Zimbabwe Information

OVERVIEW

Zimbabwe, (officially the Republic of Zimbabwe and formerly Southern Rhodesia, the Republic of Rhodesia, and Zimbabwe Rhodesia) is a landlocked country located on a high plateau in the southern part of the continent of Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers and covering 390 245 Km2. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north-west and Mozambique to the east and Namibia to the west.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR VISITORS

AIRPORTS

  • Harare International Airport is the biggest and busiest airport in Zimbabwe situated in Harare. The airport’s runway is 4,725 metres (15,500 ft) and is one of the longest in Africa. The OR Tambo Iinternational Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa’s longest runway measures 4,418 metres (14,490 ft).

  • Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport is situated 20km out of Bulawayo.

  • Victoria Falls International Airport is located 21 km from Victoria Falls town. There are 4 international airlines that operate out of Victoria Falls Airport namely British Airways Com Air, South African Airways, Air Namibia and Air Zimbabwe.

  • Charles Prince Airport, formerly named Mount Hampden and renamed after former airport manager Charles Prince (who was a Royal Air Force officer during World War ll), is located approximately 8 km north-west of Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1973 the airport was converted to civilian use.

BANK HOURS

Banks in Zimbabwe are open for business during the following hours;

  • Mon, Tue Thu & Fri – 08:00 – 15:00 hours

  • Wed 08:00 – 13:00 hours

  • Saturday 08:00 – 11:30 hours

BORDER POST OPERATIONS

All posts listed below are open on weekdays, weekends and public holidays.

ZIMBABWE bordering South Africa and Botswana

  • Beitbridge Open 24 hrs

  • Plumtree 06:00-22:00 hours daily

  • Kazungula 06:00-20:00 hours daily

  • Mpoengs 06:00-18:00 hours daily

  • Pandamatenga 06:00-18:00 hours daily

Zimbabwe bordering Mozambique

  • Mutare (Forbes) 06:00-20:00 hours daily

  • Nyamapanda 06:00-18:00 hours daily

  • Mukrumbura 06:00-18:00 hours daily

  • Mt. Selinda 06:00-18:00 hours daily

  • Sango 06:00-18:00 hours daily

Zimbabwe bordering Zambia

  • Chirundu 06:00-18:00 hours daily

  • Kariba 06:00-18:00 hours daily

  • Victoria Falls 06:00-22:00 hours daily

  • Kanyemba 06:00-18:00 hours daily

CULTURE

Zimbabwe is a multi-racial society where people of all nationalities live in harmony. People living in urban areas have a westernised lifestyle. In the rural areas villages live predominantly century old traditional lifestyles.

CURRENCY

There are no restrictions on foreign currency to be imported into Zimbabwe. A maximum of US$10,000 or it’s equivalent can be exported. Tourists are entitled to import their goods duty-free if they intend to take them out of the country, for instance laptops, cameras, binoculars, fishing rods vehicles and trailers. Tourists can also import duty-free goods for personal use (not commercial) worth US$300.00 for consumption in Zimbabwe.

A CDI form is required for exports whose value exceeds US$l 000.00.

The Zimbabwean dollar temporarily suspended in February 2009 until a time to be advised. Meanwhile the country has resorted to the use of multiple currencies as legal tender. These include the US dollar, British pound, European Euros, South African Rand and Botswana Pula, Australian dollar, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan. The predominant currency is the US$

All these currencies are easily convertible in most banks using the inter-bank rate. Travellers Cheques and International credit cards are widely accepted. Avoid street and border money changers. It is advisable to change all your money or travellers cheques at Commercial banks, hotels or registered Bureau de Changes.

CUSTOMS CONCESSION

Your personal possessions which are not intended for disposal or consumption in Zimbabwe are allowed entry duty-free. In addition, other consumable goods ,which are not merchandise imported for trade purposes may be imported up to a value of USS 250 or its equivalent in other currencies per person. Alcoholic beverages may be included within this allowance by persons over the age of 18 years, subject to a limit per l person of 5 litres, of which not more than 2 litres may be spirits. Members of a family travelling together may aggregate their allowances.

