There are 3 categories of visas.
To find out which visa categories you fall under you can check under Zimbabwe Immigration website www.zimimmigration.gov.zw
- Category A: Countries who nationals do not require a visa
- Category B: Countries whose nationals are granted a visa on arrival on the payment of the visa fee.
- Category C: You can apply online for an e-visa
Extending your visa or changing visa status while in Zimbabwe can be done at Immigration Offices found in all the major cities.
Best time to visit
This is determined by your plans and intent in Zimbabwe. However, we can highlight a few things about the seasons. Zimbabwe lies in the Southern Hemisphere. The climate is markedly varied by altitude. There is a dry season, including a short cool season during the period May to September when the whole country has very little rain. The rainy season is typically a time of heavy rainfall from November to March. The whole country is influenced by the Intertropical Convergence Zone during January.
August – November is peak season for adrenaline junkies who what to come and experience some of the world. The beautiful Jacarandas and Flamboyant trees are also in bloom all throughout the country leaving the most beautiful purple and red stains ever!
Although Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, Zimbabweans are taught English from as early as pre-school. Therefore, almost everyone speaks English. You will find even locals even speaking among themselves in English. It is will not be a hurdle to understand or be understood in general.
The Zimbabwean People
There are about 16 million Zimbabweans, with roughly 75% of the population living in villages and about 25% in cities. As soon as you arrive you will notice how a lot of people are very fashionable, friendly, resilient, curious and warm. They will ask you any random question and you can ask them any random questions. Perhaps at the end of your stay one of the greatest memories you will have are of the people so do not miss out on human interactions.
As with many developing countries, theft and muggings do occur but is greatly frowned upon by the community members and Law enforcement play a big role in enforcing this.
As locals however, we would like to dispel a lot of what the media says about safety and security in Zimbabwe. In our experience this is one of the things the tourist always comments about, they will quite safe and secure. In the event that an unfortunate incident please do not hesitate to seek help from police or community leaders. In case of any emergencies, please refer to our Important Numbers page.
The dress code in Zimbabwe is conservative so bear this in mind when you pack. It is not advisable to wear very short skirts or dresses. You may well be subjected to stares, but the locals will not harass you. It is illegal to take wear camouflage as a civilian in Zimbabwe
Joining Local Activities
Locals are generally very friendly and they will be very pleased if you join in local activities and events. It is even better if you know a few words in the local language, as Nelson Mandela said if you speak to a man in foreign language you speak to their head but if you speak in their language you speak to their heart.
Vegan and Vegetarian
Vegan and vegetarian options can be found in up market restaurants and supermarkets. It is absolutely possible to have a plant based diet in Zimbabwe. A friend of ours Chef Cola is always available to direct in case you get a bit dazzled in the food web. Link to her page : https://www.facebook.com/chefcola/
Money / Currency Situation
There is a shortage of physical cash and it’s currently not possible to make cash withdrawals using an international bank card. We advise that you bring enough physical cash for your stay ,though it is possible to swipe an international card in some restaurants, hotels and supermarkets .Please refer to our friends Daisy and Patrick’s blog post for more information :https://www.alldayeverydaisy.com/zim-en/travelling-in-zimbabwe-money/?lang=en.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing prolonged electricity shortages resulting in extended periods without power. We advise that you carry with your solar power banks or any means of back up for your gadgets in case you find yourself in affected regions. When choosing accommodation, it is advisable to check if they have a backup generator or solar power to make your stay more comfortable.
Water rationing is being experienced in certain parts of the country. When picking your accommodation, it is advisable to check for an accommodation with borehole water or in parts less affected. Bottled water is easy to find in restaurants and supermarkets and sold for a modest price.
Availability of fuel is sporadic and queues are common. You are advised to check in advance if you can make payment with an international payment card and perhaps make arrangements with a tour operator to ease the process of getting fuel.
There is a growing tipping culture in Zimbabwe and everyone appreciates a good tip. Amidst current economic difficulties a tip could go a long way in empowering and motivating locals.
It culturally and socially frowned upon and often considered disrespectful when tourists take pictures of locals without their consent. Please always ask for consent to take pictures of people, as well as ask parent’s consent before taking pictures of their children. Be adventurous, sensitive and kind and the locals will radiate this back to you.
It is not allowed to take pictures of Official Buildings and Officials.
It is our opinion that giving money and candy to people begging on the street particularly children will cause more harm than good. Think about it! Daisy and Patrick write so coherently on this topic. Have a look https://www.alldayeverydaisy.com/people-animals/handing-out-candy-while-travelling/?lang=en
Buying a Sim Card
Buying a sim card is relatively easy. You can buy one at the airport or at major border posts for a very modest fee. Having a Sim card in Zimbabwe is very useful. We found this article very helpful as well as having information on neighbouring countries that may interest you: Buying a SIM Card in Zimbabwe