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Tips and travel information Zimbabwe

Everything you need to know about Zimbabwe, the country where safaris were invented.

time zone

In der mitteleuropäischen Sommerzeit haben Deutschland und Simbabwe die gleiche Zeit. Während unseres Winters (Normalzeit) ist uns Simbabwe eine Stunde voraus (12:00 Uhr in Victoria Falls = 11:00 Uhr in Berlin). Tageslicht herrscht im Juni/Juli zwischen ca. 06:30 und 17:30 Uhr, und im Dezember von etwa 05:30 bis 18:30 Uhr.

languages

In Zimbabwe, English is the official language, but is the mother tongue of only 2% of the population. The rest are Bantu speakers from birth. The two most important Bantu languages are Shona, spoken by 76% of Zimbabweans, and Sindebele, which is spoken by 18%. Yet almost all Zimbabweans speak English.

Traveling

Local and long-distance public transport is not comparable with that of Europe. There are hardly any passenger trains that travel between cities. The Bahn covers the following routes: Harare—Mutare; Harare—Bulawayo; Bulawayo—Victoria Falls. It is advisable to make a reservation early and, above all, to check the departure times at short notice, as there may be changes. Information & reservation: Harare tel. 04-733 901; Bulawayo tel. 09-322210; Victoria Falls tel. 013-4391.

taxis are safe and reliable and can be booked through your hotel reception. In cities, they usually operate within a 40 km radius of the city. Please always take a taxi at night. Licensed taxis are generally equipped with taximeters. If this is missing, travelers should negotiate a flat rate. This is particularly recommended for a longer journey. As a rough guideline, you can expect 5 US $ for a 10 km trip in tourist centers.
Often better (but also a bit more expensive) than taxis, are private transfer operators, which can also be called by your hotel, for example. In all cases, you should inquire locally for the best local solutions.

Grosse airlines fly to Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Charter flights are available to most attractions and camps.

From overland trips with public Bussen is strongly discouraged. These are often in poor technical condition due to a lack of spare parts and inadequate maintenance. On long-distance routes, however, a number of bus operators with modern express coaches are available.

Motoring

There is left-hand traffic in Zimbabwe. Mostly poor road conditions, non-functioning traffic lights, animals on country roads, poor road lighting and vehicle light, and excessive speeds represent a significant risk of accidents. When traveling with your own car or rental car, you should not leave the main roads. There may be police road checks between major cities, which is why you should always carry all documents with you.

Due to an increased risk of accidents, driving over land should be avoided after dark. The condition of rental cars is not comparable with that in European countries. It is advisable to take out the best possible insurance when renting, as otherwise travelers will have to be liable for damage to the rental car, even in the event of third-party fault.

An international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the national German driving license.

Also make sure you have enough fuel with you and check it in advance, as there are only a few gas stations in the countryside that also have limited opening hours. If you cover long distances within the country, make sure you carry extra fuel in 5 or 10 liter metal containers in case of an emergency. Fuel is generally readily available, but supply may fluctuate. Fuel is only available for cash. Refueling 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 to receive a dollar tip.


gratuity

As everywhere in the world, many people who have provided you with a service are happy to receive a tip. In the following, we have tried to make a small recommendation, but of course it can only serve as a guide and depends very much on the respective situation.

It's always a good idea to keep a few one-dollar notes in your pocket, which you can then quickly access when needed, without having to pull out your entire wallet. In the restaurant, 10% is usual. If the service is particularly good, it can also be a bit more, if the service is poor, it can be less. When refueling, you should give the gas station attendant 1 dollar, even if the windows have been cleaned or the air and oil levels have been checked, a little more. In hotels, you should give porters 1—2 dollars. All other tips are usually collected and placed in a box. Chambermaids usually get their tips from this. Depending on the category, you should plan up to 5 dollars/stay. Of course, you can also give employees who were particularly helpful to you a small note at any time. On safaris, there are mostly local recommendations. Here, it is often common to reward your personal driver separately with a tip; all other employees receive their share as a result.

electricity

Electricity is 220/240 volts at 50 Hertz/second. You can use as many of your electrical devices as possible. For sockets, you need the three-pin round plug (as in South Africa) or square plug (as in Great Britain). You can buy adapters at appropriate specialist stores in Germany or much cheaper anywhere else. If you have many devices to connect, it is recommended to bring a German multiple plug/power strip. This means that you only need one adapter and you can still charge or use many devices at the same time. Good hotels and lodges also have European plugs installed.

money

Money is generally scarce in Zimbabwe. Since 2009, the national currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, has been withdrawn from circulation. For example, the US dollar and the South African rand are official means of payment. It is almost always billed in US dollars. Notes are often paid in US dollars and coins are issued in SA rand, as there are no US dollar coins in circulation. Paying with credit cards (mainly Visa, less MasterCard, almost no American Express) is difficult and only possible in larger hotels. Even the better lodges usually only accept credit cards with a surcharge. Withdrawing cash with credit cards is rarely or not at all possible. It is recommended to bring enough cash. In addition, the government is introducing so-called “bond notes” and “bond coins” to supplement the US dollar.

