Traveling to Zimbabwe………
Passports and Visas
To travel to Zimbabwe (if you are over the age of 16), you
require a valid passport or other valid travel document. Kids under the age of 16 need a children’s
passport or other travel document and a letter of consent from their parents or
guardian permitting them to travel.
South African passport holders require visas to enter
Zimbabwe. Single entry visas can be
obtained at the border and South African passport holders do not have to pay
for them. Multiple entry visas must be
obtained prior to departure and can be obtained from the Chief Immigration
Officer, Private Bag 7717, Causeway, Harare or from the Zimbabwe Consulate in
Johannesburg, 17th Floor, CCMA Building, 20 Anderson Street,
Tel: (011) 838 2156; Fax: (011) 838
5620. Allow at least 7 days for
obtaining multiple entry visas. Tourist
multiple entry visas are valid for 6 months while those obtained for business
are valid for a year.
You must also be able to satisfy the immigration authorities
that you have the financial resources to cover your stay for the proposed
period and the cost of the return journey.
If not you may be required to make a deposit to cover any repatriation
costs that may be incurred. When we
entered Zimbabwe however we were not asked about our financial resources or whether
we had sufficient funds to cover our proposed stay.
Zimbabwe is not part of the Common Customs Area. You may import used clothing, personal
effects, binoculars, cameras and camping equipment into Zimbabwe without paying
any import duty on it. Other goods may
be imported duty free to a maximum of ZW$2000-00 per person for a 30 day stay. You may import 5 litres of alcohol (of which
not more than 2 litres may be spirits) duty free. Tobacco, cigars and cigarettes that are imported form part of
your ZW$2000-00 allowance.
Zimbabwean currency is the Zimbabwe dollar which is equal to 100
cents. At present you can buy just
over ZW$6 for R1.
our arrival in Zimbabwe, we were told that visitors were only allowed to
import up to ZW$500-00 in foreign banknotes and that it was imperative to
fill in a currency declaration form on entering Zimbabwe declaring all
foreign currency (including traveler’s cheques) in your possession. We were also told that all foreign
currency transactions in Zimbabwe were to be recorded. The rationale behind this was
apparently to avoid having foreign currency confiscated when leaving the
country as visitors may only export ZW$500-00 in foreign currency when
leaving Zimbabwe. When we tried to
declare our currency on entry into Zimbabwe we were given a look of mild
disdain by the customs officials who told us that it was unnecessary to do
so and waved us through. We were
also not asked to declare how much money we had spent in Zimbabwe on
exiting the country or how much currency we were taking out with us. The rules would seem to be in place but
are very poorly enforced – if at all!
are no currency exchange facilities at any of the border posts. You may wish to carry a small amount of
Zimbabwean currency with you to cover your immediate needs.
discovered, however, that South African banks do not buy or sell
Zimbabwean currency as it is too unstable. You may therefore need to make a special arrangement to
order Zimbabwean currency before your departure.
- We found
that our credit cards were well accepted throughout and that we could use our
credit cards to draw cash from ATM machines.
- We found
that all entertainment, adventure sports etc must be paid for in US$. Also hotel bills must be settled in US dollars.
Zimbabwean currency is not accepted.
- There are
hundreds of bureaux de change in Vic Falls – we changed our travelers cheques
at the banks however.
Firearms and ammunition must be declared at the border post
of entry and a Visitors Certificate to Possess Firearms and Ammunition must be
completed. The certificate is issued
for the duration of the visitor’s stay up to a maximum of 90 days.
Firearms and ammunition are not subject to customs duty –
however should the value of your firearm exceed your ZW$2000-00 limit, you will
be required to pay duty on it.
A license to own a firearm and an export certificate from
the SAP will need to be obtained before visiting Zimbabwe.
The temporary importation of a CB radio is prohibited unless
a license is obtained in advance.
Vehicles, Registration, Licensing etc
licenses issued in SA, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique
and Angola are recognized in
Zimbabwe. The AA does however
recommend that you get an international drivers license.
and visitors may import vehicles into Zimbabwe on a temporary basis
without a carnet or having to lodge a deposit at the border. You will be issued with a temporary
customs import permit at the border which is normally valid for one month
and can be extended to six months.
We are in possession of a carnet which we presented to the
Zimbabwean Immigration and Customs Authorities and so did not need to get
a temporary import permit.
- All valid
foreign licensing and registration documents are recognized in Zimbabwe
and you must be able to produce your car’s papers on request.
will need to buy Zimbabwean Third Party Insurance on entry into Zimbabwe
as South African third party insurance is not recognized in Zimbabwe. This needs to be bought in foreign
currency and Zimbabwean currency is not accepted (Rand, Pula and US
dollars are accepted). We entered
Zimbabwe from Botswana and bought our insurance in Pula (it cost about 70
pula – about R90-00 – obviously this will depend on the exchange rate of
the day). The insurance is valid
for a month from date of entry.
nationality plates must be displayed (can be got at the AA)
- You do
not need a yellow fever certificate or inoculations against small pox and
cholera to enter Zimababwe.
should take some sort of anti-malarial measure (see Malaria section in our
Travelling to Botswana and Namibia segments)
- Don’t swim
in rivers – the rivers may have bilharzias and crocs
hung out to dry in the summer months should be ironed before being worn as
it my have been infested by maggot flies.
filtered all our water through our British Birkfield water filter.
Driving and Roads in Zimbabwe
roads in Zimbabwe are generally in a good condition and there are main,
tarred roads joining most major cities.
- Don’t drive
at night as there may be animals on the road
limits – 80km per hour on narrow tar roads, 120km per hour on wider tar
roads and highways
seat belts is compulsory
Petrol and Diesel
There have been severe shortages of petrol and diesel in
Zimbabwe recently. There is diesel and
petrol available at Vic Falls and at nearby Kasane and Kazungula on the
Botswana side of the border. We have
been advised that you can get diesel inland in Zimbabwe – you will however have
to queue for it and may be limited to 20 or 30 litres per vehicle. We have been advised however that if you
tell the petrol attendant that you are traveling through, you may be able to
get some additional petrol or diesel.
We have not tried this so don’t know whether it works.