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AFRICA
 
         
 
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  ZIMBABWE      Africa Enquiry Form    
     
  Weather   Good to know   Accommodation   Map of Zimbabwe    
 
                                                           

Central Africa is dominated by Zimbabwe, a land filled with a wealth of game parks, wildlife and areas of enormous historical value. From the majesty of the Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River to the nearby world-renowned Hwange National Park, splendour and raw nature beckon. Wildlife, bird watching and fishing abound and for the more adventurous, try out river rafting on the Zambezi, go bungi jumping off the Victoria Falls Railway Bridge. For the less adventurous, try a microlite or helicopter flight and enjoy unsurpassed views of mosi-oa-tunya - ‘the smoke that thunders’. A leisurely sunset cruise will round off the day with spectacular game viewing from the comfort of your well-equipped launch. A wide range of other outdoors activities is also available in and around Victoria Falls village, the leisure capital of Zimbabwe. 

Victoria Falls

The mighty Kariba Dam holds back the Zambezi River downstream of Victoria Falls and is well known as the ‘Riviera’ of Zimbabwe. A paradise for water sport lovers and wild life enthusiast alike, this enormous lake overseen by Nyaminyami, the Zambezi River God, is bordered by renowned game parks including the Matusadona National Park. Whilst viewing the wide variety of game species from the comfort of your lodge veranda or boat, try your hand at catching a ‘striped water dog’, the famed Tiger fish. Or one of the species of edible fish abundant throughout the lake.

The east of the country offers the Eastern Highlands, an area famed for its scenery and dominated by the Nyanga Mountains. Mt. Nyangani, at 2593 m is the tallest peak in the region. This alpine-scenic area is ideal for walking, hiking and fishing or just relaxing in crisp clean mountains. Further south we find the Chimanimani Mountains overlooking Gonarezhou, one of the tri-country game parks and famed for its spectacular red Chilojo Cliffs and vast flocks of exotic carmine bee-eaters.

Great Zimbabwe Ruins, in the centre of the country, gives an insight into one of the cradles of early life of the region and are recognized world wide for their importance in the culture of Africa. Believed to be the capital of the ancient country of Monomatapa, these monuments are revered nationwide. Traces of earlier civilizations are evident as well as artefacts from slave trading by European and Arab nations over the centuries. Today the area is home to the friendly and welcoming Shona people.

No visit to Zimbabwe would be complete without taking in Bulawayo, the country’s second city in southwest Zimbabwe. Inhabited by the Matabele people, relatives of the famed Zulu tribe, Bulawayo was the staging post for earlier settlers moving further up Africa. The old colonial buildings, wide streets that oxen and cart would turn around in and the many local archaeological sights on view evidence those days. The nearby Matopas Hills are the final resting place of one the earlier settlers and founder of the now Zimbabwe, Cecil John Rhodes. The Matopas National Park is home to a wide variety of animal and birds species in its varied range of habitat.

Zimbabwe is a place to relax, enjoying the peaceful ambiance shown by its warm and gracious people.

                                                         
Zambezi River
 
WEATHER   Back to top

Summer runs from October to April and has hot, sunny days with daytime temperatures around 86ºF (30ºC) in the main centres and hotter in the low-lying areas such as the Zambezi Valley, Kariba and Victoria Falls. Afternoon thunderstorms are possible. The rainy season runs from November to March, although the Eastern Highlands experience rain throughout most of the year. Winter days are warm and dry (68ºF/20ºC), with a vast drop in temperature at night, and runs from May to September. Winter is the most pleasant time to travel, and is best for game viewing and white water rafting; however this is also peak tourist season and is the busiest time of year.

Please go to our Weather Page for current forecasts and more.

                                                           
                                                         
GOOD TO KNOW    Back to top

Time: Local time is GMT +2.

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Three round pin and three rectangular blade plugs are common.


Money: The official currency is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWD), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency, especially US dollars, is hard to come by, but widely accepted and often preferred, and many prices are given in US dollars. Hard currency is required to pay for entry to Victoria Falls and many national parks; it is advisable to carry notes in small denominations, as change is often unavailable. Banks and major hotels have foreign exchange facilities and many lodges, travel agencies and shops accept travellers cheques. Major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. ATM facilities are available in the cities.