DEPARTURE TAX

A departure tax of US $35 is levied on all foreign visitors at all Zimbabwe airports on international flights. This tax is often incorporated in the ticket fare. When flying within Zimbabwe a departure tax of $10 is charged. The revenue stamp can be bought at the airport or pre-purchased at any commercial bank. A total of US $5 is payable for each domestic ticket. Please check your ticket before prior to travel.

DRIVING IN ZIMBABWE

International driving licenses issued in SADC countries are valid in Zimbabwe. Visitors from other countries not covered by this agreement are able to drive for a period of 90 days using driving licenses issued in their home countries. If not printed in English they should have a certificate of authority and validity, or a translation of the text with the bearer’s photograph attached. Renewal after expiry of this period is obtained from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

In Zimbabwe vehicles drive on the left and give way to traffic approaching from the right at uncontrolled intersections. At controlled intersections, motorists are required to yield precedence to pedestrians crossing on a green light. At all intersections, a fire engine, ambulance or police vehicle sounding a siren takes precedence over all other traffic. The general speed-limit in Zimbabwe is 120km/h on open roads and

ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

Electricity in Zimbabwe is 220-230 AC voltage. Most outlets take a 13 amp fused square pin plug. The South African round pin plugs are still in use so an adaptor that fits both types is recommended.

ENTRY FORMALITIES

  • If you are not staying for longer than six months you can enter Zimbabwe with a minimum of formalities. All you need is a valid passport with a valid visa depending on which category of the visa regime you fall under, a return ticket (or enough money to buy one), and sufficient funds to cover your stay in Zimbabwe. Entry points are categorized into three groups:

  • AIR ENTRY POINTS – Harare Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport, Victoria Falls Airport, Kariba Airport, Charles Prince Airport, Masvingo Airport, Buffalo Range.

  • ROAD ENTRY POINTS — Chirundu, Nyamapanda, Beitbridge, Victoria Falls, Forbes, Kazungula, Plumtree, Kariba, Kanyemba, Mukumbura, Cashel, Mt Selinda, Sango, Pandamatenga, Maitengwe, Mphoengs.

  • RAIL ENTRY POINTS – Beitbridge, Plumtree, Victoria Falls.

FIRE-ARMS

Fire-arms must be declared at customs when entering Zimbabwe.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

With the exception of children less than one year of age, all visitors coming to Zimbabwe from infected areas are requested to possess vaccination certificates against cholera and yellow fever.

It is not advisable to swim in the country’s rivers and dams as they may be infected with bilharzia. It is however worth noting that all tap water is very safe to drink and water in swimming pools is treated with chlorine.

If you are intending to visit low-lying areas such as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kariba, Gonarezhou and Zambezi Valley, it is advisable to take a course of anti-malaria tablets. It is advisable to check with your doctor or pharmacist before travelling to such areas.

HOTELS

Unless otherwise stated, the initial tariff is a person per night on a bed and breakfast basis. The tariffs quoted are subject to change upwards or downwards. Visitors should confirm charges when making a reservation. Zimbabwe has a variety of hotels around the country ranging from one to five stars.

LAND STATISTICS

  • Coastline: 0 (landlocked)

  • Land Area: 390,624 sq km (1 50,820 sq miles)

  • Landforms: The lnyanga and Udizi Mountains stretch along Zimbabwe‘s eastern border with Mozambique.

  • Major bodies of water include Lake Kariba on the western border with Zambia and Victoria Falls on the western border with Zambia and Victoriia Falls on the far western border of Zimbabwe.

  • Important river systems include the Zambezi, Limpopo, Runde and Save and their numerous tributaries.

  • Highest Point is Mount lnyangani – 8,503 ft. (2,592 m)

  • Lowest Point is the intersection of the Runde and Save Rivers 531 ft. (162m)

  • Land divisions; Their are 8 provinces and 2 cities with provincial status; provinces include.; Manicaland, Mahonaland central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland west, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and the Midlands. The provincial cites are Harare and Bulawayo.

LANGUAGES

English is the official language while Shona and Ndebele are the major indigenous languages, with several other minority languages of Venda, Tonga, Shangaan, Kalanga, Sotho, Ndau and Nambya

MOTOR VEHICLES

Private motor-vehicles, caravans and trailers may be brought temporarily into Zimbabwe, provided they are licensed in their home countries and have registration plates and a nationality plaque. The international Certificate of Motor vehicles is recognized in Zimbabwe. A vehicle toll tee is levied on all vehicles that pass through the Beitbridge border-post. Vehicles must be insured against third-party risks arising in Zimbabwe: short-term policies are obtainable at border~posts. Visitors driving hired cars from companies registered outside Zimbabwe should ensure that customs surety arrangements have been made.

