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Zimbabwe Travel Guide

The Republic of Zimbabwe, as its officially known, is a South African country, which has a total area of 390,580 square kilometres and borders with Zambia and Botswana to the north and west, Mozambique to the north and east and South Africa to the south. There are around 13 million people living in the country, all of whom are mainly of Shona, Ndebele, Shangaan, Batonka, Venda and European descent and predominantly of syncretic, Christian and indigenous beliefs. The inhabitants speak Shona and English and when it comes to making money, mining, clothing, tourism and agriculture are the main profit makers, trading mainly with the UK, Argentina, the US, Japan and South Africa.

In 1923, the United Kingdom took possession of Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company and by 1961, a statute was put in place, with preference for whites to rule. In 1965 the administration affirmed its independence, but the United Kingdom did not acknowledge the law and insisted on more absolute voting rights for the black African majority in the, then called, Rhodesia. Liberated elections began in 1979, due to United Nations approvals and a guerrilla revolt, with independence of the now Zimbabwe, in 1980. In 1987, Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe, came into rule, controlling the country's political structure, since Zimbabwe’s independence. Mugabe set up a campaign to redistribute the country’s land, which caused many white farmers to leave the country, with financial struggles rapidly following. Ignoring international disapproval, the Prime Minister tampered with the 2002 presidential election to ensure his re-election, with hostile opponents and work forces initiating wide-ranging strikes in 2003, to try and force Mugabe to retire. Today, Zimbabwe is still under Mugabe’s tyrannical rule.

Most people venture to Zimbabwe to go on safari, to see Africa’s full and exciting wildlife, and with each safari travel route ranging from Landrover to plane to hot air balloon, its hard to choose which to go on…the best option would probably be to choose the one that gives the best view of these cleverly camouflaged creatures! For those wanting some physical activity, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the Victoria Falls region of Zimbabwe, including micro lighting, parachuting, horse-riding, kayaking, white-water rafting and cycling and there’s even the chance to kill yourself on the world's highest bungee jump! Walkers will find areas such as The Mavuradonha Wilderness providing some great hiking trails, with water sports such as canoeing and sailing available in areas such as the Kariba and the middle of the Zambezi. Getting into Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare, visitors will come across bustling traffic, tall buildings and quite a few tourist attractions such as The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, a place filled with a huge supply of African material and art. The city also has some beautiful parks, with the biggest being, Harare Gardens, which contains a perfect miniature replica of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi Gorges, and is definitely worth a look. Coming out of the park, the country’s busiest, largest market is to be found in the heart of the city, where vendors sell a mixture of products such as spices and fruit and vegetables, to visitors and locals alike.

To get around Zimbabwe there are two types of bus, the express and the local, with the express bus being used to get visitors to the main tourist areas and both being very cheap. The only scheduled buses are the express ones, with the local buses turning up willy-nilly from morning till late afternoon. For longer distances, there are flights from Harare and Bulawayo, taking travellers up to Victoria Falls, but both flights are irregular, due to the small amount of tourists using them and lack of fuel costs. Cycling is quite common in Zimbabwe, as the roads are in good condition and the weather is never a struggle to cycle in. Flying to Zimbabwe is possible from Europe and South Africa, with direct flights landing at Harare Airport, whilst other countries will need to connect in one of Europe’s major cities. Weather-wise, May through October are the driest times to arrive in Zimbabwe, while wildlife watchers will find the hotter months of November through April are best, when animals are out and about in search of water holes.

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