Hefty fine for filmmakers caught working without permit in Zim parks

2015-05-29 14:20

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Harare - Caught shooting a documentary without a licence in one of Zimbabwe's national parks? That'll be $1 000 to get your camera back, thanks very much.

As the state Parks and Wildlife Management Authority clamps down on visitors who've been behaving badly, fees published this week show that tough fines will be imposed on people who shoot commercial film footage in a wildlife area without a permit.

"Any equipment deemed to be commercial and without the necessary permits will be impounded," Zimparks said in a statement. "The cameras or filming equipment will be released only after payment of penalty and impounding fees."

Locals said it is unlikely this will affect genuine tourists who merely want to have a record of their stay. But the authority - which also charges fees to retrieve impounded motor vehicles, dinghies and fishing rods - likely wants to send a warning to film-makers who may have been avoiding paying for a permit.

Walking without a guide in the scenic Mana Pools area was recently banned, following reports that some visitors went too close to dangerous game to try to get the perfect shot.

Fees for filming permits remain the same as last year. Any non-Zimbabwean crew wanting to film at Mana Pools or Hwange National Park will pay $500 a day. If the crew wants to film by moonlight, it will have to pay $1 500. It costs slightly less to film in other areas.

"The authority will use its discretion to determine whether or not a filming/photography permit is required by a tourist," Zimparks said.

Film-makers said some of the best months to film wildlife in places like Victoria Falls (itself a national park) are between February and May, after the rains have ended. In other national parks, wildlife viewing can be particularly good between June and October when game gathers at water sources.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  conservation  |  animals

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