Useful information for a trip to Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a country that has the potential to satisfy almost everyone. It can offer unspoiled wilderness of the park Mana Pools (near the Zambezi River), thundering masses of water of Victoria Falls, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, the largest historic complex build of stone located south of the Sahara, or the natural beauty of Nyanga Mountains in the east of the country near the border with Mozambique, or the wild life sanctuary Matopos Hills in the south.
The offer of breathtaking attractions is also enhanced by the favorable climate. Although the country lies in the tropic zone, a high average altitude guarantees a pleasant almost year-round warm weather comparable to the European summer. The warm and humid period falls on the local summer running from November to May, while the winter and cooler dry season lasts from May to October.
The political situation
The main reason that tourists are discouraged from visiting this exotic land of Zimbabwe, remains the political situation. Under the autocratic government of President Robert Mugabe the country has experienced an almost economic free fall in the last decade, which was accompanied by the world’s highest hyperinflation of the 21st century. Economic decline aroused the political opposition who despite all persecution of Mugabe´s regime won the last elections. But that Mugabe shrewdly solved the issue by bribing the victorious opposition share of the state power, and continues to be the president of the country.
Presidential elections should be held this year again, but the term was not announced yet and the government excuse themselves that “there is not enough money for the organization of elections in the state budget”.
If you are considering a trip to Zimbabwe it is a good idea to monitor the political situation, because the period around the elections is certainly not a good time to travel around the country or even just visiting the capital city of Harare.
Visa to enter the country
Citizens of the Czech Republic need a visa to enter Zimbabwe. Tourist visas can be obtained at any embassy of Zimbabwe or directly at the border when entering the country (although having a visa at the border is in operation since 2007, it is better to always check this information before traveling). Applications for other than a tourist visa must always be administered through the Embassies. The nearest Embassies of Zimbabwe are in Vienna and in Berlin; Zimbabwe has no Embassy in the Czech Republic
Zimbabwe Embassy in Vienna
Botschaft der Republik Simbabwe in Wien
Neustift am Walde 91
Zimbabwe Embassy in Berlin
Die Botschaft der Republik Simbabwe in Berlin
tel.: +49/30/206 22 63
fax: +49/30/204 55 062
Fees for visas
The fee for a visa for a single entry is 30 USD (valid for 30 days), double entry visa fee is 45 USD, multiple entry visa is USD 55.
Zimbabwe abolished its own currency – the Zimbabwean dollar which plagued the skyrocketing inflation in January 2009. Everywhere accepted in Zimbabwe now are US Dollars (USD) or South African Rands.
Almost everyone speaks English in Zimbabwe, although English is not the native language for the majority of Zimbabweans. Local languages are Shona – especially in the east, north and center of Zimbabwe and Ndebele in the west of Zimbabwe.
There is no compulsory vaccination when traveling to Zimbabwe but the vaccination against yellow fever is recommended (it is compulsory only when coming from countries where yellow fever occurs), as well as against meningococcal encephalitis, and hepatitis A and B
Zimbabwe is among the African countries with the largest expansion of AIDS. Up to 35% of the population is infected in some areas. In low-lying areas (Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba) there is a risk of malaria but in general the level of malaria occurrences very low in Zimbabwe and malaria does not occur at all in the dry season.
Dangers during traveling
Traveling is generally safe in Zimbabwe. Try to avoid street crime in larger cities (risk of pickpocketing or theft of baggage or electronics).
What to bring?
A good aid for traveling will be a plug adapter of the British system, a flashlight in case of power failure or absence of electricity in rural areas, and sun lotion with a high protection factor.