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Besides Zimbabwe's troubled political background there is still a rich tourist attraction to the country. The famous Victoria Falls lies on its borders and many have said when the Falls are in its prime it can be appreciated more from the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls. Known as "Africa's Paradise," you will not regret crossing into this beautiful country. Travelling is very possible since the country has an excellent infrastructure and the local culture will captivate any visitors.

CAPITAL

Harare

POPULATION

13 Million

SHOPPING

Shona soft-stone carvings; woodcarvings; T-shirts; safari clothing; pottery; leather goods; basket ware; sculptures; textiles. Nail polish and old clothes can sometimes be swopped for carvings.

CURRENCY

1 Zimbabwe Dollar = 100 cents.
You may take 15000 Zimbabwean dollars out of the country. There are no restrictions on foreign currency brought in. If you don't declare the foreign money you bring in, you'll only be able to take out 500 US dollars. You may be asked to account for foreign currency exchanged/spent in country. Hotel bills must be payed for with credit cards or in foreign hard currencies e.g. US dollar.

Users of credit cards are subject to a surcharge of about 3 percent on the total value of goods purchased. US dollar traveller's cheques are recommended. Avoid street money changers who promise "no commission, best rates", but then cheat on delivery. There are strict penalties for illegal foreign currency trading. Several of the city's large stores don't accept American Express cards; travellers' cheques are the most convenient means of payment.

CUSTOMS

Duty Free Allowances
- WD 1000 worth of goods inclusive of tobacco, perfume and gifts
- 5 litres of alcoholic beverages (up to 2 litres of which may be spirits)

PROHIBITED GOODS - Drugs
- Honey
- Pornographic literature
- Toy firearms
- Flick knives and lockable knives

SPECIAL NOTES

Only travellers aged 18 years or over may bring in alcohol.
Permits are issued on arrival for firearms and ammunition.
Agricultural products including seeds and bulbs require an import licence.

(NB! For full information, please contact the nearest Embassy of Zimbabwe.)

ELECTRICITY

220 volts, 50 Hz. Plugs in most hotels are 3-pin flat. An adapter is needed.

HEALTH

Yellow fever immunisation is essential if you arrive from an infected country or area. Visitors are also advised to take pre-arrival precautions against hepatitis A, polio, typhoid and malaria (depending on the area visited especially those outside of towns).

Other health concerns include bilharzia (don't swim in the rivers/dams or drink the water from them as it may be infected), sunburn, limited medical facilities and supplies outside of towns, AIDS and influenza (risk extends throughout the year).

HOURS

Office Hours 8am-4.30 pm Mon-Fri
Banking Hours 8am-3 pm Mon-Fri, except Wed 8 am-1 pm; 8 am-11.30 am on Sat
Shopping Hours 8am-5 pm Mon-Fri and 8 am-1 pm on SatOffice Hours8 am-4.30 pm Mon-Fri

LANGUAGE

English is the official language. Chishona and Sindebele are widely spoken.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

1 January - New Year's Day
12 April - Easter Monday
18 April - Independence Day
1 May - Workers' Day
25 May - Africa Day
11 August - Heroes' Day
12 August - Defence Forces Day
22 December - Unity Day
25-26 December - Christmas

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

Christianity is the main religion, but in rural areas people have traditional beliefs. Western/European courtesies are observed. Return invitations are appreciated. Handshaking is the common form of greeting. Dress is casual, but most hotels require more formal wear, e.g. tie and jacket; business meetings require suits.

TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT+2

TIPPING

Ten-fifteen percent is common

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Subtropical. The best time to visit is Apr-Oct when weather is mild with little rain. Winter (May-Aug) is dry and sunny. Rainy weather is Nov-Mar/Apr.

GETTING THERE

Fly to Harare or drive north from Johannesburg.