Travel Guidance

Urgent Contact Numbers

In emergencies ONLY (accident, injury, sudden evacuation alert) please call John Berry (MD) on +44 7900 582746

Packing lists and general information

Please check the "DOCUMENTS" tab on this itinerary for any custom notes that apply.

Tips/gratuities:

Please scroll to the bottom of the "INFORMATION" tab for guidelines on tipping.

Zimbabwe

A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.


Entry Requirements

Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Those nationalities that require visas to enter Zimbabwe may have to apply for these in advance, however, some nationalities are able to obtain these on arrival at the Port Of Entry.

There are 3 categories:

Category A: Countries whose nationals do NOT require a Visa. No action required, you will be granted easy entry at any border post.

Category B: Countries whose nationals are granted a Zimbabwe visa at port of entry on payment of requisite visa fees. These visas are easiest obtained on your arrival at the Airport or border post. If you get them done via an agency in your home country they will often cost you quite a bit more and be a lot more hassle.

Category C: Countries whose nationals are required to apply for and obtain a Zimbabwe visa prior to travelling. You can apply through a Zimbabwe High Commission in your home or neighbouring country.

All Categories need:-

• Passport valid for a least 6 months from your date of entry.
• Return ticket to your country (or enough money to buy one)
• Sufficient funds to cover your stay in Zimbabwe
• Enough blank pages in your passport to fit the required entry visa.

NB - Multiple Entry Visas - CANNOT be obtained at the port of entry into Zimbabwe. You may enter Zimbabwe on a single entry visa and then obtain a Multiple Entry Visa from the town office - but this may take up to 7 working days to be issued and in many cases is declined - if you need to enter 3 or 4 times rather buy a single entry and then a double entry visa or two doubles, which is a perfectly accepted by immigration.

Children - As of June 2012 - Zimbabwe will now be charging FULL VISA fees for any individual who is required to have a VISA despite their age. This includes infants and children who were previously being exempted from this. This has been imposed with immediate effect.

CATEGORY B: ZIMBABWE VISA FEES

Single EntryUS$ 30

Double EntryUS$ 45

Multiple Entry - See notes aboveUS$ 55

CATEGORY B: EXCEPTIONS

British and Irish

Single EntryUS$ 55

Double EntryUS$ 70

Canada

Single EntryUS$ 75

You should bring enough cash with you to pay for your visa on arrival - (no credit/debit cards or cheques).

Visitors are currently being given entry permission for anything up to 90 days but you are strongly advised to check that the number of days given at the port of entry covers your intended period of stay, although you can apply to have this period renewed and extended if required.

The Uni-Visa is available to passengers visiting Zambia and Zimbabwe and is only available at the below ports of entry at a cost of US$50.00 per person in cash. The visa is valid for 30 days allowing multiple access between these two countries as provided you stay in either of these countries. It is also valid for day trips into Botswana through Kazangula Land Borders. It is only available for holiday purposes.

Zambia:

Harry Mwaanga Airport (Livingstone)

Victoria Falls Land Border

Kazungula Land Border Kazungula Land Border

Kenneth Kaunda Airport (Lusaka)

Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Airport

Victoria Falls Land Border

Kazungula Land Border

Harare Airport

Multiple entry visas have to be obtained in advance from your nearest Zambian consulate. Be sure to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


Banking and Currency

Currency & Credit Cards

The government have said it is illegal to use USD or any other foreign currency in cash for transactions.   The Zimbabwe dollar (at present ZWL bond notes) is the only legal tender for transactions within Zimbabwe, but neither foreign currency nor the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWL) are available from ATM machines; there is a shortage of all cash. However, visas fees, National Parks fees and airport departure taxes should still be paid in USD cash.  Tipping is not a commercial transaction so therefore paying in foreign currency is acceptable. Foreign credit and debit cards are acceptable at hotels, lodges and larger shops in Victoria Falls (preferably Visa/Mastercard as opposed to American Express). Elsewhere in the country please ask first as you enter a shop whether they have the swipe machine for foreign cards. Please inquire at your hotel/lodge reception or the local Zimbabwe bank regarding exchanging foreign currency, and ensure you bring small denomination notes to pay exact amounts requested as change is not always available.

All cash should be kept securely on your person at all times, unless you have placed it securely in your room safe, and only you have access to the code on the safe. Do not leave cash, passports and valuables lying around in your vehicle, hotel room or on restaurant tables where it might tempt a petty thief.

Banking

Banks in Zimbabwe are open for business Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 15h00,  and Saturdays from 08h00 to 11h00. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Taxis are safe and reliable, and can be booked through your hotel front desk. Taxis in cities travel within a 40km radius of the city. Always take a taxi at night.

Major airlines fly into Victoria Falls, Harare and Bulawayo. Charter flights are available to most attractions and camps. 

