English is the official language. Other widely spoken languages are Shona and Sindebele, which also have various dialects and other minority languages.
Zimbabwe is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
220-240 A.C. Hairdryers cannot be used at camps with generators but camera and video battery recharging is fine. Zimbabwe uses 3-square pin plugs, the same as in the UK.
Due to space limitations and safety there are strict weight restrictions on light aircraft transfers, depending on the airline.
Generally, scheduled flights within Zimbabwe impose a maximum of 20 kg per person packed in soft bags (no hard-shelled suitcases) is permitted. This includes camera equipment and carry-on baggage. Although 20 kg for luggage sounds rather little, camps do laundry daily and provide flashlights, soap, shampoo and towels; and only casual clothing is required.
For charter flights in smaller aircraft, the luggage limit is 12kg per person, again packed in soft bags.
The use of the Zimbabwe dollar as a mode of payment for goods and services has been suspended indefinitely. The country has adopted a multi currency system for payments. The readily accepted hard currencies are US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, Euros and South African Rand. Visitors are encouraged to carry their hard currencies in small denominations for ease of trade. Though credit cards are generally not accepted as a form of payment, there are some hotels that will.
Avoid USD100 bills as they are not accepted in most places. USD notes should be issued after 2000 as older bills are not accepted. Traveller’s cheques are not readily accepted.
Zimbabweans are a talented nation who sell a wide range of locally made soapstone statues, wooden carvings, baskets, crotchet ware and hand printed African sarongs.
Malaria is virulent in the low lying areas of Zimbabwe which include most of the good wildlife destinations. Anti-malaria precautions should be commenced prior to departure. Some malaria strains are becoming more resistant to some of the prophylactics and it is therefore advised that visitors take extra precautions such as using insect repellent and wearing long trousers when mosquitoes are active.
Aids is widespread.
Tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations are recommended.
Your own GP or practice nurse will be the best person to give you precise and accurate information about health requirements and you should be guided by his or her advice.
Make sure that your passports and visas are valid for all the countries you are visiting and that it is valid for at least six months beyond your intended return. If you are travelling via South Africa, you must have a minimum of two clean, facing pages in your passport. Failure to comply with this may result in your being denied entry to South Africa. Try to have the exact amount in US Dollars cash for payment of visas as officials are sometimes not in a position to provide change.
For visa information from the UK contact:
Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand London, WC2R OJR. 020 7836 7755
Take a high factor sun lotion, Insect repellent, anti-malarial prophylactics, fleece and waterproof jacket during the rainy months, a hat, light walking shoes or trainers, good polarized sunglasses and a guidebook /field guide.
Remember to bring binoculars (recommend large 8x40) and a camera with a dust proof bag. Take spare batteries, film and memory cards, as they are seldom available locally.
The following suggestions are only a guide and shouldn't be considered in any way as compulsory. We suggest all gratuities are given at the completion of services and not on a daily basis. Wherever possible, give gratuities directly to the intended recipient, although you will find that most safari camps and lodges have a staff tip box.
On safari: Driver / Guide US$10-15 per day per couple.
In lodges: There is usually a tip box provided at the lodge and if you can’t see one do ask. Gratuities placed in the tip box are generally divided amongst the entire staff on a monthly basis. A guideline of US$5 per day is reasonable.
Restaurants: 10-15% of the restaurant bill is standard
Fuel attendants: $1-2 is appreciated
Porters: If someone carries your bags to/from your vehicle at a lodge, then a reasonable guideline is US$2-5.
Please be sensitive when photographing local people and their villages. Ask the guide or the villagers first. Be careful when photographing public buildings and persons in uniform - again, ask first.