current security situation in zimbabwe?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Sep 23, 2013 5:46 AM Last Post By: Kibo1224
Sep 6, 2013 12:52 AM
current security situation in zimbabwe?Hello,
I will be traveling to Zambia in 2 weeks, from which I want to go to Zimbabwe (vic falls), and then spend a week or so traveling around (exact plans still tbc). from there to mozambique and then malawi for 6 months.
was wondering what is the current situation in zimbabwe? is it safe for tourists? ill be using public transport only everywhere, and ideally camping if we find camp sites. it will be me (a girl) and my boyfriend on our own. are we likely to have any problems with police/military at any point ? is it a friendly country or are we likely to struggle? of course we will not be going to areas which are known to be mugging hotspots etc.
in case of emergencies, as foreign citizens are we eligible to use the police service? apologies if there is an obvious answer, i have just read some strange posts about security and not sure what the reality is.
many thanks for all replies!
Sep 6, 2013 2:33 AM
Our friends in Zim told us it is very calm right now and life goes on as usual, although the people are struggling for food. 've been traveling through Zim many times and it was always safe but we went with a hired car and with children. I don't know about hitchhiking but the buses are safe. Just never travel during nights.There are camping sites especially in the Parks, and they are very nice, for ex. Mana Pools NP. The people are very friendly and helpful. We visited this beautiful country last time in April.
Sep 8, 2013 3:20 AM
2HI - I did the journey from Moz to Vic falls earlier this year. I found Zimbabwe a friendly country, it is a bit more expensive than neighbouring countries and a lot quieter (with regard to tourists). I'd say my favourite bits were Great Zimbabwe, the Chimanimani Mountains and Bulawayo/Matopos (although Matopos was expwnsive and it took me 3 days to find a group to do a trip with).
If you are using the southern Africa lonely planet it is very out of date (unless a new one has now been released) but there are some good trip reports on here.
One thing I would add re public transport - the lonely planet absolutely slates it stating it is just unsafe - to my completely untrained eye I found it no different to any of the neighbouring countries - in fact I would have potentially said it was a bit better. That being said I was only in Zimbabwe 2 week and I met 2 different tourists who had been involved in minibus crashes (both with fatalities). This of course is in no way conclusive evidence that public transport safety in Zimbabwe is any different to anywhere else in southern Africa. I would however use the train where possible - it's actually cheap (very slow but goes overnight saving you accom costs) - Unless you want to visit great Zimbabwe (which I would recommend - I was pleasantly surprised) you can actually use the train all the way from Vic falls to the Moz border. If you opt to visit great Zimbabwe I would get a big coach (as opposed to a minibus) from Mashvingo to Harare if you are going in that direction (again no evidence that they travel are safer but they seem to travel a bit more slowly and do less starting and stopping) and are often coming from South Africa so ?may be better serviced.
Sep 8, 2013 3:28 AM
Sep 9, 2013 5:04 AM
4thank you guys. sjdoh, ill have a look at the destinations you mentioned- i have not planned my stay in zimbabwe fully yet (it might change as i go along) but i have heard that it is generally difficult to use public transport there as it is very unfrequent and in many places non existent? many thanks for your distracted reply- it was indeed very helpul as i actually should be asking about that too! let me know if you have any further comments :)
Sep 13, 2013 3:44 PM
Not all the negative things said about Zimbabwe are true. The country has seen worse days during the crisis of 2008 but now things are way much better and most of the info that's around is a bit outdated. You'll be pleasantly when you get to see the country yourself that its a beautiful place. The people are so friendly and welcoming plus there is lots to see and experience. if you take standard precautions with regards to safety (as you said like avoiding mugging hotspots etc) crime shouldnt be a problem. Daylight muggings are very rare unlike in South Africa. The Public transport system is a spectrum but I'd say generally its useable and very cheap though the degree of comfort differs. Buses are comfortable but slower compared to the local minibuses "kombis" which are faster but not so spacious. For long distances eg from Vic Falls to Bulawayo, you could take the train. its comfortable but very slooooow! For some sites inaccessible by public transport you can always hike or hire a cab (cheap for short distances!) or depending on how good your negotiating skills are, some kombi drivers may even divert their routes just for you!
Hope my contribution makes sense lol, if you want a local contact to ask questions, recommendations etc just let me know.
Enjoy your trip!
Sep 15, 2013 10:25 AM
6many thanks ronmunya! that's exactly what i thought, seems like media are creating a little bit of an exaggerated view. of course i will be avoiding the mugging spots (i am not even interested in big cities so much which tend to be one, but small villages where i can meet local people and spend some time with them); i will be relying on public transport indeed, traveling with a backpack and a tent so hoping to be able to stay on campsites/ people's possessions when asked politely !
a local contact would be very very appreciated, many many thanks!! :)
Sep 23, 2013 5:46 AM
7In February I travelled across Zimbabwe from Vic Falls to Bulawayo (train), Bulawayo to Harare (luxury bus) and Harare to Mutare (combi/minibus) with absolutely no problem. Not sure about "getting off the beaten track", but between those destinations it was easy. Buses/combis were more modern, comfortable and safer than in Mozambique for sure. Train was old and slow, but cheap and a great experience. I would also say, don't believe much of what you hear in the media or in 5 year old guidebooks. I posted a comprehensive trip report on here in March...check it out for all the details.
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