3 Official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele. Most locals speak Shona.
Currency: Since the de-circulation of the Zimbabwean Dollar, the US Dollar is now the de facto currency in Zimbabwe. The South African Rand and the Euro are also widely accepted.
Welcome to Zimbabwe. Boasting one of the most amazing wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, it’s a destination that sees thousands of visitors each year. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe will take any traveler’s breath away and then there’s the beautiful lake Kariba, and also the idea of one Africa’s largest elephant populations situated within Hwange National Park. This country is also home to locals who refuse to give up their piece of paradise, even if it means they have to bear the excruciating conditions created by the ruthless reign of the current government. But the political instability shouldn’t allow this gem to be overlooked. From the Eastern Highlands that offers superb hiking and fishing trails to the western granite mountains that form part of the stunning Matopos National Park, this destination is a gem in the rough waiting to be discovered.
What makes this country so unique? The beautiful landscapes, the breathtaking roar of the Victoria Falls as its pours down, the numerous UNESCO world Heritage Sites and the amazing variety of wildlife in this spectacular country sums it all up. Also, nowhere else on earth do Vadoma People Live. Otherwise known as the “ostrich people” this small community of people habituating an area of Western Zimbabwe literally have only two toes per feet, it’s a genetic deformity called , ectrodactyly, but mind boggling nonetheless, and since tradition forbids them to marry outside the tribe the genes are passed on throughout generations. 1 in 4 tribe members are affected with the deformity. Zimbabwe also showcases magnificent Shona Stone carvings, made by hand, and can be dated back to the Stone Age. Unfortunately in more recent times the collapse of the economy has seen trying times for this country and one can only hope that stability is reached soon before the natural beauty of this scenic destination falls victim to human destruction.
Must see places in Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park
Over 100 different animal species and 400 birds thrive in this national park. Africa’s largest elephant population (more than 30 000 of them) also calls this sanctuary home.
One of the greatest attractions in Africa and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, the fourth largest river in Africa, which is also defining the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than hundred meters. It is also considered to be the largest fall in the world.
Mana Pools National Park
Another UNESCO World Heritage site that lies just off the great Zambezi river offers a more intimate experience and prides itself with residents such as lions, hippos and elephants to name but a few, Not to mention the birds that range in over 300 different species.
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Close to Masivingo this ancient city that was built shortly after the age of the Pharaohs ruled the entire area of Zimbabwe, Eastern Botswana and Southern Mozambique until roughly 1450AD. The ruins span more than 320km in radius and are part of a land of the lost to lose yourself in.
Matobo Hills National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003, Matopos (as it is called) might be smaller in size but has some truly unique features and creatures.
Things to do in Zimbabwe
Canoe down the Zambezi River
Canoe down the Zambezi River. It’s calming and you get to truly soak up the African sun
Go see “the mist that roars”
White water rafting down the Zambezi River
The rush of the wild waters is sure to be a great highlight to your trip.
Indulge Traditional English High Tea
At the Victoria Falls Hotel – traditional British high with an African landscape as backdrop makes for an out of worldly feeling.
Enjoy Spa Therapy
Soak in the natural hot springs found in the low Feld of Zimbabwe, it’s good for the soul and relieves arthritis and rheumatism and will refresh and rejuvenate the body and mind.
Walk with the Lions
Go on safari
Quite obviously this should be part of the plan; Zimbabwe has a wide range of breathtaking national parks and superb quality resorts that accommodate any budget.
Take a village tour
Crush wheat, bake breads, help prepare the night’s feast and get involved in general life activities of the locals to truly experience the lifestyle.
Bungi jump from the falls
Best time to visit Zimbabwe
Tourists travel to Zimbabwe from May to October
Zimbabwe located in the Southern Hemisphere, so its summer there when countries such as USA see cold and wintery conditions. The summer climate is hot and dry depending on which area you are visiting as the altitude plays a big role; some parts of the country see tropical summers. Average summer time highs reach a comfort level of around 30°C and winter months see maximum temperatures of around 20°C. Winter times are dryer and not unforgivingly cold. Decide exactly what you want to do and see and then pick the time right. Keep in mind that early summer times are best for hiking purposes as the heat isn’t overwhelming yet and the winter times when the rain mainly stays away is best for safaris as it provides clearer views.
Did you know?
The main conversational language in Zimbabwe is Shona. If you want to greet a local it’s always respectful to greet them in their mother tongue and “Mhoro” (singular) or “Mhoroi” (plural) will see bright smiles greet you back politely.
- Sadza & Tsunga – Sadza is like polenta, but thicker and with the consistency of mashed potatoes. Tsunga is the stew that is served on top of the Satza. It’s a traditional staple and a “have to taste” to really get the feel of what everyday life is like.
- Mapopo – This is a traditional sweet and is a candy made from Papaya. A sweet, tropical treat.
- Dovi – It’s a hearty stew made with a lot of peanut butter and is not for the faint hearted. It’s rich and over the top but ever so delicious!
- Rock Shandy – have it with your food, it complements most traditional meals and is most refreshing in the warmer summer months.
Harare International Festival of Arts
Every year theatre and music comes alive with this showdown of talent. It’s also followed by an amazing arts & crafts market. It’s a feast of color and sounds and is sure to amaze and inspire (April)
Bulawayo Music festival
Every second year Bulawayo hosts a musical masterpiece. This festival showcases the country’s top musicians and also has international acts performing. Aside from the dazzling displays and the informative workshops held this festival is the biggest of its kind and attracts great amounts of traffic (May)
Harare International Food Festival
True foodies and gourmet food lovers gather here to feast on top notch munchies. Everything including international delicacies to local wines is on display and sees some great chefs showcasing their skills. You are sure to leave with a full stomach and a pleased pallet (November)