Zim trip report October 2012
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 24, 2013 3:52 PM Last Post By: rmalone
Nov 28, 2012 6:48 PM
Zim trip report October 2012Since all info seem old and outdated - here is my fresh report after travelling Zim on public transport.
We entered Zim from Livingstone by taking the cheap minibus going to a nearby village just by the border. Visa is only 30 US for swedes but more for brits and americans. The Zim border post is 5 min walk from the entrance to Vic falls. Entrance fee is now 30 US but from this side you actually see the falls which you can only get a glimpse of from the Zam side in the dry season.
Another 20 min walk to Vic falls and Shoestrings backpackers. 11 US for a dorm but the room is right behind the bar so prepare to not beeing able to sleep until late. I´d prefer camping if I did it again. In all it was a very rundown place and I´d prefer to stay somewhere else.
There is a free shuttle to the Vic falls Safari Lodge where you can take a drink and watch the animals at the waterhole down below. Really nice! The Vic falls hotel is also said to be nice but it´s really expensive.
Getting tickets to the daily 7pm train to Bulawayo was easy and 20US for 1st class. 2nd class is identical but contains 4 beds instead of 2. The train is like an old fashioned Soviet-style train which you can find all over eastern europe. Toilets are - of course disgusting! The train ride was a bit overrated - you basically just see some villages in the morning, villages like the ones you see all over Zim while travelling on buses. Usually the trains arrive at 9-9.30am but TIA so ours arrived a few hours later.
In Bulawayo the only budget choice seem to be Backpackers Paradise (earlier known as Backpackers Rest). 15 US without breakfast and the lady owning the place is not the nicest one I´ve met. We did get the feeling that she only wanted people to spend as much money as possible. The kitchen is ok by southern africans standards though.
We did a Matopo tour through them and it was 80US. It was a beautiful park with wonderful rock formations. You also get to see som really well preserved San paintings and Cecil Rhodes grave at Worlds view.
From Bulawayo bus to Masvingo (8US). Our bus broke down but it should take about 6 hours. After that a minibus to Great Zim for 1,5 US. From the road you walk about 1,5 km to the main entrance. Dorms are now 7US, Rondavels 15US/pp. Ask at the reception and they will let you in in one of the bigger houses where you can borrow a kitchen. Entrance to the ruins is 15US. It was indeed a wonderful place! There were no other tourists there so we got to walk around and explore the place with no other people in sight!
Back in Masvingo we got to the "XO-terminal" from where buses to SA leaves. There are nightbuses to Pretoria at around 5pm, 7pm and 11pm. Cost is 32 US with Eagle Liner but quality was not good.
General on Zim:
- Wonderful people
- The usual rip offs by minibus drivers
- Always felt safe - relatively low crime rate
Nov 29, 2012 7:18 AM
Nov 29, 2012 3:15 PM
2As far as I know there is no camping in Bulawayo and at Great Zim it shouldn´t be more than 5US.
Dec 1, 2012 6:21 AM
Dec 2, 2012 3:12 AM
4You can get camping facilities in Bulawayo at Burkes Paradise.Beautiful owner run backpackers and their camping is USD10.
Feb 24, 2013 3:52 PM
5Interesting report! We visited Zim in 2000 when there were very few foreign tourists and got great deals on safari's but did not make it down to Great Zim. Interested in returning to Zim and your report is just what we need.
BTW, I looked up the link for #4's suggestion http://www.burkes-paradise.com/index.html and it looks great!
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