The lowveld areas of Zimbabwe, including the Zambezi Valley and the south east of the country, are malaria areas and recommended prophylaxis should be taken. Your doctor can advise you on the best type for the area of travel and your personal requirements. However, taking prophylaxis will not guarantee that you will not contract malaria! The best way to avoid malaria is to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry the parasite. Only the females of one species of mosquito (Anopheles) carry the tiny parasite, and the greatest incidence of malaria is in areas of high population where there are many people for the mosquito to bite and pass the parasite between.
Mosquitoes usually bite between sunset and sunrise, so make sure that you are covered up during this time! Wear loose fitting, long sleeved shirts and trousers, use a good insect repellent and sleep underneath a mosquito net or in a tent/ room sealed with netting. If you do develop flu-like symptoms, or feel at all unwell, during your holiday or after your return home, you must make sure that your doctor knows that you have recently travelled in a malaria area. Malaria is not a serious problem provided people take adequate precautions and seek advice and treatment immediately if they feel unwell.
The provision of basic services and health care is unreliable. There is a shortage of drugs and trained medical staff in hospitals, making it difficult for hospitals to treat certain illnesses including accidents and trauma cases. Standards of nursing care even in private hospitals vary. Private clinics will not treat patients until they pay and often require large amounts of cash before they will admit even emergency cases. For this reason you must make sure that comprehensive travel insurance is taken out before you travel, this insurance should cover any medical expenses, air evacuation and repatriation if necessary.
Familiarise yourself with precautions to avoid cholera, drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. The standard of water quality and piping is low and there are frequent and severe shortages of municipal water. Rigorous food and hygiene measures should be observed and you should take particular care with any foods bought at the roadside or in the markets.
Rainy season: November to April. Rainfall does not usually occur every day, and generally takes place in the afternoon with mornings being fairly clear.
Summer: November to April with a high of 29° C and a low of 18° C.
Winter: May to October with a high of 25° C and a low of 6° C.
There is no "best time" to visit Zimbabwe as the different seasons all offer completely different experiences! However, you may like to consider the following when planning your trip:
Pros: Quieter tourism period, lush green inland landscape, beautiful sunsets and stunning views of electrical storms.
Cons: Warm temperatures, activities may be interrupted by rain, increased mosquitoes in lowland areas.
Pros: Cooler, clear skies, fewer mosquitoes.
Cons: Busier tourism period, cooler mornings and evenings.
Our personal preference would be for either April - May or early November as these times are neither too hot nor too cool. At these times, rain should not be a problem and the heat is not excessive. Wildlife sightings are usually at their best in the dry, winter season.
Bring plenty of memory cards and a spare camera battery as these items may not be available in some of the more remote areas of Namibia. A good zoom lens (minimum 200 mm) is essential for wildlife photography.
A good zoom lens (minimum 200 mm) is essential for wildlife photography. Photography of government offices, airports, military establishments, official residences and embassies, in addition to other sensitive facilities, is illegal without special permission from the Ministry of Information. Taking photographs of members of the security services (police and armed forces personnel) and of demonstrations and protests is not permitted. Laws are strictly enforced.
Neutral, muted colours such as khaki, dark green or beige ensure as little disturbance to wildlife as possible whilst on game drives or walks. White or bright colours are not advised and army camouflage uniforms or army hats are prohibited in Zimbabwe.
Light, casual clothing (shorts/shirts) for everyday wear, stout shoes for walking, light waterproof jacket for summer, warm jumper/ fleece for winter, warm long trousers for winter, two sets of good casual clothes for evening dining where appropriate, towel, broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, plenty of film & spare battery, binoculars, reliable torch, sleeping bag if camping. Evening wear in the lowveld should be light coloured and loose fitting to discourage mosquitoes.
It is also worth noting that if you are travelling by light aircraft you should carry no more than 10-15kg of luggage in a soft bag for ease of packing.
The Zimbabwean dollar has been taken out of circulation indefinitely. The most widely used currencies are the US dollar and the South African rand. It is inadvisable to carry large amounts of cash. However, credit and debit cards are not widely accepted. Although it is possible to withdraw cash from some ATMs, it is not advisable to rely on this service being available throughout Zimbabwe. It is illegal to exchange foreign currency in Zimbabwe anywhere other than at officially licensed dealers (e.g. banks), who may not have sufficient currency to accommodate your request. It is advisable to have small denomination notes, as change is rarely available. Travellers cheques are not generally accepted at the unofficial rate, so cash is best.
Visitors from the Commonwealth and some other countries can obtain tourist visas at the border, at present the fees are as follows:
single entry visa US$55
double entry visa US$70
multiple entry visas US$90.
All other nationalities:
single entry visa US$30
double entry visas US$45.
Please contact us for details regarding your personal visa requirements.
Destination:Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana
Style:3-4*, Wildlife, Active
Destination:Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana
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