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Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE TRAVEL GUIDE

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas. On the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls make a thundering 108m drop into narrow Batoka Gorge, where there are white-water rafting and bungee-jumping. Downstream are Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife.

 

Once known as the Breadbasket of Africa, since 2000, Zimbabwe has undergone an economic collapse and the rule of law has gradually but largely broken down, although there have been a few signs of improvement since the theoretical formation of a unity Government in 2009 and the Zimbabwean economy has been on the rebound.

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  • Capital: Harare
  • Currency: Zimbabwean dollar (official for governmental transactions)
  • Area: 390,757 km2
  • Population: 14,44 million (2018)
  • Language: English (official), Shona (official), Sindebele (official) (the language of the Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
  • Religion:Syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
  • Electricity: 220/50Hz (UK plug)
Quick Facts

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BEST TIME TO VISIT ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe has a subtropical climate with distinct rainy and dry seasons.

 

  • The rainy season in Zimbabwe runs from November to April and it's characterized by high humidity and heavy rainfall, particularly in the eastern and northeastern regions. During this time the vegetation is lush and green, making it an ideal time for bird watching and for visiting Victoria Falls, which are at their fullest.
  • The dry season in Zimbabwe runs from May to October and it's characterized by lower humidity and little to no rainfall. This is considered the best time for game viewing in national parks and for activities such as safari and hiking as the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot wildlife. It's also a good time for outdoor activities and the weather is warm but not hot.

 

Please note that the seasons may vary depending on the location and altitude.

Best Time To Go

ZIMBABWE WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Zimbabwe experiences its rainy season along with relatively high temperatures from October to March; and it encounters dry season with low temperatures from June to August. After the dry and cold season, the average temperature peaks around October or November. The mean monthly temperature of the country ranges between 15°C and 25°C during the period of 1901 - 2016. During the same time period, the mean monthly precipitation of the country varies from 0 mm to 160 mm, which resulted in an annual average rainfall of roughly 670 mm. Zimbabwe tends to receive less than average rainfall during the warm phase of ENSO (or El Niño) during rainy season from October to March; and it often experiences more than average rainfall during the cool phase of ENSO (or La Nina) also during rainy season.

Zimbabwe

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN ZIMBABWE

HIKING & CYCLING IN ZIMBABWE

The best time for outdoor activities and game viewing in Zimbabwe is during the dry season, from May to October.

BEACH OPTIONS IN ZIMBABWE

SURFING IN ZIMBABWE

River surfing is growing in popularity worldwide and one of the world’s most dangerous river wave lies somewhere along the mighty Zambezi River in Zimbabwe.

KITESURF IN ZIMBABWE

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN ZIMBABWE

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance. For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

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Travel Safety

HEALTH RISKS IN ZIMBABWE

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Zimbabwe

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

ZIMBABWE TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of travel to Zimbabwe can vary depending on several factors such as the time of year, the length of stay, and the type of accommodations and activities you plan to do.

 

Here are a few estimates of costs for different aspects of travel to Zimbabwe:

  • Airfare: Round-trip flights to Zimbabwe can range from $800 to $1,500 or more, depending on the departure city and time of year.
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations in Zimbabwe can range from $15 to $30 per night for a basic room, while more luxurious options can range from $50 to $150 or more per night.
  • Food and drink: Basic meals can be found for as little as $5, while more upscale dining options can cost $20 or more.
  • Transportation: Buses and trains are relatively cheap, with fares ranging from a few dollars for short trips to $50 or more for longer distances. Taxis are also readily available in most cities and towns, with fares generally around $1 per kilometer.
  • Activities: Entrance fees to national parks and other tourist attractions can range from $10 to $50 or more, depending on the location and type of activity.

Overall, a budget of around $50 to $100 per day should be sufficient for budget travelers and around $150 to $300 per day for those looking for more comfortable accommodations and activities.

 

Please note that these are just estimates and the actual cost of travel will depend on your personal preferences, travel style and the availability of services at the time of your visit.

