Harare is the largest city in the country (about 1.6 million people), which is also its cultural and industrial center.
About 16.1 million people 98% of the country’s population are ethnic groups speaking Bantu languages. The largest ethnic group in the country is the Shona, which makes up 70% of the total population. It is followed by the Ndebele people with 20% of the population.
Citizens of Russia to visit Zimbabwe still require a visa, which can be obtained directly at the border or in advance, at the Zimbabwean embassy in Moscow. Applying for a visa at the border usually does not cause any difficulties – the package of documents is standard.
It is possible to issue a single visa to Zambia and Zimbabwe, which makes it possible to travel through the territory of the two countries without restrictions and visit Botswana for a day. The cost of KAZA Visa is $50. You can get a single visa only at border crossings; they are not issued at the Zimbabwean embassy and the consulate of Zambia.
Duty-free import of alcoholic products is allowed – no more than 5 bottles per person, cigarettes – no more than 10 packs per person.
Zimbabwe has strict controls on the export of ivory products, as well as any products made from the skin of wild animals (including belts, bags, etc.). When purchasing these items, you must simultaneously issue a special export certificate, one copy of which is handed over to the customs authorities when leaving the country.
It is strictly not recommended to buy uncut gemstones in Zimbabwe, the import and export of which by private individuals is prohibited.
The import/export of drugs and explosives is prohibited. When exporting medicinal herbs and plants from the country, it is necessary to have a certificate confirming that these plants are not classified as narcotic.
English is the main language used in the educational and judicial systems. The Bantu Shona and Ndebele languages are the main indigenous languages in Zimbabwe.
Banks and currency
Zimbabwe uses US dollars, the national currency has been withdrawn from circulation, 100 trillion dollar bills (the maximum denomination issued in the country) are actively sold on the black market to tourists and collectors. Do not plan to use ATMs in Zimbabwe to receive money. Before you leave home, exchange all the money you need for your trip, plus extra, into US dollars. Most of the money should be in small denominations: 1, 5, 10 and 20 dollars, because you will not be able to change everywhere. In an emergency, you can try Barclays Bank, Stanbic Bank or Standard Chartered Bank as they sometimes accept foreign debit cards for cash withdrawals.
Banks in Zimbabwe are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 to 15:00, Wednesdays from 08:00 to 13:00 and Saturdays from 08:00 to 11:30. They are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
In Zimbabwe, only VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, however, it should be noted that not everywhere cards are accepted in principle, and the connection is not always reliable, so it is recommended to have cash with you.
Travel and transport
Taxis are safe and reliable and can be booked at the hotel reception. Taxis in cities move within a radius of 40 km from the city. Always order a taxi at night.
Major airlines fly to Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Domestic flights help to get to the main attractions and camps.
Zimbabwe has a good road infrastructure by African standards, although there are potholes on the roads. There are often traffic jams between major cities. Traffic is on the left side of the road.
If you are self-driving in Zimbabwe, be sure to check fuel beforehand. When traveling long distances inland, make sure you have extra fuel in 5 or 10 liter metal containers in case of an emergency.
Zimbabwe is a fairly safe country for foreign tourists, but even so, it is not recommended to travel alone, carry valuables and large sums of money.
Food and drink
The national cuisine of Zimbabwe is based on “sadze” – a porridge made from ground corn, which is usually accompanied by an appetizer of meat and tomatoes or dried fish. Safari camps often prepare sazu on request, and you can almost always find it in small restaurants in towns.
Camps, hotels and lodges that cater to tourists usually offer a variety of international cuisine, and the quality of the food prepared in the most remote places in the middle of the wild is usually excellent.
If you plan to cook your own meals, then you can buy most of the food in the main cities. There are several South African retail chains operating in Zimbabwe, which usually have everything you need.
The water in the main cities is usually purified. The locals drink it and are accustomed to the relatively harmless microorganisms it hides. If you are in the country for a long time, then it may be worth getting used to such water. However, if you are only in Zimbabwe for a few weeks, try to drink only bottled, boiled or purified water available in cities and all camps, lodges and hotels.
Climate and weather
In Zimbabwe, it rains mostly in December, January, February and March; the farther north, the earlier precipitation falls and the later it stops. The higher eastern regions of Zimbabwe generally receive more rainfall than the lower western regions.
By April and May, most of the rain has gone, leaving behind a green landscape that begins to dry out. Nighttime temperatures begin to drop, especially in southern and higher locations.
According to Bridgat, the nights in June, July and August get much cooler, so be sure to bring warmer clothes if you want to spend the evening outside; the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the beginning of the “peak season” – the days are often cloudless, and encounters with wild animals on safari are increasingly likely.
Temperatures rise again in September and October: Zimbabwe’s lower rift valley, Mana Pools, can get very hot in October. This is a fantastic safari time, as Zimbabwe’s wildlife is concentrated around limited water sources.
November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, it can be rainy – and in this respect it is a very interesting month, as you can observe all the weather conditions.
When in Zimbabwe, the rule of thumb is to wear casual, comfortable clothes during the day, as the air can get very hot. Choose light, loose-fitting clothing, preferably cotton or linen, as it is cool and easy to wash. Save warm clothes for the evenings, and bring a raincoat with you during the rainy season.
A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are a good idea any time of the year. Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers will also protect you from the sun’s rays. It is recommended to wear light shoes, especially if your itinerary involves many walks.
On safari, please remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Recommended clothing in natural shades, such as khaki, brown, green, sand.
Health and vaccinations
Part of the territory of Zimbabwe, primarily in the valleys of the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers, belongs to the malaria zone. Malaria prophylaxis and the use of only bottled water are recommended. However, it is not necessary to have a yellow fever certificate when traveling from Moscow.
One hour less than Moscow. For example, 10 am Moscow time corresponds to 9 am in Harare.
Electricity supply in Zimbabwe is carried out by alternating current with a voltage of 220/240 volts and a frequency of 50 hertz. The current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. Both square and round plugs are used.
There are several mobile operators in the country, but the quality and range of services provided leaves much to be desired. There are no telephone booths, they are replaced to a certain extent by a wide network of call centers.
There are several internet cafes in Harare.
Tipping in restaurants and hotels is from 5%.
Useful addresses and numbers
Police – 777-777 or 995.
Fire Brigade – 720-206 or 993.
Ambulance – 722-188 or 994.