The official language is English, but for most people it is their second language. There are several indigenous languages, including Shona and Ndebele spoken throughout the country.

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The Zimbabwe dollar was recently pulled from circulation and replaced by the US dollar, South African rand, euro and UK pound. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are not accepted.

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Zimbabwe’s international country code is 263. To call another country from Zimbabwe, dial 00 followed by the appropriate country code. Harare has several Internet cafes, but they are usually very crowded.

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Bills usually include a service charge. If that’s not the case, it’s customary to tip 10 percent. The sole income for many tour guides and game rangers is tips.

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Zimbabwe has a very unstable political system and the country is plagued with social unrest and economic crisis. Criminal activity and opportunistic theft from foreigners in tourist areas has risen dramatically. Keep valuables and important documents hidden or leave them in a hotel safe. Be extremely cautious around ATMs and when traveling after dark. There is a high crime level in downtown Harare. Avoid Pungwe Falls, Mterazi Falls and the Honde Falls in Nyanga, where there have been many violent crimes reported. Don’t travel alone and stick with recognized tour groups. If you witness a political incident, you should leave the area immediately and not take any photographs or use a mobile phone.

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If you’re traveling from an area infected with yellow fever, you’ll need a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the country. You should also consult with a doctor about preventions for hepatitis A, tetanus, meningitis, typhoid, polio, malaria and bilharzia. HIV/AIDS is widespread. The malaria risk lasts all year long and is especially high in the Zambezi Valley, Hwange National Park, the Eastern Highlands and Victoria Falls. Many of the mosquitoes are resistant to chloroquine. Cholera outbreaks peak in the rainy season, when flooding contaminates water sources. Be careful with food and water, and stick to bottled water, especially when outside urban areas. Make sure you have enough of any needed medications as well as adequate health insurance.

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Zimbabwe’s electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz and uses round, three-pinned plugs and rectangular, three-blade plugs.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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