Zimbabwe Safari Requirements Elephants by Deon De Villiers
Zimbabwe Safari Requirements travellers watch elephants

Zimbabwe Safari Requirements

Travel Information

It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.
David Livingstone on Victoria Falls

Understanding Zimbabwe Safari Requirements

This Zimbabwe Safari Requirements information is designed to assist Safari Guru clients in understanding their travel destination prior to departure, as well as planning for the local conditions. Please take your time to read and ensure you fully understand any local customs, political agendas and the history of your chosen destination. Please note that Africa is in a constant state of change and development; therefore, the information provided should be treated as guidance only and could change by the time of travel.

Zimbabwe Entry Requirements

  • As of June 2023, travellers no longer need to present a negative PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate or proof of being fully vaccinated to enter Zimbabwe.
  • The Zimbabwean government requires tourists to obtain a Tourist Visa for Zimbabwe in order to enter the country, either on or prior to arrival. See Passports & Visas below.
  • If flying into Zimbabwe, you must be able to produce a Return Ticket or Proof of Funds to purchase while in the country.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay, particularly if arriving by land/boat.
  • To enter Zimbabwe with a drone you must apply to the CAAZ at least 30 days prior to your arrival date – more reading below.

Requirements to Exit Zimbabwe

  • A negative PCR test is no longer a requirement for departing Zimbabwe unless the onward destination or airline requires it.
  • Passengers traveling out of the country, will be required to abide by the particular travel, health and COVID-19 related requirements of the transit and destination country.

ABOUT ZIMBABWE

After a difficult decade or so, confidence is returning to Zimbabwe, and pioneering travellers such as yourselves are increasingly trickling back to this country. They are richly rewarded for their endeavours: with its wealth of natural phenomena, welcoming locals, fascinating heritage and pleasant climate. Zimbabwe is one of the most remarkable countries in Africa.

The gem in its glistening crown is without a doubt, Victoria Falls. Straddling the border between Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia, this waterfall is officially the largest on the planet and hearing the roar of all that cascading water makes for a life-changing experience.

As well as awe-inspiring natural spectacles, Zimbabwe offers some of the best wildlife in southern Africa. From the forested mountains of the Eastern Highlands to the sun-washed grasslands of Hwange National Park, the country is teeming with flora and fauna, including the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo and lion).

Roughly 11% of Zimbabwe’s land has been set aside for parks and wildlife estates, but it can do big cities too.  The two most populous are Harare and Bulawayo, which serve up an impressive selection of cultural attractions, hip bars and fine dining restaurants. Between these two urban hubs lie the astonishing late Iron Age stone ruins at Great Zimbabwe, which shoot down theories that sub-Saharan Africa had no great civilisations.

Putting positives aside, and while Zimbabwe’s fragile economy is slowly improving, there is still widespread poverty, and the government lacks the resources to deal with the ravages of the HIV pandemic, which affects an estimated one in four people. Corruption is sometimes present too, and particularly roadblocks, with shady officials can sometimes hinder cross-country self-drive travel – for the most part this is not too much of a problem today!

For the most part, Zimbabwe remains a peaceful place full of friendly people, who desperately need tourism to help build a better future for this incredible corner of Africa.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ZIMBABWE:

Area390,757 sq km (150,872 sq miles)
Population15,966,810 (UN estimate 2016)
Population Density36.4 per sq km
CapitalHarare
GovernmentRepublic
Head of StatePresident Emmerson Mnangagwa since November 2017
LanguageEnglish is the official language, with Shona and Sindebele dialects

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS IN ZIMBABWE

Urban culture in Zimbabwe is greatly influenced by Western culture and education, however, in rural areas, traditional values and crafts continue. Shaking hands is the customary form of greeting. European courtesies and codes of practice should be observed when visiting someone’s home. Return invitations are appreciated.  Giving a token of appreciation is optional. 

It is an offence to make derogatory or insulting comments about ex-President Mugabe. Visitors should be aware that an open hand is the political symbol of the main opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and that a friendly wave may, therefore, be interpreted as a provocative political gesture. 

