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L.P.H. General Paper: Contents & Preparation

In any given examination session there will be one paper or another that will give students particular trouble and cause a high failure rate. Often students feel that the most difficult paper was the General Paper – because they encountered a high proportion of questions for which they had not prepared. In this article we will discuss what one can expect to find on the General Paper and then how best to prepare for it.

I believe that in the earlier days of the Learner Hunters and Guides examinations the General Paper was seeking to ensure that young guides had a wide background in matters concerning Zimbabwe and would be able to talk sensibly to tourists about the country and about current affairs. Visitors would expect their guide to know what larger issues were affecting the country or region, environmentally and to some extent politically.


There is no formal General Paper syllabus and, as the name of the paper suggests, it is difficult to predict what types of question will show up on this paper. Below is a list of the following broad categories which occur frequently (and some sample questions).

ABBREVIATIONS & ACRONYMS, particularly of organisations associated with tourism and conservation, for example:

  • What do the following acronyms stand for? a. SOAZ   b. ZTOA  c. TBCZ   d. AWCF   (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.1)  
  •  Define the following acronyms used in the Conservation industry. a. CMS      b. GEF        c. LEAP       d. SDGs e. IFAW      (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 1 )  


  • What was the theme for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair for 2021?   2 mks (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 9)   
  • When is the 2021 Zimbabwe Agricultural show going to be held?   2 mks (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 10)     
  • Who officiated at the recent 2022 Harare Agricultural Show 2 mks (GP.SEPT.22 – QU. 12)    

ARITHMETIC – relatively simple calculations, for example:

  • You have a group of 16 clients from China, Mauritius, South Africa and Liberia visiting Great Zimbabwe monuments.  Entry fees for adult locals is 3 USD, regional is 10 USD and international 15 USD.   Considering that there is a total of four children (each paying half the normal entry fee) from regional countries, how much money are the clients going to pay for their entry fees if there is an equal number of clients from each country? (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.14) 
  • Your client mistakenly left a rifle at a camp within Matesti Safari Area and you drive back to collect it. The camp is 35 kms away and you are driving at the recommended maximum speed to and from the camp. The process of rifle collection at the camp takes 1 minute and 36 seconds. How much time will you require to bring back the rifle?    3 mks (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.16)   
  • The number of VIPs watching a soccer match is given by the equation 3ax +30y = 360. If a and x are   constants represented by 5 and 2 respectively, and y is the number of VIPs, calculate the number of VIPs in the stadium 4 mks (GP.SEPT.22 – QU. 14)     

CURRENT AFFAIRS – mainly Zimbabwean (occasionally international) concerning major events that have happened in the last 6 months, e.g. conferences, especially with environmental significance, disasters, diseases, for example:

  • The 6th European Union – African Union Summit was held recently with the aim of strengthening and recalibrating the economic and strategic partnership between European and African countries. Name the country that hosted this summit.   2 mks (FEB.22.QU.16)
  • In terms of the Zimbabwean economic recovery blueprint what does NDS1 stand for?    2 mks (GP.FEB.22.QU.2)
  • In the education sector, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in Zimbabwe has introduced the famous CALA. What does the acronym CALA stand for?    2 mks    (GP.SEPT.22 – QU. 13)
  • Which country hosted the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27)?      What was the theme of the conference?  3 mks  (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 9)  
  • State the name of the current Miss Tourism Zimbabwe.  2 mks  (FA.JUNE.21 – QU.3) 
  • When and where is the next Convention of Parties (COP 19) going to be held?   2 mks (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 17) 
  • When did Cyclone Idai take place and which province was most affected?   2 mks (GP.FEB.2020. QU.4)  

DATES – public holidays, e.g. Unity Day, National Youth Day, and days observing specific conservation issues, e.g. World Ranger Day, for example:

  • On which date of the year is World Wetland Day celebrated? 2 mks (GP.FEB.2019. QU.17) 
  • When is World Wildlife Week? 2 mks (GP.SEPT.2019 QU.2)  

FIRST AID & HEALTH – Conditions (e.g. heat exhaustion/stroke, malaria, scorpion stings, snake bites), treatments, principles , for example:

  • You arrive at a scene where an elephant has overturned a vehicle. In terms of your First Aid training what is your first consideration?  1 mk (FA.JUNE.21 – QU.7)
  • No matter how clean water looks in rivers or wells there could be microscopic organisms which may cause diseases to your clients. List any three pathogens which may be found in such water.  3 mks (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.9)    
  • Explain how one can prepare a salt and sugar solution.    2 mks (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 7)   

FLAG AND NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS – significance of colours/images, for example:

  • State the common and scientific names of the animal species found on Zimbabwe’s coat of arms.     3 mks  (MARCH.21 – QU.7)
  • What do the following colours on the Zimbabwe flag represent: a)yellow  b) green   2 mks (GP.Sept.15 – Qu.12)      

