See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Zimbabwe for information on U.S. - Zimbabwe relations.
You need a passport, visa, return ticket, and adequate funds to cover your intended stay in order to enter Zimbabwe. If you are traveling to Zimbabwe for tourism, business, or transit, you may obtain a visa at the airports or other border ports-of-entry. There is currently no option of getting a Zimbabwean tourist visa in advance through the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington. You can expect to pay 30 USD for a 30-day/single-entry visa or 60 USD for a 60-day/multiple entry visa. Extensions are possible, and require visiting the Zimbabwe Immigration Office's public window. Travelers who intend to engage in any non-tourism related activity require a visa in advance of entry. Immigration officials often detain tourists who indicate that they are journalists or professional videographers or photographers. Contact the Department of Immigration Zimbabwe for further details and information on other types of visas and entry permits.
Zimbabwe has implemented measures to stem the flow of U.S. dollars from the country due to their cash liquidity crisis. You should:
If you are traveling to or through South Africa, be aware that they require at least two blank visa pages in your passport for each entry otherwise your entry may be denied. Additionally, South Africa requires that minors traveling with only one parent or with individuals other than a parent have signed and notarized permission from the parent/s and original birth certificates. See the Country Specific Information for South Africa for details.
HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Zimbabwe.
Crime: Criminals operate in the vicinity of hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas of major cities and tourist areas such as Victoria Falls. The downtown sectors of Harare, and its high-density residential suburbs, are particularly high-crime areas.
While in Zimbabwe:
For your safety while driving/riding in a car:
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to police at the Harare Central Police Station, 777-777, and contact the U.S. Embassy at + 263 04 250 593. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Zimbabwe can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect average jail sentences of three to seven years and heavy fines. Authorities may detain you for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or for taking pictures of government buildings and police stations.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Photography: Photographing the Munhumutapa Building, which houses the President’s offices, is punishable by a jail term and there is no provision for paying a fine. It is not always apparent what the police deem sensitive and they have detained people for photographing anything they view as sensitive, no matter how innocuous it may seem. You should seriously consider the risks of taking pictures anywhere in Zimbabwe other than game parks and other obvious tourist attractions.
Political Sensitivities: U.S. citizens have been detained and threatened with expulsion for the administering humanitarian aid and expressing political opinions or criticism of President Mugabe. The streets around the President’s residence and the Botanical Gardens are closed to vehicle, bicycle, and foot traffic from 6 pm to 6 am daily. President Mugabe and senior government officials travel around Harare with large and aggressive motorcades that have been known to run motorists off the road. Security personnel occasionally beat and harass drivers who fail to pull out of the way quickly. Move quickly off the road and come to a complete stop if overtaken by a motorcade.
Currency: Zimbabwe is experiencing a cash crisis. Foreigners who do not have Zimbabwean bank cards are unable to access cash from banks or ATM machines throughout the country. The United States also has targeted financial sanctions on certain Zimbabwean citizens and entities. For more information, please consult the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for up-to-date information on these sanctions.
Roadblocks: The government frequently uses marked and unmarked road blocks to enforce order and collect fines, particularly in urban centers and on major roads. Quickly comply when instructed by police or security officials to stop at a roadblock.
Game Parks: Safety standards and training vary at game parks and wildlife viewing areas. You should ascertain whether operators are trained and licensed. All animal should be respected as wild and extremely dangerous. Travelers should keep a safe distance from animals and remain in vehicles or other protected enclosures when visiting game parks.
Hunting: Tourists wishing to hunt in Zimbabwe must be accompanied by a licensed operator. You should request and check the authenticity of their license by contacting the Zimbabwe Association of Tour and Safari Operators (ZATSO). Hunters should confirm that they are not hunting on illegally seized land or on a nature conservancy as you may be subject to arrest, lawsuits, fines, seizure of possessions, and imprisonment. You should also contact the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Washington, D.C. to determine what permits are required by the Government of Zimbabwe for importing weapons into the country.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: The constitution of Zimbabwe outlaws marriage between people of the same gender and allows for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Consensual sex between men is criminalized in Zimbabwe, with both parties subject to fines of 5,000 USD or a year imprisonment or both. While there is no explicit legal prohibition against sexual relations between women, societal violence and harassment against LGBTI individuals is pervasive. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: The Zimbabwe constitution and law prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, access to public places, and the provision of services. However, the law is not widely known, poorly implemented, and rarely enforced. Persons with disabilities face harsh societal discrimination and widespread physical barriers. Many public buildings do not have wheelchair ramps, operational elevators, or suitable restroom facilities. Public transportation does not include lifts or access by wheelchair. Road crossing aids for the disabled are nonexistent and sidewalks in urban areas are in disrepair and cluttered with numerous obstacles.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
The public medical infrastructure in Zimbabwe is subpar and medical facilities are limited. Serious illnesses or injuries require medical evacuation to South Africa.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
The power supply in Zimbabwe is 220 volt 50 Hz and unreliable. Travelers who use electrical medical devices should consider alternatives and verify with lodging accommodations that your needs can be met.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in Zimbabwe is hazardous. Zimbabweans drive on the left side of the road and people often drive over the speed limit. Avoid driving at night. The Traffic Safety Council reports there are 40-50 vehicle accidents in Harare every night. Although the main roads throughout Zimbabwe are generally in fair but deteriorating condition, most lack passing lanes, shoulders, breakdown lanes, lighting, reflectors, and similar safety features.
Hazards you will encounter while driving (especially after dark):
There is no national network of roadside emergency service. However, the Automobile Association (AA) of Zimbabwe is willing to provide roadside emergency service to nonmembers for a fee. They can be contacted at 263-4-752-779. AA Zimbabwe’s 24-hour emergency roadside helpline is 263-4-707-959. Travelers can also contact the Road Angels, another roadside assistance service, at 263-4-334-304 and 263-4-334-418.
Traffic Laws: It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving in Zimbabwe. Drivers are required to wear seat belts or helmets if driving motorcycles. Car seats are not legally required for small children. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) enforcement does not generally exist, resulting in high rates of impaired drivers, especially at night.
Public Transportation: U.S. Embassy staff is prohibited from using “Kombis” – the minibuses that service main routes, due to safety concerns. Inter-city commuter bus travel, except on “luxury coaches,” is dangerous due to overcrowding, inadequate maintenance, and unsafe drivers. Public bus drivers are often fatigued, fail to adhere to local speed limits, and often fail to obey traffic rules or regulations.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Air Travel: U.S. Embassy staff has recently been prohibited from flying with the national carrier, Air Zimbabwe. The restriction was put into place due to the airline’s lack of an automated system for tracking the completion of safety checks.
There are currently no other airlines operating flights between Harare and Bulawayo, although South African Airways has flights between Johannesburg and Bulawayo, and the budget airline carrier, FastJet, flies from Harare to Victoria Falls. Travelers to other parts of the country should consider driving.
Aviation Safety Oversight: ****Effective immediately, U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from travel on Air Zimbabwe because of safety concerns that include improper or overdue maintenance and lack of a computerized record-keeping system. Travel for U.S. Embassy personnel on Air Zimbabwe is suspended until such time as the deficiencies are rectified.****
As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.