Zimbabwe Travel, Backpacking & Gap Year Guide
Zimbabwe is located in a spectacular setting situated between two rivers and with the incredible Victoria Falls located on it's border. Zimbabwe is full of colour, culture and history with exotic wildlife, friendly locals and also a spectacular coastline. View our comprehensive travel and backpacking guide with tips, ideas for the best things to see and do and information about itineraries, costs, how to save money, and more!
Activities & Things to Do in Zimbabwe
Travel to Zimbabwe
Our destination guide aims to give you all the information you need to have an amazing experience in this amazing country. Find affordable travel and backpacking ideas with advice for amazing things to do and how you can be more than just your average traveller. You can also get recommendations for budget travel tips, where to stay and advice how to stay safe.
Get inspired to visit Zimbabwe today!
- Capital - Harare (population 1,600,000)
- Currency - US Dollar (de facto)
- Country Area - 390,750 km2
- Population - 12,500,000 (2009 Census)
- Language - English, Shona, Sindebele + local languages
- International Dailing Code +263
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Zimbabwe has a tropical climate that is very dry and warm throughout the year apart from November to April when it can be humid and also rainy. Temperatures can be very high well in the 30's so be aware of this. Winter can be the best time to visit Zimbabwe if you are interested in seeing wildlife but sometimes this period can get very cold and frosty at night so you will need to pack accordingly.
Health & Safety
You will need to check about vaccinations before departing, we recommend you contact your local doctors in advance to get advice. Due to the recent political problems and poverty, medicines can be in short supply at hospitals so pack a first aid kit. Going to be checked or treated at a private hospital / medical centre is your best options as these places have a higher standard of facilities and treatments available. We recommend searching for a good medical insurance before departing, this should cover you for any problems or emergencies.
HIV and AIDS are both big issues in this country and malaria can be contracted in some areas of the country, it is up to you whether you take medication to prevent malaria but take precautions like using repellent, a net and cover your body at night. You might also want to get a jab for rabies. If you get seriously ill you might want to consider crossing into South Africa where hospitals and healthcare facilities are generally a higher standard.
Zimbabwe is a lot safer than you might think but its always best to read up before leaving, also be prepared for the sunny weather, it is advised to pack light with plenty of sun cream.
These are some recommended hospitals and clinics in Zimbabwe:
- Harare: The Avenues Clinic, Cnr Mazowe Street & Balines Avenue. Tel: 251180 99
- Harare: Trauma Centre, Lanark Road, Belgravia. Tel: 7000666/815)
- Bulawayo: Central Hospital. Tel: 72111
- Galen House Emergency Medical Clinic. Tel: 540051)
Travelling & Backpacking in Zimbabwe
Most internationals arrive by flying direct into Harare or crossing the border from a neighboring country. Our authentic holidays will provide you with the chance to travel like a local, meet new people and learn more about the places you visit. You will get to see spectacular wildlife in their natural habitat.
Here are some of the best places to visit and add to your Zimbabwe travel itinerary:
- Victoria Falls
- Kariba Lake
- Lake Mutirikwi National Park
- Gonarezhou National Park
- Matobo National Park
- Nyanga National Park
- Hwange National Park
- Mana Pools National Park
- Matusadona National Park
Gap Year in Zimbabwe
View ideas for taking a gap year in Zimbabwe - this country is safer to visit than what you might think. Zimbabwe is easily accessible from international airports and you can also cross the border from neighboring countries so getting here also isn't too difficult.
When looking to take a Africa gap year, a lot of people sometimes overlook Zimbabwe but there are so many fantastic programs available including traveling, working with animals, teaching or coaching sports. Most gap year programs we have listed on our website will require you to be aged 18+ and be in good health - no previous skills are needed for most placements although if you want to work in veterinary or medicine you might be asked to provide certificates or a relevant degree before you are allowing hands on work. programs are open to students, non students, career breakers and anyone who wants to help make a difference in Zimbabwe.
Best Gap Year Programs in Zimbabwe
Popular Zimbabwe gap year programs can include working with wildlife including rhinos and elephants on rehabilitation projects. Rhino and lion numbers in the wild are decreasing at an alarming rate and you can get close to these incredible creatures on a gap year conservation project.
A lot of wildlife efforts in Zimbabwe have the ultimate aim of rehabilitating the animals and setting them free back in their natural environment. If you have a passion for working with animals, either in the field of veterinary medicine or in a more general animal care-oriented role, then these are a perfect way for you to gain some knowledge or put your skills into practice, with some work experience in the developing world.
Projects open all around the country with new ones starting all the time, some are located in remote areas for example one of the wildlife orphanages we have listed on our website is located 45 minutes away from Bulawayo (Zimbabwe's 2nd City). Types of tasks and activities include preparing animal food as well as feeding the animals....and yes that does include lions. Other activities include maintaining the animal enclosures, educating the public and day visitors about the animals and their habitats in the wild. One of the most rewarding tasks you might get given is the once in a lifetime opportunity to hand rear orphaned animals that are brought into the wildlife orphanage. You are able to play, feed and nurture them or maybe just give them a little cuddle if they get a little 'jumpy' at all the new found attention.
You could help educational and community outreach gap year programs providing assistance in schools. As a participant helping on these types of programs you might find yourself teaching English, helping educational activities, working with local families and assisting general daily activities. Spending time working in underpriviliged pre-schools or within communities is really rewarding, you will be able to see the difference you can make.
Types of daily tasks will include helping lead educational / English lessons, working to encourage recycling, helping a support group set up for local women and new mothers, teaching children about the benefits of eating healthy, teaching about HIV / AIDs issues, creating new fun interactive projects and also working on team / sports programs.
Another popular option for gap years in Africa is to sign up to protect elephants and rhinos in locations like Wedza. Rhinos and elephants are facing a tough future with the every present threat of poaching. By applying to help you will get to help research efforts with elephants and also work at a rhino breeding program. These placements are very hands on where you will work alongside local staff and international participants working to educate the local population and also directly help animals.