Zimbabwe

Welcome to Zimbabwe! The land of the mighty Victoria falls, that will leave you spellbound with all its magnificence, the land which is home to the Great Zimbabwe ruins and to one of the best-protected populations of black rhino in Southern Africa in the Matobos national park.

Welcome to the country where a huge man-made structure, the Kariba dam has given birth to a new and rich ecosystem teeming with wildlife and birdlife.

Zimbabwe is a not only a wildlife enthusiast's haven but it also surprisingly has in store a number of museum sites and monuments for the culturally sensitive.

Zimbabwe offers unmatched opportunities for adventure travel of all sorts and hence is slowly becoming a popular destination for the discerning traveler.

No traveler leaves Zimbabwe without a visit to the remarkable Victoria falls that Zimbabwe shares with its neighbour Zambia. Once you are done grappling with the grand spectacle of the 1.7 km wide Zambezi crashing down the Batoka gorge 100 m below, you can head for some rush of adrenaline for whitewater rafting, bungee jumping and helicopter flights. For the less brave there are activities like walking safaris, canoe safaris, elephant back safaris and horseback safaris that aren't less thrilling. If you crave for some peace and serenity there are always activities like sunset cruises, hiking and spa experiences that you can opt for.

Experience the magnificent wildlife and well over 400 bird species at close quarters in Hwange National Park. It is Zimbabwe's largest park and home to a staggering number of elephants. Don't miss the King cheetah in Gonarezhou, and the samango monkey in the Eastern Highlands, species only found in limited numbers in other places. Mana Pools National Park consisting of four main pools and many smaller pools is an area of scenic wilderness and abundant birdlife. It is seasonally open but offers unmatched walking-safari and canoe-safari experiences.

Great Zimbabwe National Monument is the largest stone structure in Africa outside of Egypt, from which the country gets its name. Prepare to get fascinated by millions of granite blocks fitted together without mortar forming massive curving walls just around 30km from Masvingo. Smaller but equally fascinating are the Ancient City of Khami ruins around 22km west of Bulawayo. Bulawayo itself has some interesting places to be seen. The second-largest city in Zimbabwe hosts a number of museums of national importance. The Matobo National Park, just outside the city, houses some of the best examples of San rock paintings and a significant wildlife population. It is an area of cultural significance and a great change in the safari-rich itinerary of the traveler. Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful Botanical Gardens in the Vumba Mountains and great trekking or hiking opportunities in the Rhodes Inyanga National Park in the Eastern Highlands.

A totally different aspect of the Zambezi can be seen across the northern border of Zimbabwe. The Lake Kariba which is a result of the Kariba dam built across the Zambezi has given birth to a unexpected spectacular landscape consisting of over 2000 km of shoreline hosting huge numbers of game, creating a popular domestic tourist and fishing destination. The best way to enjoy Kariba is on a houseboat steering through the submerged forest , enjoying the sunset and the variety of water birds that come and pay you a visit.

So come and immerse yourself in this country's beautiful culture and bountiful forests and travel across the stretch of the Zambezi to unfold a story rather unknown. And while you experience this dramatic land, don't forget to do it responsibly. Leave just footprints and take unforgettable memories!


Banking and Currency

Currency

Zimbabwe uses US$ as it's own unit of currency (the Zimbabwe Dollar) is suspended. Rand and Euros are accepted currencies at most places. Euros are accepted at few hotels and at some supermarkets you can still pay in Rand. It is advised to carry small denominations of change with you, however it is best to pay for as much as possible outside of the country.

Banking

Banks in Zimbabwe are open for business Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 08h00 to 15h00, on Wednesdays from 08h00 to 13h00 and Saturdays from 08h00 to 11h30. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Taxis are safe and reliable, and can be booked through your hotel front desk. Taxis in cities travel within a 40km radius of the city. Always take a taxi at night.

Major airlines fly into Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Charter flights are available to most attractions and camps.

Zimbabwe has a good road infrastructure, by African standards, although potholed. Between major towns, there are frequent road blocks. Traffic drives on the left side of the road.

If you are driving yourself around Zimbabwe, be sure to check on fuel availability in advance. If you are covering long distances within the country, ensure you carry extra fuel in 5 or 10lt metal containers in case of emergency. Fuel is generally available, but supply can fluctuate. Fuel is only available for cash.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Zimbabwe's native cuisine is based on sadza, a cooked porridge made from ground maize which is normally be accompanied by some tasty relish, perhaps made of meat and tomatoes, or dried fish. Safari camps will often prepare sadza if requested, and it is almost always available in small restaurants in the towns.

Camps, hotels and lodges that cater to overseas typically serve a variety international fare, and the quality of food prepared in the most remote bush camps is usually excellent.

If you are driving yourself around and plan to cook, then get most of your supplies in main towns. There are a number of South African shopping chains operating in Zimbabwe which will generally have all that you will need.

Water in the main towns is usually purified.. The locals drink it, and are used to the relatively innocuous bugs that it may harbour. If you are in the country for a long time, then it may be worth acclimatising yourself to it. However, if you are in Zimbabwe for just a short period of time, then try to drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water available in towns and from all camps, lodges and hotels.


Climate and Weather

In Zimbabwe, the rains come principally in December, January,February and March; the further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe's higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones.

By April and May most of the rain is gone, leaving a verdant setting, which is starting to dry out. Especially in more southerly and higher locations, the night-time temperatures start to drop.

The nights in June, July and August become much cooler, so don't forget to bring some warmer clothes, in case you want to spend an evening outside; the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the start of the 'peak season'– days are often cloudless and game sightings continually increase.

Into September and October the temperatures rise once again: Zimbabwe's lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can get very hot in October. During this time, you'll see some fantastic game, as the Zimbabwe's wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources.

November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, it can also see the season's first rainfalls – and in this respect it's a very interesting month, as on successive days, you can see both weather patterns.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

When in Zimbabwe the cardinal rule is to wear casual, comfortable clothes during the day as temperatures can get very hot. It is advisable to wear light loose fitting clothing, such as cotton or linen, as they are cool and easy to wash. Warmer clothes are advised for the evenings and rainwear for the wet season.

A brimmed hat and sunglasses are a good idea year round. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers will also guard against the scourching sun rays. It is recommended you wear light shoes, especially if your itinerary entails a lot of walking.

For safaris, please remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Earth colour clothes, such as browns and greens are advisable.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. Both square and round plugs are used.