Zimbabwe the name originated from The Great Zimbabwe or Dzimbadzamabwe (stone houses). The country has roughly 14 million people. They are friendly, willing to help and most speak or understand English. The country is full of stunning nature and is often overlooked by tourists compared to the surrounding countries
- Currency: US Dollars
- Capital city: Harare
- Main languages: Shona, English and Ndebele
- Best time to travel: April to November – dry season. Victoria Falls are most spectacular from June to September
Visa: Most people have to apply for a visa in order to go to Zimbabwe. 41 countries can visit Zimbabwe without a visa for up to 3 months, while others have to apply for one beforehand. For further information, see here. For citizens from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, check here.
Transport: In Zimbabwe cab drivers don’t use metres, local cabs within the city and surrounding suburbs normally cost $3 and they are a lot of them. Besides the bad infrastructure, and pot holes in the roads and streets public transport is good to and fro townships, suburbs and from City to City. There is a train connects Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria falls and one connects Harare and Mutare daily. Inter Cape buses, Bravo buses and Lux City buses connects Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria falls from Harare show grounds.
Harare: is the Capital City of Zimbabwe with about 3 million people live in the city and its metropolitan. It is laid back and full of museums and hip bars.
Accommodation: Please don’t expect the developed countries’ standards. Backpackers rates ranges from $15 in dorms, $25 single rooms, $35 double rooms.
- E.G. Small Word Backpackers Lodge in Avondale suburb a walking distance from the Shopping centre and 15-20 minutes drive by public transport from the City Centre.
- There is a number of other lodges at the same rates in the Avenues area 5-10 minutes walk from the CBD.
- Western bed and breakfast is conveniently situated in the vicinity of town, In the Avenues about 10 minutes walk from the City Centre. The prices from $30 for single rooms to $50 for double rooms.
What to do: Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Wild Is Life Grand Zimbabwe, Horseback Safari 2.5 hours drive from Harare (Verden Safaris), Kuimba Shiri bird Sanctuary, Mukuvisi woodlands etc. Visit good cafes in the city centre, hotels and at Avondale mall.
Bulawayo Railway Museum
Bulawayo: is the second largest City and a get way to Victoria falls – connects Harare and Victoria falls. People speak mostly Ndebele and English although many understand and speak a bit of Shona. The city centre is less crowded as compared to Harare.
Accommodation: rates falls in the same range as in Harare $15 dorm bed, $25 single room and from $30 double room.
- Lily’s Backpacker Lodge, 3km from the CBD is highly recommended. Lily the owner has a small shop in The Centre where she is using it as her place of meeting her guests. She provides transport to and from the city free of charge if your time fits into her schedule. A cab cost you $3 from the city centre. I stayed with Lily and her family and I felt really at home. There is no reception here but the service is amazing.
- Other backpackers in the surrounding areas are Burkes Backpackers 7 km from the City Centre, Parkers backpackers and a number of lodges in the City Centre.
What to do: Matopos National park 35 km from the City Centre, Natural History Museum, Bulawayo Railway Museum, Jairos Jiri Craft shop, Khame Ruins 20 km from the city centre.
Eat at: Bonne Journee Restaurant and Steakhouse, Indaba Book Café.
Nyasha at Vic Falls
Victoria falls: is a small Town lies on the western end of Zimbabwe. The most Visited Town in Zimbabwe because of it’s famous natural wonders of the world the Victoria falls, known by locals as Vic falls. The falls are beautiful, stunning and the rainforest is an added bonus.
Accommodation: Shoestrings backpackers is very central, walking distance to the falls and supermarkets and restaurants. Dorm beds are at $15, Single rooms at $25, double rooms $40 and camping $8. Many people from other backpackers and lodges hangs out here including locals.
What to do: Besides visiting the falls, you can do the sunset cruise on the upper Zambezi river, river rafting, canoeing, bungy jumping, abseiling etc.
Some other places worth a visit: The Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Kariba Dam, Mana Pools National Park, Chinhoyi Caves and Chimanimani Mountains.
This destination guide was written by my friend Nyasha. Nyasha is from Zimbabwe, but now lives and works in South Africa. He is a cool guy who loves to travel, exercise and climb Table Mountain! And was with me on my climb on Table Mountain. He wrote this guide after his trip back home. Let me know if you want to write a Destination guide.