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Fish Eagle
Photo by Sherrie Wenzel

Zimbabwe Facts

Political Climate
Initially annexed by the UK in 1923 from South Africa, Zimbabwe was then called Southern Rhodesia. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared it's independence but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded more voting rights for the black African majority. A guerrilla uprising and UN sanctions led to free elections in 1979 and independence in 1980. The nations first prime minister; Robert Mugabe has been the country's only ruler and dominated the country's political system since independence. A land redistribution campaign begun in 2000 caused and exodus of farmers, crippled the economy and caused widespread shortages. Mugabe has stayed in power thru rigged elections, brutal security forces, and brutal repressions of regime opponents to parliamentary democracy.

Geography
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country at the base of the African continent. It borders Mozambique (to the east), South Africa and Botswana (to the south and west), and Zambia (to the north). Zimbabwe lies on a high plateau, and its terrain consists primarily of grasslands bordered on the east by mountains. The northeastern border of the country is marked by the mighty Zambezi River (in full flood February – April) , along which is located the incomparable spectacle of Victoria Falls and the magnificent expanse of Lake Kariba. The Zambezi has become one of the world's best water adventure travel destinations, offering outstanding whitewater rafting in the Zambezi Gorges below the falls and uncomparable canoeing.

Capital
Harare

Languages
English is the official language and other widely spoken languages are Chishona and Sindebele, which also have dialects and other minority languages that include the following: Sotho and Nambya - South Western border with Botswana Shangani - South Eastern, Venda - Southern border with SA, Chewa, Nyanja - Mining towns, Tonga - Zambezi Valley.

Currency
Zimbabwe's unit currency is the Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWD) and is divided into 100 cents. Any amount of foreign currency brought into the country, must be declared to customs upon entry to you will be unable to re -export your bank notes. Master, Visa and American Express credit cards are accepted at most tourist hotels, restaurants and shops. Please note that US$ 100.00 bills cannot be exchanged.

People & Population
With a current population of over twelve million the ethnic mix is made up of Shona 82%, Ndebele 14%, Asian 1% and white less than 1%.
Entry Requirements

US citizens must have a passport valid at least six months beyond intended stay, tickets and documents for return or onward travel, a Visa (this can be obtained at the airport on arrival for a stay of up to 90 days).


Entry Requirements
US citizens must have a passport valid at least six months beyond intended stay, tickets and documents for return or onward travel, a Visa (this can be obtained at the airport on arrival for a stay of up to 90 days).

Health
Malaria risks throughout the year in the Zambezi Valley, so prophylazix is recommended. Other recommendations are Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Polio and Typhoid. A Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever is required if arriving from an infected area. While in Zimbabwe visitors should be wary of using water in rivers or dams for swimming and drinking as they may be infected with bilharizia.

Communications
The system, once one of the best in Africa, now suffers from poor maintenance. A substantial mobile cellular network is available and internet connections are available in the main cities. The phone country code is 263.

Electricity
220/240 volts AC, 50 HZ

Time
Standard time zone is GMT + 2hours. There is no daylight savings.


Climate and Best Time to Travel
Zimbabwe is south of the equator so the summer season runs from October to April and has hot sunny days, with afternoon thunderstorms possible during this rainy season (generally November to March). Winter days from May to September are very pleasant and is the best time for white water rafting, canoeing and game viewing, though grasses will be high in May / June after the rains.