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Zimbabwe Travel Tips

Climate

Although located in the tropics, temperate conditions prevail all year, as the climate is moderated by altitude and the inland position of the country. The hot and dry season is from August to October, and the rainy season from November to March. The best months to visit are April to May and August to September. Night–time temperatures can fall below freezing.

Languages

The official language is English, with Shona and Sindebele dialects.

Currency details

Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD; symbol Z$ ) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of Z$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of Z$5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 cents. The Government of Zimbabwe has recently devalued the Zimbabwean dollar and deducted three zeros from the currency.

Social Conventions

Urban culture in Zimbabwe is greatly influenced by Western culture and education but, in rural areas, traditional values and crafts continue. Shaking hands is the customary form of greeting. European courtesies and codes of practice should be observed when visiting someone´s home. Return invitations are appreciated. Giving a token of appreciation is optional. It is an offence to make derogatory or insulting comments about President Mugabe. Visitors should be aware that an open hand is the political symbol of the main opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and that a friendly wave may therefore be interpreted as a provocative political gesture.Smoking is common, although it is prohibited on public transport and in some public buildings.

Electricity

220/230 volts AC, 50Hz.

Security Tips

Visitors are advised to travel with organised tour operators to well–established destinations. There has been a general increase in the level of violent crime. There is a continuing risk of violence at political demonstrations, but main tourist areas have been largely unaffected by political and social unrest. Travellers are advised against visiting high density, low income, urban suburbs. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK.

Tipping customs

A 10 to 15 per cent tip is usual.

Health Precautions

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year arriving from infected areas. Following WHO guidelines issued in 1973, a cholera vaccination certificate is not a condition of entry to Zimbabwe. However, cholera is a risk in this country and precautions are advisable. Up–to–date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination, as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness. Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form, exists from November to June in all areas below 1200m (3937ft) and throughout the year in the Zambezi Valley although there is negligible risk in Harare and Bulawayo.

Tourism Attractions

The Victoria Falls National Park is located in western Zimbabwe and covers roughly 23 km². Open all year, the park protects the south bank of the Zambezi River, and is situated just below the Victoria Falls. Across the falls is the Zambian contribution to conservation of this area in the form of The Mosi–oa–Tunya National Park. The Victoria Falls are the most significant feature within the surrounding area, and when the Zambezi is in full flood visitors are treated to the largest curtain of falling water in the world with over 500 million litres or water falling per minute. At times the spray from the falls is so fierce, spitting 400 metres into the air, that it is visible as far as 70 km away. The two parks bordering this rabid monster were declared a World Heritage Site.

Getting around Towns and Cities

Zimbabwe has a good railway service connecting Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare. Fares are very cheap. Most trains run at night and move slowly across the short distances. Two kinds of buses service Zimbabwe: express and local. Express buses are usually efficient and operate according to published timetables. Local buses serve almost all populated areas of Zimbabwe. They are cheap and, if you don´t mind the crowds and unreliability of service, they´re also a great way to meet the locals.

Visa Requirements

If you are a passport holder from the following country you are exempt from visas: Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada, Caymen Islands, Cyprus, Fiji, Granada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Leeward Islands, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Monserrat, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuata, Western Samoa and Zambia. The following passport holders, can purchase their visas at port of entry to Zimbabwe: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cook Islands, Denmark, Dominica Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana*, Greece, Ireland, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Palau Islands, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico (USA), Seychelles, Spain, State of Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, UK, USA, Vatican, Virgin Islands (USA).

* Gratis visas for GhanaiansThis is a guide only – please check with your nearest Zimbabwe Consulate for up to date information.