting in a quick, clean kill.  The big guy never woke up!

tembo37_-ViningThe next four days we scouted for Cape buffalo, elephant and sable, often dismounting and following a track.  Hassanali has a great sense of humor with impeccable timing.  While tracking Cape buffalo through very thick bush with little visibility, Hassanali turned to me and said, “Be ready, as in this bush it doesn’t matter where you are in line. The buff can come from anywhere.”  That was in response to an earlier conversation about an encounter with a black mamba where I commented that in such situations, I was glad to be the last in line.

Day seven, we started a bit earlier in the morning, hoping to catch the elephants out in the open grasslands before they hit the bush.  As we neared one spot, Andrew, our tracker, spotted the huge bull that had eluded us twice already. Dismounting, we made our way to cover and worked toward an opening in the bush where the elephants were heading, but one of the big boy’s sentinels winded us and the elephants were off. Andrew, taking point, took off running and was urging me to follow quickly.  We ran for about half a mile, coming to another opening where Andrew set up the sticks in some cover just before the elephants emerged.  Winding us again, a sentinel turned to us, simultaneously uncovering the big bull.  I let loose from a distance of 20 feet, taking a side brain shot and dropping the magnificent animal in his tracks.  Upon taking this incredible elephant, I was deeply humbled, and simultaneously jubilant. 

trophies3_-ViningVillagers crave protein and elephants provide a great deal of meat.  The elephant was on his badly worn last set of teeth–a clear sign this magnificent creature did not have a great deal of time remaining.  Thus, this hunter has his trophy, memories, and knowledge that his elephant will feed many people for a long time.

That safari was truly a trip of a lifetime and every bit the adventure I read about since I was young.  A hunter and his team, however skillful, are occasionally augmented by good fortune. I couldn’t help but think that both my parents were looking down from above and shared responsibility for that awesome experience.

The term “safari” means “long journey” in Swahili. My long journey was not only the adventure of the hunt, but also an adventure of Tanzania’s National Parks, its people, customs and culture. Seven days into a 21-day safari and my hunting was complete, but it was time to continue the long journey.– Tim Vining