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8 things you should know before you go to Zimbabwe

15 May 2018 at 13:51hrs | Views
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know there have been political changes afoot in Zimbabwe.

Robert Mugabe is out and there's a new president - Emmerson Mnangagwa - which has brought a more upbeat attitude to the country.

And there's no shortage of things to do as a visitor.

So, if you're planning to take a trip to Zimbabwe, here are eight things you should know before you go.

1. Communicating is pretty easy

For lazy language learners, it's always helpful if locals speak the same language as you.

English is widely spoken in Zimbabwe making it that much easier to get around.

If you have a bit of confidence, why not try out a few words in Shona, one of Zimbabwe's most-spoken languages?

Mhoro means hello, mangwanani is good morning and wakadini zvako translates to how are you?

2. White rhino trekking is a thrill and a half

Grab the chance to see white rhino on foot. Honestly, you'll never forget it.

The Matobo National Park is the place to go to see both white and black rhino.

3. Victoria Falls: one of the great wonders of the world

If you get as far as the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia check out the Victoria Falls.

The falls are the southern boundary of the Great Rift Valley and the amount of water going over the edge is immense.

To get a proper view, book one of the helicopter rides. Walking through the rain forest on the opposite side as you get completely drenched – it's a mind blowing experience.

4. Definitely go on a safari

Always wanted to spot one of the Big Five? Then you need to try a game drive.

The parks here have lions, leopards, rhinoceros, buffalo, elephants and much more.

Or take a boat ride on a river to see hippos.

On safari, wear neutral colours like beige, brown or olive to help you blend in.

Stay alert in the bush. Creatures may be in the vicinity – even in your room.

My friend found a Black Mamba snake curled up in one of his carrier bags.

5. Be sensible, and stay safe

Check the foreign and commonwealth office advice before going to Zimbabwe.

If there is potential for political unrest, it'll be posted on the site.

I probably don't have to tell you to use common sense.

Keep your phone out of sight and tuck handbags under your arm when walking around in cities.

Put valuables and passports in a safe, if there's one available.

And don't forget to lock doors and windows when you leave your hotel room or lodge.

6. How much money to bring

US Dollars are the preferred currency. But there is a shortage, so try to bring enough for your stay.

You can withdraw $20 – $100 a day from a bank but you'll need $55 on entry to buy a Visa.

Credit cards can also be used.

In destinations like Victoria Falls you can pay for an excursion, like a helicopter ride, with a credit card.

But then for the Zambezi Park fee, you will need cash ($15).

7. Malaria zones

Some areas of Zimbabwe have a high risk of malaria.

This includes Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, Lake Kariba and the centre of the country.

It's not worth taking any risks, so use insect repellent and talk to your GP or travel nurse about anti-malaria tablets.

8. Chibuku is an acquired taste, but Zambezi beer is fine


Chibuku is an African beer made from malted sorghum and maize. Cheap but really awful (yes, I've tried it).

Opt for Zambezi beer instead, which is quite refreshing.

Chicken and oxtail are popular dishes, but there are also vegetarian options, including corn on the cob, Sadza (cooked maize), butternut squash and Zimbabwe greens.

Locals also eat dried caterpillars from the Emperor moth called mopane worms.

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Source - metro.co.uk
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