Zimbabwe

Entering the Border (Beit-bridge Border Post)

We wish to advise that we have had many reports from visitors into Zimbabwe being victimised, having rental vehicles impounded for no reason and being charged astronomical amounts of money for all sorts of unprescribed duties and fees.
This behaviour has been prevalent over the past couple of months and has become more frequent, not only with our customers, but customers of many rental companies.
 
With this in mind, we would like to strongly advise that customers be discouraged from visiting Zimbabwe.  Should a traveller wish to see the Victoria Falls, we suggest that the traveller see them either from Kasane (Botswana) (there are many day tours from Kasane by bus into Livingstone – it’s more cost effective anyway to do it this way) or we suggest your customers to view them from Livingstone in Zambia rather for this excursion.
 
We feel that the experience of the Zimbabwean border officials and other authorities spoils it for our visitors.  And not being local people or from Africa, it is quite daunting and not a nice experience.
 
We will keep you posted should this situation change

Avoid using this border post as there is too much delays ( 4-8 hours delay) due to high volume of travellers using this post, use Botswana as alternative route.

What you will need

Printable version of Zimbabwean cross border information

Zimbabwean Flag

  • Valid Passport
  • Certified copy of vehicle registration papers in the name of the driver o Letter of authority from the registered owner if the vehicle is not owned by the driver
  • If vehicle is still being financed, carry a letter of authority from the bank (must include dates of travel) together with the vehicle license papers.
  • Road Access Fee: Based on the vehicle's size paid on entry only.
  • Rates: R90 for a small sedan o R270 for a large 4x4
  • Exit Pass: R70 at each exit
  • Carbon Tax: charges from R50 to R240
  • Third Party Insurance: $30 per month for light motor vehicle and $50 per month for Heavy motor vehicle
  • White and Red Reflective Tape: Two small white rectangular size strips on the right and left hand side of the front bumper as well as two small red square strips on the right and left hand side of the rear bumper. If towing a trailer, two small red square strips on the right and left hand side of the rear bumper are required
  • Warning Triangles: Two warning triangles on a metal plate
  • White and Red T-sign: Required if towing a trailer; white must be displayed on front right hand side of trailer / caravan and red on the rear right hand side of the trailer / caravan, when looking forward.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Compulsory
  • Safety Vests: Recommended
  • ZA Sticker: (Available at AA agents stores)

Customs

Zimbabwe Map 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.

Useful Facts for the Travellers

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.

Population

The total estimated population is approximately 13 million, according to the 2012 census.

Urban Centres

Harare, in the north-eastern part of the country, is the capital city. Other major cities include: Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.

Climat & Season

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).

Terrain

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.

Airports

Zimbabwe Distance ChartDomestic air services operate between the major airports:

  • Harare Airport o Bulawayo Airport
  • Kariba Airport o Victoria Falls Airport CURRENCY
  • Main currency is the $USD, you can use South African Rand ZAR as well but it will be more expensive than using the dollar.

Fuel Situation

  • Fuel is available country wide with most service stations opening 24 Hours in major towns, Average Petrol Price is USD 1.50 and Diesel USD 1.40 in Urban areas and USD 1.60 and USD 1.50 in remote areas respectively.

Banks

  • You can access cash in USD$ at ATMs for VISA and Mastercards

Driving in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Roads

Driving in Zimbabwe is on the left-hand side. National Highways are in good condition metropolitan Roads need careful driving as they are not in a good state

Police Road blocks are frequent on national highways. Police are friendly and polite, if stopped you are likely to be asked for your driver’s license only.

  • Potholes – is mainly a problem only in the summer rainy season Oct - April. Please take special care on the roads as potholes can cause serious damage to tyres of the vehicle.
  • Driving at Night: – Avoid traveling outside of towns and cities at night. There are vehicles with poor safety lights as well as stray livestock and wild animals along the roads.



Things to do and see in Zimbabwe

Bulawayo (429 km from Harare)

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, is a major commercial, industrial and tourist centre. The city is rich in historical associations and is the home of the National Museum. Nearby are the ancient Khami ruins, while to the south is the Rhodes Matopos National Park, notable for its exotic formations of huge granite boulders. Dams with excellent fishing, caves with rock paintings, Cecil Rhodes' grave and a well-stocked game park make this area popular with visitors.

Canoeing safari (Kariba Dam – 364km from Harare)

Apart from the traditional way of driving along the parks' game viewing roads, canoeing and boat safaris are popular alternatives. At Lake Kariba, which has abundant elephant, buffalo, rhino and smaller game living on its banks, boats can be hired for a day or for over a week. Canoeing safaris ranging from three to 10 days are especially popular between April and November along the Zambezi River past the Mana Pools flood plains.