Causal wear is suitable for daytime and men are only expected to wear suits and ties for business meetings. Smart restaurants or hotel bars require male guests to wear a jacket and tie. 

Smoking is common, although it is prohibited on public transport and in some public buildings. 

There are laws against indecency, which equates to any homosexual activity being illegal.

RELIGION

Christianity, with traditional benefits in rural areas, and some Hindu, Muslim and Jewish minorities.

HISTORY OF ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe was the site of a large and complex African civilisation in the 13th and 14th centuries.  It was populated by descendants of the Bantu tribes, who had migrated from the north around the 10th century. Evidence of their mainly pastoral lifestyle may still be seen in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, near the town of Masvingo.

The first contact with Europeans was with the Portuguese at the end of the 15th century. Relations between the two were fairly stable until the 1830s, when the region was thrown into upheaval by the northward migrations of the Ndebele people from South Africa.

At this point, a new aggressive breed of colonists arrived in the form of British mining interests led by Cecil Rhodes’s British South Africa Company (BSAC). The BSAC took control of the country – which they called ‘Southern Rhodesia’ – until 1923, when it became, nominally, a British colony.

Between 1953 and 1963, Southern Rhodesia formed part of the Central African Federation with neighbouring Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi).  In 1965, to resist decolonisation, the settlers – with South African support – issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

This triggered a bitter civil war between the white minority government and fighters for African independence, ending only in 1980, with the granting of independence and the holding of a general election under British auspices, which was won decisively by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU party.

Modern Zimbabwe has seen its fair share of suffering and instability, which continues today.  The economy all but collapsed in the wake of the forced and often violent removal of farmers during a violent land redistribution programme.

All of the above provided fodder for increasing international scorn towards the ageing and dictatorial President Mugabe, who was previously considered a great liberation hero. President Mugabe was recently announced deceased in Singapore.

A historic power-sharing deal signed in 2008 between President Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai put an end to pre-election violence and pledged to improve the country’s economy and the lives of Zimbabweans.  It has since ushered in a new spell of peace and relative stability that has seen tourist slowly coming back to Zimbabwe.

Passports & Visas

Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date of your intended departure date from Africa. It is your responsibility to ensure adequate passport pages, obtain any visas and satisfy any entry requirements. 

PASSPORT PAGES – At least three blank “visa” (not “endorsement”) pages are required.

At this time, Australian, French, American and British tourists need to obtain a single entry, 30 day visa at point of entry at a cost of USD $30.00 for a Single Entry visa, and USD $45.00 for Double Entry. Payable in cash at the port of entry.

IMPORTANT: There is no separate rate for tourist visas to Zimbabwe for children, and visas are required irrespective of age.

Visitors to Zimbabwe may also use Zimbabwe e-visa website to pre-apply and make the payment online.

Single entry, double entry and multiple entry visas are available, and range from USD 30 to USD 75, depending on citizenship. Multiple entry visa cannot be obtained on arrival.

To find out which Category of Tourist Visa for Zimbabwe applies to you, visit the Zimbabwean Tourism Website.

A KAZA UNIVISA is a special visa that allows entry into Zimbabwe and Zambia as frequently as you like (for 30 days). If your nationality requires you to have a visa for both countries, it is cheaper than buying a separate visa for both countries.

The UNIVISA – standard fee of US$50 – where credit card point of sale facilities are not available at port of entry. It is, once again, recommended that travellers have US$50 available for payment.

Note: If you get the online KAZA visa from the Zambian e-visa website, your first port of entry will have to be a Zambian one. If you get the visa on the Zimbabwean e-visa website, then your first port of entry must be one of the Zimbabwe ones.

