If you are not staying for longer than six months, you 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 to your country (or enough money to buy one), and sufficient funds to cover your stay in Zimbabwe. Entry points are categorized into three groups which comprise of:
AIR – Harare International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport,
Kariba Airport, Charles Prince Airport, Masvingo Airport, Buffalo Range.
ROAD – Chirundu, Nyamapanda, Beitbridge, Victoria Falls, Forbes, Kazungula, Plumtree, Kariba,
Kanyemba, Mukumbura, Cashel, Mt Selinda, Sango, Pandamatenga, Maitengwe, Mphoengs.
RAIL – Beitbridge, Plumtree
ZIMBABWE VISAS REQUIREMENTS
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 Department of Information and Publicity. Please contact the Zimbabwe Embassy or Consulate in or near your country.
Zimbabwe is a multi-racial society where people of all nationalists live in harmony. People living in urban areas have a westernized lifestyle, while in the country areas many African traditions have been preserved.
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 although some may be plainclothes police. Like everywhere in the world valuables should always be safeguarded or left in the hotel safe box. If you do not know where to obtain a certain service or you are not sure always contact the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Police Post or the hotel information desk.
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 the trade purposes may be imported up to a value of US$ 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 person of 5 litres, of which not more than 2 litres may be spirits. Members of a family travelling together may aggregate their allowances.
There are no restrictions on foreign currency to be imported into Zimbabwe. However, a maximum of $ 10 000 or its equivalent can be exported out of the country. Tourists are entitled to duty-free importation of their goods which they intend to take out of the country, for instance laptops, cameras, vehicles, binoculars, fishery rods and trailers; as well as duty-free importation of goods for personal use (not commercial) worth US$200.00 for consumption in Zimbabwe. A CDI form is required for exports whose value exceeds US$1 000.00.
The use of (Zimbabwean dollar) as local currency was temporarily suspended until a time to be advised. Meanwhile the country has resorted to the use of multiple currencies as legal tender which comprise of US dollar, British pound, European euros, South African rand and Botswana Pula. However, all these currencies are easily convertible in most banks using the inter-bank rate which gives access to use of the common and mostly used currency the US dollar and South African rand as method of payment.
The mostly acceptable means of payment in most establishments is US $ based or its equivalent. Travelers Cheques and International credit cards are widely accepted. Avoid street/border money changers. Instead it is advisable to change all your money or travelers cheques at Commercial banks, hotels or registered bureau de change.
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 purified hence very safe. 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 as a precaution. Prophylaxis is 100% effective. However, it is always advisable to check with your doctor or pharmacist before travelling to such areas. Most establishments in the country do have mosquito nets and repellents.
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.
Banks in Zimbabwe are open for business during the following hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday ……….08:00 – 15:00 hrs
Wednesdays ………………………………………..08:00 – 13:00 hrs
Saturday ……………………………………………..08:00 – 11:30 hrs
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.
Unless otherwise stated, the initial tariff is a person per day on a bed and breakfast basis. The tariffs quoted are subject to change upwards or downwards. However, visitors should confirm charges when making a reservation. Zimbabwe boosts of a variety of classical hotels dotted around the country with quality service that ranges from one star to five stars. Hotels in Zimbabwe can be categorized into three groups which comprise of City hotels, Resort hotels and Safari hotels.
If carried, they must be declared at customs.
Private motor-vehicles, caravans and trailers may be brought temporarily into Zimbabwe, provided they are licensed in their home countries and bear the appropriate registration plates and a nationality plaque. The international Certificate of Motor vehicles is recognized in Zimbabwe. A vehicle toll fee 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 check that customs surety arrangements have been made.
DRIVING IN ZIMBABWE
International driving and driving licenses issued in all 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, it 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. Drive on the left in Zimbabwe and give way to traffic approaching on the road to your 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: move out of its course and remain stationary until it has passed. The general speed-limit in Zimbabwe is 120km/h on open roads and 60 km/h in urban areas, but watch for the signs.
TRANSPORT AND TOURS
Taxis – can be found at taxi ranks in the main centres or on call from hotels and restaurants.
Car Hire – cars with or without chauffeurs can be hired in most tourist areas from internationally recognizable operators.
Buses/Coaches – Zimbabwe has a variety of both mid-range and luxury intercity coach services.
Trains – A commuter rail link exist between Harare – Mutare, Harare – Bulawayo and Bulawayo – 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. International flights are also available.
Road tours – A selection of road tours are operated at reasonable cost to Zimbabwe’s main tourist attractions by registered tour operators. In addition, sight-seeing and game-viewing tours are offered with couriers who are fluent in the main European languages.
Boat Hire – At Kariba, Victoria Falls, Mutirikwi and all other water bodies in Zimbabwe, boats are available for hire from registered companies and lake cruises and charters are offered at reasonable cost.
THE WEATHER AND WHAT TO PACK
Zimbabwe enjoys pleasant temperate climate with 365 days of sunshine and 10 sunshine hours per day on average. 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 all year than Harare and other Highveld centres.
The temperatures given are those for the main centres and it must be realized that it is considerably warmer all year round 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. Most hotels expect men to wear a collar, jacket and tie in bars and restaurants after 1830hrs, except in the warmer parts of the country.
Electricity in Zimbabwe is 220-230 AC voltage. Most outlets take a 13 amp fused square –pin plug but round pins are still in use so an adaptor that can take both is useful.
SHOPPING IN ZIMBABWE
In general, shops are open from 0800hrs until 1700hrs and closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Most restaurants are also closed on Sundays. Selected pharmacies have day and night service in all the main centres. VAT is charged on everything, except certain basic commodities, and applies to meals served in hotels and restaurants. A 2% tourism development is levied on all tourism products and services.
Zimbabwe has a number of airports located in the various towns and provinces.
Harare International Airport –The biggest and busiest airport in Zimbabwe situated in Harare. The airport’s runway, at 4,725 metres (15,500 ft), is one of the longest in Africa. It compares with OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, whose longest runway measures 4,418 metres (14,490 ft).
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport situated some 20km out of Bulawayo the city of kings. There are 2 airlines operating out of Bulawayo Airport which are Air Zimbabwe and South African Air link.
Victoria Falls Airport – An International Airport that is located 21 km out of Victoria Falls town the hub for tourism in Zimbabwe. 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 II), is located approximately 8 km northwest of Harare, Zimbabwe.1973 the airport was converted to civilian use.
Departure taxes – A departure tax of US $35 is levied on all foreign investors (non-residents) at all Zimbabwe airports on International flights and this tax are 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. However, this tax is often incorporated in the ticket fare. Always verify with the issuing agent.
BORDER POST OPERATIONAL HOURS
All posts listed below are open on public holidays, weekends as well as weekdays.
Zimbabwe bordering South Africa and Botswana
Beitbridge Open 24 hrs Daily
Plumtree 06:00 – 18:00 hrs Daily
Kazungula 06:00 – 18:00 hrs Daily
Zimbabwe bordering Mozambique
Mutare (Forbes) 06:00 – 20:00 hrs Daily
Nyamapanda 06:00 – 18:00 hrs Daily
Zimbabwe bordering Zambia
Chirundu 06:00 – 18:00 hrs Daily
Kariba 06:00 – 18:00 hrs Daily
Victoria Falls 06:00 – 18:00 hrs Daily
New Year’s Day 01 January
Independence Day 18 April
Workers Day 01 May
Africa Day 25 May
Heroes Day 11 August
National Unity Day 12 August
Christmas Day 25 December
Public Day 26 December