flag Zimbabwe Zimbabwe: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Zimbabwe Department of Immigration Services
For Further Information
Go Abroad
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

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Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Despite the fuel supply problems, the car remains a convenient way to get around town. There are many car rental companies, but the vehicles are often in poor condition and renting can be quite expensive. The train is slow and uncertain, but local minibuses are fast and inexpensive. You can also use a shared taxi.
Maps of Urban Networks
Railway map

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Harare International Airport 15 km Yes Yes No Yes
Victoria Falls International Airport 18 km Yes Yes No Yes
JM Nkomo International Airport 18 km Yes No No Yes
Kariba International Airport 4 km Yes Yes No Yes
Masvingo International Airport 4 km Yes - No Yes

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The national airline Air Zimbabwe provides links between Harare and Bulawayo and the main attractions of the country. Foreigners mostly use express buses and local buses ("African buses"), which are often just as fast and much cheaper. Only large cities are served by rail. Trains are slow and not always comfortable, with the exception of luxury trains running between South Africa and Victoria Falls, which can be taken at Bulawayo. The road network is in fairly good condition, but renting a car is expensive, vehicles are often in poor condition and transport can be complicated due to fuel shortages. Two ferries operate on the Kariba Lake, between Kariba and Binga Mlibizi.
Rail Companies
National Railways of Zimbabwe

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Air Zimbabwe Traditional Yes Yes
Fly Africa Low cost Yes Yes
British Airways Traditional No Yes
Ethiopian Airlines Traditional No Yes
Emirates Traditional No Yes
Kenya Airways Traditional No Yes
Comair Low cost No Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
You can rent a car (4x4), but this is quite expensive, the vehicles are often in poor condition and transport can be complicated by fuel shortages. Driving at night is not recommended because of the numerous road accidents and during the rainy season some roads may be blocked. Local buses and trains are a convenient and cheap way to travel. It is common to arrange with a truck driver to move from one city to another. For security reasons, it is better to avoid walking alone at night, especially in Harare.
Road Maps
Ezilon
Maps of the world
Find an Itinerary
Bing

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Zimbabwe has many historical sites, which testify to the country's rich history. The Matobo Hills are home to archaeological sites dating back to the Stone Age. Zimbabwe also has the remains of the largest ancient capital in sub-Saharan Africa, the Great Zimbabwe. Between the 13th and 15th century, this medieval city was the religious and secular capital of a vast kingdom. Its fascinating elliptical enclosure is the largest ancient building in southern Africa.
Cultural
Zimbabwe is surprising because of the diversity and extraordinary quality of artistic talent it houses. Characteristic of African cultures in general, art touches on many aspects of life, each tribe generally having a recognizable canon and a wide variety of objects such as masks, drums, textiles, beadwork, sculpture, ceramics, etc. the body itself is decorated by scarification or tattooing. Shona sculpture, created by a merger of African folklore with European influences, has world-renowned sculptors have managed to influence a new generation of artists, particularly Black Americans. Music is also an important factor of traditional Zimbabwean culture, accompanying oratory, poetry, stories and legends, the song of praise, tribal ritual songs and social events. Among the traditional instruments include the marimba (wooden xylophone), the mbira (thumb piano), the ngoma (tapered cylindrical drum) and mujelele, or "stone bell". Zimbabwe has four sites listed as World Heritage by UNESCO: the Mana Pools National Park, Matobo National Park, Victoria Falls and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.
Nature
Zimbabwe offers many attractions for nature lovers: a wide range of African wildlife including lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, rhinos, monkeys, zebras, warthogs, hippos, cheetahs, etc. There are some breathtaking sceneries, including spectacular gorges, dense forests, waterfalls, green hills, rivers terrace, etc. The country has a dozen national parks, three of which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage: in the Mana Pools National Park, named after the four major indoor pools of the Zambezi River, you can see a wide range of large mammals, over 350 species of birds and diverse aquatic fauna; The Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls has one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in the world, considered one of the "Seven Wonders of the World"; the Matobo National Park features majestic rock formations carved into a granite plateau, which has a spiritual and cultural significance to the local population.
Religious
The people of Zimbabwe have a rich spiritual life and the country has many sites locals consider sacred. Various rituals are performed in thanks after harvest, to bring rain, to ask for healing, etc. The medieval city of Great Zimbabwe, was not only a political and economic center, but before all a religious center. We may also mention the cellars of Domboshava and Mhakwe, the graves of Mzilikazi, Lobengula Tohwechipi and the ruins of Mutota, and site Nharira Hills, Khami and Thabasikamambo.
Thermal
The hot springs include the Chizarira Springs in northwest Zimbabwe, the Nyanyadzi Springs in the Chimanimani Mountains in Manicaland, the Kabata Springs in Binga, and the Chitake Springs in Mana Pools National Park.
Beach
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country, so there are no natural beaches. However, it is possible to swim in lakes, rivers and natural pools, such as the Nyangombe Pool in Nyanga National Park and Devil's Pool in the Victoria Falls National Park.
Winter Sports
None
Outdoor Activities
The main outdoor activity is the safari, which can take different forms. You can go hiking in the bush in national parks, and sometimes camp there. On the Zambezi River below the Victoria Falls, there are places for canoeing and rafting, or you can ride the steam trains between Victoria Falls and Mutare, or choose safari on horseback in the Zambezi Park. For fishing enthusiasts, the rivers of Eastern Highlands and Kariba are excellent sites. Zimbabwe also has inexpensive and uncongested gold courses.
Shopping
You can buy some local crafts almost everywhere. In Harare and Bulawayo in particular, you can shop for Shona sculptures, precious or semi-precious stones, crocheted tablecloths and batonka stools made of carved wood.

