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Frequently asked questions about Zimbabwe

What is the best time to travel?

Zimbabwe is good to visit all year round but the cooler and dryer months are from May to October. During the other months, however, the rain tends to concentrate just in the afternoon.

What is the best time to see wild life?

Winter is the best time to spot wildlife because it’s dry and animals tend to concentrate around a few waterholes.

What are the best festivals and when do they take place?

The main national holidays in Zimbabwe are: Independence Day (18th of April), Africa Days (25th and 26th of May), and Heroes Days (11th and 12th of August). The Bulawayo Music Festival (mid-June) proposes one week of typical local music, so can be very interesting. The music tradition is very important in country life.

Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?

Yes, you have the option to pre-book airport transfers (arrival only) and secondly the option to pre-book pre and post tour nights.These extra services should be added to your booking.

What about my passport?

You need a passport that is valid at least 6 months at the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.

Do I need a visa?

UK/EU citizens need a visa for Zimbabwe, but these things can change. So please click here and check out the current situation. You can also check on that website for any other nationality if a visa is required. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure if you need a visa so you do not run out of time.

If you need a visa, please contact the embassy unless you choose to use a visa service. Shoestring does not organize your visa. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. You can also obtain the visa through a specialized visa agency like www.travcour.com.

Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?

Please click here for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and contact after your local practitioner or a specialized health centre and make an appointment to get your shots and pills. Please make sure that you allow at least six weeks for a full program. People who already have had a few shots might do with two weeks. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.

What is the recommended currency for Zimbabwe?

The official currency is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWN), which is divided into 100 cents. Foreign currency, especially US dollars, is hard to come by, but widely accepted and often preferred, and many prices are given in US dollars. Hard currency is required to pay for entry to Victoria Falls and many national parks. Major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. ATM facilities are available in the cities.

What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?

We recommend you bring thin clothes and a high-necked long-sleeved T-shirt or a thin cotton roll-neck jersey for the nights to protect you against mosquitoes. Also, bring a jersey or a sweater and a raincoat. An umbrella is useful. A pair of worn-in walking shoes with a good tread and strong soles is important. Sandals or slippers are comfortable footwear on days we are not walking. Other important items are: sunglasses, suntan lotion, toiletries, basic medical travelling kit, sun hat or scarf, photo or film equipment and an adequate amount of film, spare batteries, torch, maybe a pocket knife (not in your hand luggage), alarm clock (wind up or battery-powered), stationery, books, passport, sufficient cheques and cash, copies of passport and travel insurance, a list of cheque numbers and the receipt, your travel insurance card with the emergency number, important addresses and a good travel guide. Plus, a sleeping bag, with or without sheet bag, a towel and, if possible, a battery-powe

What kind of luggage should I take?

We recommend you take your luggage in an overnight bag or a backpack.
Hard suitcases cannot be taken into the safari truck. Additionally, a small rucksack or shoulder bag is handy for carrying everyday hand luggage. To keep valuable papers safe, you are best off purchasing a slim cotton money belt to wear under your clothes. Be sure to have a change of clothes in your hand luggage and to be able to survive 48 hours without the rest of your luggage in case it is carried to Zimbabwe indirectly. Keep essentials like the pill, malaria pills, essential medicine, cheques, camera and your toothbrush in your hand luggage. Make sure your luggage is not too heavy. You will not need the maximum weight allowed on the airplane at all: 20 kg. During your trip, you will certainly buy a number of souvenirs, which means you will soon have too much to carry. We advise you to bring a maximum of 13 kg of luggage.

What is the electricity situation?

What voltage and plugs are in use in Zimbabwe? Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in this country. You could consider taking a universal electric plug.

Which travel guides and maps?

If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.

In what kind of accommodation do we sleep?

Depending on the tour you choose, our accommodation will be mostly in twin shared tents on campsites and sometimes bungalows or in hotels and lodges.

How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?

If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller (same sex when possible) unless you have booked a single room. In case we go camping, you could decide to take a small tent if you want to sleep alone. In case this involves extra camping fees (never very much), your tour leader will tell you and collect the extra fees.

Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?

You need to bring a sleeping bag, with or without sheet bag. For the 'South Africa and Namibia, Botswana and Beyond!' tour you will not need a sleeping bag. However, we do recommend that you bring a towel as these are not provided by the lodges and hotels.

What can I expect for camping facilities?

We provide all camping equipment: twin shared dorm tents, mattresses, cooking equipment, etc.

Do I need to take a mosquito net?

It could be useful to bring your own mosquito net, especially if you choose a tour that involves mostly camping.

Do they cater for vegetarians in Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe hasn’t any famous dishes, what they have is a mix of the traditional and English food. Though food supplies in Zimbabwean supermarkets can be limited, the local market will provide some fruits and vegetables.

What kind of transportation is used?

We will use a well maintained overland truck.

Is Zimbabwe dangerous?

In the big cities, like Bulawayo, there is a lot of street robbery at night. Do not walk the streets after sunset. In the daytime, some care should be taken: do not show large amounts of money, be sure to hide your camera when it is not being used and do not wear conspicuous jewellery. Remember that in the eyes of most Africans we are immeasurably wealthy. For example, a camera represents the value of five annual salaries. That is why you should never leave anything in your hotel room and always keep an eye on your bag and money belt.
If you are interested what the Foreign Office has to say, please click here.

What local customs do I need to keep in mind?

There are enormous differences between European culture and local tribes’ culture, but usually it will not lead to miscommunication. A number of black tribes will bow their heads in respect to older people when they address them. This can strike us as avoidance, but it is intended to show respect!

What are activities and sports I could do?

In Victoria Falls you can choose between so many activities that it’s difficult to list all of them. You can take part in exciting rafting and bungee jumping, canoeing, biking and jungle walking.

How are communications in Zimbabwe?

The international dialling code for Zimbabwe is +263. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00 27 for South Africa). International Direct Dialling is available. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)4 for Harare. Telecel, Econet and Net*One operators provide GSM 900 network mobile phone coverage in most cities, towns and tourist areas throughout the country. Internet and Email facilities are available in Harare, where there are about 30 Internet cafes which are generally always crowded.

What is the time difference?

Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference with your own country.

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