GOVT. MINISTERS & OTHER OFFICE HOLDERS, local & international, for example:

  • Who is the current President of Kenya?   1 mk    (GP.SEPT.22 – QU. 4)     
  • His Excellency Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Managagwa is the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. a. How old is he and when was his birthday this year? 2 mks b. On which date was he inaugurated to become the President of Zimbabwe?    1 mk   (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 3)   
  • Who is the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate? 2 mks (GP.Sept.16 – QU.1)

GUIDING PRACTICES & ETHICS – equipment (tents, sleeping bags), safety, considerations, way-finding, for example:

  • How would you protect your clients from being struck by lightning when hunting or when on a guided tour in the wild.   3 mks (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.10)    
  • You are planning to go on a guided tour and you observe clouds moving in all directions or contrary to the ground wind.   What would you do?    2 mks (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.12)       
  • Why should one avoid guineafowls when tracking animals?  2 mks  (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.5)
  • State any three advantages of using an external frame backpack   3 mks (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.8)
  • Identify any three factors to consider when selecting a camping site.   3 mks  (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 6) 
  • State any four types of camping tent.     4 mks (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 5)    
  • Outline the major components found in a survival kit.       6 mks  (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 6)    


  • Use a 4-figure grid reference to describe the positions of objects A and X.

Use a 6-figure grid reference to describe the location of objects B and 0. 2 mks  (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.15)    

  • You have clients in the bush and you have lost your way back. Luckily you have a map with you (see below) that shows the shaded area as the place you are at. The National Parks Office, however, intervenes to help and asks you to give the four-figure grid reference for the general location of the shaded area of the map. Convey the 4-figure grid reference you will send to the Office.    2 mks  (GP.FEB.22.QU.5)  

NATIONAL PARKS & WILDLIFE – structure of the organisation, Clusters, office holders, types of area found in the Estate, regulations, etc. for example:

  • Who is the Director General of Parks and Wildlife Management Authority? 2 mk  (GP.SEPT.2017. QU. 10)  
  • State the Vision Statement of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.  2 mks  (GP.FEB.2018. QU.1)
  • Who is the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Regional Manager for South-East Lowveld Region? 1 mk   (GP.SEPT.22 – QU. 1)   
  • What is the scientific name of the animal that appears on the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority’s emblem?   2 mks  (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.6)  
  • The Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Authority has many land categories within its Estate including Botanical Gardens and Botanical Reserves. Clearly explain how these two categories contrast with each other.   2 mks  (GP.FEB.22.QU.4)  
  • Geographically, ZIMPARKS is managed under eight management regions. Besides Matopo, Harare and Central regions, list the other five of these regions. 5 mks  (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 3)    

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES (you need to know the whole list), for example:

  • Besides Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, and Shona state any other four official languages used in Zimbabwe.   4 mks (GP.FEB.2020. QU.12) 
  • Besides Kalanga, English, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangaan, Shona, Tonga, Tswana and Venda list any other four official languages of Zimbabwe.    4 mks (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.12)


  • In radio communication what do the following phonetic alphabetic letters and numbers stand for: Q, U, X, 4, 8, 9     6 mks                      (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.10 )         
  • How do you indicate the following phonetic alphabetic letters and numbers used in radio communication? L, Q, Y, 4, 9    5 mks                        (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 7)     

TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION AREAS, especially those in which Zimbabwe is involved, for example:

  • State any four Transfrontier Conservation Areas of which Zimbabwe is a part.    4 mks      (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.5)    
  • In terms of Transfrontier Parks, what do the following abbreviations stand for? 

i. KAZA    2 mks ii. ZIMOZA     2 mks iii. GLTP     2 mks      (GP.SEPT.22 – QU. 17)   

SOCCER, African competitions, especially Africa Cup of Nations

  1. Name the African country which hosted the AFCON 2021 tournament. 1 mk
  2. Identify the two countries that made it to the finals of AFCON 2021 championship and which country was crowned?  3 mks   (GP.FEB.22.QU.1) 


  • In which tourist destination, city or town do you find the following hotels or lodges?Monomotapa,  Bronte Gardens, Elephant Hills, Pamushana.  (FA.JUNE.21 – QU.2)   
  • Buffalo Range airport is located close to which town in Zimbabwe?   1 mk  (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.15)  
  • An eco-tourist decides to use public transport to travel from Harare to Mutare, to Masvingo, to Gweru and back to Harare. Name the major terminuses he will use for his travel.  4 m


a. Define a taboo.   2 mks b. State any Karanga taboo that tries to protect water bodies’ environment.  2 mks  (GP.JUNE.21 – QU.4) 

Define a totem.  2 mks (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.8)    

VOCABULARY – definitions associated with wildlife and conservation (and phobias, for some reason)