Zimbabwe has a good road infrastructure, by African standards, although potholed. Between major towns, there are frequent road blocks. Traffic drives on the left side of the road. 

If you are driving yourself around Zimbabwe, be sure to check on fuel availability in advance. If you are covering long distances within the country, ensure you carry extra fuel in 5 or 10lt metal containers in case of emergency. Fuel is generally available, but supply can fluctuate. Fuel is only available for cash.


Health and Medical Information

We are not medical practitioners, so for medical advice for the country you are visiting we recommend that you contact your own health or medical centre, or nearby travel clinic for up to date advice. You can also visit these trusted sites for recommendations, although any advice online should be followed up by a consultation with a travel medication specialist.

MASTA

CDC

WHO

There is no national welfare scheme and visitors to Zimbabwe are responsible for their own medical expenses. You must carry your own medical insurance.  

Malaria can be found throughout Zimbabwe. When visiting these areas malaria precautions are advised, please check with your health professional for the recommended malaria prophylaxis.   Please remember that the best insurance is the preventative kind: avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally.  Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Zimbabwe's native cuisine is based on sadza, a cooked porridge made from ground maize which is normally be accompanied by some tasty relish, perhaps made of meat and tomatoes, or dried fish. Safari camps will often prepare sadza if requested, and it is almost always available in small restaurants in the towns.

Camps, hotels and lodges that cater to overseas typically serve a variety international fare, and the quality of food prepared in the most remote bush camps is usually excellent.

If you are driving yourself around and plan to cook, then get most of your supplies in main towns. There are a number of South African shopping chains operating in Zimbabwe which will generally have all that you will need.

Water in the main towns is usually purified.. The locals drink it, and are used to the relatively innocuous bugs that it may harbour. If you are in the country for a long time, then it may be worth acclimatising yourself to it. However, if you are in Zimbabwe for just a short period of time, then try to drink only bottled, boiled, or treated water available in towns and from all camps, lodges and hotels.


Climate and Weather

In Zimbabwe, the rains come principally in DecemberJanuary,February and March; the further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe's higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones.

By April and May most of the rain is gone, leaving a verdant setting, which is starting to dry out. Especially in more southerly and higher locations, the night-time temperatures start to drop.

The nights in JuneJuly and August can be really cold, so don't forget to bring some warmer clothes, in case you want to spend an evening outside; the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the start of the 'peak season'– days are often cloudless and game sightings continually increase.

Into September and October the temperatures rise once again: Zimbabwe's lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can get very hot in October. During this time, you'll see some fantastic game, as the Zimbabwe's wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources.

November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, it can also see the season's first rainfalls – and in this respect it's a very interesting month, as on successive days, you can see both weather patterns.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

When in Zimbabwe the cardinal rule is to wear casual, comfortable clothes during the day as temperatures can get very hot. It is advisable to wear light loose-fitting clothing, such as cotton or linen, as they are cool and easy to wash. Warmer clothes are advised for the evenings and rainwear for the wet season. 

A brimmed hat and sunglasses are a good idea year-round. Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers will also guard against the scorching sun rays. It is recommended you wear light shoes, especially if your itinerary entails a lot of walking. 

For safaris, please remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Earth colour clothes, such as browns, greens and tans are advisable. 


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electrical sockets in the Republic of Zimbabwe are Type G (BS-1363) and Type C (CEE 7/16 Europlug) and Type D (BS-546).  If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.

Electrical sockets usually supply electricity at 230 volts AC / 50 Hz frequency.  If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 230 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 230 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.


General Guidance

Comprehensive information on activities from Victoria Falls can be found at http://www.VictoriaFalls.net/

Tipping/Gratuities

Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you would like to tip because you have received good service, we have enclosed a brief guideline to assist you. The amounts are not set in stone and you can tip less than the guidline or more.

You may wish to add a nominal amount ranging between US$ 10 to US$ 30 per day for incidentals (subject to personal budget choice) – i.e. if additional activities are booked once on your journey, if travel arrangements change for any reason, in acknowledgement of good service received in another area, etc.

Guides, Specialist Guides & Butlers – We recommend US$5 to US$ 10 per guest per day.

Mokoro Paddlers & Trackers – We recommend that each paddler receive US$ 3 to $5 per guest per day and that camp/lodge trackers receive US$ 3 to $5 per guest per day.

The General Safari Camp, Lodge or Hotel Staff – We recommend about US$ 5 to $10 per guest per day for safari camps/lodges. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff.

Transfer Driver – We recommend about US$ 2.00 to US$ 3.00 per guest per movement.

Porterage – We recommend about US$ 2.00 to US$ 3.00 per guest per movement.

We recommend tipping your guide directly and making use of the gratuity box in the main area for the general camp/lodge staff.


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