WELCOME TO ZIMBABWE – A WORLD OF WONDERS
“Zimbabwe is a song which, once heard, is never forgotten; a mood to suit the needs of any soul, any time; a spell that binds all those who know her”
‘Mhoro! Mauya!’ We welcome you with open arms and hearts and the warmest, widest of smiles, excited to invite you to our homes. Come and experience our hospitality wherever you go and get in touch with our wide variety of fascinating cultures and local traditions. Our people are ready to show you our country’s natural wonders, draw you into the rhythm and soul of Africa, give you close encounters with our regal wildlife and take you on an unforgettable journey through our ancient and recent past.
We guarantee you will have incredible stories to tell…
Zimbabwe Fast Facts
Zimbabwe lies in Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia. Size – 390,580 km², slightly larger than Montana, USA. The terrain is mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld) and mountains in the east of the country. The lowest point in Zimbabwe is at the junction of the Runde and Save rivers, at 162m, its highest point is Inyangani at 2,592m. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and borders Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique. The Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world’s largest curtain of falling water.
The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated that favored whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more complete voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert Mugabe, the nation’s first prime minister, has been the country’s only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country’s political system since independence.
The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued exchange rate, soaring inflation, and bare shelves. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. Badly needed support from the IMF has been suspended because of the country’s failure to meet budgetary goals. Inflation rose from an annual rate of 32% in 1998 to 133% at the end of 2004, while the exchange rate fell from 24 Zimbabwean dollars per US dollar to 6,200 in the same time period. The government’s land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs. The country’s central bank is the Reserve Bank.
Zimbabwe is a premier tourist destination in Southern Africa, affordable with excellent hotels and lodges, good restaurants, plenty of wildlife and lots to do and see. It still is all these things, but with fewer visitors.
Victoria Falls — One of Africa’s most impressive natural sights, a mile-wide curtain of falling water, it is not to be missed. There’s lots to do besides admiring the waterfall in the Zambezi river area…
Great Zimbabwe — Great Zimbabwe is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most important and largest stone ruins. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1986, the large towers and structures were built out of millions of stones balanced perfectly on top of one another without the aid of mortar. Great Zimbabwe gave modern Zimbabwe its name as well as its national emblem…
Hwange National Park – Hwange National Park is one of Africa’s best wildlife parks, home to vast herds of elephant, buffalo, zebra and giraffe. Endangered species like the African wild dog, brown hyena and gemsbok are also plentiful…
Harare – Zimbabwe’s capital is great place to hear live music any night of the week, and don’t miss the annual Harare International Festival of the Arts. The Shona sculpture is exquisite, as are many of the crafts for sale in markets dotted around the city…
Matopos (Matobo) National Park – Matopos is a very spiritual place, with lots of ancient bushman rock paintings as well as wildlife to enjoy. Cecil Rhodes is buried here… This is also where the Matobo Rhino Initiative is located…
Just fewer than 13 million people live in Zimbabwe. Life expectancy is around 36 years. Birth rate is on average 3.5 per woman. 25% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS. Literacy rate is just over 90%.
Since 2009, United States dollars are the most commonly used currency in Zimbabwe, while the British Pound, South African Rand and Botswana Pula are used to a lesser extent.
Zimbabwe enjoys a lovely temperate climate. The central Highveld plateau has temperatures coming up to 28°C/82°F. Lower-lying parks like Hwange and Zambezi NP are warmer year-round and temperatures can reach 31°C/88°F. Mana Pools, Matusadona and Gonarezou are even lower and get hot, with temperatures soaring to 35°C/95°. The Eastern highlands are much colder and receive significantly more rain.
During the wet season, from November to March, rains usually fall in heavy afternoon showers, but they can sometimes be lighter and continuous for a couple of days. The dry season, from April to October, is pretty much rain free and colder. Nights and mornings can be as cold as 5°C/41°F to freezing, but daytime temperatures are still pleasant with a great deal of sunshine. Zimbabwe experiences winter and summer in opposite times as Europe and North America and they correspond to the dry and wet season.
Zimbabwe has a developing communications infrastructure. A number of cell-phone providers provide national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas.
The Republic of Zimbabwe is broken down into 8 administrative Provinces, which are divided into 59 Districts and 1,200 Wards. The districts are listed below, alphabetically: Manicaland; Mashonaland Central; Mashonaland east; Mashonaland west; Masvingo Province; Matabeleland North; Matabeleland South and Midlands.
The flag of Zimbabwe was adopted on April 18, 1980. Green, yellow, red and black are the official colors of the ZANU PF, and Pan-Africanism; the white triangle represents peace, and its black edge represents the country’s new leaders. The Soapstone Bird is the national emblem, and the red star symbolizes an international outlook. Other significant national emblems include: Animal: Sable Antelope Bird: African Fish Eagle Flower: Flame lily Motto: “Unity, Freedom, and Work”
Zimbabwe people essentially speak three languages namely English, Shona and Ndebele. Shona (also known as chiShona) and Ndebele (also known as Isindebele) are the most common indigenous languages spoken in Zimbabwe. These are generally spread geographically with Shona spoken in the northern and central parts of the country and Ndebele in the central and southern parts of the country.
