Destinations

 

Welcome to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has soul. Its beauty is unparalleled with enormous diversity throughout the country. Its name comes from the Great Zimbabwe stone ruins found in the centre of the country near Masvingo. The Great Zimbabwe ruins are the second largest historical stone structures in Africa (aside from the pyramids of Egypt) and were inhabited by the African kingdom of Monomatapa from 1200-1600. Europeans in the form of missionaries, hunters, traders and, later, farmers, began settling from the 1830’s.  Zimbabwe is a truly beautiful country and car hire options are readily available in most cities including Victoria Falls. It’s made for self drive. Its easily accessible with flights in from Joburg, Lusaka, Dubai and Dar Es Salaam. There are now 2 excellent new Low Cost Carriers, Fastjet and Flyafrica servicing Zimbabwe - more on this can be found in our flights section. For a small, landlocked country in southern Africa, Zimbabwe offers an astounding variety of natural beauty and spectacular scenery. The country holds great appeal for active adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and those with an appreciative eye for exquisite beauty - from the majesty of the famous Victoria Falls, to the giant marble-like boulders of the Motopo Hills, the verdant mountains of the Eastern Highlands, the national parks teeming with wildlife and the Great Zimbabwe ancient ruins to the country's impressive capital city, Harare. The Victoria Falls are Zimbabwe's most popular tourist destination and one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Their mile-wide (2km) curtain of water plunges deep into the Zambezi Gorge creating a cloud of mist that can be seen up to 20 miles (32km) away.
 
The area is renowned for being the 'adventure capital of Africa', offering a variety of high adrenaline activities, including one of the wildest days of white water rafting on earth, and a 364 feet (111m) bungee jump into the Zambezi River gorge from the bridge linking Zimbabwe to Zambia. If you'd rather lay back and relax, there are scenic flights over the area, game viewing adventures and tranquil sundowner cruises above the falls. Wildlife flourishes in the untamed wilderness of the Zambezi Valley, in national parks, and on the shores of Lake Kariba, where hippo, crocodiles, buffalo, rhino, elephant and lion roam freely. Remote and protected wildlife reserves line the banks of the Zambezi River and the region offers some of the finest canoe safaris in Southern Africa, particularly the World Heritage site at Mana Pools, which is renowned for its outstanding variety of game. The saltpans and grassy plains of Hwange National Park support one of the largest concentrations of animals in the world, and is the largest game reserve in the country. Lake Kariba is treasured as a source of hydro-electricity, as well as for its fishing resources. It is a beautiful stretch of water studded with islands and the sun-bleached branches of dead trees, surrounded by mountains and forests. Houseboats offer a wonderful opportunity to relax and take in the spectacular sunsets, enjoy a variety of water sports, and spot the vast quantities of game attracted to the lake, including huge Nile crocodiles and hippo. 
 
For more information on Flights, Car Hire or Taxis & Airport Collection, please see the relevant pages on our Menu bar.
 

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

For a small, landlocked country in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe offers an astounding variety of natural beauty and spectacular scenery. The country holds great appeal for active adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts and those with an appreciative eye for exquisite beauty - from the majesty of the famous Victoria Falls, to the giant marble-like boulders of the Motopo Hills, the verdant mountains of the Eastern Highlands, the national parks teeming with wildlife and the Great Zimbabwe ancient ruins to the country's impressive capital city, Harare.

The Victoria Falls are Zimbabwe's most popular tourist destination and one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Their mile-wide (2km) curtain of water plunges deep into the Zambezi Gorge creating a cloud of mist that can be seen up to 20 miles (32km) away. The area is renowned for being the 'adventure capital of Africa', offering a variety of high adrenaline activities, including one of the wildest days of white water rafting on earth, and a 364 feet (111m) bungee jump into the Zambezi River gorge from the bridge linking Zimbabwe to Zambia. If you'd rather lay back and relax, there are scenic flights over the area, game viewing adventures and tranquil sundowner cruises above the falls.

Wildlife flourishes in the untamed wilderness of the Zambezi Valley, in national parks, and on the shores of Lake Kariba, where hippo, crocodiles, buffalo, rhino, elephant and lion roam freely. Remote and protected wildlife reserves line the banks of the Zambezi River and the region offers some of the finest canoe safaris in Southern Africa, particularly the World Heritage site at Mana Pools, which is renowned for its outstanding variety of game. The saltpans and grassy plains of Hwange National Park support one of the largest concentrations of animals in the world, and is the largest game reserve in the country. Lake Kariba is treasured as a source of hydro-electricity, as well as for its fishing resources. It is a beautiful stretch of water studded with islands and the sun-bleached branches of dead trees, surrounded by mountains and forests. Houseboats offer a wonderful opportunity to relax and take in the spectacular sunsets, enjoy a variety of water sports, and spot the vast quantities of game attracted to the lake, including huge Nile crocodiles and hippo.

