Home to abundant wildlife, stunning scenery and tropical temperatures, Zimbabwe is a great location to Safari! Located in the middle of Southern Africa, it is lined by the rivers Zambezi and Limpopo and the vast land between the two is home to several National Parks, beautiful forests and towering mountains. It is a great location to get away for some peace and quiet; with so much to do, you can really lose yourself to the African culture and lifestyle.
There are 3 official languages; English, Shona and Ndebele, however, it has been recorded that there are as many as 16 languages spoken in Zimbabwe alone.
Tourist Tip - clapping twice is considered an acceptable way of saying ‘thank you’.
The Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD or Z$) is the currency of Zimbabwe. Due to hyperinflation, the exchange rates are highly variable. The following exchange rates are accurate as of September 2015
- - 1 USD : 362 Z$
- - 1 GBP : 553 Z$
- - 1 Euro : 408 Z$
Zimbabwe enjoys a tropical climate, but parts are affected by the altitude. Temperatures average 24 degrees in the summer with highs of 38 degrees, and it can plummet to below zero at night in June and July - their winter months.
The hottest period tends to be September and October, with the rainy season taking place anytime from November. This carries through to March where the more north eastern regions tend to see more rain than the southern parts.
30 km from Masvingo, you can see the main ruins site of Great Zimbabwe. Some 150 stone-based structures can be found across the country, built between 1250 and 1450 AD and a fascinating reminder of Zimbabwe’s pre-colonial past.
A number of museums can be found in the major cities. The National Gallery in the capital city of Harare exhibits the best in Zimbabwean and Shona art, as well as guest hosting international exhibitions. Bulawayo has a major Natural History Museum, which is well worth a visit.
For a pleasant walk, the huge National Botanical Garden in Harare is the place to go or visit one of the fabulous national parks, each with something unique about them. The Mana Pools National Park has the highest concentration of wildlife in the country at certain times of the year, while the Hwange National Park enjoys a huge range of wild animals. Located outside of Bulawayo, the Matobo National Park is of particular interest because of the ancient San paintings within.
Outside of the Victoria Falls Town, Victoria Falls itself (also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘the smoke that thunders’) is one of the most incredible sights in the world. Twice as tall as Niagara Falls and offering the world’s premier bungee jump, it has to be seen to be believed.
A number of festivals are held in Zimbabwe, the most reputable being the Harare International Festival of Arts in April.
Zimbabwe’s most popular sports are Football, followed by Cricket and Rugby and tournaments are held at the major venues found in Harare and Bulawayo.
The centre of Bulawayo offers a main modern shopping centre in Zimbabwe with a great selection of stores. Borrowdale Shopping Plaza in Harare also comes highly recommended.
Although the government has steamrollered the flea markets, the Miramba Market near Victoria Falls is excellent for local crafts and clothing.
Some of the safest places for a drink are the bars found at hotels. However, you can find bars catering to tourists at Victoria Falls in particular, as well as British-style pubs.
The major cities all have a decent range of nightclubs and even casinos.
A few pointers for you
- - There will be road blocks on roads outside of the towns. These will be manned by at least 3 policemen and you will usually just be required to prove your brakes work, or show your driving documents.
- - No Complex road systems to adjust to - simply remember to give way to the right on roundabouts.
- - Hiring a 4x4 is the best way to make the most of the bush roads and National Parks.
Food and Drink
Expect to find a mixture of British cuisine and African influences. The main local dishes are;
- -Bota is a breakfast dish consisting of cornmeal and water flavoured with peanut butter, jam or milk - Think Porridge!
- -Sadza is similar to a cornmeal dumpling that can be dipped into meat, stewed veg, gravy and even soured milk.
- -Dovi is a Peanut Butter based stew
- -Mapopo Candy are pieces of cooked papaya, sprinkled in sugar for a delicious treat!
The national drink is the Zambezi Beer and you will find Whawha beer to be the traditional, maize based alternative. Mazoe Orange Drink is a popular choice too - it is purely fruit juice, with no added nasties!