Eastern Highlands (265 km from Harare)

The string of mountains and the lush countryside in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands, which form a natural border with neighbouring Mozambique, are particularly sought after by walkers and trekkers. Climbing Zimbabwe's highest mountain, Mt Nyangani, takes around one hour 30 minutes. The World's View offers a panoramic view across northern Zimbabwe. From here, a steep footpath leads to the road to Nyanga village with its English gardens, village common and church.

Freshwater fishing (Kariba Dam -364km from Harare)

Zimbabwe offers excellent freshwater fishing, the best locations being Lake Kariba (famous for its tigerfish), the Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls (known for its giant catfish), the streams of the Eastern Highlands and the many lakes.

Great Zimbabwe National Monument (317km from Harare)

A holiday in Zimbabwe would be incomplete without a visit to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, the largest complex of ruins in Africa south of the pyramids in Egypt. The Main Enclosure, or Temple, has walls over 9m tall, 4m thick and over 228m in circumference, giving approximately 485,521 cubic metres of hand-trimmed mortarless stonework. The remains are what is left of a city-state that flourished between the 13th and 15th centuries, trading in gold. Lake Kyle National Park is not far away; there is a well-organised campsite close to the lake.

Harare (Capital City)

Formerly Salisbury, Harare, the capital, is Zimbabwe's commercial and industrial center and also the usual starting point for any visit. It is a clean and sophisticated city, characterized by flowering trees, colorful parks and contemporary architecture. Local sightseeing includes the modern museum and art gallery, the Robert McIlwaine Recreational Park, which has a lake and game reserve, the Lion & Cheetah Park, the Larvon Bird Gardens and the landscaped gardens of aloes and cycads at Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens. Due to its pleasant climate, Harare is known as the 'Sunshine City'.

Hwange National Park (615km from Harare)

Formerly Wankie National Park, Hwange National Park is one of Zimbabwe's largest parks, both in size, 14,620 sq km and in the variety of animals and birds that may be seen. Hwange is one of the last of the great elephant sanctuaries in Africa, with over 40,000 living in the national park.

Lake Kariba (364km from Harare)

Situated in the northwest of the country on the Zambian border, Lake Kariba covers 7,770 sq km and holds a million gallons of water. Game can be viewed from the comfort of various safari camps, or from well-appointed cruise vessels and self-contained safari-crafts.

Mana Pools National Park (121 km form Harare)

Mana Pools National Park is one of Zimbabwe's most beautiful national parks, occupying 2,196 sq km (848 sq miles) of forest along the shores of the Zambezi River. The animal population includes hippo, elephant, rhino, buffalo and many types of antelope. Game-viewing on foot is allowed. The birdlife along the river and in the bush is particularly prolific. It is possible to fish for tigerfish, bream and the giant vundu.

Matobo National Park (469 km from Harare)

Located close to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second major city, Matobo National Park is noted for its spectacular granite rock formations and its wealth of ancient rock paintings. Cecil Rhodes' tomb can be visited at Malindidzimu (View of the World). The Nswatugi and Pomongwe caves are worth visiting.

Nyanga National Park (318 km from Harare)

Situated in the mountain range that covers the eastern part of Zimbabwe, Nyanga National Park is an area of high grasslands, evergreen forests, waterfalls, cliffs and lakeside cottages. Trout fishing is very popular and the trout hatchery is well worth a visit.

Play golf

There are around 40 golf clubs, most of which have 18-hole courses. The Eastern Highlands have the highest concentration of courses. The Zimbabwe Open is an annual competition attracting world-class players.

Victoria Falls (717km from Harare)

Made known to the wider world by the famous British explorer Dr David Livingstone in 1855, the Victoria Falls, which form a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, are one of Africa’s best-known natural wonders and one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. The falls, which Livingstone named after Queen Victoria, were known to native Kololo tribes in the 18th century as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’ and the spray that they generate can be seen for miles around. The cascade is formed as the calm, 2km-wide (1.2 miles) Zambezi River spills out of a flat basalt lip and plunges into the gorge below. At their highest, the Victoria Falls drop a distance of 108m almost twice as far as the Niagara Falls.

The 111m-high Victoria Falls Bridge, commissioned by British statesman Cecil Rhodes in 1900 as a railway crossing, is now a popular place for bungee jumping, and can be crossed by foot for excellent views of the falls and the winding blue-green waters of the Zambezi River. White-water rafting through the Zambezi Gorge is at its wildest between July and August. Canoeing and kayaking can be practiced on the more subdued river stretches above the falls. It is also possible to see an aerial view of the falls from a Micro-light or fixed-wing plane. The area around the falls is a prime game-viewing location.

Zambezi National Park (815km from Harare)

Not far from the Victoria Falls is the Zambezi National Park, where sable antelopes and other exotic animals graze in a parkland setting.

Click image to enlarge