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Zimbabwe essential info

With Zambia, South Africa and Botswana among its neighbours, landlocked Zimbabwe occupies a prime position in southern Africa’s safari zone

Travel in Zimbabwe: vital stats

  • Capital of Zimbabwe: Harare
  • Population of Zimbabwe: 11.4 million
  • Languages in Zimbabwe: English, Shona, Ndebele
  • Time in Zimbabwe: GMT+2
  • International dialling code in Zimbabwe: +263
  • Voltage in Zimbabwe: 220 V, 50 Hz
  • Visas for Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe visas
  • Money in Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe dollar (ZWD) Note, Zimbabwe has adopted the US dollar into everyday usage. 100,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwean dollar banknotes have become novelty souvenirs. ATMs are not widespread.
  • Zimbabwe travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Zimbabwe tourist board: Zimbabwe Tourism

When to go to Zimbabwe

June to October is the dry winter period, and peak season for game viewing as water becomes scarcer; temperatures are typically 25-35°C with chilly evenings on night safaris.

August to November is peak time for Grade-V white-water rafting madness on the Lower Zambezi.

November to March is the wet summer season; you get humid days with thunderstorms but the Eastern Highlands are especially lush. From April to June Victoria Falls flows spectacularly as water volume is high.

Zimbabwe international airports

Harare International (HRE) 12km from Harare

Getting around in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s internal transport network is a little thin on the ground. Many locals hitchhike. Minibuses (or omnibuses) are inexpensive and travel between major centres but are invariably crowded.

Air Zimbabwe has a limited but inexpensive internal flight network. With good roads, self-drive is a flexible option, and a great way to really see Zimbabwe. A 4WD is required for some national parks and rainy season travel.

Zimbabwe accommodation

Budget accommodation is a little limited, though there are some fantastic opportunities for camping in the national parks. There is a fine selection of modestly priced hotels and exclusive safari camps, representing excellent value by comparison to surrounding countries.

Some higher end safari lodges offer luxurious facilities and design in remote locations. There are also some classic addresses, such as the colonial Victoria Falls Hotel, for a taste of old-school glamour.

Zimbabwe food & drink

Most Zimbabweans exist on stodgy staple sadza, made from maize-meal or cornmeal and eaten with stew, meat or relish. In Zimbabwe’s camps expect a cooked breakfast along with meat-and-two-veg mains, reflecting British culinary influences, or a barbecued braai.

However, Zimbabwe’s better hotel restaurants offer more avant-garde takes on reared game meat: for example, wasabi-coated crocodile tail and warthog stuffed with prunes.

Steak-lovers will view Zimbabwe as paradise; vegetarians less so. Biltong (jerky) and dried kapenta fish are popular snacks.

Most wines are South African imports while local beer brands such as Bohlingers and Zambezi are eminently drinkable.

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