Zimbabwe is a complex country and the economic situation is challenging. A landlocked country, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, although English is commonly used.
Its border with Zambia is marked by the Victoria Falls, a World Heritage site and one of the natural wonders of the world.
The History of Zimbabwe is intriguing even to this very day. Across Zimbabwe are rock paintings, or “Bushman” paintings, that date back more than 5,000 years.
Zimbabwe is +2 hour time difference to London GMT.
Safety – High Level
Zimbabwe has moderate to high levels of crime and security risks increase after dark – avoided deserted areas and dim-lit places. Be vigilant, keep all vehicle doors locked and windows closed when driving and remain aware of your surroundings, especially after dark. Don’t wear flashy jewellery and don’t accept offers of assistance at ATM’s.
TOP TIP – Use a smaller wallet for day to day things, replenish as required; Prying eyes will not then see your main cash. Make photocopies of important documents like tickets, insurance papers, passport, and visa and keep them separate. It is also recommended to scan these documents and email a copy to yourself and somebody at home, along with your flight and other travel details. If you don't have a scanner, you can leave photocopies with somebody at home.
Daily flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Livingstone or Lusaka international are the routes to Zambia and, if forwarding to Zimbabwe through the border post at Victoria Falls.
Both international and domestic airport taxes should be included in your ticket price. Note - for charter flights and seat rate charters these are NOT included
Passport & Visa
You need to ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months remaining between date of departure from the country and the date of expiry, as well as sufficient blank pages for visa and stamps. A visa is required, this can be gained on arrival at Livingstone or Lusaka Airports, alternatively at the border posts of Victoria Falls. The cost of a single entry visa is $55 USD or $70 US for a double entry.
There have been outbreaks of contagious diseases in Zimbabwe. You MUST have malaria protection and we would recommend tetanus, yellow fever and the hepatitis vaccinations. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for all persons arriving from a country with risk of Yellow Fever or who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in a country with risk of Yellow Fever.
It is advisable to know your blood group type in case of emergency.
Chemists / Pharmacies - travellers naturally should carry an adequate supply of their prescribed medicines with them. The provision of healthcare is unreliable, and there is a shortage of drugs and trained medical staff. Pharmacies are unlikely to be able to provide you with appropriate drugs prescribed by your doctor.
Medical Insurance - medical insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country and should include emergency air evacuation coverage if you’re spending any time in remote parts of an African country. Personal effects insurance is also advisable. Check that your insurance policy will be accepted by service providers in Zimbabwe and any other country you will be including in your journey. Ensure that you are treated by licensed medical personnel to enable you to provide your insurance company with appropriate documentation and receipts.
The Zimbabwean dollar is no longer valid currency – Almost all transactions are in US dollars – although it is worth asking for only new US dollar bills - i.e. ones with large heads as some US$ banknotes may not be accepted due to the high levels of counterfeit currency in circulation in Africa. There is a shortage of cash within Zimbabwe, so ensure you have necessary funds with you, in small denominations as change is rarely available. It is illegal to leave Zimbabwe with more than $1,000 so bear this in mind when entering through the border.
Zimbabwe has a dry season, including a short cool season during the period May to September when the whole country has very little rain. The rainy season is typically a time of heavy rainfall from November to March.
Local Laws and Customs
Always carry your identity documentation or a copy of your passport.
There are laws against indecency in Zimbabwe, which effectively make Homosexuality illegal.
It is illegal for civilians to wear any form of clothing made from camouflage material.
Avoid taking pictures of sensitive sites including power stations, explosives factories, pumping stations, army barracks, government buildings, mining areas, refineries and airports. If in doubt don’t take a picture.
It is illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence. Those caught purchasing or trafficking such goods will be prosecuted and receive prison sentences or fines.
Respect the local people – ask before taking any photographs. Do not worry if you do not speak the language as a smile and gesture will be understood.
Respect local etiquette – tight-fitting or revealing clothes may be insensitive to local feeling and public displays of affection are very inappropriate
Greetings – African society is rarely as rushed as westerners. When you first meet someone you should always greet them leisurely “Good morning/afternoon, how are you” before embarking on any questions.
Strong insect repellent, high factor sunscreen, anti-histamine cream AND tablets, brimmed hat, sunglasses, good walking shoes/boots.
Binoculars and a torch…who wants to pass binoculars on when there is a leopard or elephant to be seen?
Most camps and lodges do regular laundry – don’t overpack!
Glasses (for safety pack two pairs) – safari is a dusty adventure; those with contact lenses may find this a difficulty.