It is estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of Zimbabweans belong to mainstream Western Christian denominations such as Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Methodism; however, over the years a variety of indigenous churches and groups have emerged from these mainstream denominations.
Tap water is potable. However, ensure that you take bottled water with you when travelling to remote rural areas and the bush.
Animals and Plants
Zimbabwe has quite an incredible biodiversity. However, it contains all the conventional tropical flora and the African fauna. Mostly blanketed with savanna grasslands, its mountains nevertheless consist of evergreen forests. The country is home to the famous Big Five (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo).
The Zimbabwe electricity supply is 220/240 volts AC 60 HZ. With a few exceptions (in deep rural areas) electricity is available almost everywhere.
The 3 major international airports in Zimbabwe are: Harare International Airport (Harare), Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport (Bulawayo), Victoria Falls International Airport, as well as 10 regional airports.
Travel by Road and Rail
Zimbabwe has an extensive road infrastructure including national highways and secondary roads. Speed limits are set at 120 kilometres on highways; 100 kilometres on secondary roads and 60 kilometres in urban areas.
A Visa to enter Zimbabwe is required by several nationalities. For visa requirements, please contact your nearest Zimbabwean Embassy.
Health and safety
South Africa is well-known for its medical skill since Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant in 1967. There are many world-class private hospitals and medical centres around the country, especially in the urban centres. Most of South Africa is malaria-free, but always check with the game reserves you’re planning to visit and take precautions if necessary. Make sure you have the latest safety tips from the establishment where you will be staying and take common sense precautions as you would when travelling.
Some useful information on Travelling in Zimbabwe
Credit Cards: Very important: Please never leave your credit card out of sight, under no circumstances.
Cash withdrawal: Zimbabwe has ATM (Automated Teller Machines) available in most of the bigger towns, where any of the International visa or master cards can be used to withdraw cash.
Very important: Please never accept any help from strangers at ATM’s.
Banking Hours in Zimbabwe: most banks in Zimbabwe are open from 08h00 to 15h00 on weekdays, and 08h00 – 11h00 over weekends. Banks are closed on Public Holidays and on Sundays.
Fuelling (gas) stations: accept cash only, no credit cards are allowed. Most of the bigger towns have fuelling stations available
Animals on roads:
- Take special care near animal crossing warning signs or signs warning of the absence of fences. The signs are there for a reason.
- If you see one animal, expect that there are others nearby.
- Use your high beams whenever possible. They will give you more time to spot and react to animals in the road.
- Slowing down a little gives you and the animal more time to react – Be especially cautious at night
Shopping hours in Zimbabwe
- 08H00- 17h00/18h00 Mon-Fri
- 08h30/09h00 – 13h00 Saturdays (smaller centres)
- 09h00 – 17h00/18h00 Saturdays (urban areas)
- 09h00 – 15h00/16h00 Sundays (urban areas)
While supermarkets and bigger shopping malls stay open on public holidays from around 08h30/09h00 – 15h00 or 16h00, this is not the case with the corporate world which closes on public holidays.
Hitchhikers: It is not suggested that you pick up hitchhikers on any road in Zimbabwe
Stolen Items: Should you be so unfortunate as to have a personal item stolen from your person or vehicle, please report to the nearest police station, where you will receive a claim number, and which can be used for insurance purposes.
Useful telephone numbersHARARE
Police Emergency (+ 263 4) 995
ROAD ASSISTANCE/ROAD BLOCKS
24hr Service Number (+263 4) 703631
AA AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION
Head Office (+263 4) 776760
24hr assistance for lost keys, flat tyres, batteries etc. (+263 772) 122122/(+263 4) 334418
Road rescue recovery 24hr technical assistance (263 773) 300800/133000
Childline 23 hours toll free helpline to children and families (+263 4) 796741/793715
Emergencies only (+263 772) 221921
Contact Jan or Duncan (+263 772) 268177/572894
Medical Centre (+263 13) 43356
After hours (+263 774) 8559
Victoria Falls Bridge (Customs and Immigration) (+263 13) 44238
Police (+263 13) 42206
Ambulance MARS/EMRAS (+263 9) 64082/62611
Police (+263 9) 995
Central Hospital (+263 9) 252111
Mater Dei Hospital (+263 9) 240000
Mpilo Hospital (+263 9) 212011
Health & Safety tips on your tour in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is renowned for its warm sunny climate, even during winter. Visitors should wear a waterproof SPF sunscreen of at least 20 for the body and 30 for the face. Children and those with fair skin should wear SPF50 and hat especially between 11am and 4pm, reapplying frequently, especially after swimming. Sunglasses are also recommended as the African sun glare is also strong. Even on days when there is cloud cover, the same precautions should be taken, as the sun’s rays are magnified through the cloud. There’s no point in getting badly sunburned and then not enjoying your holiday to the fullest.
