During the central-European daylight-saving time there does not exist a time difference between Germany and Zimbabwe. During the winter (standard time), Zimbabwe is one hour ahead of Germany (12:00 pm in Victoria Falls = 11:00 pm in Berlin). Daylight reigns in June/July between approx. 06:30 and 17:30 pm, and in December from about 05:30 to 18:30 pm.
In Zimbabwe the official language is Englisch, but it is native to only 2% of the population. The mother tongue of the rest of the population is Bantu. The two most important Bantu languages are Shona, spoken by 76% of Zimbabweans, and Sindebele, which 18% of the inhabitants are able to speak. However, almost all Zimbabweans can communicate in English, as well.
Local and long-distance public transport is not comparable to that of Europe. There are hardly any passenger trains between the cities. The train runs on the following routes: Harare - Mutars; Harare-Bulawayo; Bulawayo-Victoria Falls. It is recommended to book early and especially to check the departure times at short notice, as changes may occur. Info & Reservation: Harare Tel. 04-733 901; Bulawayo Tel. 09-322210; Victoria Falls Tel. 013-4391.
Taxis are safe and reliable and can be booked at your hotel reception. In the cities, they usually operate within a 40 km radius of the city. Please always take a taxi at night. In principle, licensed taxis are equipped with taximeters. If this is missing, travellers should negotiate a flat-rate price. This is particularly recommended for longer journeys. As a rough guideline one can assume 5 US $ for a 10km drive in touristic centres.
Often better (but also slightly more expensive) than taxis, are private transfer operators, which can also be called by your hotel, for example. In all cases you should ask for the best local solutions on site.
Major airlines fly to Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Charter flights are available for most attractions and camps.
Cross-country journeys with public buses are urgently not recommended. These are often in poor technical condition due to lack of spare parts and inadequate maintenance. However, some bus operators with modern express coaches are available on long-distance routes.
Driving a car
Zimbabwe has left-hand traffic. Usually poor road conditions, non-functioning traffic lights, animals on country roads, poor road lighting and vehicle lights and excessive speeds pose a considerable risk of accidents. When travelling by car or rental car, do not leave the main roads. There may be police road checks between the major cities, so please always carry all documents with you.
Due to the increased risk of accidents, trips over land should be avoided after dark. The condition of rental cars is not comparable to that in European countries. It is advisable to take out the best possible insurance when renting a car, otherwise travellers will be liable for damage to the rental car, even if it is the fault of others.
The international driving licence is required and only valid in conjunction with the national European driving licence.
Also make sure you have enough fuel with you and check it in advance, as there are only a few petrol stations in the country with limited opening hours. If you cover long distances within the country, make sure you carry additional fuel in 5- or 10-liter metal containers in case of emergency. The fuel is usually well available, but the supply can fluctuate. Fuel is only available in cash. Refuelling is usually carried out by personnel, who often also clean windows and check air pressure and oil if necessary. The gas station attendant is very happy about a dollar tip.
As anywhere in the world, many people who have provided you with a service are looking forward to getting some tips. In the following, we tried to make a small recommendation, but, of course, it can only serve as an evidence and depends very much on the particular situation.
It is always advisable to have a pair of one-dollar notes in the pocket of your trouser which you will have at hand when you need it, without having to whip out the whole wallet. In a restaurant it is usual to add 10% to the regular price. When the service has been very good, it can be a bit more, when it has been poor the tip can be correspondingly less. When refueling, you should give $1 to the attendant. If he or she has also cleaned the discs or checked the air and oil level, you should pay slightly more. In hotels you should give 1–2 dollars to the luggage carriers. All further tips are usually collected in a box out of which maids usually get their tips from. Depending on the category you should plan up to 5 dollars per stay. Of course, you can also add a small banknote to employees who were especially helpful to you. Most of the times there are local recommendations on safaris. Here, rewarding your personal driver with a separate tip is often the case. Furthermore, tips are collected and equally shared between the other employees.
Current is 220/240 volts at 50 Hertz/second. To the greatest possible extent you can use all your electrical devices. For socket-outlets you need the three-pin round plug (as in South Africa) or the square plug (as in the UK). You can purchase adapters in appropriate specialty stores in Germany or – much cheaper – anywhere on the spot. If you have a lot of devices to connect, it is advisable to take a German multi-plug/socket strip with you. Thus, you only need one adapter and you can still load or use many devices at the same time. European plugs are also installed in the good hotels and lodges.
Money is generally scarce in Zimbabwe. Since 2009 the national currency of the country, the Zimbabwe dollar, has been withdrawn from circulation. Thus, US dollars and South African rand are official means of payment. It is almost always settled in US dollars and payed in US dollar notes. Often you will get SA rand coins as a drawback as no US dollar coins are circulating. Paying with credit cards (mainly Visa, Little MasterCard, almost no American Express) is difficult and only accepted in the larger hotels. Even the better lodges usually accept the credit cards only with a surcharge. Using credit cards to withdraw cash is nearly impossible. It is advisable to carry enough cash. In addition, the government introduced so-called "bond notes" and "Bond coins" to supplement the US dollar.
You can report the loss of a credit card and the blocking worldwide by calling + 49 116 116.
As a landlocked country in southern Africa Zimbabwe is especially famous for its nature and wildlife. There are many leisure activities for all ages in Victoria Falls and the national parks, where there are sports enthusiasts, including abseiling, fishing, balloon trips, boat trips, bridge swing, bungy jumping, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, paragliding, white water rafting and ziplining offers to choose from.
