Travel to Zimbabwe
When to visit
Zimbabwe can be visited throughout the year. Game viewing is best in the dry winter months of May to October, peaking towards the end of that period as wildlife becomes increasingly drawn to limited perennial water sources. Victoria Falls is most impressive over April to September.
Visas and paperwork
US citizens with a valid passport can obtain a visa upon arrival at any international airport or overland border.
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
In 1855, the Scottish explorer David Livingstone became the first European to visit Victoria Falls declaring that “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. More evocative names in various local tongues include Mosi-oa-Tunya (Smoke that Thunders), Shungu Namutitima (Boiling Water) and Chongwe (Place of the Rainbow).
At a Glance/Highlights
The world’s largest and arguably most spectacular waterfall, mile-wide Victoria Falls also ranks as the undisputed adrenaline capital of southern Africa. Highlights include one of the world’s tallest bungee jumps, rafting Grade V rapids in the raging Zambezi Gorge, and canoeing past hippos and other wildlife in the more placid waters above the falls.
Another must for adventurous travelers, Mana Pools National Park offers the opportunity to canoe, walk or drive through a pristine wilderness area inhabited by dense populations of lion, elephant, buffalo and other large wildlife.
Other world-class attractions include the vast and wildlife-rich Hwange National Park, the mysterious stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe, and the surreal rock formations and wealth of prehistoric rock art that characterize Matobo National Park.
As recently as the 1990s, Zimbabwe was one of Africa’s most popular destinations, combining magnificent one-off attractions such as Victoria Falls and the medieval ruins at Great Zimbabwe with a great selection of safari reserves and world-class tourist amenities. More recently it has been relatively neglected by tourists, thanks mainly to an ongoing trend of post-millennial political autocracy and economic mismanagement. Despite this, Zimbabwe remains a safe, friendly and enjoyable country, one that can boast five sensational UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and that is well worth exploring beyond the ever-popular Victoria Falls.
The most popular port of entry with tourists is Victoria Falls. Regular flights connect Victoria Falls International Airport to other regional hubs such as Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is also easy to cross overland from Zambia. There are also international flights to the larger Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, which stands outside the capital city Harare.
Health and safety
The main risk is probably Malaria, which is most prolific in low-lying regions during the wet summer months, though it is advisable to take prophylactic drugs whenever you visit. The political instability that has haunted Zimbabwe over the last two decades has not manifested as violence against tourists. Crime is mainly confined to major urban areas that or seldom visited by tourists. Nevertheless, some caution is advised after dark in Victoria Falls town.