All you need to know for your holiday to Zimbabwe
CURRENT ENTRY RULES IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) - Updated 01 April 2021: Land borders are closed but international airports are open.
To enter Zimbabwe you must possess a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, issued within 48 hours of departure from your home country. Without this, you will be denied entry. All travellers will also be subject to a temperature check on arrival.
All passengers arriving in Zimbabwe are required to cmplete a Health Questionnaire detailing where you have travelled and provide details for COVID-19 tracking purposes.
Travellers showing COVID-19 like symptoms on arrival will be re-tested at their own expense (USD 60 per test but subject to change) at a facility at the airport, even if they are in possession of a negative COVID-19 test certificate. Where necessary, travellers will be required to undergo a mandatory 7 day quarantine at their own cost.
It is expected that these rules will be lifted and that the entry requirements will revert to normal as soon as the government of Zimbabwe deems it safe to do so.
Normally, holders of the following passports require a visa to enter Zimbabwe when travelling as a tourist:
United Kingdom; United States of America; Canada; Ireland; France; Germany; Spain; Portugal; Italy; Switzerland; Australia; New Zealand.
If you are a passport holder from another country, please contact your local Zimbabwe High Commission or Embassy for up-to-date visa requirements or check this website: https://www.evisa.gov.zw/regime.
The following visas are available (all costs are per person and subject to change):
Single Entry: USD 30 (apart from British and Irish nationals who are charged USD 55; and Canadian nationals who are charged USD 75)
Double Entry: USD 45 (apart from British and Irish nationals who are charged USD 70)
Visas will be issued on arrival at an entry point upon payment of the corrrect visa fee - please make sure you have the correct amount of cash (US dollars) with you as change may not be available.
Certain nationalities however HAVE to obtain their visa prior to arrival, and this can be done as an E-Visa via https://www.evisa.gov.zw/home - you can also check this website to see if this rule applies to your nationality.
For visitors wanting to travel across to Zambia, the KAZA UniVisa is also an option (although unfortunately this is not always available). This visa allows tourists of certain nationalities to travel freely between Zimbabwe and Zambia, within a 30 day period from the date of their first entry.
This same visa will also allow those who cross into Botswana for a day trip to come back into Zimbabwe (or Zambia) without paying any extra visa fees - please note however it is not valid if staying in Botswana overnight.
The UniVisa can ONLY be obtained at SELECTED border posts (currently Victoria Falls Airport, Victoria Falls Land Border, Kazungula Land Border (border with Botswana) and Harare Airport) - the current price is USD 50 per person (subject to change) and payable in cash.
To check whether you are eligible for this visa, please check the KAZA UniVisa sections of the Zambian or Zimbabwean government websites.
For anyone entering Zimbabwe, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry and have sufficient blank pages for entry/exit stamps.
PLEASE NOTE: Countries can change their entry requirements at any time. Travel Butlers try to ensure that the information displayed here is correct, but the onus remains with the traveller to verify the information with the relevant High Commission or Embassy and ensure that they can comply with the applicable entry requirements.
You are advised to contact your doctor or clinic around 4-8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations and to get their professional medical advice regarding travel to Zimbabwe.
To help prevent diarrhoea, avoid tap water – drink only bottled water and use bottled water for tooth brushing, and avoid ice made with tap water – and only eat fruit or vegetables that are cooked or can be peeled. To help avoid heatstroke, drink plenty of bottled water/fluids, and keep out of the midday sun.
There is no risk of yellow fever in Zimbabwe, so a yellow fever vaccination is NOT required for travellers whose sole destination is Zimbabwe. However, in accordance with International Health Regulations, Zimbabwe requires all travellers over one year of age arriving from a yellow fever risk country, or having been in transit longer than 12 hours at the airport of such a country, to have a yellow fever certificate. These countries include Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda but it is up to the traveller to check the full list via http://www.who.int/ith/2015-ith-annex1.pdf?ua=1.
There is a risk of malaria in all areas of Zimbabwe - check with your doctor about suitable antimalarial tablets. Dengue fever can also be transmitted via mosquito bites. Try to avoid mosquito bites wherever possible - wear loose long-sleeved clothing and trousers, and use a repellent on clothing and exposed skin.
Tsetse flies are found throughout the northern Zambezi River drainage area, including the Lake Kariba area. There have been some cases of sleeping sickness occurring after a tsetse fly bite, although these are mainly amongst farmers and other locals who have repeated exposure to bites. However, the fly can still deliver a painful bite, so it is advisable to take necessary precautions - don't wear dark colours, especially black and blue (including denim), wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers, and don't walk through bushes during the hottest part of the day.
language and people
English is the official language of Zimbabwe and is widely spoken with all guides and general staff in camps and lodges having a good command. In the broader population however, not everyone will speak English fluently as many have grown up speaking different tribal languages. Other indigenous languages spoken include Shona and Ndebele.
We would ask that all travellers are respectful of the local culture as follows:
It is against the law for civilians to wear any form of clothing made from camouflage material.
Photographing government offices, airports, military establishments, official residences, embassies and other sensitive places is illegal. Taking photographs of members of police and armed forces personnel and of demonstrations and protests is also not permitted. The area around State House in Harare (the President’s official residence) is patrolled by armed members of the Presidential Guard and photography here is strictly prohibited.
Some acts of homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe. Whilst everyone is of course entitled to their own sexual preferences and gender identity, we would advise all clients of the LGBT+ community to refrain from public displays of affection (including kissing and holding hands) and to be as discrete as possible about their relationship.
The Zimbabwe dollar is the official currency in Zimbabwe. Tourists going into a local shop will only be able to pay cash in local currency. Foreign currency such as US$, ZAR, Sterling or Botswana pula etc will no longer be accepted at the till.
Visitors may withdraw local cash from ATMs - these will be clearly marked as international and will have the logos of the accepted credit card companies.
Arriving visitors will still be able to pay for their visas on arrival in US Dollars.
Foreign credit cards will continue to be accepted at hotels, shops, restaurants etc and the applicable rate of exchange will be applied on the transaction. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card with facilities for MasterCard being more limited. AMEX and Diners are NOT widely accepted and therefore are not recommended. Please note that many operations will apply a 5% surcharge (variable) for credit card transactions. Authorisation usually needs to be obtained for larger purchases and this is sometimes difficult to obtain.
Safari camps will still continue accepting US Dollars for staff gratuities and additional payments.
You can read more about the climate in our guide to the best time to visit Zimbabwe.
The International Dialling Code for Zimbabwe is +263, followed by the regional code and then the number.
All of the safari lodges are in the middle of the African bush. There is therefore limited or no access to internet for guests at any of the camps and there is limited mobile phone reception available at some camps only. Of course if there is an emergency the camps are always able to get messages to and from guests.
Many safari camps and lodges run on generators and few have 24 hour electricity. Some camps will not have plug points in guest accommodation but will generally have power points in the main camp area for charging batteries. Many camps will have universal plug points however the most commonly used systems in are the UK square pegged plugs, South African round, 3-pronged plugs and Euro 2-pronged pin plugs. To be on the safe side, you should purchase an international adaptor before travel.
Zimbabwe Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2) and they do not operate Daylight-Saving Time.