Horseback riding in Zimbabwe

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Equestrian tours in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Mini Guide
   Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

Zimbabwe boasts some amazing natural sites. The Victoria Falls are without a doubt one of the world’s grandest natural spectacles and every viewpoint reveals something new. Running from northeast to southwest down the centre of the country, and connecting its two largest cities, is the Highveld, a chain of low mountains and Zimbabwe’s most populous area.

Zimbabwe also offers some of the best wildlife parks in southern Africa. From the forested mountains of the Eastern highlands to the sun-washed grasslands of Hwange National Park, from the hot Mopani Forest to the shores of Lake Kariba, more than 11%  of Zimbabwe’s land – 44,688 sq km (17,254 sq miles) – has been set aside as parks and wildlife estates. There are also several botanical gardens, sanctuaries and more than a dozen national safari areas for hunting (an activity that helps to finance the conservation programme and is strictly controlled).

Present-day Zimbabwe was the site of a large and complex African civilisation in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was populated by descendants of the Bantu tribes, who had migrated from the north around the 10th century. Evidence of their mainly pastoral lifestyle may still be seen in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, near the present-day town of Masvingo.

The first contact with Europeans was with the Portuguese at the end of the 15th century. Relations between the two were fairly stable until the 1830s, when the region was thrown into upheaval by the northward migration of the Ndebele people from South Africa.

At this point, a new aggressive breed of colonists arrived in the form of British mining interests led by Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company (BSAC).  The BSAC took control of the country - which they called ‘Southern Rhodesia' - until 1923, when it became, nominally, a British colony.

From 1953-63, Southern Rhodesia formed part of the Central African Federation with neighbouring Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi). In 1965, to resist decolonisation, the settlers - with South African support - issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). This triggered a bitter civil war between the white minority government and fighters for African independence, ending only in 1980, with the granting of independence and the holding of a general election under British auspices, which was won decisively by Robert Mugabe's ZANU party.

 
Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes/1

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months beyond date of departure required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Two blank pages are needed.

Passport Note:

All visitors to Zimbabwe must be in possession of return tickets (or funds in lieu) and sufficient funds to support themselves. The granting of a visa is not a guarantee of entry.

Visas

Visas are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except:

1. Nationals of Cyprus and Malta, who do not require a visa. 

All other nationals in the chart may purchase a visa on arrival valid for up to 90 days except nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, who must obtain a visa in advance.

A joint visa on arrival, called the Kaza visa, allowing entry into Zambia and Zimbabwe, was trialed from late 2014. As of late 2015, both countries have stopped issuing this visa.

Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Types of Visa and Cost

Visa at port of entry: US$30 single-entry, US$45 double-entry, US$55 multiple-entry; contact consular section at embassy for further details.

Single-entry visa in advance from the embassy: £40.

Validity

Usually up to 90 days.

Applications to

Consulate or consular section at embassy. For multiple-entry visas, travellers must apply direct to the Chief Immigration Officer in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Working Days Required

Allow 10 days for visa processing if applying via the embassy. Online applications usually take two days.

 

Money

Currency

The Zimbabwean Dollar was abandoned early 2009.

Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD; symbol Z$) = 100 cents. Notes were in denominations of Z$200,000, 100,000, 50,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of Z$5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

The country has adopted a multi-currency scheme; the US Dollar and South African Rand can be used for domestic transactions.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted, whilst MasterCard has more limited use. Some ATMs accept credit cards.

Traveller's Cheques

Banks and major hotels will exchange these. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Currency Restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to Z$15,000. The import of foreign currency is unlimited. The export of foreign currency is unlimited as long as declared on entry.

Banking Hours

Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri 0800-1500, Wed 0800-1300 and Sat 0800-1130.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date June 1
£1.00= Z$ 525.37
$1.00= Z$ 361.90
€1.00= Z$ 411.12

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

No*

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

 * A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Food and Drink

All water should be regarded as being a potential health risk. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilized.

Other Risks

Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water; swimming pools which are well chlorinated and maintained are safe. HIV/AIDS is a high risk throughout the country and precautions should be taken. Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes advised.

Health Care

Medical facilities are good in the major towns and there are well-equipped clinics in most outlying areas, although medical costs can be high. There may be drugs shortages in public hospitals. Health insurance is essential; adequate medical provision is often only provided privately, especially in urban areas. Private hospitals may require health insurance or a cash payment before admission.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline Air Zimbabwe has ceased international operations. KLM (www.klm.com), Delta (www.delta.com) and Air France (www.airfrance.com) all connect Harare with Amsterdam, for indirect flights to London and New York.

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Harare is 10 hours 30 minutes. There are direct flights connecting London with Victoria Falls. Connections from the capital to Bulawayo take approximately one hour.

Main Airports

Harare (HRE) is 14km (9 miles) southeast of the city. To/from the airport: Coaches run at regular intervals to the city (journey time – 20 minutes). Taxis are available. Facilities: Post office, restaurant, duty-free shop and bank/bureau de change.

Bulawayo (BUQ) is 24km (15 miles) from the city. To/from the airport: Limited bus and taxi services are available.

Victoria Falls (VFA) is 22km (13 miles) from the town. To/from the airport: Bus and taxi services are available. Facilities: Bureau de change, duty-free shop, bars, restaurant and car hire.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (website: www.caaz.co.zm) is responsible for air travel and airports in Zimbabwe.

Departure Tax

US$30.

Getting There by Rail

There are train connections from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

Getting There by Road

There are roads from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. Off the main routes (Beitbridge and Victoria Falls), travel conditions are often difficult during heavy rains. Border posts are generally open from 0600-1800, although the more popular route through Beitbridge is open from 0600-2230. For details, contact the embassy or high commission (see Contact Addresses).

 

Climate

Although located in the tropics, temperate conditions prevail all year, as the climate is moderated by altitude and the inland position of the country. The hot and dry season is from August to October, and the rainy season from November to March. The best months to visit are April to May and August to September. Night-time temperatures can fall below freezing.

Required Clothing

Light- to mediumweights with warmer clothes for evenings and rainwear for the wet season.

 

Contacts

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in the UK

Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR, UK
Tel: (020) 7836 7755.
Website: www.zimbabweembassy-uk.com
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; 0900-1230 (visa section).

Zimbabwe Tourism Office in the UK

Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR, UK
Tel: 0207 836 7755
Website: www.zimbabwetourism.co.zw

Embassy of Zimbabwe in the USA

1608 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Tel: (202) 332 7100.
Website: www.zimbabwe-embassy.us

Zimbabwe Tourism Office in the USA

128 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022, USA
Tel: (212) 486 3444.
Website: www.zimbabwetourism.co.zw

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