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Visiting Zimbabwe

The first thing I will say is that you will not find a more peaceful nation like Zimbabwe! The media has been flooded over the years with news of Zimbabwe in turmoil and maybe even how unhappy the people may be. I will assure you those are all inhouse issues and you will not even know they exist when you visit. Zimbabwe is a “World of wonders” and one of its wonders happens to be the people. Strong, bold, resilient and friendly are the Zimbabwean people. There are 16 official languages in Zimbabwe, the most dominant languages being English, Shona and Ndebele. About 70% of the population speaks Shona whilst English is the official language. Other languages used in Zimbabwe are Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Khoisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, Sign Language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.

As a citizen of the country, born and bred in Zimbabwe, my love for my country runs deep. If you love nature, Zimbabwe is the destination for you. Whilst the world builds attractions, in the form of theme parks and zoos – Zimbabwe is filled with natural wonders. From the mighty Victoria Falls, to the magnificent stone structure Great Zimbabwe, the countless waterfalls, caves and lakes. It truly is “A World of Wonders”.

So how do you get to Zimbabwe? – The main international airports are the Robert Mugabe International Airport and the Victoria Falls Airport. The most common road gateways used are Beitbridge – if you are coming from South Africa; Plumtree from Botswana; Victoria Falls, Chirundu or Kariba can be used if you’re coming through Zambia; Nyamapanda or Forbes if you’re coming through Mozambique. The Kazungula border is probably the most special for a tourist. Most commonly used when coming from Zambia but, there is a point along the border where four countries meet! That’s right – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia!

Zimbabwe has had its fair share of financial woes but that won’t hinder you as a traveller as long as you are prepared. Registered tourism facilities are allowed to charge in foreign currency, the United States Dollar being the most common currency. One can find several bureau de changes in the main cities where money can be converted to the local Zimbabwe Dollar. Cash is the preference for most traders so it is useful to have some in hand. It is also possible to purchase a mobile line – Zimbabwe uses 3 mobile networks which all use mobile money. Mobile money is a common method of payment used by Zimbabweans but may not be accepted by all public transport operators.

Speaking of transportation. Zimbabwe does not have Uber but there are similar services available. For a true Zimbabwean experience however, there are commuter omnibus’ known as kombis. Each destination has designated terminals so you may need to ask where the kombis can be boarded from. Small ex Japanese cars are also available although not advisable. They are known as Mushika shikas. Buses to every destination in Zimbabwe can be found, also at designated points – we term them as chicken buses because of their loads, they tend to be packed and don’t run on a schedule, they will normally leave only when full. Full sometimes means that the seats and the aisle is full. So adequate planning and timing is needed when chasing deadlines or travelling in certain time frames. City to city Coaches however can also be found, these are scheduled and cost a lot more than the chicken buses. The most common routes are the Harare Bulawayo to Victoria Falls route. There is a train that goes from Harare to Mutare and Harare to Bulawayo. Departure is normally at 8pm every night arriving between 6am and 8am at the destination the following day.  Schedules will need to be requested at the National Railways. There are local flights between Harare and Bulawayo and Harare and Victoria Falls. These routes are operated by two airlines – one is Air Zimbabwe, the countries national carrier and the other is a local budget airline. There are also a number of chartered small crafts that operate from Charles Prince Airport which is just on the outskirts of Harare in Mount Hampden.

Zimbabwe’s climate is perfect! Throughout the year! Winters are from May and are coldest in June and July. Temperatures go to a minimum of 2 degrees in Zimbabwe’s coldest towns and cities in Mashonaland East and Manicaland. August is quite windy. The month of August in Zimbabwe is called Nyamavhuvhu which literally means the windy one. The hottest month is October which will normally lead into the rainy season in November until May.

So what can you do in Zimbabwe and where can you stay….well…that’s what this website is for. Every week we will explore and discover one of Zimbabwe’s gems. So don’t miss out on any of the destinations. Subscribe to the mailing list to get all information.

Visit Zimbabwe! Happy Travelling!

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