Zimbabwe information

Zimbabwe general information

Is it safe to travel to Zimbabwe? What's the currency in Zimbabwe? Do I need a visa for Zimbabwe? Planning a trip to one of Africa's less commercial countries brings up many important questions. Below we've gathered our knowledge and tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about Zimbabwe for our travellers.

Safety in Zimbabwe

In recent years, politics have caused great distress and damage in Zimbabwe, bringing an image of chaos and insecurity to mind. Despite this, there are a handful of safari camps deep within Zimbabwe's national parks which are generally safe to visit. We keep a close eye on developments in Zimbabwe, and always urge all of our potential travellers there to do the same; this isn't a country to visit if you know nothing of the politics.

Time in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe doesn't operate daylight saving time, and is two hours in the advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2) during the summer months, as well as during the winter months.

Currency in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's currency is the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD), although this was suspended for an indefinite period on 12 April 2009, due to a massive decrease in value. At the time of writing (Aug 09), £1 = ZWD61,749,744 (US$1 = ZWD37,456,777). The currencies presently used in Zimbabwe include US dollars, South African rand, Botswana pula, British pounds and Euros – and of these the US Dollar is certainly the best one to travel with.

Zimbabwe's International Dialling Code

Zimbabwe's International Dialling Code is +263. Calling to Zimbabwe, you need to dial 00 263, followed by an area code (e.g. 4 for Harare); calling from Zimbabwe, you need to dial the relevant country code (e.g. +44 for the United Kingdom, or +1 for the United States of America). Currently (Aug 09), international calls with TelOne cost between US$0.23 and US$1.10 per minute, depending on the destination of the call (which country; fixed/mobile) and the time of the call (peak/off-peak).

Food in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's safari camps and lodges serve high-quality European-style food. Their chefs are adept as coping with shortages, and most visitors will never be aware of any!

The traditional diet of local Zimbabweans is mainly based on a corn-meal dish called sadza - which is powdered maize, mixed with water and cooked to the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. This is supplemented with relishes, or sauces, which might include beans, squash, pumpkins, yams, peanuts, mapopo (papaya), kapenta (a small, dried fish) – and meats from chicken and beef to biltong (dried meat) and game meats (kudu and impala).

Health in Zimbabwe

Travelling to Zimbabwe, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, cholera and rabies vaccines are sometimes advisable, although not required; a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from those travellers coming from areas at yellow fever risk. Malaria occurs in the areas below 1200m and in the Zambezi Valley, so you should take anti-malarials when going there.

Always check the latest requirements with your own doctor before you travel, although for a useful source of supplementary health information, check with the Scottish NHS.

HIV infection rates are high; AIDS is widespread in Zimbabwe. Usually, this isn't an issue for travellers, but they should be aware of this situation, and take sensible precautions to avoid infection. Expert Africa understand that blood supplies used by Zimbabwe's private hospitals have been carefully screened for years.

Language in Zimbabwe

English is the official language in Zimbabwe, although the majority of Zimbabwe's population also speaks Shona or Ndebele. Most guided safaris are usually conducted in English.

Visas for Zimbabwe

Currently (Aug 09), UK and US nationals need visas when travelling to Zimbabwe. Please check with your nearest Zimbabwean Embassy or High Commission for the latest regulations, general visa requirements and fees.

Weather and climate in Zimbabwe

The weather and climate in Zimbabwe is similar to Malawi's and Zambia's weather pattern – generally very warm and tropical, split into a wet and a dry season.