Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, like South Africa, is a world in one country. With spectacular highlights that include Forests, Lakes, Victoria Falls and excellent game parks, it has something for everyone. Recent economic problems and a leader
in the world spotlight has caused a downturn but the eternally optimistic people of Zimbabwe are working to turn things around.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Area: 390,580 sq. km (25th in Africa)
Capital: Harare
Largest towns: Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, and Mutare
Population: 13 million
Official language: English
Other languages: Shona, Matabele
Currency: Zimbabwe Dollar
Head of state: President Robert Mugabe
Life expectancy: 39 years
Literacy: 90%

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Victoria Falls, Eastern Highlands, Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe Ruins, Kariba Dam.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Agriculture – Maize. Tobacco farming, Beef.

MAJOR CULTURES

European, Bantu – Ndebele, Shona.

RELIGIONS

Christian and ZCC

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Landlocked. Northern and Southern borders formed by Zambezi and Limpopo rivers.
Lake Kariba on Zambezi – one of the largest bodies of water in southern Africa.
A feature – the large granite outcrops – koppies.
Temperatures are moderate to hot, with winter nights in some areas being chilly.
Zambezi valley the hottest and most humid part of the country.
Coolest area is the highlands along the Mozambique border.
Low annual rainfall – drought and semi-drought conditions regular.
Summer – November to March – rainy season. Winter – May to September.

HISTORY

Named Rhodesia after Cecil John Rhodes who went there looking for gold.
1890 – Rhodes obtained a concession from the British government to govern an
area north of the Limpopo
(through BSAC).
1923 -BSAC conceded to Rhodesia to become a self-governing colony.
1930 – Land appointment act, European settlers were given preferential land choice.
1934 – Industrial conciliation act, Africans were not allowed skilled work.
1965 Prime Minister Ian Smith illegally made Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).
1976 – An alliance was formed between guerilla forces.
On April 16 1980 Zimbabwe officially came into being under ZANU with Robert Mugabe as the Prime Minister and the Reverend Canaan Banana as president.
Mugabe stays at the helm, insuring a one-party state by jailing the opposition – two parties in the last two centuries – ZAPU and MDC.
Currently they have a land distribution problem, where the veterans from the independence war are taking over white farmlands, while being encouraged by Mugabe.

CRIME AND SAFETY

Fairly safe – the violence is not tourism related or aimed.
Big towns are dangerous as in other countries.
Wild animals roam freely, especially in Victoria Falls, a national park.

MONEY

Very unstable currency and economy. Very weak. Very difficult to get money out with credit cards at banks and ATM’s – not advisable. Banking – 08:30 to 14:00 except for Wednesdays (close 11:00), Saturdays (close 11:00).
Forex not available at all!!

POST AND TELEPHONE

Postal and telephone services fairly reliable in major towns.

INTERESTING INFO

The name Zimbabwe comes from an Ancient city built by the Karanga and Rozvi tribes, it was built skilfully with equal sized granite rocks placed on top of one another, no cement or mortar was used. The word Zimbabwe is derived from the city walls; it means “house of stone” within these walls they found 6 stone statues of birds, the bird is now depicted as one of the national emblems. The city ruins are found near Masvingo in the South East and is now a National Heritage site. The Baobab tree found at Vic Falls is also a national Heritage site and is depicted on the 10 cents coin. It takes 33 grown men with outstretched arms to surround the tree’s trunk