Currency Exchange Rates

ZWD 100.00 =

USD 0.00

GBP 0.00

CAD 0.00

AUD 0.00

ZAR 0.01

EUR 0.00

NZD 0.00

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only. Please go to our Currency Converter for the latest rates.


Language: English is the official language, although it is only spoken as a first language by a tiny percentage of the population. Several indigenous languages are spoken including Shona and Ndebele.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors require tickets and documents for return or onward journeys, as well as sufficient funds for their duration of stay.

Woman
Elephants

Health: Travellers coming from infected countries require a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Precautions against Hepatitis A, Meningococcus and tetanus are also recommended. Other risks include typhoid, polio and bilharzia; a high prevalence of AIDS/HIV exists. There is a risk of malaria all year in most of the country, particularly in the Zambezi Valley, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and in the Eastern Highlands; the risk is very small in Harare and Bulawayo. Mosquitoes are chloroquine resistant. A series of cholera outbreaks have been occurring since early 2006, resulting in over 70 deaths so far, the most recent being during May in the northeastern town of Guruve. Cholera outbreaks occur usually during the rainy season when flooding and contamination of water sources takes place. Visitors are advised to take food and hygiene precautions. Tap water in urban areas is considered safe to drink, but bottled water is also available. The current economic instability has led to shortages of medication in public hospitals, and many staff are on strike; it is advisable to bring a supply of personal medication. Medical insurance is essential. Private clinics expect cash payment and medical costs can be high.

Tipping: A service charge is usually included in the bill, otherwise a 10% tip is customary. In general tipping for good service is discretionary. Tour guides and game rangers depend largely on tips for their income and ranges from US$5 to US$10 per person per day.

Safety: The security situation in Zimbabwe remains unstable due to political and social unrest, heightened by an economic crisis which has resulted in high rates of unemployment and inflation, nationwide fuel shortages, and serious shortages of basic foodstuffs. There has been a dramatic increase in criminal activity and opportunistic theft, particularly from foreigners in Harare and in the main tourist centres, such as Victoria Falls. Tourists are advised to avoid displays of wealth and valuables and passports should be kept out of sight or preferably left in a hotel safe. Visitors should be especially cautious at ATMs and after dark; downtown Harare is a particularly high crime area. Visitors to Nyanga should avoid Pungwe Falls, Mterazi Falls and the Honde Falls, as there have been numerous incidents of violent crime reported at these sites. Extreme caution is advised when travelling, and independent travel, including backpacking, is not recommended - it is advisable to travel with a recognised tour operator to established tourist destinations. Although the scene of much crime, many tourist centres have been largely unaffected by political and social unrest. There are ongoing incidents of illegal land seizures, police roadblocks and violent political demonstrations, which could affect the safety of visitors; a low political profile is advised and in the event of demonstrations, visitors are warned to leave the area immediately and to make no attempt to watch or photograph the incident, or use a mobile phone, even from a safe distance, as there have been sporadic, violent attacks on innocent white bystanders in the past. The government's recent 'clean up' campaign has increased tension in urban areas and visitors should avoid travel to high-density suburbs.

Customs: It is against the law to take photographs of public buildings or government institutions, and it is not advisable to take photographs anywhere in the vicinity of such buildings, or any roadblocks and illegally occupied farms, as this could lead to arrest. It is also a criminal offence to make insulting comments about President Mugabe and his government. It is an offence to continue driving when the President's motorcade goes past, no matter which side of the road you are on. Visitors should be aware that an open hand is the political symbol of the main opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and a friendly wave may therefore be misinterpreted as a provocative gesture.

Communications: The international dialling code for Zimbabwe is +263. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00 27 for South Africa). International Direct Dialling is available. Zimbabwe has internal area codes (Harare: 4). Telecel, Econet and Net*One operators provide GSM 900 network mobile phone coverage in most cities, towns and tourist areas throughout the country. Internet and Email facilities are available in Harare, where there are about 30 Internet cafes, which generally are always crowded.

Duty Free: Travellers to Zimbabwe do not have to pay duty on items to the value of US$ 250 provided this allowance is not claimed more than once in a 30-day period. These include goods for personal consumption, including tobacco, and alcohol up to 5 litres with no more than 2 litres of this being spirits. Prohibited items include narcotic and amphetamine drugs, honey, indecent or obscene reading material, toy firearms, and blade knives.

                                                         
                                                           
                                                         
ACCOMMODATION   Back to top

Please contact us for details on accommodation in Zimbabwe.

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