There is no getting around what Zimbabwe has been going through, however, Zimbabwe still remains a beautiful country to visit. It offers the people flocking there the incredible Victoria Falls, glorious wildlife preserves, the medieval ruins of Great Zimbabwe, and the lively capital city of Harare, one of the major tourist gateways in Africa.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in south-central Africa. It lies between the Zambezi River in the North and the Limpopo River to the south.
Taking the name from the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe changed the country's name from Rhodesia when, in 1980, it moved to black majority rule. Even though the politics is quite turbulent, this country's parks and attractions are definitely worth the visit.
With all the political troubles, tourism is much needed for the locals and it remains safe in tourist areas.
Zimbabwe has a population of 13 million people with the official languages being Shona and English. The capital is Harare. The average temperature ranges from 20-32 degrees celcius all year round. The main attraction is the Victoria Falls and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.
Quick Facts about Zimbabwe
Full name: Republic of Zimbabwe
Capital city: Harare
Area: 390,580 sq km; 150,803 sq miles
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2 ()
Languages: English (official); Shona (other)
Religion: Syncretic (50%); Christian (25%); indigenous beliefs (24%); Muslim; Other (1%)
Electricity: 220V; 50HzHz
Electric Plug Details: British-style plug: 2 flat blades & 1 flat grounding blade, South African/Indian-style plug: 2 circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin plug configuration
Country Dialling Code: 263
Visa Details: Click Here
Money matters: Per Capita Income: US$640, Currency: Zimbabwe Dollar (Z$) and USD. Never use credit cards.
Medical matters: Cholera, Malaria, Rabies, Yellow fever, HIV/AIDS, Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia)
Recent history of Zimbabwe
When the Zimbabwe elections were pending in 2002, the European Union (EU) appointed election observers to oversee the process. Because most of the media coverage wasn’t exactly positive, parliament passed a law restricting media liberties.
Not long after that, the EU team leader was sent home, so the EU imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, joining the World Bank and IMF in their concerns over the disintegrating conditions.
Despite all this, Mugabe was re-elected, in an election that was controversial and marred by scandal. International condemnation was widespread, leading to Zimbabwe getting suspended from the Commonwealth. When the suspension carried on in 2003, Zimbabwe decided to withdraw from the Commonwealth once and for all, and this further alienated the country.
Shortly after this drama, the 2005 elections took place. Since 2000, Mugabe and his security and propaganda networks spent the next five years readjusting the playing field by coercing, manipulating and bribing their way to victory in these elections, which ended up being a dark, disturbing circus.
During the time leading up to these elections, they put Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai through two treason trials. At the end, Mugabe managed a two-thirds majority vote, giving him the power to change Zimbabwe's constitution and pave the way for a successor of his choice.
Part of the changes Mugabe made in the constitution was to create a senate, who had to review their opposing division and decide whether or not they could take part in the elections or not.
Unsurprisingly, mass protests are continually planned against the government, but understandably so, people appear more concerned with feeding their families than fighting the well-armed state.
Tourism is of great importance to the economy, which otherwise relies on farming and mining for export earnings. Having suffered greatly during the droughts of the early 1990s, Zimbabwe is still finding its way out of the economic doldrums with unemployment being high and the question of land ownership still being an emotional issue.
- White-water rafting on the mighty Zambezi
- Sundowners and snacks on a Zambezi Boat Cruise
- Victoria Falls water sports
- Afternoon tea at Victoria Falls Hotel
- African meal in a boma
- Canoe around Mana Pools
- Tiger fishing on Lake Kariba
The awe-inspiring Victoria Falls
is a very popular and unique destination as it is the largest waterfall in the world. As you gaze upon this majestic miracle of nature, think back to the time when the explorer, David Livingstone first set eyes on the falls. He aptly named it in honour of Queen Elizabeth, who reigned Britain at the time. Here are a few tips
on how to choose your Cape Town To Victoria Falls Overland Tour. Once you have chosen your dream tour, have a look at the many activities
available to get your heart racing...
The Mana Pools National Park
The Mana Pools
lie in a relatively remote area in the park where you can spot numerous hippos, crocodiles, zebras, elephants and antelopes coming for a drink of water. It is a World Heritage Site due to its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife.
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument
Old stone ruins and winding corridors are the fascinating remains of the Great Zimbabwe National Monument
, the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa. The Zimbabwe Ruins
are some of the oldest and largest ruins in Southern Africa with a fascinating history behind it.
The Hwange National Park
is one of the few African parks where game viewing is consistently good all year round due to the many waterholes in the area. The Park is situated in the west of Zimbabwe, on the main road between Bulawayo
and Victoria Falls
. In the park there are over 400 bird species due to the seasonal wetland and you will spot gemsbok, brown hyena, African wild dogs, lions, leopard, elephants, spotted hyena and cheetahs.
is the world's largest artificial inland lake that attracts massive quantities of game, both big and small, including huge Nile crocodiles, elephants and hippopotamus. There is also a wide variety of birdlife, including the African Fish Eagle
, an amazing bird to see in action as it swoops down to catch its prey.
Nyanga National Park
This park is private and picturesque, situated 100 kilometres north of Byumba – the main mountains of the Eastern Highlands. Some portions of this Park are somewhat reminiscent of Scotland, while others might remind visitors of Arizona, which only goes to show the diversity of landscapes in this reserve. Nyanga boasts the second tallest waterfall in Africa, with incredible views over the dense Honde Valley and into Mozambique. Most visitors come to this Park to hike up Mt Nyangani, the tallest peak in Zimbabwe. It can take up to three hours to reach the top of this mountain, but there are also three to four day hikes on offer here that continue past Pungwe Drift and into Honde Valley. Near the Park’s headquarters are some intriguing sights, such as old ruins and the Rhodes Museum. Nyangombe Falls is found five kilometres west of the Nyangombe camping ground and two kilometres from Udu Dam. At the southern end of the Park, the magnificent Mtarazi Falls and the smaller Muchururu Falls cascade down a sheer cliff face into the Honde Valley.
World’s View, or ‘Malindidzimu Hill’
This is one of the most awe-inspiring sights of Zimbabwe, offering epic 360 degree vistas of the Park. The tranquility up there is incredible, taking on a spiritual quality that makes it clear why the area is so sacred to the Ndebele folk. This is also the burial site of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia. Up here, the landscape is surreal with massive boulders covered in multi-coloured lichen, clumps of hair-like grass and rainbow-striped lizards slipping between the rocks – all of which make this feel like an alternate universe.
The Victoria Falls National Park
The walk along the top of the gorge on a path with numerous viewpoints gives you the most spectacular panoramic vistas of the world-renowned Victoria Falls, as well as the mighty Zambezi River below. One of the most dramatic sights is the westernmost point, known as ‘Cataract View’. Another trail leads to the aptly named ‘Danger Point’, where a sheer, unfenced 100 metre drop will have your knees shaking. From there, you can follow a side track for a wonderful view of the Victoria Falls Bridge.
Zambezi National Park
Made up of 40 kilometres of Zambezi River frontage and a spread of wildlife-rich mopane forest and savannah, the Zambezi National Park is most well-known for its sable antelope herds. However, it is also home to giraffe, elephant and lions. Entrance to the Park is just five kilometres northwest of the Victoria Falls town centre, and is easily accessible by private vehicle. Tour conductors on either side of the border offer wildlife drives, guided hikes and fishing trips.