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Travel in Zimbabwe
General Information

Zambezi Safari and Travel

What you should bring…
Health Requirements
Entry Formalities
Customs Concessions
Public Holidays
Fire Arms
The Weather
Game Viewing Season
Moon Phases
Accommodation Accounts
Airport Departure Tax

Take the Quick Tour
Take the Scenic Route
Go to the Infodirectory
Make an enquiry

Contact Details
The Zambezi Safari & Travel Co.
Suite 3, The Heights Centre
PO Box 158, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 61 2532
Fax: +263 61 2291
e-mail: info@zambezi.com

travel in zimbabwe

What you should bring….

  • For day time activities, casual personal clothing: shorts and T-shirts are sufficient - neutral colours are preferred (khaki, green, brown, no camouflage) - white or light clothing is not recommended for any safari activities. Sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat are recommended.

  • For night time activities, "smart casual" attire is quite acceptable throughout Zimbabwe.

  • Comfortable walking shoes and spare socks.

  • Personal toiletries and medication. Anti-malarial prophylaxis. Deet-based insect repellent. Suntan lotion/barrier cream is essential.

  • A good torch, spare batteries, binoculars, fully charged video recorder, camera and spare film. Video battery chargers should have a UK standard square plug adapter - 220 volts is standard in Zimbabwe. An option is to get a 12volt cigarette lighter adapter.

  • Rain gear is advisable from November to April. Field guides for guests with specialised interests.

  • "Soft bags" are preferable to suitcases especially where private air charters are included in your travel plans.

  • A ten kilogram luggage limit is strictly enforced on private air charters.

  • Make sure your luggage is clearly labeled. In the case of air travel, remove old destination labels and paste your name, address, and tour group in a prominent place on the outside and inside of each piece of luggage. The outside tag should show only show your name. Enclose a copy of your itinerary in each bag. A bright piece of colored tape near the handle of your luggage will help you pick out your bag from others.

  • It is a good to bring a change of clothing and a few other essentials (toothbrush, medicine, camera, and film) in your carry on bag in the unlikely event that your checked baggage is delayed or misplaced.

  • Safari clothing and accessories are available in Kariba at "Legends" on the Heights or at the Shearwater Shop at Kariba Breezes Hotel.


  • For best results when photographing wildlife you will need a zoom lens. A 300 mm is ideal, a 400 mm lens is recommended for birds. Always remember that you are seldom that close to the animals you are trying to photograph. All too often what seems to be a nearby elephant comes out like a distant molehill with all the accompanying disappointment.

  • Remember also that the longer the lens, the more control it requires, so wherever possible use a tree or car window as a support for your camera.

  • Most people are happy to have their photographs taken but it is only polite to ask them permission first.

  • Always make sure when loading a new film that your camera is clean and free of dust. A soft cloth or brush blower is a must for avid photographers to prevent disappointment .

  • On many occasions you may find that the animals you may wish to photograph are standing in the shade. It is vital that you expose for your subject and NOT for the foreground or background.

  • Never leave your film in the sun or lying about in a closed car. Staying cool is the rule here and if you have a cool box keep your films in it.

Health requirements

  • Zimbabwe has a fully functional Health Service which compares very favourably with the best services in Southern Africa. The Medical Air Rescue Service (MARS) provides an emergency evacuation service throughout the country. MARS membership is organised on request by us. oWith the exception of children under one year of age, all travellers arriving in Zimbabwe from infected areas are requested to possess valid vaccination certificates against Cholera and Yellow Fever.

  • While in Zimbabwe, you are advised not to use water in the country's dams and rivers for swimming and drinking as it may be infected with Bilharzia. It is also advisable to boil all water before drinking. Some clients are advised to take extraordinary precautions in Zimbabwe (don't take ice, don't eat salads, drink only from sealed mineral water containers etc.) - these precautions are generally unnecessary as most hotels, lodges and operators take pride in their offering to clients - health and hygiene issues are thoroughly covered.