Cost & Spending

ZIMBABWE TRAVEL TIPS

Here are a few travel tips for Zimbabwe:

  • Plan ahead: Research the destinations you plan to visit, including the best time to go, what to see and do, and what to expect in terms of accommodation and transportation.
  • Bring cash: The local currency is the Zimbabwean dollar, but US dollars are widely accepted. However, it's important to note that cash is the most reliable form of payment, as credit and debit cards may not be accepted everywhere.
  • Respect local customs: Zimbabwe is a culturally diverse country and it's important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. This includes dress codes, customs around photography, and customs around interacting with local people.
  • Vaccinations: Some vaccinations may be required for travel to Zimbabwe, such as Yellow Fever and Malaria. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before your trip to determine what vaccinations you may need.
  • Be prepared for unexpected situations: Zimbabwe is a developing country and infrastructure may not always be reliable. Be prepared for unexpected situations and have a plan B in case of unforeseen events.
  • Be careful with your belongings: As with any travel, be mindful of your belongings and take precautions to avoid becoming a target for theft.
  • Respect wildlife: Zimbabwe is home to a wide variety of wildlife and it's important to respect the animals and their habitat. This includes not littering, not feeding the animals, and not getting too close to them.
  • Be aware of the security situation: Be aware of the security situation in the areas you plan to visit and take precautions to stay safe.
  • Get a local sim card: It will be convenient to have a local sim card for internet and making calls.
  • Have a good travel insurance: It's a good idea to have a comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, trip cancellation, and lost or stolen belongings.
Travel Tips

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe is a country with diverse landscapes and cultures, divided into several regions, each with its own unique highlights. Here are a few of the main regions of Zimbabwe and some of the highlights of each region:

  • Harare: The capital of Zimbabwe, Harare is known for its lively street markets, colorful gardens, and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, which showcases the country's art and culture.
  • Bulawayo: Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo is known for its colonial-era architecture, vibrant arts scene, and the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, which offers a glimpse into the country's natural history and wildlife.
  • Matabeleland: A region in the west of Zimbabwe, Matabeleland is known for its rugged wilderness, game reserves, and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, an ancient city that dates back to the 11th century.
  • Mashonaland: A region in the north of Zimbabwe, Mashonaland is known for its rolling hills, national parks, and the ancient city of Khami, which dates back to the 14th century.
  • Manicaland: A region in the east of Zimbabwe, Manicaland is known for its mountainous landscapes, national parks, and the Chimanimani Mountains, which offer excellent hiking and climbing opportunities.
  • Masvingo: A region in the south of Zimbabwe, Masvingo is known for its ancient ruins, such as the Great Zimbabwe ruins, the natural stone city and the Bantu people's architectural heritage, and the natural beauty of Lake Kyle and the Save River.
  • The Victoria Falls: A town in the northwest of Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is known for its natural wonder, Victoria Falls, one of the world's largest and most spectacular waterfalls, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Hwange National Park: A region in the west of Zimbabwe, Hwange is known for its wildlife and biodiversity, it's one of the largest and most diverse national parks in Africa, and home to large numbers of elephants, lions, buffaloes and many other species.

Please note that this is just a sampling of the regions and highlights of Zimbabwe and there are many other places to explore in this diverse country.

Highlights
What To See & Do
Travel Map

Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Zimbabwe:

  • Visit the Victoria Falls: One of the world's largest and most spectacular waterfalls, Victoria Falls is a must-see attraction when visiting Zimbabwe. The falls are at their fullest during the rainy season, from November to April.
  • Game viewing in national parks: Zimbabwe is home to several national parks, including Hwange National Park and Matopos National Park, which offer excellent opportunities for game viewing and wildlife watching.
  • Explore ancient ruins: Zimbabwe is home to several ancient ruins, including the Great Zimbabwe ruins, which date back to the 11th century, and the ancient city of Khami, which dates back to the 14th century.
  • Experience the culture: Zimbabwe is a culturally diverse country, and there are many opportunities to experience the culture firsthand, including visiting local markets, attending cultural festivals, and visiting museums and art galleries.
  • Go on a safari: Zimbabwe offers many safari options to explore the wildlife, you can go on a walking safari, a game drive, or even a hot air balloon safari.
  • Visit the Chimanimani Mountains: These mountains are located in the east of Zimbabwe and offer excellent hiking and climbing opportunities, as well as beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Visit the Lake Kyle: A large artificial lake located in the south of the country, it's a great spot for fishing, boating, and bird watching.
  • Visit the Eastern Highlands: These highlands are located in the east of Zimbabwe, and offer beautiful landscapes, hiking opportunities, and a chance to see the local communities and their lifestyle.
  • Visit the Matobo Hills: These granite hills are located in the west of the country, they are known for its rock art, wildlife, and hiking trails.
  • Visit the Mkuze Game Reserve: It's located in the north of the country, it's a great place for wildlife viewing and bird watching, as well as cultural tours.
Zimbabwe
What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN ZIMBABWE