Medical, Immunisations & Safety

For immunisations, please consult your medical practitioner or a travel medical centre for advice on medical issues related to your destination. The following websites may be helpful to you: British: travelhealthpro.org.uk, Australians: smartraveller.gov.au and wwwnc.cdc.gov for American travellers. Please note that many immunisations require administration some weeks prior to travel in order to be effective. During your trip, should emergency assistance be required, each game-drive vehicle has radio contact with the camp and each camp has 24 hour radio contact with their base support headquarters. Medical emergency evacuation will be arranged if necessary. 

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you’ll take and that it’s for personal use only.

Malaria is a risk in all areas of Zimbabwe except Harare and Bulawayo. Other mosquito-borne diseases (including filariasis) also occur.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases, by using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing. You should consider taking malaria prevention medication, and seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

There is no risk of yellow fever in this country; however, there is a certificate requirement.

Under International Health Regulations, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), from 11 July 2016 (for all countries), the yellow fever certificate will be valid for the duration of the life of the person vaccinated. As a consequence, a valid certificate, presented by arriving travellers, cannot be rejected on the grounds that more than ten years have passed since the date vaccination became effective, as stated on the certificate; and that boosters or revaccination cannot be required. 

Travel Insurance

It is a pre–requisite of travel that all clients obtain comprehensive travel insurance cover at their own expense. it is always advisable to furnish your booking agent with your travel policy details – if applicable.

Further reading and understanding of travel insurance with frequently asked questions.

Your Health (Food & Water)

DRINKING WATER

In Zimbabwe, local tap water is not potable. 

Sealed bottled water is safe to drink and reputable brands can be purchased in hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. You will be supplied with water at your camp, which has been filtered through a reverse osmosis process. 

It is essential that you drink plenty of water each day (a minimum of 2–3 litres). The dryness and heat will dehydrate you very quickly. If you are feeling lethargic or have a headache, there is a good chance it is simply dehydration, so make sure you increase your water intake. 

It is a good idea in the warmer months to travel with spare rehydrate sachets.

The water used for washing salads and making ice has also been filtered and purified. 

Cash and Credit Cards, Tipping & Other

CURRENCY 

The countries official currency is the Zimbabwe Dollar, but US Dollar is preferred. They will also accept several different currencies, including, Pounds Sterling, Euros and South African Rand. Zimbabwe is a cash society and the use of credit cards is almost non–existent. Please anticipate no access to ATMs whilst in Zimbabwe and plan for your debit and credit cards to be unusable except at hotels where they may be used for hotel expenses only (and not to obtain cash). Travellers cheques are not widely accepted.

Personal expenses in the camps, such as souvenirs from the camp shop, can generally be paid with Visa or MasterCard, in USD, or in the local currency. A surcharge may be levied on credit card transactions. Be sure to contact your bank prior to departure if you plan to use your credit card in Africa. When carrying USD cash, it is a good idea to carry small denominations as it is often difficult to get change. As a general rule, check that USD notes are 2010 or newer and not damaged or marked. 

Please consider carrying small denominations for tipping; most importantly for luggage porterage, road transfers, lodge staff and guides. Do not display excess cash in public areas.

Meet & GreetMeet and greet services at Johannesburg and Cape Town international airports – your personal escort will guide you through the airport, helping with immigration, visas, and assistance through security, quarantine, and customs. We recommend USD10–20 per service, at your discretion
Camp StaffThere will generally be a communal staff tip box at all the camps, or if not, the manager will inform you how best to offer any gratuity. The usual gratuity for camp staff is USD10 per guest per day
Specialist StaffSafari Guides and Butlers, it is USD10–20 per person per day, given directly to the person at the end of your stay at each camp
TrackersUSD5 per person given directly at the end your stay
Massage TherapistsWe recommend about USD2 – USD3 per treatment
Hotel StaysBaggage porterage is usually tipped (about USD2 – USD3 per guest per movement, depending on how much luggage). Tips for housekeeping are generally not expected unless significant services have been provided
Non–Safari TransfersE.G. airport–hotel: We recommend around USD2 – USD3 per guest per movement, minimum USD5 total

We would like to emphasise that tipping is definitely not a requirement and should be undertaken only by choice, dependent on the service received. 

