I had the opportunity to live in Zimbabwe for six months, five working in a consulting project and one extra month traveling around the country. Let me share with you the country profile, which are the places you must visit, how to get there and how to find work opportunities around the world.
a. Zimbabwe Profile
- Language: English, Shona, and Ndebele are the most commonly used. A great advantage is that almost everybody speaks English, I never had trouble trying to communicate, not even with farmers from rural areas.
- Currency: the United States Dollar
- Food: the typical meal is called Sadza, which is made by mixing the cornmeal with water to produce a thick paste/porridge. Usually it is served with sides such as gravy, vegetables (spinach, or spring greens/collard greens), beans, and meat or chicken (stewed, grilled, roasted, or sundried). You will be able to find Zadza almost everywhere you go, but you can also find other types of restaurants as big fast food chains like Nandos, and high quality restaurants like Victoria 22.
- Transport: there’s no metro but you can take a taxi (there is no UBER) and minivans. If you want to travel long distances in the country you can take buses or fly between the biggest cities as Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
- Shopping: the difference with many countries I have visited is that Zimbabwe is not internationalized. You won’t be able to find food chains as McDonalds or apparel as Zara but you will find Chicken Inn and national brands.
The lovely people of Zimbabwe are so warm and welcoming.
b. The 10 places you must definitely visit
It is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. From approximately 14 Million people in Zimbabwe, Harare has approximately 3 Million.
2. Victoria Falls
It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
3. Matobo Hills
Located close to Bulawayo, this place is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its large boulders provide abundant natural shelters and have been associated with human occupation from the early Stone Age.
4. Lake Kariba
Is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume.
5. Arcadia Dam
Situated about 100 km north of Harare, is perfect for a weekend boating, skiing and tubing.
An ideal place to enjoy interaction with a board variety of animals, great food and beautiful lodges. You can see a complete review in this post: IMIRE Rhino and Wildlife Conservation: the best safari in Zimbabwe
7. Mazvikadei Dam
It is the third largest dam in Zimbabwe. Extremely beautiful although you cannot swim there because there are crocodiles.
Just over 2 hours from Harare, you can choose to stay in chalets, safari tents or camping.
9. Mana Pools
It has an extremely beautiful scene, this place is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10. Great Zimbabwe
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe – the capital of the Queen of Sheba, according to a legend – are the remains of the Bantu civilization of the Shona between the 11th and 15th centuries.
Picture from Caravel Travel
- Airplane: you can travel by airplane between the main cities which are Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. So you can go by airplane to the first two sites (Victoria Falls and Matopo Hills). Matopo Hills are located close to Bulawayo so when you get there you can rent a car. The airplane ticket prices vary a lot depending on how much time in advance you buy them and the season you want to go, so I recommend you to book your tickets in advance from a low cost airline as Fast Jet. You will see for example that the prices for a one way ticket from Harare to Victoria Falls can vary from $20 to $120 USD.
- Bus: there are several bus companies that have a lot of connections all around the country as Intercape, Greyhound or Extracity, but I don’t recommend them, in my experience I traveled by bus from Harare to Bulawayo and although prices were much cheaper than by airplane (because I bought them last minute), they departed later that the expected hour and were not very comfortable.
- Car: many of the sites mentioned are 2 to 6 hours away from Harare, and they are located some kilometers away from the main drives (to get closer to the wild animals) so the best option is to rent a car.
d. How to participate in other opportunities around the world
As I mentioned before, I went to Zimbabwe to work on a consulting project in agricultural distribution, you can read about it in the post How to work with a NGO in Africa
If you are searching for volunteer projects abroad or tu study in other country you can check these posts: