First, that European Union embargo on firearms to Zimbabwe is starting to be applied more consistently across Europe. For years, The Hunting Report has warned subscribers that because of the EU ban they cannot check their hunting firearms through to Zimbabwe when flying through the United Kingdom. Last year, the Netherlands began to intercept firearms transiting to Zimbabwe as well. Now other EU ports and European airlines are enforcing the embargo, as witness a frantic e-mail I received from subscriber William Isch who was flying out of Frankfurt, Germany and was told he could not take a firearm to Zimbabwe.
The rumor about SAA took off when someone at Swiss Airlines erroneously advised US travel agencies that SAA would not take guns to Zim, so Swiss Air could not accommodate passengers with such travel plans. I contacted Elizabeth Ninomiya, SAA's director of marketing communications in North America, and she confirmed that SAA has no such ban. However, SAA flights departing from an EU port cannot take firearms that are checked through to Zimbabwe. No airline there can do that because of the EU ban.
The only way around this is to follow the advice we have been giving subscribers for some time now. Hunters on their way to Zim through the European Union must break their travel itinerary into two parts. The first ticket must show South Africa (or another African port) as a final destination. A second and separate ticket should be issued for your flight from South Africa to Zimbabwe.
Of course, not checking your bags all the way through to Zimbabwe means you will have to claim them in South Africa and check in for your connecting flight to Zimbabwe. This will require going through the temporary gun import process in South Africa, which can take some time. Be sure to schedule at least two to three hours between your........(continued)