 

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Business

Business in Zimbabwe is conducted in English, and is fairly informal, with drinking and socialising very much part of the business scene. Dress is fairly conservative, but lightweight suits or casual jackets are more suited to the hot climate than formal business wear. It is customary to shake hands with men and women at the beginning and end of a meeting. Business hours are generally Monday to Friday 8am to 4.30pm, although hours vary considerably depending on the establishment; some businesses close at 11am on Wednesdays, and some are open on Saturday mornings.
 

Climate

Zimbabwe enjoys a lovely temperate climate. The central Highveld plateau has temperatures coming up to 28°C/82°F. Lower-lying parks like Hwange and Zambezi NP are warmer year-round and temperatures can reach 31°C/88°F. Mana Pools, Matusadona and Gonarezou are even lower and get hot, with temperatures soaring to 35°C/95°. The Eastern highlands are much colder and receive significantly more rain. During the wet season, from November to March, rains usually fall in heavy afternoon showers, but they can sometimes be lighter and continuous for a couple of days. The dry season, from April to October, is pretty much rain free and colder. Nights and mornings can be as cold as 5°C/41°F to freezing, but daytime temperatures are still pleasant with a great deal of sunshine. Zimbabwe experiences winter and summer in opposite times as Europe and North America and they correspond to the dry and wet season.
 


Dry Season:  April to October - Winter

 
During the dry season there is virtually no rainfall and humidity is low. Wildlife will concentrate around waterholes and rivers when other water resources dry up.

April, May:  his is the end of summer. Temperatures are relatively cool, typically around 10°C/50°F in the morning and 28°C/82°F in the afternoon. The nighttime temperatures start to drop. By May, the rain is almost gone.

June, July & August: Be sure to pack warm winter clothes because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold. The average morning temperature is 6°C/43°F. Afternoons will be more pleasant with temperatures around 25°C/77°F. Parks at lower altitude will be warmer.

September & October: The heat gradually builds and reaches its annual peak in October. The first rains can fall by late October, bringing relief from very dry conditions. The lower lying areas get very hot in October with temperatures of 32°C/90°F and well above. The increasing humidity can make it feel uncomfortably hot.
 

Wet Season:  November to March - Summer

November: This month is unpredictable and it might start raining some afternoons. Temperatures are between 18°C/64°F in the morning and 32°C/90°F in the afternoon. Parks in the central Highveld plateau will be colder and parks at lower altitude will be considerably warmer. In the low-lying parks temperatures can frequently peak at 40°C/104°F or higher throughout the wet season.
 
December, January, February & March: These are the wettest months, characterized by torrential downpours in the afternoon and sometimes continuous rains for a couple of days. Nights and mornings are warm at around 18°C/64°F. Afternoon temperatures are around 30°C/86°F and the humidity is high, making it feel hotter.

Communications

The international dialling code for Zimbabwe is +263. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). International Direct Dialling is available. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)4 for Harare. Local operators provide GSM 900 network mobile phone coverage in most cities, towns and tourist areas throughout the country. Internet facilities are available in most towns and cities, but internet cafes are often crowded.
 

Electricity

Electrical current in Zimbabwe is 220 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin rectangular blade plugs are common.
 

Getting Around

 
Airports
 
Harare International Airport
 
Harare International Airport (HRE):  Harare International Airport was once a thriving airport with non-stop flights to the UK, Australia and several other countries. Due to political unrest and the economic crisis, there are now few international flights to Harare International Airport, although South African Airways, British Airways, Airlink and Air Zimbabwe still operate flights to major centres in nearby countries such as Johannesburg. Emirates also flies direct from Dubai. The airport is a hub for Air Zimbabwe.
 
 Location:    The airport is situated seven miles (12km) southeast of Harare
 
Getting to the City:  Taxis and coaches are available to the city centre.
 
Time:  Local time is GMT +2.
 
Contacts:   Tel: +263 (0)4 575 164/8.3.
 
Car Rental:  Car rental companies include Europcar, Hertz and Avis.
 
Airport Taxis:  Taxis to central Harare are available, and an average fare to the main hotels is US$25.
 
