Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked Southern African country situated between the Zambezi River in the North and the Limpopo River to the South. Zimbabwe is bordered by South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana. The capital and largest city is Harare. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages but English, Shona and Ndebele are the most common.

The name Zimbabwe comes from a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe which was an ancient city, the ruins of which lie near Masvingo in the South-East of the country. These ruins are now a protected site (see our description of Great Zimbabwe). There are two different theories on the origin of the name Zimbabwe.  The first holds that the name derives from Dzimba-dzamabwe which translated from the Karanga dialect of Shona means “large houses of stone”.  The Karanga speaking people that currently live around Great Zimbabwe near Masvingo claim that “Zimbabwe” represents a contracted form of dzimbahwe which means “venerated houses” in the Zezuru dialect of Shona and usually means chief’s houses or graves.

Most of Zimbabwe is elevated land, consisting of a central plateau (highveld) stretching from the southwest northwards with altitudes of between 1000m and 1600m.  The country’s extreme east is mountainous and this area is known as the Eastern Highlands, Mount Nyangani is the highest point at 2592m.

The Eastern Highlands are known for their great natural beauty with popular tourist destinations such as Nyanga, Troutbeck, Vumba, Chimanimani and the Chirinda Forest at Mount Selinda. Approximately 20% of the country consists of low-lying areas under 900m (lowveld).  Victoria Falls, one of the world’s biggest and most spectacular waterfalls is located in the country’s extreme northwest.

Climate

Zimbabwe has a tropical climate but has many local variations with the southern areas known for their heat and aridity, the central plateau may receive frost in winter, the Zambezi Valley is known for its extreme heat and the Eastern Highlands experiences cool temperatures and the highest rainfall in the country.

The rainy season normally runs from mid-November to March but with recurrent droughts.

Currency

Zimbabwe adopted the United States Dollar in 2009.  Most other currencies are accepted in tourist areas.

Victoria Falls

Great Zimbabwe

Mana Pools

Matopos

Kariba

Harare

Bulawayo

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