Helicopter flights and, of course, golf with more than 50 courses throughout Zimbabwe are also on offer (the roots of golf in Zimbabwe go back to the 19th century!).
Zimbabwe is also made attractive for people interested in culture by a lot of historical sites. More and more and with a view to the special Ajimba offers, so-called 'home hosted lunch' opportunities are offered in local families. A high level of cultural exchange takes place, mainly in the English language.
In Zimbabwe there is a visa requirement for Germans, Austrians and Swiss. A tourist visa with one-time entry costs $30 and is issued both in advance at the respective country representation as well as directly at the entry. Therefor you need to fill in a form on arrival. It is advisable to already get this form in advance from Ajimba or your travel agency in order to avoid long queues during entry. A double entry visa costs 45 US dollars and a multiple entry visa 55 US dollars (this is only available in the appropriate embassy). Please note that the amounts must be paid in cash. In the case of entering the country from yellow fever infection areas such as eastern and Central Africa a proof of vaccination is required.
Zambia and Zimbabwe have re-introduced the KAZA-UNI-Visa. It costs 50 US dollars and is valid for 30 days for any number of border crossings within the two countries (at the border crossing Victoria Falls/Livingstone, Chirundu and Kariba/Siavonga). Day visits to Botswana (Kazungua border) are also permitted. However, as soon as you stay over night in Botswana, the visa expires. It is available on the following borders: Zambia: Airport Lusaka, Airport Livingstone, Livingstone/Victoria Falls border post, Kazungula; Zimbabwe: Airport Harare, airport Victoria Falls, Livingstone/Victoria Falls border post, Kazungula.
If your travel purpose is different from a purely tourist visit, please contact the consulate. If you are a citizen of a country other than Germany, please inform us of your nationality at the time of your inquiry or booking so that we can inform you of the relevant entry requirements. Thank you very much!
In order to get some information about the current health situation and your personal situation, please contact your doctor or a tropical physician before you begin your journey. First of all, a healthy journey to Africa belongs to a healthy attitude towards life. Do not let media and sales-oriented pharmacists express an often exaggerated picture of Africa. A healthy person with an intact immune system is also able to cope with a lot of bacteria and viruses in Africa and most likely does not come into contact with dangers. Mental attitudes and confidence in one's own body are also important. Many diseases can be avoided by sensible, preventive behaviour. This includes, among other things, protecting yourself against excessive exposure to sunlight, paying attention to a sufficient fluid intake (non-alcoholic), avoiding to eat food of dubious origin and to drink unfiltered water (including brushing teeth), taking wounds seriously (even if they are small), finding enough sleep, taking breaks and meeting temperature differences with appropriate clothing. Learn about the typical diseases in southern Africa and ensure active and passive mosquito protection (especially in the evening and night hours). Find out about malaria and the precautionary measures. In addition, knowledge and vaccinations for schistosomiasis, hepatitis (A and B), yellow fever and cholera as well as rabies, typhoid, polio, tetanus and diphtheria are recommended. A medical examination by a doctor or a tropical physician helps quickly. We strongly recommend that you take out a travel insurance and a return insurance.
Although the taste can be very different, the water coming from the faucets is excellent in almost every location. Sometimes you might want to use bottled water to make coffee or tea. Usually, the water from the drill holes of the farms and lodges has a wonderfully pure taste. However, water from stagnant waters should always be boiled or treated with cleaning tablets.
Zimbabwe is located on the southern edge of the southeast African tropical belt. From May to October there is a temperate, almost Mediterranean climate with warm days, cool nights and almost absolute dryness.
During the rainy season between November and April there are regular rainfalls that are heavier in the higher positions than in the lowlands (on average 1000-1400 mm per year, over 90% of annual rainfall). During the day the temperatures rise to more than 30 °c. In the capital city of Harare, the average temperature is 20 °c, otherwise it is between 19 to 22 °c.
In the winter during June and July it is very cold in the evening and at night (temperatures can fall to - 5 °c). In the highlands night frost is possible, as well. The best months for travelling areApril and May or the period between August and October.
It is strongly advised to conclude a foreign health insurance which also covers repatriation to the home country. In cooperation with our partner TravelSecure.de we are offering you a wide range of important insurances:
As in other African countries, there are also problems with crime in Zimbabwe. But again, if you stick to some rules, the risk is drastically reduced.
We recommend that you inform yourself about the current safety situation before your departure. Therefor you can have a look at the website of the Foreign Office (www.auswaertiges-amt.de).
Please do never leave valuables in the vehicle (even during the journey). Organize your journeys like that you will arrive at your destination before nightfall. It goes without saying that you should do without jewellery in public and that expensive cameras should not be showcased.
The land is almost entirely covered by dry savannah, mainly by Miombo and Mopane forests. Baobabs, sausage trees and umbrella thorn are also common.
The grass of the Savannah is brown and withered during the dry season, but reaches a height of up to two meters at the end of the rainy period. It forms the basis of food for numerous animal species.
We cannot guarantee the correctness, completeness and topicality of the information given here, nor shall we be liable for any damage. Described regulations as well as the security situation can change at any time. As we have already recommended, in case of doubt we recommend that you contact your local diplomatic, consular representative or your doctor for health issues.