Nestled between South Africa, Botswana and the Zambia, Zimbabwe is known for its dramatic landscapes and diverse wildlife. However, most notably it is home of one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls. A spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur, Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, form the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, "The Smoke that Thunders", this is the largest waterfall in the world. Dropping some 108m into the gorge below, it is a sight that photographs cannot do justice and has to be seen to be believed!
IMPORTANT - As our Zimbabwe tour also travels into South Africa, please ensure you also check the requirements for entry to South Africa, as they differ to those for Zimbabwe.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay. You will require 3 blank pages in your passport in order to enter Zimbabwe, however, as entering via South Africa, it is advised to ensure you have at least 6 blank pages in your passport! This is because South Africa requires 2 clean, consecutive pages for each transit – you will need two pages to transit South Africa in each direction, and two pages to enter Zimbabwe. South African officials take this requirement very seriously and will not permit entry in the case of insufficient pages. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport
US, Canadian, British citizens may enter Zimbabwe for up to 30 days for tourist purposes and will require a single-entry visa for the South Africa tour extension to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. These can be obtained upon arrival at the airport and the costs must be paid in cash to the immigration officials. The current rate is USD $55 for US and UK passengers, and USD $75 for Canadian passengers. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. You will need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.
• Hotel details for Visa applications
Victoria Falls Hotel
1 Mallet Drive, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 1344751
• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Oslo, including those for the US, Canada, Australia and UK. However, embassies for other countries including New Zealand are located in South Africa or other African cities, offering coverage to Zimbabwe. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.
N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.
HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.
• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs. Unlike in South Africa, the provision of health care in Zimbabwe is unreliable. There is a shortage of drugs and trained medical staff in hospitals, making it difficult for hospitals to treat certain illnesses including accidents and trauma cases. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
Insect bites have been very minimal within previous groups, however please come prepared with your insect repellent spray/plug-in just in case. Mosquito nets are available upon request. Whilst on safari, the lodges are sprayed nightly with insect repellent.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints, but please note, whilst in the Reserves, doctors and medical supplies are few and far between. If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.
• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
The Zimbabwe Tour is an Activity Level 2 tour and will require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.
• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you. As above, medication if often in short supply in Zimbabwe, so please ensure you take sufficient supplies with you. Important:
- Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
- Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.
Prior to travel, please consult your doctor to discuss the destinations you are visiting, the latest immunisation information and requirements as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.
There are currently no specific certificate requirements under International Health Regulations. However, there is a risk of yellow fever transmission in parts of Zimbabwe.
Yellow Fever Certificate. Depending on the area you are visiting, or areas you have previously travelled to, you may need a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate to show you have received said vaccination prior to travel. Check whether you need a Yellow Fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended. These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine. Vaccinations for Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Polio, Typhoid and Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B; Meningococcal Meningitis; Rabies and Cholera may be recommended depending on the tour you are taking and your medical history. For further information, please see: wwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations
You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, particularly if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Any feverish illness during or after returning from travel must be reported to a doctor immediately.
• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,
- Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
- Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
- Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
- Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
- Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.
• What to Pack and Wear
The weather in Zimbabwe will be variable. You will need clothes for hot weather as well as a warm, waterproof jacket and some layers, as it may be cooler in the evening. For the safaris it’s wise to pack khaki-coloured clothing as it blends better into the bush. Pack light and remember the basic essentials. We would also recommend a good pair of lightweight binoculars.
Insect repellent and sun cream are also essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards.
• Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.
South Africa & Zimbabwe Tours – These tours include internal flights in South Africa and Zimbabwe. You are permitted one piece of hold luggage per person, at a maximum weight of 23kg (50lb) per piece and dimensions of 158cm (62inches) per piece. You are also permitted to carry one piece of hand luggage per person up to 8kg (18lb), with maximum dimension of 56cm(L) 36cm (W) 23cm (H), so that it fits under the seat in front of you or in the overhead lockers. Additionally, one small personal item (e.g. a small purse, small laptop case) is also allowed. Larger laptop bags and standard/bulkier briefcases will NOT be considered a personal item and will count as the normal piece of hand baggage. These luggage restrictions apply equally for flights within South Africa and to Victoria Falls.
Luggage handling is not included in our Zimbabwe tour. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.
Laundry services may available in some hotels on the tour.
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages but English, Shona and Ndebele are the most widely spoken languages.
The time zone in Zimbabwe is GMT+2, 2 hours ahead of London GMT. There is no daylight saving and no time-zone changes.
In March in Zimbabwe, it is heading out of the rainy season and the temperatures are between 17°C/63°F and 30°C/86°F. You will still need your raincoat!
In Zimbabwe, the standard voltage is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz. Two types of plug are used - Type G (UK style three square pins) and Type D (three round pins, used in India and some African countries) and you will need a plug adaptor and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you. Please note, blackouts are common in Zimbabwe.
MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Zimbabwe has a number of cellphone/mobile phone providers offer national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as we head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate. Internet and Wi-Fi are accessible in most urban areas and most hotels. Please check data roaming charges for Zimbabwe with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.
As of 24 June 2019, the only legal tender in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe Dollar. There is a critical shortage of physical cash and it is not currently possible to make cash withdrawals using an international bank card. Credit and debit cards are increasingly being used for transactions. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards however many places do not accept cards such as Diners Club or American Express. If you intend to use any of your debit or credit cards whilst away, please make sure that you contact your bank before you leave to inform them that you will be travelling in order not to cause any problems using your cards or whilst on the trip.
Although some bureaux de change will accept and change foreign currency, particularly US dollars, the exchange rate is unpredictable and there is currently no new “Zimbabwe dollar” note. Prices and transactions will mainly be in Zimbabwean (RTGS) dollars, but some businesses may accept US dollars. Many businesses, including some medical providers, may not accept payment by credit or debit card.
Please check on the up to date financial situation closer to travel.
Zimbabwe can be quite expensive, due to the financial issues in the country. Please make sure you budget for high spending.
• Bank Opening
Banks in Zimbabwe are usually open 8am – 3pm Monday to Friday, with reduced hours on a Wednesday and open on Saturday mornings.
After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.
Food in Zimbabwe generally centres around charcoal-grilled meats. You will frequently find big steaks, chicken or fish served. You will find a more international cuisines served in the big cities, alongside local dishes and some game meats too!
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.
In general, the tap water in Zimbabwe is not safe to drink. Do not drink from streams, rivers and lakes and it is best to avoid drinking from pumps and wells – as animal presence can still contaminate supplies. Bottled water can be bought at hotels, supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.
Zimbabwe offers lots for visitors to buy. You’ll find many an option for quality, well priced sculpture and handmade crafts from local artisans. Pick up original art pieces, handicrafts, souvenirs and jewellery.
• Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 8am – noon, then from 2pm-5pm Monday–Friday. Some shops open Saturday mornings and most shops are closed on Sundays, with the exception of certain grocery shops and souvenir shops.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Zimbabwe is in general a safe country to visit. All the more so if your visit is primarily an escorted one like ours. Zimbabwe's politico-economic situation is volatile, and has slightly improved in the last few years, though we monitor the situation constantly as your safety is of paramount importance to us. The political-economic situation in Zimbabwe, however, rarely affect tourists. Ensure you carry identification, so that you can produce it if required to do so by the security force
As with many developing countries, theft and muggings are relatively common although most incidents are in cities, particularly in airports in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards. In particular whilst in Harare you should be vigilant and take sensible precautions. We would advise against walking about alone and driving at night. When in large crowds or major tourist destinations, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.
Although the government is looking into introducing regulations, smoking is currently not banned in indoor public places in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is predominantly Christian, with almost 70% of the population belonging to Protestantism. With Catholicism and other denominations, it accounts for over 85% Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card! Please mote, taking photographs of members of police and armed forces personnel and of demonstrations and protests is not permitted.
ARRIVAL IN ZIMBABWE
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.
TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.
OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
Please also check the notes for South Africa as our Zimbabwe tours cross into South Africa. Different entry requirements apply, and you may need a visa! For other countries, please check the relevant Travel Tip pages for information on these countries.
FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.
If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.
Updated November 2019