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ZimbabweZimbabwe

Political tumult has darkened Zimbabwe's urban centers, yet this country vigorously protects parks and wildlife. Above all else is stunning Victoria Falls on the Zambizi. Learn of the Shona, Zimbabwe's earliest inhabitants and still its largest ethnic group, with their characteristic dry stone architecture at the Great Zimbabwe ruins of Masvingo.

Highlights

  1. Victoria Falls

    Lying on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is one of the greatest attractions in Africa as well as one of the most incredible waterfalls in the entire world. Known as the "Smoke that Thunders" due to its rising mist and roaring waters, this UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the record for the largest curtain of falling water throughout the world. The ongoing flow of water derives from the Zambezi River, which stretches over 1,500 miles long and plummets over 350 feet into a series of gorges below. One of the most well-known spots associated with Victoria Falls is the Devil's Pool, a naturally-made infinity pool that sits right on the edge of the cliffs. Lush and active rainforests surround the falls, and visitors can speculate out onto the natural wonder on the 1905 Victoria Falls Bridge.
  2. The Shona

    The Shona people are Zimbabwe's earliest inhabitants and, to this day, the country's largest ethnic group. It's tribe members are divided into five different clans located in the east regions of Zimbabwe. 80% of Zimbabwe's total population identify as Shona people. These tribe members are traditionally agricultural and reside in homes called mushas, individual rounded huts that stand for specialty functions, such as kitchens and living areas. The Shona people are very well known in the arts for their stone sculptures as well as their creative hand at making pottery. Throughout Zimbabwe, there are several ancient stone structures that are believed to be built by this tribe. These stone walls were the foundation of Great Zimbabwe, an 800-hectare city that was once a main trading hub, and today is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. 
  3. Great Zimbabwe ruins of Masvingo

    The Great Zimbabwe ruins of Masvingo stand as the largest collection of ruins in Africa located south of the Sahara Desert. Situated between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, these ruins of a once-outstanding city are comprised of intricate dry stone turrets, platforms and stairways. The term "masvingo" means "fort" in the Shona language, and is commonly referred to as "the fort near Fort Victoria". These granite walls are a symbol of culturally great wealth as well as incredible architectural skills. In fact, archaeologist Peter Farlake stated that these ruins display "an architecture that is unparalleled elsewhere in Africa or beyond". 
  4. Zambezi River

    Crossing over six countries (Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique) and spilling over a handful of waterfalls, the Zambezi River is Africa's 4th largest river, running the length of over 1,500 miles. This sprawling river is also the largest river that flows into the Indian Ocean from Africa. This "River of Life" supports millions of people that inhabit the surrounding areas. These locals thrive on fishing in the river's waters and the rich floodplain soils. The Zambezi River is home to only a few bridges, with the most impressive and well-known bridge, the Victoria Falls Bridge. Visitors to the river can spot a variety of wildlife on the banks as well as in the surrounding forests, or sit and enjoy the peaceful landscape.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Zimbabwe? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: Harare
Population:  15.6 million
Currency: US Dollar
Languages: English, Shona, Ndebele, Tswana, Xhosa, Chewa, Venda, Tsonga, Tonga, Southern Sotho
Drives on the: Left
Time zone: UTC +2

Entry requirements

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months after your date of entry to Zimbabwe.

A visa is needed for U.S. passport holders to enter Zimbabwe, which can be obtained online or upon arrival; getting it upon arrival is generally much easier. The cost is $30 USD for a single-entry visa or $45 USD for a double-entry. Though it may be possible to pay with credit card, we strongly suggest you carry this exact amount in cash. You should have two consecutive blank pages in your passport for entry into Zimbabwe. Please also carry a copy of the e-ticket for your return flight, in case this is requested.

Some of our packages offer an optional excursion from Zimbabwe to Chobe National Park in Botswana. If you are taking the optional Chobe National Park excursion, obtain a double-entry Zimbabwe visa and be sure to have an additional blank passport page for entry into Botswana. For more information, please check with the Zimbabwe Embassy or Consulate or the U.S. State Dept.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

Travelers arriving from or who visited a yellow fever endemic country within 14 days of arrival in Zimbabwe will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry to Zimbabwe. 

