Zimbabwe's attractions offer incredible contrasts

While most talk of Zimbabwe centres on its economic and political woes, the fact remains that the country is still a safe and spectacular safari destination. We are as opposed to the tyrannical rule of Robert Mugabe as everyone else, and the plight of the country is heartbreaking, but that doesn't mean we should consign this country to the scrapheap. Zimbabwe needs all the tourism it can get, and it will surprise you with its myriad of attractions.

Victoria Falls is the highlight, while Lake Kariba and its famous houseboats are also worth a visit. Drift down the Zambezi River, over the Falls, past Kariba and get up close and personal with the wild things at Mana Pools. And of course you can enjoy a traditional Safari at Hwange National Park, which boasts the Big Five and is once again becoming one of Africa's finest wilderness areas.

Furthermore, very few tourists currently visit Zimbabwe, meaning you can pretty much have the whole country to yourself! Prices are reasonable, the locals are friendly, the streets are safe - and there really should be nothing stopping you. We have visited Zimbabwe recently and can advise you on the best way to spend your trip here.

Zimbabwe Facts & Info

Capital (and largest city): Harare
Population: 13,349,0001 (January 2008)
Official language: English (Shona and Ndebele are the main local languages)
Gained independence on April 18, 1980
President: Robert Mugabe
Prime Minister: Morgan Tsvangirai
Area: 390,757 km2
Currency: Zimbabwean Dollar
Time zone: GMT+2
Calling code: 263

Great House of Stone 
Zimbabwe derives from the Shona saying "Dzimba dza mabwe" which means "great houses of stone". This is a clear reference to Great Zimbabwe, a massive stone complex which was once the capital of the Empire of Great Zimbabwe. Unfortunately much of the country is run-down and ravaged due to its economic woes and poor political leadership. Most Zimbabweans currently live in poverty, and there is an inflation crisis with the Zimbabwean dollar now worthless.

Your trip here may take a bit more planning than to most other countries, but the reward is visiting a country with few tourists, abundant wildlife and luxury lodges spanning untouched wilderness areas. There is currently a new unity government in place in Zimbabwe, and we hope this signals the start of a new and vibrant era. Things are very much open to change and we recommend you get in touch with a consultant to get the latest 'on the ground' information.

Cash
The Zimbabwean dollar is pretty much worthless, and most hotels operate using foreign currency. We recommend bringing US Dollars or South African Rand. These can be widely exchanged at hotels and banks. Most hotels and shops in Vic Falls accept Dollars and Rands. Speak to your consultant about the amount of money and which of your credit cards will work.

Health
Malaria is a risk in some areas including the Victoria Falls. No injections are required for entry. It is best to check with your consultant about the current situation before you travel.

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