You can report the loss of a credit card and the suspension worldwide by calling +49 116 116.

leisure

As a landlocked country in southern Africa, Zimbabwe is particularly famous for its nature and wildlife. There are many leisure activities for all ages in Victoria Falls and the national parks, where sports enthusiasts in particular can choose from offers for abseiling, fishing, balloon rides, boat trips, bridge swing, bungee jumping, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, paragliding, whitewater rafting and ziplining.

Helicopter tours and, of course, golf on over 50 courses across Zimbabwe are also on offer (the roots of golf in Zimbabwe go back to the 19th century!).

Many historical sites also make Zimbabwe attractive for those interested in culture. More and more, and with a view to the special Ajimba offers, so-called 'home hosted lunch' options are being offered in local families. This involves a high level of cultural exchange — primarily in English.

entry

In Zimbabwe, there is a visa requirement for Germans, Austrians and Swiss. A single-entry tourist visa costs 30 US dollars and is issued both in advance at the appropriate national embassy and directly upon arrival. To do this, a form must be completed upon arrival. It is recommended to obtain this in advance from Ajimba or your travel agent to avoid long queues upon arrival. A double entry visa costs 45 US dollars and a multiple entry visa 55 US dollars (this is only available at the appropriate embassy). Please note that the amounts must be paid in cash. When entering from areas infected with yellow fever, such as East and Central Africa, proof of vaccination is required.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have reintroduced KAZA UNIVERSITY VISA. It costs 50 US dollars and is valid for 30 days for any number of border crossings within the two countries (at Victoria Falls/Livingstone, Chirundu and Kariba/Siavonga border crossings). Day visits to Botswana (Kazungua border) are also allowed. But as soon as you stay overnight in Botswana, the visa loses its validity. It is available at the following borders: Zambia: Lusaka Airport, Livingstone Airport, Livingstone/Victoria Falls Border Post, Kazungula; Zimbabwe: Harare Airport, Victoria Falls Airport, Livingstone/Victoria Falls Border Post, Kazungula.

If your purpose of travel is other than a pure tourist visit, please contact the consulate in advance. If you have a nationality other than the German one, please let us know your nationality when making your enquiry or booking so that we can inform you about the relevant entry requirements. Thank you so much!

health

Please contact your doctor or tropical medicine specialist before you start your trip about your current health situation and your personal situation. A healthy trip to Africa includes, first and foremost, a healthy attitude to life.

Don't let the media and revenue-oriented pharmacists give you an often exaggerated image of Africa. Even in Africa, a healthy person with an intact immune system can cope with many bacteria and viruses or does not come into contact with the dangers. Psychological attitude and confidence in one's own body are also important. Many diseases can be prevented through reasonable, preventive behavior. These include protecting yourself from excessive sunlight, keeping yourself hydrated every day (not alcoholic), avoiding foods of dubious origin, not drinking unfiltered water (including brushing your teeth), taking even small wounds seriously, getting enough sleep, taking rest breaks and countering temperature differences with appropriate clothing. Find out about the typical diseases in southern Africa and provide active and passive mosquito protection (especially in the evening and night hours).

Find out about malaria and preventative measures. Knowledge and vaccinations on schistosomiasis, hepatitis (A and B), yellow fever and cholera, as well as rabies, typhoid, polio, tetanus and diphtheria are also recommended. A check with a doctor and tropical medicine specialist will help quickly. We strongly recommend that you take out travel health insurance and travel return insurance.


climate

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 drought.

In the rainy season between November and April There are regular rains that are heavier in the high altitudes than in the lowlands (an average of 1000 - 1400 mm per year, over 90% of the annual rainfall). During the day, temperatures rise to more than 30°C. In the capital Harare, the average temperature is 20 °C, otherwise 19 to 22 °C.

In southern winter during the months June and July Is it sensitively cold in the evening and at night (down to −5 °C). In the high altitudes, night frost may occur. The best months to travel are April and May or August to October.

insurances

It is strongly recommended to take out foreign health insurance, which also covers repatriation to your home country. We offer you appropriate insurance through our partner Travelsecure.de.

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Security

As in other African countries, there are also problems with crime in Zimbabwe. But here too, if you follow a few rules, the risk is drastically reduced.

The Federal Foreign Office provides information on the current situation on its website (www.auswaertiges-amt.de) and we recommend that you check here before departure.

Please never leave valuables uncovered in the vehicle (not even while driving). Organize your trips so that you have arrived at your destination by nightfall. It goes without saying that you should refrain from wearing jewelry in public and also avoid showing off expensive cameras.

Flora & Fauna

The country is almost entirely covered by dry savanna, with mopane and Miombo forests dominating. Monkey bread and liver sausage trees as well as umbrella acacia are also common.

The grass of the savanna is brown and withered during the dry season, but reaches a height of up to two meters at the end of the rainy season; it forms the food base for numerous animal species.

note

We cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the Zimbabwe tips and travel information given here, nor can we accept any liability for any damage that may occur during your vacation. The regulations described and the security situation may change at any time. As has often been recommended, in case of doubt, we recommend that you contact your competent diplomatic or consular representative or your doctor if you have any health questions.

If you have any questions beyond this Zimbabwe travel information or if one or the other point of our Zimbabwe travel information has changed in the meantime, please contact us, preferably using the following contact form. Thank you so much.


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