If you want to travel to Africa, Zimbabwe is a great place to start. It is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, and it is the home of one of the world’s greatest treasures, the Victoria Falls. But before you start planning your trip to Zimbabwe, it would be best if you learned a little bit about the country. After all, you cannot get there if you are entirely unprepared.
The first thing that we should cover is the entry requirements. You will be pleased to learn that Zimbabwe has a lenient visa policy. It is possible for you to avoid a trip to the Zimbabwean embassy altogether. First, there are certain visa-exempt nationalities. There are 46 countries and territories whose citizens can travel to Zimbabwe without a visa, as long as their stay does not exceed 3 months. If you find yourself in this category, you can enter Zimbabwe holding just a passport. Please make sure that your passport is valid and remains as such for at least another 6 months from your date of departure from Zimbabwe.
Secondly, you should know that Zimbabwe issues visas on arrival for the citizens of 103 countries and territories. This visa is valid for 30 days if you visit your family or if you travel for business purposes, but if you go to Zimbabwe as a tourist, the visa on arrival is valid for 3 months.
Thirdly, Zimbabwe also issues electronic visas. The fee can be paid online or on arrival. However, please keep in mind that the Zimbabwe e-visa is valid only if you enter via the following border checkpoints: Beitbridge, Harare International Airport, Chirundu, Plumtree, Forbes – Mutare, Nyamapanda, Kariba, Victoria Falls, and the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport.
Last but not least, if you are interested in visiting both Zimbabwe and Zambia, you can obtain a universal visa that will grant you entry into both countries. Unfortunately, this type of visa is available only for the citizens of 59 countries and territories.
Now that we covered the entry requirements, we should discuss places of interest. As you may very well know, Zimbabwe has one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. We are referring to Victoria Falls. From February to April, the Zambezi River is in full flood, and that is what makes Victoria Falls so massive. If you go there, you will witness a huge curtain of falling water. This is one of the primary tourist attractions in Zimbabwe, and many tourists flock there to see it. You can even find a hotel and restaurant located in the area. They will give you a great view of the waterfall. You cannot travel to Zimbabwe and not see Victoria Falls.
Apart from Victoria Falls, there are other attractions that you may be interested in. For one thing, you can visit the Great Zimbabwe, where you will find the archaeological remains of a Southern African ancient city. It is entirely built of stone, and it was the epicenter of an old African empire called the Munhumutapa Empire. You may not know this, but Zimbabwe actually means ‘house of stone.’ In case you are interested in some stunning views, we recommend that you travel to the Eastern Highlands. There, you will find the mountains that form the border with Mozambique. The sights are amazing, and the villages nearby are very popular with tourists.
Kariba is yet another location you may want to visit. Lake Kariba came into existence because of a damming project on the Zambezi River. This location is popular with tourists as well because they are given a chance to observe wildlife in an almost natural environment. The lake is also significant because it is an important source of hydro-electric power. While there, you can rent a houseboat for a few days.
Last but not least, while in Zimbabwe, you can take a trip to Matobo. Located in the southwest, you will find some interesting rock formations. What is interesting about them is that they are balanced in such a way that you would not think possible. It is like nature is defying the laws of physics. However, that is not so. In fact, the rocks are a result of wind erosion. Sand is blown between the stones, and that is what holds them in that unnatural position. If you are looking for something exciting to do, we recommend Antelope Park. It is located in Gweru, and there you will have the opportunity to walk with lions, swim with elephants, or ride horses. However, you are advised to do your own research before interacting with these animals. Otherwise, you may put yourself in danger.
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, but the good news is that almost everyone speaks English. Even older people and school children. So, you should not come across any language barriers (if you speak English, of course). Zimbabwe is a very safe country. In fact, it is one of the safest in Africa. Of course, small crimes happen, but that is the case in any other country in the world. All you have to do is use your common sense, and you will not have any incidents during your trip.
Before traveling to Zimbabwe, we advise you to take anti-malaria medication. Just keep in mind that even drugs will not prevent you from getting infected, they only decrease the severity, which is why other precautions are necessary. Basically, you have to stay away from mosquitos. Use nets when you sleep and cover your skin as much as possible in the evening and during the night if you are outside. HIV is also prevalent in Zimbabwe.
The people in Zimbabwe are welcoming. You will be treated with respect, but you have to give some back. For example, you should never receive something with your left hand. When you want to offer something, it must be done with your right hand as well. Also, please refrain from speaking against the Zimbabwean government. Believe it or not, undercover police officers will sometimes trick tourists into talking badly about it, and in Zimbabwe, that is a punishable crime. It is best if you do not talk about it at all to anyone.
If you do decide to go to Zimbabwe, you will not regret it. The country has plenty of attractions, and you will have a wonderful time there. As long as you take all the necessary precautions, you will have one of the loveliest African experiences.