  • Malaria is a threat in parts of Zimbabwe but simple and sensible precautions can be taken to alleviate the risks of contracting the disease. If you intend to visit lower-lying areas such as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kariba, the lower Zambezi Valley and Gonarezhou, it is advisable to take a course of anti-malaria tablets. These are available from pharmacies in Zimbabwe but it is strongly recommended that you consult your own medical practitioner before arrival. There is extensive information on the Internet on the subject of malaria. The best means of preventing Malaria is to take physical precautions against being bitten. Mosquito nets and other physical barriers are used at all of the camps and lodges which we utilise. In terms of personal protection we recommend "Deet" based repellents - from experience "Autan" and "Off!" are the best sprays. The locally manufactured "Mosbar", (perhaps not the best perfumed soap), is also very effective. The highest incidence of Malaria occurs between February and April. In the event that a member of your party shows 'flu like symptoms within 4 months of returning home from our area then have a simple blood test done to check for the presence of malarial parasites. Early treatment rarely leads to complications. We would also be happy to advise contact details of local medical practitioners who have years of practical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria.

  • It is advisable for visitors to obtain medical insurance before arrival.

  • Please bring any personal medicines as they are often hard to find, especially in small towns. If you wear prescription glasses we recommend that bring a spare pair.

  • Bring your own small medical kit including band aids, iodine (for water purification), aspirin or similar, antacids, and a dose of antibiotics. Rehydration mixture is inexpensive and of great value if you suffer severe diarrhea (please ask your travel medicine specialist for details). It is also wise to bring a small supply of unused hypodermic needles with you. Small African clinics in remote places may not have adequate stocks.

  • Avoid walking barefoot. Any cut, bite or sting, can easily get infected in the dust and humidity.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  • Visitors should take the same care as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets, and cameras when walking in crowded places. Avoid walking at night and place valuables in safe deposit boxes at hotels and lodges. Zimbabwe has a significantly lower crime rate than its neighbours!

  • Leave an itinerary with a friend or family member so that you they will know where to reach you in case of an emergency.

Entry formalities

  • If you are not staying for longer than six months, you enter Zimbabwe with a minimum of formalities. All you need is a valid passport, a return ticket to your country (or enough money to buy one) and sufficient funds to cover your stay in Zimbabwe.

  • All visitors require valid passports. The nationals of the following countries do not need visas:

  1. Nationals of Zimbabwe

  2. British subjects being "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies"

  3. Nationals of Andora, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Fiji, France (including French Departments and Territories), Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Reunion, St. Pierre & Miquelon, French Polynesia, New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Crozet Archipelago, Kerguelen Islands, St. Paul, Nouvelle, Amsterdam and Terre Adelie, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldive Islands, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Republic of South Africa, Saint Lucia (W. Indies), Samoa (Western), San Marino, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United States of America, Zambia.

  • Nationals of the following countries must make prior application for entry visas to the Chief Immigration Officer, Private Bag 7717, Causeway, Harare, from whom the prescribed forms of application can be obtained. Forms are also available from any Zimbabwe High Commission, Trade Mission or Embassy. For countries which do not have Zimbabwean representation, contact the British High Commission or Embassy:

  • Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, Cape Verde Islands, China (People's Republic), Cuba, Czech and Slovak Republics, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Korea (North Democratic People's Republic), Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Mongolia, Mozambique, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tibet, Vietnam (Soc. Rep.), Yemen (Arab Rep.), Yemen (People's Dem. Rep.).

  • Please feel free to check with us or your nearest Zimbabwean Embassy or Trade Mission for updates on the above.


  • Your passport is valuable. Don't hand your passport over to unauthorized persons or pack it in your luggage. Keep a record of your passport number and the date and place of its issue. A photocopy of the first page is a good idea. If your passport is lost or stolen report it immediately to local police and the nearest relevant embassy or consulate.

  • Photocopy your passport, air tickets, traveller's cheques, credit cards and visas, insurance documents etc. Remember to keep originals and copies separate.

