Zimbabwe Travel Guide
Zimbabwe Travel Guide: General Information
Zimbabwe’s pleasant climate, its world-renowned natural sites like the Victoria Falls, its wildlife parks and safari areas, its historic ruins like the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Great Zimbabwe once made the nation a very popular tourism heaven. Mired in thousand controversies (chiefly related to human rights abuses), Zimbabwe has now lost its credibility as a tourist-friendly nation. To worsen the situation, there’s the recent cholera threat. Nevertheless, if you are ready to brave these odds and consider touring Zimbabwe, you will discover a perfectly fascinating nation – a nation that will treat you great– be it in the form of its cuisine, its thrill-factor, its scenic-beauty or its past history. Since Zimbabwe once had a flourishing tourism industry, the tourism infrastructure is quite developed.
Zimbabwe Travel Guide: Key Facts
Capital City: Harare
Area: 390,757 sq km
Monetary Unit: Zimbabwean Dollar
Official Language: English
International Dialing Code: 263
Zimbabwe Travel Guide: Popular Tourist Destinations
- Harare: Harare, the capital and the largest city, is undoubtedly the top-draw of Zimbabwe tourism. Blessed with a lovely sun-drenched climate and a classy, urbane ambience, Harare promises you much to do – sightseeing, eating and shopping. The city has some significant museums and galleries. Other attractions include the city’s many parks and very scenic botanical gardens. Harare also promises activities like bird-watching and wildlife-viewing with places like Mukuvisi Woodlands and Robert McIlwaine Recreational Park close by. Harare is a great spot for night-owls.
- Bulawayo: Bulawayo, the second largest city of Zimbabwe, has the perfect laid-back ambience one usually looks for vacationing. A cultural center, Bulawayo is famous for its art shows, music festivals, fairs, museums and galleries. Bulawayo gives easy access to archeological sites like the Khami ruins, Dhlo-Dhlo and Naletale. Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park and the Victoria Falls are within easy reach too. (While Hwange is one of the remaining elephant sanctuaries of Africa, Matopo is famous for its unique granite rock formations and its ages-old cave paintings).
- Masvingo: Masvingo, a town in south-eastern Zimbabwe, owes its fame because of its closeness to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, stone ruins dating back to the 11th century that gave the country its unique name. Nearby, you will also come across Lake Kyle Recreational Park.
- Other Popular Destinations: There is much more to explore in Zimbabwe – be it the country’s Eastern Highlands (largely a mountainous region) or the National Parks and Reserves, Botanical Gardens, Recreational Areas, Sanctuaries and Safari Areas.
Zimbabwe Travel Guide: Economy and Infrastructure
Zimbabwe is in a state of economic failure. Political turmoil, economic mismanagement and a flawed land reform policy has turned the once-strong African economy to a pauper-state with a high-percentage of unemployment, hyperinflation and negative GDP growth. The country is facing acute shortage of foreign exchange due to sharp decline in exports.
Agriculture was once the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy and the country earned handsomely from food-grains’ exports; however, now the ‘breadbasket of Africa’ is itself plagued by hunger. Zimbabwe is rich in mineral deposits like coal, copper, gold, platinum, etc. and once mineral exports was a key source of foreign currency earnings. The nation even once enjoyed a boom in tourism – both domestic and international. However, now all of Zimbabwe’s economic vehicles seem jammed and the value of the Zimbabwean Dollar has gone down to a great extent.
Zimbabwe’s infrastructure, however, is one of the best in the whole of Africa and this has something to do with the nation’s economic growth in the 1980s.
Zimbabwe Travel Guide: Culture
Zimbabwe is a multi-cultural country, inhabited by people belonging to different ethnic groups that follow different religions and mores and even speak different languages. While the Shona tribe is the largest ethnic group, Christianity is the religion of the majority. English is the official language of Zimbabwe but Shona and Ndebele are also used widely. Zimbabwe’s traditional art forms include handicrafts like basketry, carving, pottery, etc. Shona carvings are deemed highly world-wide.
Things about Zimbabwe you may be interested in1 1 1 157
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