Travel advice & practical information for travelogue:
'Nature Tour Zimbabwe'
WashingtonEmbassy of Zimbabwe
1608 New Hampshire Ave
Washington, DC 20009
Embassy of Zimbabwe
London WC2R 0JR
Telephone: (020) 7836 7755
Facsimile: (020) 7379 1167
You need a visa to enter Zimbabwe. When you apply at the Zimbabwan Consulate or Embassy in your country, keep in mind that it takes at least a week to receive the visa, it costs approximately US$73. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after you leave Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, borders on South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana. It has 12 million inhabitants. Three quarters of the population lives in rural areas and only 25 percent live in the cities. Harare is the capital.
Zimbabwe has an excellent road infrastructure, with both asphalted and unpaved roads. In the rain season it's recommendable to travel by SUV with four-wheel drive. Zimbabwe also has an extensive railway system.
The population is friendly and spontaneous. The largest part of the population (77 percent) is Shona, 19 percent Ndebele, 3,5 percent belongs to different small African minorities and only 1 percent of the population is white. The official language is English, but the rural population also speaks Shona and different Bantu languages.
The main sights are the Victoria Falls. Not co-incidentally it also is the most touristy place in Zimbabwe. There are lots of attraction around Victoria Falls: bungy jumping, rafting and the like. Prices are in US$ and in general it's best to pay with travellers' checks, which get you discounts.
Zimbabwe's currency is the Zimbabwan dollar. Because of the economic situation in Zimbabwe, exchange rates are unpredictable. It's convenient to bring cash (dollars) in small denominations. In big cities Visa credit cards are accepted. Travellers' checks can be exchanged in banks. In big cities there are ATMs.
Climate and best time to travel
June-July is a good time to travel, because it's not too rainy and not too hot. In the daytime it's comfortable to wear shorts and a T-shirts. In the evening it cools off and gets chilly. Bring a warm sweater and a wind-tight jacket. At night it can be really cold. We were happy we brought our sleepingbags which can be used in temperatures as low as -15 degrees centigrade. Many of our travel companions had to buy extra blankets.
Camping is an experience. Not being allowed to leave the tent because of hippos and alligators on the camping site is quite an adventure. Keep in mind, though, that the ground will not always be level. Inflatable mats are perfect, but don't forget to bring a repair kit.
The sanitary conditions in Zimbabwe are reasonably good. Most camp sites are clean and almost all toilets have toiletpaper. Most showers have hot water and one can even drink tap water. We didn't take the risk, though, and drank bottled water. It depends where you are, but usually you need to take malaria pills. You also need to be inoculated for typhoid, jaunice, cholera and DTP. Get medical advice.
For up-to-date information, go to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Safety and security
Traveling in some countries brings risks with it. That doesn't always have to keep you from going there, but part of a good preparation is getting advice about possible risks.
One way to find out is to take a look at the web site of the CIA FactBook website.
Plan your trip to Zimbabwe online
Through online reservation systems like À la Carte Vacations you can book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars and holiday houses. You can build a fly-drive itinerary with maximum flexibility, book a flight plus a hotel hotel for a night or weekend. Without the limitations of package deals from travel organisations and most times for a much better price.