Zimbabwe offers the visitor a host of natural wonders, not least of which is the legendary Victoria Falls. Mosi-Oa-Tunya - the smoke that thunders, stretches over 1.5 km as it plunges over 100 metres into the Zambezi gorge below. When David Livingstone saw the Falls for the first time in 1855, he wrote "Scenes so lovely it must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight" and today visitors can take the "Flight of Angels" in a helicopter or light aircraft flight over the Falls which gives you the ultimate view of this magnificent wonder. The energetic can enjoy the thrills of white water rafting, canoeing, bungee jumping or just relaxing on a sundowner cruise surrounded by a spectacular African sunset.
Separating Zimbabwe from Zambia, the great Zambezi River thunders over the Falls while Crocodile and Hippo lurk in the placid lagoons upstream.
English is highly spoken as well as Shona, Ndebele or Sindebele, and a few other native languages.
There are three seasons. May to August is cool and dry, September and October generally is hot and dry, and between November and April, Zimbabwe gets a summer rainy season. Temperatures vary from 24° to 38°C / 75° to 100°F in the summer months, and from 12° to 23°C / 54° to 74°F in winter. The amount of rainfall increases from west to east. Depending on how much water the Falls are carrying, it appears in different ways. In the time after the rainy season, the water masses are the biggest, whereas in the months of October and November, the water is low and the cliffs, gorges and rock formations are revealed.
Visa / Passport Requirements
All Nationalities need a Visa in order to enter Zimbabwe, which can be obtained at the port of entry, in most cases. Fees vary for different Nationalities. Please check with your consultant to check the updated Visa costs for your specific Nationality at time of booking. To pay for your Visa, you can use various currencies.
No immunisation is required for visitors entering Zimbabwe, other than for those who have left an area infected by Yellow Fever. In such cases, visitors will need a valid International Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. Zimbabwe is a Malaria-risk area, and taking Prophylaxis is most advisable.
1 Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD) = 100 Cents
You can exchange cash or traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling at banks and foreign exchange bureaus in most of the bigger hotels and cities. Please note however that there is a big difference between the official and the unofficial exchange rate in Zimbabwe. You will sometimes come across a mixed official / unofficial rate. In order to benefit from the better unofficial rate, it is advisable to bring cash in preferably US Dollars in smaller notes. If you use your credit card, the official rate is applied.
With effect from 1 January 2007 MasterCard transactions will no longer be accepted in Zimbabwe. Only VISA, DINERS and AMEX cards will be accepted. You will need to settle additional accounts in foreign currency i.e. SA Rands or US Dollars. Take small denominations of bank notes, as change will be given in Zim Dollars.
Local Time - GMT +2
Electricity - 220 V / 50 Hz. Plugs have round pins with ground or are rectangular blade plugs.
System - Metric.
Driving - Left-hand side.
Should you decide on venturing into Zimbabwe yourself, here are a few tips:
- Ensure that you carry 2 x breakdown triangles and a 1 kg fire extinguisher (750gm extinguishers are not available). The latter must theoretically be fixed in the interior of the vehicle where it is readily to hand.
- If a trailer is being towed, an additional set of breakdown triangles must be carried.
- All vehicles must also have two red reflectors fitted to the rear.
- Fit two white reflectors to the front of your vehicle (a legal requirement in Zimbabwe, but not in SA).
- Beware of numerous speed traps.
- Be alert to spurious 'offences' for which no receipt is issued for monies paid.
- Be alert to the fact that fines are often levied well over the stipulated amount for the offence (difficult for visitors to assess).
We advise taking transfers in this country rather than self-driving.