Climate, Clothing and Luggage

CLIMATE 

Although located in the tropics, temperature conditions prevail all year, as the climate is moderated by altitude and the inland position of the country. The hot and dry season is from August to October, and the rainy season from November to March.  The best months to visit are April to May and August to September.  Night-time temperatures can fall below freezing.

CLOTHING

Light-to medium weights with warmer clothes for evenings and rainwear for the wet season.

LUGGAGE 

Soft bags with a rigid structure at the base – including wheels and/or a collapsible handle – will be accepted. Alternatively, standard soft duffel/tog type bags,

The maximum dimensions of ALL bags which can be accommodated are as follows: 30 cm (11.8 inches)

wide x 35 cm (13.8 inches) high and 70 cm (27.5 inches) long.

The maximum permissible luggage allowance when travelling on a seat rate basis, including carry-on, is strictly 20 kg (44 lb) per person.

Cell Phones, Power, Photography and drones

CELL PHONES 

Tri–band cell phones on global roaming generally work in all major urban centres, however they do not work in the majority of safari camps. 

POWER 

Camps are powered by regular electrical power, solar power or generators. Voltage is 220–240V. There is usually ample electricity to charge batteries for digital and video cameras, iPods etc., but not for use of hair dryers and electric shavers etc. In some camps, the facilities for charging batteries are in the main camp area rather than in a room. Many camps have an array of adaptor plugs. 

Where outlets are available, the plug type D & G is used (UK style). The voltage (220–240V) is similar to most of the world (excluding USA) and a voltage converter will generally not be required, unless you’re travelling with 110V (i.e. USA) appliances.

PHOTOGRAPHY 

The local authorities are very sensitive about taking pictures of governmental buildings, military installations and embassies.  A permit can be granted by the government office.

Serious digital photographers may wish to bring a mobile device for the downloading of images. you are advised to bring a spare battery for use while the other one is being charged, a power converter/adaptor if applicable, cables for computers or cameras and additional flashcards. 

DRONES 

Drones without proper government authorisation are not permitted in Zimbabwe.

According to Zimbabwe’s national aviation authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), flying a drone is legal in Zimbabwe, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations before doing so. Drone Laws in Zimbabwe

Drone laws are continually changing, and if you are interested in bringing a drone on your trip, we recommend double-checking the rules for each country you will be travelling through immediately before departure.

Safari Guru’s Zimbabwe Safari Requirements and a Packing List

Understand more about Packing for an African Safari, with a checklist of packing items, or download Safari Guru’s Zimbabwe Safari Pre-Departure Information Document.

PDF Download – Zimbabwe Safari Pre-Departure Information Document

***

DISCLAIMER: Please note that whilst we take every care to ensure the information contained herein is accurate, we cannot in any manner or form guarantee the accuracy and correctness thereof. The information is taken directly from relevant country government sources and the IATA travel centre, and can change at any time and without notice. You are therefore advised that any information contained herein should not be construed as a representation made by Safari Guru or its network of suppliers and ground handlers and it remains a travellers sole and absolute duty to double-check current information at the time of undertaking any travel.

Zimbabwe two wild dogs returning from a hunt photographed by Safari Guru Deon
"Linkwasha was exceptional! The lodge itself a delight with the water hole and hide right there. But the Hwange park is crazy! You drive to this open area and watch 16 lions laying around with every game you can imagine. Then you watch cheetah hunt and provide a baby impala for her two cubs. You watch the lions hunt and miss. It’s outstanding! Would go back there in a minute."
The Nelson's; United States of America

Family Safari Specialists

If you’re dreaming of Africa, your journey has already begun!

REQUEST YOUR PERSONALISED ITINERARY

Answer a few simple questions to start planning your safari, and we will contact you and provide you with a personalised itinerary absolutely free.

Where would you like to travel?

What time of Year?

How long would you like to travel for?

How many people in your party?

List Children Seperately

Do you have a budget per person?

Sign up to Newsletter

Get the latest

Adventures

Read about the amazing adventures through Africa