Travel to Zimbabwe
Entry and residence regulations
Current travel and safety notices from 6/8/2020 provide information about travel warnings, entry bans, the discontinued international air traffic as a result of the Corona crisis, which was classified as a national disaster, and the 21-day curfew from March 30, 2020, it was until at least 3 May 2020 extended – beginning of May again until mid-May and then for an indefinite period. The restrictions were relaxed selectively on September 23, 2020 and October 3, 2020. Several months before that, for example on January 18, 2019, the Federal Foreign Office had travel warnings published for Zimbabwe. These mainly concern the big cities and the avoidance of gatherings or demonstrations as well as the photography of protests, which were ordered by the government through massive price increases for petrol and other fuel.
Basically, the following applies (or was before the Corona crisis): The Federal Foreign Office offers detailed information on entry. German citizens need a visa to enter Zimbabwe. You can get this at border crossings and at the airports in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. A tourist visa costs around $ 30. The visa relates to a tourist stay, so work is not permitted. Holders of German diplomatic and service passports receive their visas when crossing the border. Visa extensions can be requested from the Department of Immigration, Harare. The extensions take time, you should inquire about the specific duration on site in good time.
German citizens must have a valid passport and children must have a children’s passport. These must be valid for at least six months after the end of the trip. Entry with an identity card is not permitted.
When entering from a country in which yellow fever is common, appropriate vaccination documents must be presented. These are not necessary for direct entry from Western European countries.
The German Embassy in Harare is also an important address for German citizens in Zimbabwe. According to thesciencetutor, the Zimbabwean embassy in Berlin provides further information on entry and residence.
Travel, transportation and traffic
There is left-hand traffic. Rental cars can be rented from branches of international rental car providers. It is advisable to take out good insurance. The condition of the cars may not be the same as in Western Europe.
One should pay attention to the diversity of public and private urban passenger transport and not drive into densely populated urban residential areas, for example in the capital Harare, or on country roads at night without local knowledge. Road conditions deteriorate especially in the rainy season.
Taxis can be rented from hotels, not all of them have working taximeters, so it makes sense to discuss the price before driving.
Domestic flights, buses and rental cars are among the options for traveling in the country. The flight safety at the international airport in Harare (Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport) caused criticism in 2019.
There are many offers for travelers in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. A 10% tip is often given in the service and catering sectors.
A permit from the customs authorities is required to export large quantities of handicrafts that are purchased for resale (this regulation is subject to change). The import of hunting weapons is permitted with a special license; it is forbidden to introduce other weapons.
The official language and colloquial language is English. In rural areas, it is recommended that you avoid wearing swimwear, shorts or strapless t-shirts. That is considered disrespectful. Homosexual acts are a criminal offense, fines or imprisonment are imposed.
Photographing soldiers, military vehicles, military installations and security-relevant buildings (the official residence of the President) is prohibited. Photographing demonstrations can also cause problems with the security forces.
The months of April and May or August to October are particularly suitable for traveling. The rainy season is between November and April. In the winter months (June and July) it is cool, in the mountains there can be ground frost at night.
When traveling with children, medical protective measures in particular should be observed.
Due to the CORONA crisis, travel restrictions apply in Zimbabwe in April 2020. A 21-day curfew began on March 30, 2020 and has been extended.
The weather forecast provides forecasts of the weather in individual locations. The park administration provides information about all national parks with its own website. Tourism opens up the country’s natural beauties and creates jobs.
Sustainable tourism contributes to resource protection and socially just development throughout the region. There is great controversy about the fundamental question of whether tourist trips to Zimbabwe are sensible or justifiable under the given political conditions.
In the context of the World Conference on Tourism, which took place at Victoria Falls at the end of August 2013, plans to build an African Disneyland in Zimbabwe and to attract Chinese tourists were circulated in the press. At the end of June 2017, it became known in the media that a memorandum had been signed to specify the situation.
At the beginning of April 2019 it was reported in the media that the price increase for many products, including diesel and gasoline, will lead to a price increase in the tourism sector, which is a disadvantage for regional competitiveness, for example.
In view of the unpredictable political situation, foreigners should avoid demonstrations and election campaign events.
Crime is a problem, so precautions against theft and robbery are advisable. German citizens should heed the security and travel warnings issued by the Federal Foreign Office.
Further safety information is provided by the US, Canadian or British authorities, for example.