Customs concession

  • Your personal possessions which are not intended for disposal or consumption in Zimbabwe are allowed entry duty-free. In addition, other consumable goods which are not merchandise imported for trade purposes may be imported up to a value of Z$2000-00 per person. Alcoholic beverages may be included within this allowance by persons over 18 years, subject to a limit per person of 5 litres, of which not more than 2 litres may be spirits. Members of a family travelling together may aggregate their allowances.


  • Zimbabwe's unit of currency is the Dollar (Z$), worth 100 cents.

  • You may bring in up to Z$250-00 and any amount of foreign currency in bank-notes, but the total amount must be declared to Customs at entry, otherwise only the equivalent of US$200-00 will be allowed to be re-exported.

  • Any amount of Travellers Cheques may be brought into the country and re-exported.

  • All major credit cards may be used at hotels, restaurants, car hire agencies and most shops. Visa and MasterCard are widely supported.

  • Visit the Olsen and Associates Currency Converter to see latest exchange rates.

Public and School Holidays

Accommodation at tourist centres becomes strained over these periods and during school holidays - plan in advance.

Fire arms

  • If carried, must be declared at customs.

The Weather

  • As Zimbabwe is south of the Equator, the seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Mid-summer is in December and winter runs from May to August.

  • The lower lying areas, where many of the major tourist destinations lie, such as Kariba, Victoria Falls and the Zambezi Valley, are generally much hotter than the more moderate higher lying regions.

  • In winter days are generally dry and temperatures average 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), while night-time temperatures can drop to freezing. Temperatures in the Zambezi Valley rarely fall below 15.

  • Summer temperatures range from 25 to above 30 degrees Celsius (77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), while in the lower areas day-time temperatures can be as high as 38 (100 Fahrenheit). Daytime temperatures in the Zambezi Valley during October and November frequently reach mid - 40's (110 F).

Game Viewing Season

  • One can experience excellent game viewing all year round in certain parts of Zimbabwe - the Zambezi Valley is particularly good.

  • The best time of year for game viewing country wide is during the dry season from approximately April to November.

  • The best game is found just before the rainy season starts. In the Zambezi Valley this is in October and November when temperatures are very high.

Moon phases

  • New Moon dates are as follows: February 26, March 28, April 26, May 25, June 24, July 23, August 22, September 22, October 20, November 19, December 19

  • Full Moon dates are as follows: March 13, April 12, May 11, June 10, July 9, August 8, September 6, October 5, November 4, December 3

Shopping in Zimbabwe

  • In general, shops are open from 08.00 to 17.00 and closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. However there are some small shops and cafes open longer hours and selected day-night pharmacies in the main centres.

Accommodation Accounts

  • At present it is law that all non-Zimbabwean residents pay for their accommodation in foreign currency.

  • Cash payments are not recommended. The best methods are via Master or Visa Card or pre-payment via bank transfer. The current ruling is that payment from a "foreign source" (credit card, traveller's cheques etc.) is not subject to sales tax. Cash (even foreign cash) and payments from local sources is subject to Sales Tax at 17.5%. See our standard payment procedure which has been designed to limit our client's exposure to Sales Tax in particular.

  • Vouchers supplied by a recognised travel agent or operator in Zimbabwe indicating prepayment will suffice.

Airport Departure Tax

  • All visitors are required to pay an equivalent of US$20 when leaving the country by air. The revenue stamp can be bought at the airport or pre-purchased at any commercial bank.

  • When paying in cash at one of our airports, make sure that you have the exact amount as change can be a problem at times.

What you should bring… | Photography | Health Requirements | Safety | Entry Formalities | Documents | Customs Concessions | Currency | Public Holidays | Fire Arms | The Weather | Game Viewing Season | Moon Phases | Shopping | Accommodation Accounts | Airport Departure Tax

Home | Take the Quick Tour | Take the Scenic Route | Go to the Infodirectory | Make an enquiry

© Copyright, 1997/1998. The Zambezi Safari & Travel Co. All rights reserved.
Suite 3, The Heights Centre, PO Box 158, Kariba, Zimbabwe.
Last updated 25 August 1998