A complete travel guide to Zimbabwe
All the things we wish we knew before we travel are here so you don’t have to feel the same way!
This list was well thought out because all it took was a few words to make the first few days of our trip to Zimbabwe easier! We were in Botswana for a month and nobody mentioned any of this to us, its not the quickest search online about some of this information and none of our accommodations mentioned in when we booked! It’s a wonderful country and we are having the best time and everyone is beyond hospitable so we are surprised that these topics didn’t come up prior! At any rate here is your list of MUST KNOWS for traveling to beautiful Zimbabwe!
BRING CASH (USD currency is favored)
The ATMS are EMPTY. The banks don’t accept foreign cards and even if they did you can only take out $100 a day and the queues to get money out of a Zim bank account are nearly two hours long DAILY.
This is actually not a joke… sometimes I travel to a place and just bring my card so that I can pull out when I get to the country and don’t have to worry about carrying a stack of cash on me but do not attempt this if you are traveling to Zimbabwe. I wish that someone would have said something to us before we left Botswana because.
Usually I wouldn’t even consider getting cash from those guys at the border who are trine hustle you for a quick exchange but we learnt very quickly that they are virtually the only people in the country who have money and you will want to grab from them if you have the opportunity. If you don’t know the history of Zimbabwe I would suggest doing a little bit of research prior to getting here; they are currently running on the US dollar but with a new Zimbabwean currency… long story but seriously do not come here without all the money you’re going to need during your stay. Most foreign cards won’t even work at the stores, I got declined three times before ONE store finally accepted my debit card. Celina had a bit more luck, perhaps because her card is a UK account… nevertheless; come prepared.
We have ben told several times that if you do have foreign currency you should try not to make it too apparent; physical notes are scarce here and its something that many people want to get their hands on so if you can help it just pull it out when you need it!
Prepare to spend a pretty penny on your Visa
The first startling moment upon crossing the border was the visa price!
As a Canadian my Visa came out to $100 Canadian Dollars and Celina’s coming from the UK came out to £45. These were easily two of the most expensive Visa’s both of us have encountered in a long time if not ever. Once all was said and done we were wiped out of the Pula that we had brought with us from Botswana. They don’t accept card at the border either so make sure you know how much you need to pay before you get there so you don’t have to take it out of your spending cash. Please bare in mind these fees were for single entry and valid for 30 days. If you want to extend prior to 30 days completing you have to go to an office and ask for an extension; this will not cost anything until you get to 90 days. If you are looking to have multiple entries for your Visa you’re looking at more $$$ upfront.
Zimbabwe is easy to get around and affordable
Surprisingly and thankfully.
All you need to do is get a trusted cab or find out where the rides are going, the main cities like Bulawayo and Harare are pretty organized but driving is a bit reckless in some areas. Your best bet is to put aside some cash for these rides, they don’t add up to quickly but there is no program like Uber or Lyft.
Know what you want to see and where you want to go
Aside from the obvious Victoria Falls, there is a lot to see in Zimbabwe
Even though the government may have ruined the lives of a lot of its citizens it cannot take away the beauty of the country or their spirit. Zimbabwe is full of colourful, happy and welcoming humans. Everyone I have encountered has been more than helpful and hopeful for a brighter future for their country. There are so many things to see here that if you don’t plan accordingly you will miss out! Zimbabwe used to be one of Africas tourism capitals and one day I am sure will regain its title. It is lush, full of culture and has plenty of sites to see all around the country. Food in abundance and plenty of amazing restaurants.
These are all the things I wish that I knew prior to coming to Zimbabwe, and it could have been a simple search had someone written what I did for you all! Zimbabwe is such an amazing country and not one that should be missed. If you are doing a tour of Africa or just looking to see some scenery do not let the above scare you away, all you need to do is plan ahead!
If you are planning to visit Zimbabwe get ready to be overstimulated with beauty. This country has so much to offer in so many different regions.
Some posts to come on where to stay, what to do and where to eat!