Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Photo by Tanner Marquis

ZIMBABWE

Africa

Zimbabwe Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Harare

Location:

Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia

Currency:

Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD)

Area:

390,757 sq km

Population:

14,829,988 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Shona (official; most widely spoken), Ndebele (official, second most widely spoken), English (official; traditionally used for official business), 13 minority languages (official; includes Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa)

Religion:

Protestant 74.8% (includes Apostolic 37.5%, Pentecostal 21.8%, other 15.5%), Roman Catholic 7.3%, other Christian 5.3%, traditional 1.5%, Muslim 0.5%, other 0.1%, none 10.5% (2015 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+2

Tel Code:

+263

Weather

Climate

Zimbabwe has a tropical climate with a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season is from November to March and the dry season is from April to October. The country also has different climates in different regions, for example, the Eastern Highlands are cool and temperate, while the low-lying areas are hot and humid.

Temperature

Temperatures in Zimbabwe vary depending on the region, but generally, it ranges from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) throughout the year. The Eastern Highlands can be quite chilly, especially at night, with temperatures dropping to around 10°C (50°F) during the dry season.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Zimbabwe depends on what you want to see and do. The dry season is considered the best time to go on safari, as the animals congregate around the waterholes and are easier to spot. The dry season is also the best time to visit Victoria Falls, as the water levels are lower, making it easier to see the falls. The rainy season is considered the best time to visit the Eastern Highlands, as the weather is cooler, and the scenery is greener.

In general, the best time to visit Zimbabwe is during the dry season, which is from April to October. This is the best time to go on safari, visit Victoria Falls and see the spectacular views. However, if you're interested in hiking, and cooler weather, the rainy season is considered the best time to visit the Eastern Highlands. The best time to visit depends on your preferences and what you want to see and do during your trip.

Transportation

Air Travel

The main international airport in Zimbabwe is the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, located in Harare, which is the country's capital. The airport is served by several major airlines, including South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways, that connect Zimbabwe to other parts of Africa and the world. There are also several domestic airports such as Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls International Airport that connect different parts of the country.

Bus and Coach

Buses and coaches are a popular and affordable way to get around Zimbabwe, with several major bus companies operating regular services between the major towns and cities. Long-distance buses are comfortable, but the journey can be quite long, and the roads are often in poor condition.

Train

Zimbabwe has a train service, operated by National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) which connects major towns and cities in the country. The train service is not as frequent as bus service and the trains are old, but it can be a good option for those who want to see the country's beautiful landscapes.

Car Rental

Car rental is another option for getting around Zimbabwe, although it can be quite expensive. There are several major car rental companies operating in the country, and it is possible to rent a car with or without a driver.

Taxis

Taxis are widely available in Zimbabwe, and they are a convenient option for getting around the major towns and cities. They can be hailed on the street or booked in advance, and the prices are generally reasonable. However, it is important to agree on the fare before starting the journey, as some drivers may overcharge tourists.

Accommodation

Luxury Hotels

Zimbabwe offers a wide range of luxury hotels and resorts, which offer comfortable and well-appointed rooms, top-notch amenities, and excellent service. Many of these hotels are located near the major tourist attractions and offer easy access to the best sights and activities in the country. Some of the most popular luxury hotels in Zimbabwe include Victoria Falls Hotel, Elephant Hills Hotel, The Kingdom Hotel and many more.

Boutique Hotels

For those looking for a more intimate and unique experience, Zimbabwe also offers a number of boutique hotels. These smaller, independently-owned properties often have a more personal touch and offer a more authentic local experience. Some popular options include The Meikles Hotel, The Victoria Falls Hotel and many more.

Camping and Safari Lodges

For those who want to get closer to nature, camping and safari lodges are a great option. These accommodations are typically located in national parks and wildlife reserves and offer a more rustic and authentic experience. They offer a chance to see wildlife up close and enjoy the natural surroundings. Some popular options include Hwange Safari Lodge, Imbabala Safari Lodge, and many more.

Guesthouses and Homestays

For a more authentic and budget-friendly option, there are a number of guesthouses and homestays available throughout the country. These accommodations often offer a more personalized and local experience and can be a great way to meet and interact with the local people. Some popular options include The Cresta Lodge, The Victoria Falls Hotel and many more.

Zimbabwe offers a wide range of accommodation options for visitors, from luxury hotels to camping and safari lodges. Whether you're looking for a luxurious stay or a more authentic local experience, there is something for everyone in this country. The best option for you will depend on your budget, preferences, and what you plan to do during your visit.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Zimbabwe Closed
Test
Required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Zimbabwe, located in southern Africa, is a country of breathtaking landscapes and rich culture. From its majestic Victoria Falls to its diverse wildlife and ancient ruins, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Zimbabwe. Here are the top 10 things to do in Zimbabwe that should not be missed:

      1. Visit the Victoria Falls

      The Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can take a scenic walk along the falls and see the majestic views.

      2. Explore the Hwange National Park

      The Hwange National Park is the largest national park in Zimbabwe and home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and over 400 species of birds. Visitors can go on safari and see the animals in their natural habitat.

      3. Visit the Matopos Hills

      The Matopos Hills, also known as Matobo Hills, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to ancient rock art, unique rock formations and diverse wildlife. Visitors can take guided walks and see the beautiful views and the wildlife.

      4. Visit the Great Zimbabwe National Monument

      The Great Zimbabwe National Monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a powerful reminder of the country's rich history. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins, including the Great Enclosure and the Hill Complex, and learn about the history of the Shona people.

      5. Visit the Mana Pools National Park

      The Mana Pools National Park is located in the northern part of the country, known for its wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and hippos, as well as for its scenic views. Visitors can go on safari and see the animals in their natural habitat and take a boat trip on the Zambezi River.

      6. Visit the Matusadona National Park

      The Matusadona National Park is located in the northern part of the country, known for its wildlife, including elephants, lions, and leopards, as well as for its scenic views. Visitors can go on safari and see the animals in their natural habitat and take a boat trip on Lake Kariba.

      7. Visit the Chimanimani National Park

      The Chimanimani National Park is located in the eastern part of the country, known for its beautiful scenery, hiking trails and diverse wildlife, including primates, birds and reptiles. Visitors can take guided walks, see the scenic views and learn about the local culture.

      8. Visit the Eastern Highlands

      The Eastern Highlands is a mountainous region located in the eastern part of the country, known for its beautiful scenery, hiking trails and diverse wildlife, including primates, birds and reptiles. Visitors can take guided walks, see the scenic views and learn about the local culture.

      9. Visit the Kariba Dam

      The Kariba Dam is a large dam located on the Zambezi River in the northwest of the country, known for its scenic views and recreational activities such as fishing, boating and bird watching. Visitors can take a boat trip on the lake and see the beautiful views.

      10. Experience the Festivals

      Zimbabwe is known for its vibrant festivals, such as the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), which is an annual event that showcases music, dance, theater, and visual arts. And the other one is the Shona Sculpture Festival, which is an annual event that showcases the traditional art of sculpting in Zimbabwe, it's a great opportunity to learn about the rich culture and tradition of the country.

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