Generally out in the early spring can be found in long grasses and trees. They may carry tick-bite fever, however it is easily treated. To help protect yourself, wear long trousers tucked into white socks, making the ticks more visible, and a hat to protect against ticks falling from trees. Always check your clothing and body for ticks, especially the legs, behind the knees, groin area, as well as the scalp and behind the ears.
Avoid drinking or swimming in stagnant water that is not flowing or inhabited by fresh water snails.
Zimbabwe Visa Requirements
If you are staying for less than six months, you can enter Zimbabwe with a minimum of formalities.
A Visa to enter Zimbabwe is required by several nationalities; please read the full details listed below.
NEW UNI-VISA Zimbabwe Zambia
There are 3 categories:
Category A: Countries whose nationals do NOT require a Visa. No action required, you will be granted easy entry at any border post on production of a valid passport.
Category B: Countries whose nationals are granted a Zimbabwe visa at port of entry on payment of requisite visa fees. These visas are easiest obtained on your arrival at the Airport or border post. If you get them done via an agency in your home country they will often cost you quite a bit more and be a lot more hassle.
Category C: Countries whose nationals are required to apply for and obtain a Zimbabwe visa prior to travelling. You can apply through a Zimbabwe High Commission in your home or neighboring country.
Find out the Category of your country in the tables below.
All Categories need:-
- Passport valid for a least 6 months from your date of entry.
- Return ticket to your country (or enough money to buy one)
- Sufficient funds to cover your stay in Zimbabwe.
- Enough blank pages in your passport to fit the required entry visa.
A UniVisa is now available for most Category B countries. This means you can travel as frequently as you like between the two countries for a standard fee of $50. This will save considerable time, money and space in your passport. If you are not visiting both countries then cheaper to just get the single entry visa. You have the choice.
NB – Multiple Entry Visas – cannot be obtained at the port of entry into Zimbabwe. You may enter Zimbabwe on a single entry visa and then obtain a Multiple Entry Visa from the town office – but this may take up to 7 working days to be issued.
Alternatively a multiple entry visa can be obtained from the Zimbabwe Embassy in your country prior to departure for Zimbabwe.
Children – As of June 2012 – Zimbabwe will now be charging FULL VISA fees for any individual who is required to have a VISA despite their age. This includes infants and children who were previously being exempted from this. This has been imposed with immediate effect.
Countries whose nationals do NOT require a Zimbabwe Visa.
Antigua & Barbuda
Singapore South Africa
Trinidad and Tobago
Turk & Caicoa Islands
South Africa – gratis (FREE) visas issued at point of entry
Countries whose nationals are granted a Zimbabwe Visa at port of entry on payment of requisite visa fees.
See costs below
Palau Islands Palestine
Papua New Guinea
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
* See CATEGORY B: Exceptions Table
CATEGORY B: ZIMBABWE VISA FEES
Uni-Visa US$ 50
Single Entry US$ 30
Double Entry US$ 45
Multiple Entry US$ 55
CATEGORY B: EXCEPTIONS
British and Irish
Uni-Visa US$ 50
Single Entry US$ 55
Double Entry US$ 70
Uni-Visa US$ 50
Single Entry US$ 75
Countries whose nationals are required to apply for and obtain a Zimbabwe visa prior to travelling.
Cape Verde Island
Central Africa Republic
Cuba Djibouti Rep
French West Indies
CATEGORY C: ZIMBABWE VISA FEES
Single Entry US$30 to US$100
Category C nationals can apply for a single or double entry Zimbabwe visa
British Passport Holders
You need a Zimbabwe visa to visit Zimbabwe. This can be obtained from the Zimbabwe Embassy in London or on arrival in Zimbabwe. To be honest it is easier and in most cases cheaper just to get one at the port of entry.
The current charge for a single entry Zimbabwe visa issued on arrival is US$ 55 and US$ 70 for a Double Entry Zimbabwe visa, although this could change at any stage. If you have not obtained a Zimbabwe visa before travelling, you should bring enough cash with you to pay for your visa on arrival – (no credit/debit cards or cheques).
Visitors are currently being given entry permission for anything up to 90 days but you are strongly advised to check that the number of days given at the port of entry covers your intended period of stay, although you can apply to have this period renewed and extended if required.
USA Passport Holders
You need a Zimbabwe visa to visit Zimbabwe; this can be obtained from the Zimbabwe Embassy in the United States or on arrival in Zimbabwe. To be honest it is easier and in most cases cheaper just to get one at the port of entry.
The current charge for a single entry Zimbabwe visa issued on arrival is US$ 30 and US$ 45 for a Double Entry Zimbabwe visa, although this could change at any stage. If you have not obtained a Zimbabwe visa before travelling, you should bring enough cash with you to pay for your visa on arrival – (no credit/debit cards or cheques).