Facilities:   Facilities include a bank, bureau de change and auto exchange machine, smoking areas, medical services and a pharmacy, restaurants, bars, duty-free, various shops, and post office.

Parking: There is plentiful parking close to the terminal.

Departure Tax:  International flights: US$35 departure tax + US$15 AIDEF (total of US$50). Local flights: US$10 departure tax + US$5 AIDEF (total of US$15).

Website:  www.caaz.co.zw
 
Internet:  There is wi-fi available.
 
 
 
Victoria Falls Airport (VFA)
 
Location:   The airport is situated 13 miles (22km) south of Victoria Falls town.
 
Getting to the City:  Buses and taxis are available from the airport.
 
Time:  Local time is GMT +2.
 
Contacts:   Tel: +263 (0)13 4394, (0)13 4255, (0)13 4428.
 
Car Rental:  Europcar, Argus and Budget offices are available in the airport for hiring cars
 
Facilities:   Facilities include banks, bureau de change, restaurants, bars, VIP Lounge, duty free shop, Tourist Help Desk and first aid.
 
Parking:  There is plentiful parking close to the terminal.
 
Departure Tax:  International flights: US$35 departure tax + US$15 AIDEF (total of US$50). Local flights: US$10 departure tax + US$5 AIDEF (total of US$15).
 
Website:  www.caaz.co.zw
 
Airlines:  Air Namibia, South African Airways and British Airways offer regular flights to Victoria Falls Airport from Windhoek and Johannesburg. Air Zimbabwe has flights to Victoria Falls from Harare, Bulawayo and Kariba every day, Air Botswana has flights from Maun and Gaborone three days a week, and Air Zambia flies from Lusaka at least twice a week.
 
 
 
Bulawayo Airport 
 
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUK):  Bulawayo Airport, which recently underwent renovations, is officially named the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport after Joshua Nkomo, the late founder of the Zimbabwe African People's Union. Bulawayo Airport is a small airport with just two runways and just two commercial airlines offering flights in and out. Air Zimbabwe has flights to Harare, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls, while South African Airways offers flights to and from Johannesburg only.
 
 Location:    The airport is about six miles (10km) north of central Bulawayo.
 
Getting to the City:  There are no bus or train services from Bulawayo Airport but you can take a taxi or rent a car to get into town.
 
Time:  Local time is GMT +2.
 
Car Rental:  Car rental companies at Bulawayo Airport include Avis and Europcar.
 
Transfers Between Terminals:  This is a small airport with just one terminal.
 
Facilities:   Bulawayo Airport has ATMs, a bureau de change, and a number of restaurants. The airport has recently undergone renovations.
 
Parking:  There is extensive parking at the airport.
 
Departure Tax:  International flights: US$35 departure tax + US$15 AIDEF (total of US$50). Local flights: US$10 departure tax + US$5 AIDEF (total of US$15).
 
Airlines:  Only two airlines have flights to Bulawayo Airport: Air Zimbabwe and South African Airlines.
 
 
 
Road and Rail: 
 
The road infrastructure is still good in the sense that you can travel the length and breadth of the country on tar roads but they do need upgrading. Thankfully this is now starting to happen. Car hire is readily available and Zimbabwe is a definite self drive option. Rail travel is available in parts but is for the budget traveller.
 

Language

English is the official language in Zimbabwe, 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.
 

Money

The de facto official currency is the US Dollar (USD). The Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD) was effectively abandoned as the official curency in early 2009 after runaway inflation. The South African Rand (ZAR) and British Pound (GBP) are also sometimes accepted. Major international credit cards are accepted in most of the larger hotels, restaurants and shops. Many smaller establishments still do not have credit card facilities; Diners Club and American Express are often not accepted. ATM facilities, dispensing US$, are available in the cities, although in smaller towns and rural areas you'll need to bring cash. Because there are few coins in circulation, you may not receive change for anything that costs less than US$1.
 

Passport Visa

All visitors require travel itineraries, tickets and documents for return or onward journeys, as well as sufficient funds for their duration of stay. Visa fees, where applicable, are payable in US dollars. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources. If travelling on business, you'll also need multiple copies of a letter from your company and an invitation letter from a Zimbabwean company, both on company stationery.
 
NOTE: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
 

Time

GMT +2.
 

Tipping

A service charge is usually included in the bill in Zimbabwe, otherwise a 10% tip is customary for restaurants, hotels and taxis. In general tipping for good service is discretionary. Some tour guides and game rangers depend largely on tips for their income.
 

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