  • Define an alien species.   1 mk (GP.FEB.2018. QU.8)
  • Distinguish between a migrant and nomad species.      2 mks (GP.SEPT.2019 QU. 12)     
  • In relation to natural resources conservation define a “hotspot”. 2 mks  (GP.SEPT.2019 QU. 5)  
  • What is a pristine wilderness? (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.11)  
  • What is the term given to an abnormal fear of water? 2 mks (GP.MARCH.21 – QU.13 )         
  • What term is used to describe all nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas?    1 mk  (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 12)    

WILDLIFE (anything that could occur in the Habits and Habitats paper)

  • What is the common name for Kobus ellipsiprymnus? 1 mk (GP.SEPT.2017. QU. 13)  
  • Which tree species is mostly preferred by African elephants in the Zambezi valley?   2 mk   (GP.SEPT.2017. QU. 11) 
  • What term is given to a female elephant? 1 mk  (GP.SEPT.2017. QU. 18)  
  • Arboreal animals are those living in which type of habitat? 2 mk (GP.SEPT.2017. QU. 19)  
  • Besides Africa, state any other continents were painted dogs are found in the wild.     1 mk (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 13)   
  • State the name of the most trafficked animal in the world 1 mk    (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 14)     


Name any two World Heritage Sites in Zimbabwe.   2 mk  GP Aug.13 – Qu.7  

ZAMBEZI RIVER – source, mouth, length, waterfalls, dams, for example:

  • a. Which river is the longest in the southern region of Africa?   1 mk b. How long is this river from its source to mouth?  2 mks c. Name the source country of this river.   1 mk  (GP.Sept.15 – Qu.17)  
  • Where are the source and mouth of the Zambesi River?   2 mks  (GP.Feb.14 – Qu.16)  

ZIMBABWE – FACTS & FIGURES – Where? How high? How long? Name? For example:

  • Name the largest inland dam in Zimbabwe. 1 mk (GP.FEB.2018. QU.4)  
  • Sango Border Post links which two countries?   2 mks (GP.FEB.2018. QU.12)
  • What does the name “Zimbabwe” mean? (GP.OCT.2020 – QU.11)  
  • State three funny facts about Binga Mountain.    3 mks (GP.SEPT.21 – QU. 2)
  • Name the Zimbabwean highways linking: a. Harare and Chirundu b. Harare and Mutare c. Harare and Nyamapanda    3 mks (GP.FEB.23 – QU. 8)   


It may be that in general you are not interested in current affairs or politics. In the months leading up to the examinations, however, you need to expose yourself as much as possible to Zimbabwean newspaper, radio and TV news. (International news items are not likely to be very helpful to you.)

  • Watch or listen to the local news at least once a week;
  • Read the main stories in a local newspaper at least once a week or subscribe to a local online news source (e.g. Bulawayo24);
  • Pay attention to the headline posters around where vendors are selling newspapers and if you see one that seems to have some sort of environmental significance, try and buy the relevant newspaper and read the article;
  • Any item involving National Parks or the Ministry of Environment is worth studying in detail;
  • Follow up stories about environmental and conservation issues.


  • President of the ANC?
  • Zimbabwe International Trade Fair – who opened last?
  • Principal of Zimbabwe Institute of Wildlife Conservation?
  • Africa Cup of Nations – last winners? (AFCON)
  • Africa Cup of Nations – which countries qualified for the finals?
  • Chairperson of A.U. (name and country)
  • Chairperson of SADAC (name and country)
  • Chairperson of Zimbabwe Professional Guides Association
  • CITES – last meeting, when & where? Convention of Parties (COP 19)
  • CITES – next meeting, when & where?
  • Current Miss Tourism Zimbabwe?
  • Current Miss Zimbabwe?
  • Deputy Chairperson of National Parks Board?
  • Director General of National Parks Board?
  • Governor of Mashonaland Central?
  • Governor of each of the other Provinces?
  • Harare Agricultural Show – dates of last show?
  • Harare Agricultural Show – theme of last show?
  • Harare Agricultural Show – who opened last show?
  • Last heroine(s) laid to rest at National Heroes Acre?
  • Last person to be declared a National Hero & buried at Heroes’ Acre?
  • Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism & Hospitality Industry?
  • Minister of Home Affairs?
  • Name of Vice-President?
  • Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism & the Hospitality Industry?
  • President of Botswana?
  • President of Malawi?
  • President of Kenya?  
  • President of Mozambique?
  • President of Namibia?
  • President of South Africa?
  • President of Uganda?
  • President of Tanzania?
  • President of The Democratic Republic of Congo?
  • Speaker of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe?
  • President of Zambia?
  • Zimbabwe Trade Fair – dates of last/coming?
  • Zimbabwe Trade Fair – theme of last?
Paddy Pacey

Zimbabwean field guide and trainer of aspiring guides

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