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Malaria is present throughout Zimbabwe. Take precautions against getting mosquito bites, and talk to your doctor about taking a prescription medicine to prevent malaria (before, during and after your trip). Also ask your doctor about vaccinations for typhoid and hepatitis A and be sure you are up-to-date with other routine vaccinations, such as measles.

Travelers arriving from or who visited a yellow fever endemic country within 14 days of arrival in Zimbabwe are required to present proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry to Zimbabwe. Locate a vaccination clinic in the U.S.

Do not swim in any freshwater such as lakes or rivers to avoid parasites.

Find more information about health precautions when traveling to Zimbabwe on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) site.

Weather

Zimbabwe is a year-round destination. April thru October is very hot and dry. The Falls tend to be their least impressive, although game viewing is ideal during this period. The rainy season is November through March. Botanical enthusiasts will enjoy the lush, green vegetation during this period. Zimbabwe's weather is most comfortable right after the rainy season in May and June. The grass is highest then, making game viewing difficult and Victoria Falls is shrouded in mist.

Tipping

In restaurants, tip 10-15%.

Money & Credit Cards

The official currency in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe dollar. Cash in US Dollars is widely accepted and preferred for your shopping needs while in destination. Credit card use and acceptance is limited and inconsistent (only available at selected stores and hotels). Per the US State Department, only Zimbabwe bank cards are accepted at local bank and ATMs and therefore travelers should not expect to have access to cash from automated teller machines. 

Important note: Foreign cash may be exchanged to the local currency at the bank or exchange bureaus. We suggest that you only exchange enough cash to cover any incidental during your stay in Zimbabwe. It is recommended to have cash when visiting Victoria Falls, as the ATMs sometimes limit the amount of cash allowed to withdraw. Be sure to call your credit card providers to let them know you will be traveling abroad, the places you’ll be visiting and the dates of your trip. This is important for your own protection.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card while traveling.

Shopping

Shop for minerals, jewelry, dolls, woven hats, wood carvings, copper plaques, wooden spoons, safari clothing, baskets, beads, stone sculptures, and snuffboxes. Ivory has been problematic, and some countries do not allow its import. 

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plug D & G. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • The name “Zimbabwe” means "a great house of stone", deriving from the local Shona language.
  • Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa. In fact, 90% of the population is educated.
  • Victoria Falls, one of the biggest waterfalls in the world, is located in the Zimbabwe's northwestern part of the Zambezi River
  • The world’s largest man-made lake, Lake Kariba, is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • If a man has a large stomach, he is considered wealthy! A potbelly indicates that the person can afford to eat meat on a daily basis.

Tours & Packages

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5 matching packages
Small Group Tour Highlights of Southern Africa
3 countries, 3 icons: Cape Town, jewel of South Africa; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with Zambezi River cruise; 4 world-class safaris in Chobe, Botswana; 1 day in Nairobi
from $3399 w/ Flights 11 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour A Taste of South Africa with Victoria Falls
Scenic and historic Cape Town then 4 game drives in the Greater Mabula Game Reserve as well as Victoria Falls.
from $3799 w/ Flights 11 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Kenya Wildlife Safari with Victoria Falls
Nairobi, then 9 game drives in Samburu, Ol Pejeta, Lake Nakuru & Masai Mara; Stay in superior Nairobi hotels & safari lodges, All this plus the majestic Victoria Falls.
from $5099 w/ Flights 14 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Best of South Africa with Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, Johannesburg & Cape Town, 3 game drives in Kruger and a private conservancy, plus a bush walk; stay in upscale hotels throughout.
from $5499 w/ Flights 15 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Incredible South Africa with Rovos Luxury Train and Victoria Falls
Johannesburg, 4 safaris in a Private Game Reserve, 2 nights aboard Rovos Luxury Train, Cape Town and Victoria Falls.
closed

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* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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