WHAT TO EAT IN ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe has a unique and diverse cuisine that is influenced by the country's history, culture, and geography. Here are a few traditional dishes and ingredients that you should try when visiting Zimbabwe:

  • Sadza: A staple food in Zimbabwe, sadza is a thick porridge made from ground cornmeal. It's typically served with a variety of stews or relishes made from vegetables, meat or fish, and is often eaten with the hands.
  • Biltong: A dried and salted meat, similar to jerky, it's a popular snack in Zimbabwe and is made from a variety of meats including beef, kudu, and impala.
  • Chakalaka: A vegetable relish that is often served with sadza. It's made from a mix of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices, and can be served hot or cold.
  • Fried Tilapia: Tilapia is a freshwater fish that is commonly found in the lakes and rivers of Zimbabwe, it's often served fried with a side of sadza.
  • Matemba: A dried fish, it's a popular snack in Zimbabwe and is often served with sadza or as a side dish.
  • Dovi: A traditional dish made from peanut butter and vegetables, it's typically served with sadza.
  • Kapenta: A small fish that is caught in Lake Kariba and it's popular in Zimbabwe, it's often served fried or in a stew.
  • Mopani worms: These are caterpillars of the emperor moth, they are a delicacy in Zimbabwe and are often fried or grilled.

Please note that these are just a few examples of the traditional dishes and ingredients that you can try in Zimbabwe and depending on your personal preferences, you may find other dishes that you enjoy more.

LGBTQ IN ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe

WHERE TO STAY IN ZIMBABWE

When visiting Zimbabwe for the first time, there are several regions worth considering, each offering unique attractions and experiences. Here are some options along with reasons and accommodation suggestions for each:


Where To Stay At Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, offering breathtaking views of the iconic waterfall and a range of adventure activities such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and helicopter rides.

  • Budget accommodation: Victoria Falls Backpackers - Located in the town of Victoria Falls, this hostel offers budget-friendly dormitory beds and private rooms, with a swimming pool, bar, and social atmosphere.

  • Mid-range accommodation: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge - Situated on a plateau overlooking the Zambezi National Park, this lodge offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant with panoramic views, a swimming pool, and easy access to Victoria Falls.

  • Luxury accommodation: The Victoria Falls Hotel - This historic luxury hotel offers elegant rooms and suites, gourmet dining options, a swimming pool, and exclusive views of the Victoria Falls Bridge and gorge.


Where To Stay In Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest national park, known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and more. Visitors can enjoy game drives, walking safaris, and night drives in search of the Big Five and other species.

  • Budget accommodation: Ivory Lodge - Located near Hwange Main Camp, this lodge offers budget-friendly chalets and camping facilities, with guided safaris and bush walks available.

  • Mid-range accommodation: Hwange Safari Lodge - Situated on the edge of the national park, this lodge offers comfortable rooms, a swimming pool, and guided safaris led by experienced guides.

  • Luxury accommodation: The Hide Safari Camp - This luxury camp offers spacious tents and suites with private decks overlooking a waterhole frequented by wildlife, gourmet dining options, and exclusive game drives.


Where To Stay At Matobo Hills

Matobo Hills is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning granite rock formations, ancient rock art, and diverse wildlife, including rhinos, leopards, and antelope species. Visitors can explore the landscape on foot, by vehicle, or on horseback.

  • Budget accommodation: Camp Amalinda - Located within the Matobo Hills, this lodge offers budget-friendly chalets and camping facilities, with guided tours to rock art sites and wildlife areas.

  • Mid-range accommodation: Big Cave Camp - Situated amidst giant boulders, this camp offers comfortable rooms and chalets with panoramic views, a swimming pool, and guided tours to historical and cultural sites.

  • Luxury accommodation: Amalinda Lodge - This luxury lodge offers luxurious suites carved into the rock face, gourmet dining options, a spa, and exclusive tours to Matobo Hills' rock art sites and wildlife areas.



Each of these regions in Zimbabwe offers its own unique experiences and accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you're interested in witnessing the majestic Victoria Falls, embarking on thrilling safaris, or exploring ancient rock art sites, Zimbabwe has something to offer for every traveler.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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