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers coming from infected areas. Up-to-day vaccination against diphtheria-tetanus-polio is recommended, as well as typhoid fever and hepatitis A and B immunizations. It is advisable to follow a preventive treatment against malaria and use repellents, especially in hot and humid areas. There is a very limited presence of the tsetse fly in the tourist area of Mana Pools, but the risk of contracting sleeping sickness remains small. Avoid swimming in stagnant water, and follow the usual phytosanitary rules when using tap water and eating fruits and vegetables.
International Hospitals
Adequate medical services are available in Harare and Bulawayo, but in other places medical facilities are extremely limited. For urgent medical problems, most expats go to the Avenues Clinic or St Anne. Doctors, hospitals and medical evacuation services often require immediate cash payment. Most serious illnesses or accidents require medical evacuation to South Africa.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
World Health Organization
The U.S. Government's Center for Disease Control and Prevention
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Canada Bureau of Foreign Affairs
U.S. Department of State
 

Emergency Numbers

Harare Emergency 999
Police 995
Ambulance 994
Firefighters 993
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Harare (GMT+2)
Summer Time Period
Zimbabwe enjoys a warm climate all year round, but during the summer (November to April) the weather is hot and humid.
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Thanks to its topography (the country is located 900m above sea level), Zimbabwe has a moderate climate. In winter (May to October) the days are warm and sunny, nights are clear and cool, and the dry weather is great for observing wildlife. The lowveld and the Zambezi Valley have a slightly warmer and wetter climate. Summers (November to April) are hot and humid, and rains usually fall in heavy afternoon showers. Spring and fall are not very distinctive. In winter, the daytime temperatures are high, but can drop below 0°C at night; in summer they can reach 35°C during the day, but are usually tempered by the storms in the afternoon.
For Further Information
Zimbabwe Department of Meterology
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Sadza: white maize porridge, which serves as a basis to practically all the other dishes; the second ingredient is meat (nyama).

Biltong: Rather salty snack of dried meat.

Dovi: stewed peanut butter, often mixed with pumpkin leaves.

Nhedzi: soup with wild mushrooms.

Mapopo candy: candy made from papaya cooked in sugar.

Bota: this dish is
traditionally eaten for breakfast and consists of flavored boiled peanut butter, milk, butter or jam.

In the summer, the outdoor markets sell dried worms (mopane) and fried flying ants. Upmarket restaurants sometimes serve game, crocodile meat, kudu (antelope), impala or warthog.
Drinks
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in Zimbabwe; the national beer is called Zambezi. The local beer whawha is made from corn. You can also find imported wine, spirits and liqueurs in hotel bars. The Mazoe Orange drink is very popular: it is made from pure fruit juice without chemicals. The Chibuku is an alcoholic beverage that resemble hot chocolate, has oatmeal-like consistency and sweetish taste. It is served in buckets which consumers pass from hand to hand.
Dietary Restrictions
There are many food taboos in Zimbabwe. For example, Ndebele avoid eating corn outside season. Many ethnic groups do not eat animal products, plant products, or other foods bearing their family name. Animals representing the totem of a clan are not generally consumed by the members of the clan.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
American Dollar - accepted in the context of the multi-currency framework
ISO Code
USD
To Obtain Domestic Currency
The Zimbabwean dollar is no longer used. The US dollar is the main currency used, followed by the South African rand and, to a lesser extent, the Botswana Pula. One can easily obtain US dollars at exchange offices and from authorized sellers (local banks). All banks change Travellers checks in USD or GBP, provided the client fills in a foreign exchange license application at an official office.
Possible Means of Payment
Payments are made mostly in cash and in US dollars. American Express, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted, while MasterCard is less used. Some ATMs accept credit cards.

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Speaking

Official Language
English, Shona, Ndebele
Other Languages Spoken
Chewa, Kimbundu, Tswana and many other tribal languages.
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
To learn the basics of English, please visit the sites Englisch Hilfen, Talk English, or ESL.. To learn the local languages (Shona), visit the websites Go Away or Omniglot.
Free Translation Tools
Word Reference :
Linguee :
Vashona :

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Latest Update: July 2022