Summary: Zimbabwe is in southern Africa between South Africa and Zambia, and is a landlocked country that is mostly high plateau rising to the central high veld plateau and to mountains in the east along Mozambique. Called Rhodesia until its independence from the UK in 1980, Zimbabwe is struggling to control inflation and grow the agricultural, mining and tourism sectors while working with the UN to combat AIDS.
Time Zone: UTC+2
Languages: English, Shona, Sindebele or Ndebele, Tribal Dialects
Power: 220V, 50 Hz
Currency: Zimbabwean Dollar
Climate: Zimbabwe has a tropical climate moderated by the altitude as it rises, with a hotter rainy season from November to March and a cooler dry season from May to early October.
- Currently 72º, Harare Weather Forecasts
Zimbabwe parties fail to break talks deadlock: MDC - Reuters via Yahoo! News - Sep 19 3:18 PM
Negotiators fail to end Zimbabwe cabinet impasse - AFP via Yahoo! News - Sep 19 12:42 PM
Zimbabwe: Britain Willing to Help Country - AllAfrica.com - Sep 20 11:24 AM
Zimbabwe opposition leader detained ahead of vote - AP via Yahoo! News - Jun 04 1:16 PM
Zimbabwe opposition leader detained, then freed - AP via Yahoo! News - Jun 04 9:18 PM
| Harare: British colonial architecture is one of the trademarks of Harare, along with a surprising amount of green space. Among the sights are the Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens, great for an afternoon stroll, the Modern Museum and the National Gallery, for a taste of the culture of Zimbabwe, and self-explanatory parks like the Larvon Bird Gardens or the Lion and Cheetah Park both giving visitors an easy chance to see the wildlife.|
| Victoria Falls: The world’s largest falls by volume, 350 feet at the tallest point and almost a mile wide, Victoria Falls is one of Zimbabwe’s top attractions. Falling even more full during the rainy season, the falls, and the nearby Victoria Falls Town which caters to the tourists, are a must see at any time of year. 75 miles to the south is Hwange National Park, where you can safari out on tours to see zebra, elephants and lions using convenient patios to view the many watering holes.|
| Bulawayo: Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe and hides sights like the Natural History Museum, Centenary Park, and the Khami Riuns, and serves as a base of operations for visiting the nearby Matobo National Park. Around 35 miles to the south, find the home to many caves, one of the highest concentrations of rock paintings in Southern Africa, a strong spiritual connection with the local community, shrines to Mwari, a religion that dates back thousands of years, and holy mountain peaks that hide soaring black eagles.|
| Great Zimbabwe National Monument: Second to only Egypt, this area has the largest ruins in Africa. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe National Monument have been dated back to the 13th century and presumed to be the royal courtyard of the capital of an African trading empire, and attract tourists with the surviving hallways, the 33 foot high Conical Tower and the 330 foot by 840 foot oval Great Enclosure.|
Customs: Handshakes are common and other European or North American social conventions as well, and locals in smaller villages particularly welcoming after meeting you.
Security and Travel: Avoid demonstrations, which may flare up, and overt displays of wealth. Travel in pairs and be aware of your surroundings as you go. There are a few land mines near Mozambique, but little reason to venture that far.
Banking: Banks are open every day except Sundays until the early afternoon, and credit cards and traveller’s checks have fairly good acceptance around the major parts of the country, and there are a few ATMS in the larger cities. Avoid exchanging currency on the black market, as counterfeiting may occur.
When To Visit: Although the wet season is the lushest, the dry season is the most comfortable for cross country travel. April makes the best month, since you can ride the cusp between seasons and catch the nationally celebrated Independence Day on April 18.
Food: The local Zimbabwean cooking is strongly African, with a mild British influence. Among the staples are nyama, a meat portion, typically chicken or beef, and sadza, a white maize porridge base for the rest of the meal, and few vegetables, although the gem squash is the most common. Chibuku, the local beer, and is strong in both taste and effect.
Phrases: Please - Ndapota Uxolo, thank you - Ndatenda/Masvita Siyabonga kakula, Do you speak English? - Unodziva kutawura chirungu? or Uyakwazi ukukuluma isilingu?
Tipping: Check your bill, as a 10% service charge may already have been included, and otherwise add the same as a gratuity in hotels, restaurants and for taxi fares.
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