SPECIAL NOTES ON DRIVING IN ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe Essential Facts for the Traveller
ZIMBABWE is a landlocked country in southern Africa lying well within the tropics. It straddles an extensive high inland plateau that drops northwards to the Zambezi valley where the border with Zambia is and similarly drops southwards to the Limpopo valley and the border with South Africa. The country has borders with Botswana (813 kilometers), Mozambique (1,231 km), South Africa (225 km), Zambia (797 km) and meets Namibia at its western-most point.
The total estimated population is approximately 13 million, according to the 2012 census.
Harare, in the north-eastern part of the country, is the capital city. Other major cities include: Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.
CLIMATE & SEASONS
The climate is tropical, although markedly moderated by altitude.
Summer (October – April): Days are hot and generally sunny in the morning with possible afternoon thunderstorms. Daytime temperatures can rise to 30°C and night temperatures drop to around 14°C-16°C. The temperatures given are those for the main centres but it is considerably warmer all year round in the low-lying areas such as Kariba, Victoria Falls, and the Zambezi Valley. The rainy season runs from November to March, although the Eastern Highlands are damp for most of the year.
Winter (May – September): Days are dry, sunny and cool to warm while evening temperatures drop sharply. Daytime temperatures generally reach 20°C and can drop to as low as 5°C at night. Exceptionally cold spells can occur (although this is the exception rather than the rule).
Much of the country is high plateau with a higher central plateau (Highveld) forming a watershed between the Zambezi and Limpopo river systems. The Limpopo and the lower Zambezi valleys are broad and relatively flat plains. The eastern end of the watershed terminates in a north-south mountain spine, called the Eastern Highlands.
Domestic air services operate between the major airports:
Nationals of the following countries do not need visas to enter Zimbabwe:
Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cayman, Congo (DRC), Cyprus, Fiji, Grenada, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Leeward Island, Lesotho, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Namibia, Nauru, Samoa Western, Singpaore, Solomon Island, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadies, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Turk & Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia.
Nationals of the following countries can be granted visas at the port of entry upon payment of the visa fee (US$30 single entry, US$45 double entry and US$55 multi-entry):
Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Cook Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana (Gratis), Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau Island, Palestine (State of), Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, South Africa (Gratis), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, Vatican and Virgin Islands.
Nationals of the following countries are required to apply for and obtain visas prior to travelling:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazzaville, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Columbia, Comoros Islands, Congo (Brazzaville), Costa Rica, Conakry, Cote d’Voire, Croatia, Cuba, Djibouti Republic, El Salvador, Equador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Eyrom, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French West Indies, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Gibraltar, Great Britain (UK), Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (DPRK), Krygystan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macau, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Nie, Niger, Nigeria, Norfolk Islands, Northern Mariana Island, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Principe, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia Fed, Rwanda, Samoa (America), San Marino, Sao Tome, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen Republic and Yugoslavia.
Personal possessions which are intended for your own consumption in Zimbabwe are allowed entry duty-free. In addition, other consumable goods (not merchandise imported for trade purposes) may be imported up to a value of US$250 per person. Family members travelling together may aggregate their allowances.
Private motor vehicles, caravans and trailers may be brought temporarily into Zimbabwe, provided they are licensed in their home countries and bear appropriate registration plate and nationality plaque. The International Certificate of Motor Vehicles is recognized in Zimbabwe. Vehicles must be insured against third party risks arising in Zimbabwe, short-term policies are obtainable at border posts. A road tax of US$100 per vehicle is applicable.
Driving is on the left side of the road and the general speed limit is 120 km/h on open roads and 60 km/h in urban areas, but watch out for the signs. Motorists must use their headlights between 5:30pm and 5:30am.
BORDER POST TIMES
Zimbabwe bordering South Africa
Beitbridge: Open 24 hours a day to tourists
Zimbabwe bordering Namibia and Botswana
Plumtree: 06:00 – 20:00 hrs
Kazungula: 06:00 – 18:00 hrs
Zimbabwe bordering Mozambique
Forbes border post (Mutare): 06:00 – 18:00 hrs
Zimbabwe bordering Zambia
Chirundu: 06:00 – 22:00 hrs
Kariba: 06:00 – 18:00 hrs
Victoria Falls: 06:00 – 22:00 hrs
The official language is English, which is used in government and business affairs. Shona and Ndebele are the two main national languages, and are widely spoken. Other ethnic groups speak their own languages.
GMT plus 2 hours.
Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency regime in February 2009, but the major currency of use is the United States Dollar.
Zimbabwe has 16 registered commercial banks.
1 January: New Years Day
18 April: Independence Day
March/April (variable): Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday
1 May: Workers Day
25 May: Africa Day
13 August: Heroes Day
14 August: Defence Forces Day
22 December: National Unity Day
25 December: Christmas Day
26 December: Boxing Day
EMBASSIES AND HIGH COMMISSIONS
The following countries have diplomatic representation in Zimbabwe: Algeria, Angola, Australia, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Holy See, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Zambia.