PASSPORTS AND VISAS All visitors require valid passports. With the introduction of the visa regime all countries around the globe were grouped into three categories i.e.

  • CATEGORY A – Countries, whose nationals do not require visas at all.

  • CATEGORY B – Countries whose nationals are granted visas at the port of entry on payment of the requisite visa fees,

  • CATEGORY C – Countries whose nationals are required to apply for and obtain visas prior to travelling.

These regulations are subject to change, please check with the relevant authorities. All journalists visiting Zimbabwe need to be accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC). Please contact the Zimbabwe Embassy or Consulate in your country for more details.

PETS

Regional tourists (except Mozambicans) who wish to bring pets into Zimbabwe should apply for an inter-territorial import and export permit, together with a health certificate from their nearest veterinary Office. Tourists from other countries should apply well ahead for a permit to:

The Director of Veterinary Services, P.O. Box 8012, Causeway, Harare.

PUBLIC AND SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

It sometimes causes inconvenience to arrive in a country on a public holiday and find everything closed or booked up. So book well ahead if you plan to arrive on a holiday weekend or during school holidays. School holidays are between mid April and mid May, mid July and mid September, mid December and mid January.

New year’s Day lst January

Good Friday

Easter Saturday

Easter Sunday

Easter Monday

Independence Day 18th April

Workers Day lst May

Africa Day 11th August

Heroes Day 12th August

Defence Forces Day 22nd December

National Unity Day 25th December

Christmas-Day 26th December

SECURITY

Zimbabweans are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards each other and visitors alike. Although all Zimbabweans are very helpful it is always advisable to be cautious when dealing with strangers. Police officers are very helpful and are easily identified by their uniforms. There are also plain clothes policeman. Like everywhere in the world valuables should always be safeguarded or left in the hotel safe. If you do not know where to obtain a certain service contact the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Police, Post office or the hotel information desk.

TRANSPORT AND TOURS

  • Taxis can be found at taxi ranks in town centres. Most hotels and restaurants offer a compimentary taxi booking service.

  • Car hire with or without chauffeurs can be hired in most tourist areas from both local and internationally recognizable operators.

  • Buses and coaches are available at all Zimbabwe towns. There are a variety of both mid-range and luxury intercity coach services.

  • Trains. A commuter rail link exist between Harare and Mutare, Harare and Bulawayo and Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.

  • Air Services. Air Zimbabwe, the national airline, operates frequent flights between the main centres and major tourist destinations. Other private scheduled and charter flights are also available on these routes. Feeder services are provided to regional capitals.

  • Road tours. A selection of road tours and packages are available at reasonable cost to Zimbabwe’s main tourist attractions by registered tour operators. In addition sight-seeing and game-viewing tours are offered with guides.

  • Boat hire is available at Kariba, Victoria Falls, Mutirikwi from registered companies. Lake cruises and charters are offered at reasonable cost.

SHOPPING IN ZIMBABWE

In general, shops are open from 08:00hrs until 17:00 hours and closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Most restaurants are also closed on Monday evenints. Selected pharmacies have day and night services in the main town centres. VAT is charged on all products and services including hotel and restaurant meals. A 2% tourism development levy is added to all tourism products and services.

THE WEATHER AND WHAT TO PACK

Zimbabwe enjoys a pleasant temperate climate with an average of 10 sunshine hours per day. The seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere with midsummer at Christmas and winter lasting from May to August. In winter the days are generally dry and sunny with cold frosty nights in the Highveld. In summer temperature average 25-30 degrees Celsius, October being the hottest month where temperatures exceed 32 degrees Celsius. In low-lying areas it is much warmer year round. These temperatures are for the main cities which are at 1500 meters above sea level. It is considerably warmer in low-lying areas such as Kariba, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Gonarezhou and the Zambezi valley. During the rainy season (November to March), a light jacket may be needed in the evenings.

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