Country InformationZimbabwe covers an area approximately that of Germany and has a population of about 17 million. After Zimbabwes substantial economic decline led by President Mugabe, the situation has improved since the introduction of the US dollar as local currency in 2009 and the final replacement of Mugabe in 2017. The country now attracts a growing number of visitors.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country situated between two great rivers: the mighty Zambezi cuts along its northern frontier, forming the border with Zambia, while the languid Limpopo forms the southern border with South Africa. Zimbabwe is known as one of the most diverse and exciting safari destinations in Africa, blessed with stunning Parks such as Mana Pools National Park, Hwange National Park and the famous Victoria Falls, amongst others.
What does a safari in Zimbabwe cost?The highest prices for a safari in Zimbabwe have to be paid for the travel period June to October. In these months there is almost no rain, the sun shines and the animal sightings are at its best. Local flights in Zimbabwe are moderately expensive as most of the parks are connected by flights on smaller planes, exclusively for tourists travelling from park to park. Hidden costs are the park fees and conservation fees, which must be included in a trip in addition to accommodation prices.
Climate and best times to visitThe days are bright and sunny and the nights clear and cool during the African Winter from April to October. The winter months from May to August inclusive, can bring freezing temperatures (below 0°C sometimes) in the early morning and evenings, and moderate day time temperatures between 15 to 25 °C. September and October are very hot and very dry with temperatures rising to 40 °C in the day time. November to April are the summer months which is also the rainy season. Some of the camps in Zimbabwe such as Ruckomechi in Mana Pools close from November to March.
Immigration rules and regulationsBoth Swiss and EU citizens require a passport which is valid at least 6 months beyond the date of your departure from Zimbabwe, and must contain at least two blank pages. A visa can be purchased at the port of entry and costs 50 USD.
FlightsVictoria Falls is usually accessed via Johannesburg with an effective flight time to Johannesburg of 10 hours and a 2 hr feeder flight. Flights to the capital Harare are also available, usually booked to and from Johannesburg.
LuggageThere is a restriction of 20 kg per person when flying in light aircraft. Do not bring hard suitcases, but only soft sports bags.
Health and insuranceMalaria prophylaxis is recommended for travel to Zimbabwe. Please seek advice from your doctor. Make sure that you are adequately insured, particularly for a medical evacuation from a remote area and repatriation. All necessary medication must be brought from home. Do not rely on getting the required medication in Zimbabwe. All medication must be kept in your hand luggage.
Currency and methods of paymentThe national currency has been replaced with the US Dollar in 2009. Major credit cards are accepted in the major towns, but please make sure that your PIN code works, as transactions via the automated teller machines (ATM) are faster and much more reliable. Most lodges do not accept credit cards yet. Tips to guides and camp staff can be given in cash in US Dollars. The local staff can't change any other currency into local currency due to bank restrictions. Please note that your dollar bills should not be older than 2010 as the local banks do not accept older dollar bills.
Dress CodeThere is no specific clothes that you need to bring on a safari. Comfortable, casual clothes are your best choice. For the game drives, all colours are allowed. For walking safaris, only brown, green or beige tones are recommended. For the period from May to August, bring warm clothes, including hats and gloves. As for footwear, we recommend comfortable, open sandals and a pair of sturdy shoes. Hiking boots are not necessary unless you have planned extensive walks.
CommunicationEnglish is the official language. Other widely spoken languages are Shona and Sindebele, which also have various dialects, and other minority languages. Mobile connection is usually good, unless you are far away from urban centres. However, most camps provide Internet / Wifi access nowadays.
Food and drinkFood at the lodges is of excellent quality. We recommend you to drink only bottled drinking water. Only bottled mineral water and filtered ice are available at the lodges.
ElectricityThe power supply is 220 - 240 volts. Adapters for all countries are present at all good lodges. Computers, cameras and iPods can then be recharged. The power supply is available 24 hrs a day at most lodges. The plugs have either three large round prongs or three square prongs.
LaundryClothes can be washed at almost all lodges. Do not take too many clothes, instead make use of the laundry service wherever possible.
TrafficTraffic in Zimbabwe drives on the left-hand side.
Time differenceNovember to March: No time difference
April to October: + one hour