Zimbabwe, Africa - Wontra Travels

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Welcome to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Continent: Africa   

Capital: Harare

Population: 14.15 million (2013)                                                                                       

Dialing Code: +263

Currency: United States dollar (official for government), South African rand, and many other currencies

Time zone: CAT (UTC+2)

Language: English, Shona, Ndebele

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas. On the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls make a thundering 108m drop into narrow Batoka Gorge, where there’s white-water rafting and bungee-jumping. Downstream are Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife.

Formerly known as the republic of Rhodesia and is a multi-racial society where people of all nationalists live in harmony. People living in urban areas have a westernized lifestyle, while in the country areas many African traditions have been preserved.

Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, when his ZANU-PF party won the elections following the end of white minority rule; he has been the president of Zimbabwe since 1987. Under Mugabe's authoritarian regime, the state security apparatus has dominated the country and been responsible for widespread human rights violations.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Zimbabwe can best be described as a jewel in the rough. Blessed with Glistening falls and some of the best wildlife on the continent, welcoming locals, fascinating heritage and good climate, there is no wonder why tourists are trickling back to the country.

Roughly 11% of Zimbbabwe’s land has been set aside for parks and wildlife reserves. The two most populous cities; Harare and Bulawayo serve up an impressive selection of cultural  attractions, and fine dining restaurants.

It’s not all smooth sailing, though. Whilst Zimbabwe’s fragile economy is slowly improving, there is still widespread poverty and the government lacks the resources to deal with the ravages of the HIV pandemic, which affects an estimated one in four people here. Corruption is rife too, and roadblocks manned by officials looking for any excuse to fleece you can hinder cross-country travel.

However, the country remains peaceful for the most part.

Business

 After years of economic freefall and a rising inflation rate,   unemployment rates and bad  land redistribution policies have resulted in food shortages and inflation of the Zimbabwean dollar.
The economy is largely dependent on agriculture and mineral exports. Tourism is also on the rise within the country.

The agricultural base relies on tobacco and other cash crops, including sugar, coffee, cotton and maize, as the main export earners. Livestock rearing is also important. The mining industry produces gold and nickel, mainly for export, as well as smaller quantities of a host of other minerals including silver, emeralds, lithium, tin, iron ore, manganese, cobalt, coal, diamonds and a number of rare metals. Large coal deposits and hydroelectric plants supply the country's power stations. The manufacturing industry was well developed by regional standards: food processing, metals, chemicals and textiles were the main components. In the service sector, tourism grew rapidly in the period after independence, but the industry has now all but vanished.

Climate

Zimbabwe enjoys pleasant temperate climate. The seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere, with midsummer at Christmas and winter lasting from May to August. In winter the days are generally dry and sunny with cold frosty nights in the Highveld.

It must be realized that it is considerably warmer all year round in low-lying areas such as Kariba, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Gonarezhou and the Zambezi valley. During the rainy season (November to March), a light jacket may be needed in the evenings. Most hotels expect men to wear a collar, jacket and tie in bars and restaurants after 1830hrs, except in the warmer parts of the country.

Communications

Mobile phone coverage is limited to afew urban areas. There are internet cafes in Harare and Mashonaland.

TV broadcasts are state controlled and private press can be subject to severe pressure. 

Customs

Zimbabwe is a multi-racial society where people of all nationalists live in harmony.
Citizens practice Christianity, with traditional beliefs in rural areas, and some Hindu, Muslim and Jewish minorities. People living in urban areas have a westernized lifestyle, while in the country areas many African traditions have been preserved. Influenced by western culture in urban centers, tradition is king in rural areas. Traditional crafts and values are the mainstay. Ensure that you do not take pictures of governmental buildings military installations and embassies or you can just get a permit for the government office

Duty Free

The following items may be imported into Zimbabwe by travellers aged 18 and over without incurring customs duty:

• 5L of alcoholic drinks (of which up to 2L may be spirits).
• Goods up to the value of US$200.

Banned imports:
Prohibited items include pornographic or obscene literature, flick knives, lockable knives, skin lightening creams containing hydroquinone and mercury, counterfeit money, prison-made goods, alcoholic drinks containing noxious chemicals, and anything deemed to threaten the morals of Zimbabweans.

Restricted items include drugs, firearms and ammunition, wildlife and wildlife products, agricultural produce, plants and plant products, soil, cultural relics and monuments, and local and foreign currency.

Banned exports:
All banned and restricted imports and also banned or restricted from being exported.

Electricity

Electricity in Zimbabwe is 220-230 AC voltage. Most outlets take a 13 amp fused square –pin plug but round pins are still in use so an adaptor that can take both is useful.

Getting Around

Taxis  & Car Hire services are available.  There is an excellent road network although there can be fuel shortages. A commuter rail link exist between Harare – Mutare, Harare – Bulawayo and Bulawayo – Victoria Falls.
Air Services – Air Zimbabwe, the national airline, operates frequent flights between the main centres and major tourist destinations. Other private scheduled and charter flights are also available on these routes. Feeder services are provided to regional capitals. International flights are also available

Road tours – A selection of road tours are operated at reasonable cost to Zimbabwe’s main tourist attractions by registered tour operators. In addition, sight-seeing and game-viewing tours are offered with couriers who are fluent in the main European languages.
Boat Hire – At Kariba, Victoria Falls, Mutirikwi and all other water bodies in Zimbabwe, boats are available for hire from registered companies and lake cruises and charters are offered at reasonable cost.

Health

With the exception of children underone year of age, Cholera and yellow fever vaccinations are advised. Ensure that you do not seim in the country’s rivers. Tap water is considered safe and Anti-malaria treatment is recommended to guests visiting areas such as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kariba , Gonarezhou and Zambezi valley

Language

English is the official language while Shona and Ndebele are the major indigenous languages, with several other minority languages of Venda, Tonga, Shangaan, Kalanga, Sotho, Ndau and Nambya.

Money

The Zimbabwean Dollar was abandoned early 2009 with the Zimbabwe bond notes and coins set to be introduced in 2016.

Passport Visa

All visitors require valid passports. With the introduction of the visa regime all countries around the globe were grouped into three categories i.e.
CATEGORY A – Countries, whose nationals do not require visas at all,
CATEGORY B – Countries whose nationals are granted visas at the port of entry on payment of the requisite visa fees,
CATEGORY C – Countries whose nationals are required to apply for and obtain visas prior to travelling.

Safety

Zimbabweans are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards each other and visitors alike. Although all Zimbabweans are very helpful it is always advisable to be cautious when dealing with strangers. Police officers are very helpful and are easily identified by their uniforms although some may be plainclothes police. Like everywhere in the world valuables should always be safeguarded or left in the hotel safe box

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