Zimbabwean Bond Notes were introduced as the official currency in November 2016; however, the US dollar will continue to be accepted throughout Zimbabwe.
Budget: Less than US$150
- Camping or dorm bed: US$8–12
- Room in a guesthouse: US$15–60
- Local meal: US$5
- Beer: US$2
- Long-distance bus: US$10–15
- Game drive in national park: US$45
- National park fees: US$10–20
- Shona sculpture: US$5
- Double room in boutique guesthouse: US$60–150
- Safari lodge, meals & activities: US$150
- Restaurant meal: US$10–25
- Taxi hire: US$50–80
- Shona sculpture: US$50–100
Top end: More than US$250
- Room in business hotel: US$275
- All-inclusive safari: US$250–1000
- Car hire/driver: US$150 a day
- Shona sculpture: US$200–500
While, for the most part, prices are set in Zimbabwe, if shopping at local markets for souvenirs or art pieces, then haggling is the expected practice. Aim for around 40% off the asking price, from where you an negotiate a happy medium. During the nonpeak periods you can often manage a discount rate at some of the lodges. Taxis rarely have meters, so be sure to negotiate a price before you take off.
In late 2016 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe controversially released US$10 million worth of bond notes. The decision was made in response to major cash shortages whereby the nation effectively ran out of US dollars. Pegged to the US dollar, the currency was initially released in denominations of $2 and $5 notes. However, it's not accepted as legal tender outside the country, so bear this in mind before departure.
While it remains unclear whether these bond notes will remain long term or are a temporary solution, US dollars (the most commonly used currency in Zimbabwe since 2009) will likely remain the most viable currency to carry. South African rand, Botswana pula, pound sterling, euro and Chinese yuan (among a few others) are theoretically also accepted, though to a much lesser extent.
Due to issues in withdrawing cash from banks, as of 2016 it was recommended to carry enough US dollars to last the entirety of your stay; prepay any accommodation or tours to reduce the amount you need to bring in. While new bond coins introduced in 2014 have significantly reduced issues with receiving change at supermarkets, it's still best to take along plenty of small US dollar notes for tips etc.
Some restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge to the bill; if so, no tip is required. Otherwise, any tip is hugely appreciated.
As of result of the cash crisis, many foreign cards were limited to withdrawals of US$100 per day, if any – so it's best not to rely on ATMs and instead bring cash. Check the latest on the situation before departing. Otherwise, ATMs are aplenty across Zimbabwe, but the larger towns are the most reliable. Barclays, Standard Charter and Stanbic are the main banks accepting MasterCard, Visa and Cirrus.
Credit cards are accepted in top hotels and some upmarket restaurants and shops.