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Country Profile

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered by the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. The official language is English; however, the majority of the population speaks Shona. Despite a new unity government that was formed in February 2009 amid renewed optimism for change, and although the country offers popular tourist facilities in Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, and selected game parks, much of country's infrastructure has collapsed, and Americans should carefully evaluate the decision to travel to Zimbabwe at this time. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Zimbabwe for additional information.

Zimbabwe

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Zimbabwe
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Harare
Boundary Countries:

Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities:

Harare, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza

Country Size: 390,580 sq km
Population: 12,236,805

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects

Currency: Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)
Predominant Religions:

syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
 

National Holidays: Independence Day, 18 April (1980)
Economic Status:

Zimbabwe is a developing landlocked country in southern Africa. The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued exchange rate, soaring inflation, and bare shelves.
 

Security:

Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF): Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), Zimbabwe Republic Police
 

US Presence:

U.S. Embassy Harare
172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue
Harare, Zimbabwe
Telephone: (263-4) 250-593/4; Emergency After-hours telephone: (263-4) 250-595
Facsimile: (263-4) 250-343

American citizen service hours are from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 am to 11:30 am on Fridays, except U.S. and Zimbabwean holidays. The mailing address is PO Box 3340, Harare. The Embassy can be contacted by e-mail at ConsularHarare@state.gov.

Document Requirements:

A passport, visa, return ticket, and adequate funds are required.  U.S. citizens traveling to Zimbabwe for tourism, business, or transit can obtain a visa at the airports and border ports-of-entry, or in advance by contacting the Embassy of Zimbabwe at 1608 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009; telephone (202) 332-7100.  American citizens considering travel to Zimbabwe to visit tourist destinations, including eco-tourist sites or hunting safaris, or for business purposes, are advised that the Government of Zimbabwe has declared that American visitors with proper documentation will be allowed entry without difficulty.  However, the Government of Zimbabwe has also signaled an intention to refuse entry to Americans who are believed to have a bias against the Zimbabwean government.  Visit the Embassy of Zimbabwe web site for the most current visa information.

Americans entering Zimbabwe for tourism can expect to pay $30 for a single-entry, 30-day visa upon entering the country.  Extensions are possible, but normally require a personal visit to the Zimbabwe Immigration Office's public window, located in the center of Harare.

Americans intending to reside or work in Zimbabwe must obtain prior approval by the Zimbabwean Chief Immigration Officer.  Such applications typically take a minimum of six weeks and should be made through the Embassy of Zimbabwe in Washington, DC.  Since January 2008, several American citizens applying for or renewing residency or work permits have had their applications denied without explanation and have been forced to depart the country.

Upon arrival in Zimbabwe, travelers should keep all travel documents readily available, as well as a list of residences or hotels where they will stay while in Zimbabwe. Travelers to Zimbabwe must carry some form of identification at all times. Americans traveling to Zimbabwe to work in aid and development projects should ensure that they have proper permission and documentation from the Zimbabwean government before entering the country.

U.S. citizens who intend to work in Zimbabwe as journalists must apply for accreditation with the Zimbabwean Embassy at least one month in advance of planned travel. The Government of Zimbabwe uses an extremely expansive definition of journalism and any formal interviews, filming or photography may be considered “presenting oneself as an accredited journalist,” a crime punishable by arrest or detention. If you are in doubt about whether or not your purpose of travel constitutes journalism, please seek clarification from the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington BEFORE you travel. It is no longer possible to seek accreditation after arrival in Zimbabwe. Journalists attempting to enter Zimbabwe without proper advance accreditation may be denied admission, detained for questioning, arrested or deported. Journalists seeking to file stories from Zimbabwe must comply with the requirements of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which requires that journalists seek accreditation by paying a $500 (U.S.) application fee and, if accredited, a $1,000 (U.S.) accreditation fee.  U.S. citizen students and faculty at educational and other institutions who wish to do research in Zimbabwe should contact a host educational or research institution for affiliation prior to applying for a visa.  Despite fulfilling all such requirements and receiving appropriate permission, legitimate researchers have been detained in the past by the police because the subject of their research was believed to be sensitive.

Zimbabwe has become a cash society, with few establishments accepting international credit cards.  Check cashing facilities are effectively nonexistent.  Visitors are required to declare the amount of currency they are bringing into and out of the country.  While there is no set legal limit on the amount of foreign currency that a person can carry into Zimbabwe, the maximum foreign currency that can be taken out of the country is U.S. $5,000.

Travelers transiting South Africa should ensure that their passports contain at least two completely blank (unstamped) visa pages each time entry is sought. These pages are in addition to the endorsement/amendment pages at the back of the passport.  While South African statutes require one completely blank visa page, this rule has been applied inconsistently by South African immigration officials.  South African immigration authorities routinely turn away travelers who do not have enough blank visa pages in their passports.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  403, Airports w/paved runways:  17
 

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

The US Department of State issued a TRAVEL WARNING for Zimbabwe on 12 December 2009.
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_937.html

The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of traveling to Zimbabwe due to deteriorating safety and security conditions, and urges them to carefully consider their need to travel there. The political instability and economic crisis in Zimbabwe have resulted in small-scale civil demonstrations and riots by military personnel, and a general deterioration of government services and infrastructure, including the near collapse of the country's public health system. The Department of State therefore urges US citizens visiting Zimbabwe to closely monitor the situation, keep travel documents up to date, and have contingency plans ready for their own personal health, safety and security.
Americans travelling to Zimbabwe should avoid crowds. Zimbabwean authorities may forcefully disband demonstrations by labor unions and other civil groups. American citizens should avoid all public demonstrations and protests.
The public health system in Zimbabwe no longer provides even basic services due to a lack of staff, electricity, clean water, and medical supplies. Americans who fall ill while in Zimbabwe may find it difficult to find treatment. In late 2008, the deterioration of the health system impaired the government's ability to respond to a dangerous cholera outbreak which has killed hundreds of people. Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the intestine that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is spread through untreated sewage and contaminated drinking water. The latest outbreak in Zimbabwe has exposed a shortage of potable water throughout the country and overwhelmed medical resources. Travelers to Zimbabwe should drink boiled or bottled water, use boiled or bottled water in food preparation, and regularly wash their hands with a sanitizer.
For additional information on cholera, American citizens may refer to the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/cholera_gi.html. American citizens experiencing symptoms associated with cholera, such as severe diarrhea, should seek immediate medical attention. However, Harare's three public hospitals have virtually shut down. Private clinics, while operational, often lack staff, electricity, water, and medical supplies. As a result, there is no guarantee that travelers who become ill will be able to obtain adequate emergency medical treatment in Zimbabwe.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/ where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00a to 8:00p Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except US federal holidays). Americans are also encouraged to read the Country Specific Information for Zimbabwe, available at http://travel.state.gov/.
US citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without internet access may register directly with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" found at http://travel.state.gov/.
US citizens may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the US Embassy in Harare for further information. The Embassy is located on 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare. Telephone 263-4-250-593/4/5, e-mail consularharare@state.gov. The Embassy's Internet home page address is http://harare.usembassy.gov/.
Department of State travel information and publications are available at Internet address: http://travel.state.gov.
US travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of State in Washington, DC at 202-647-5225 from their touch-tone telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by dialing 202-647-3000 from their fax machine.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 51.71 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 39.29 years  (male 40.39/female 38.16)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Malaria, Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters: tetanus-diptheria, measles, polio as needed

Infectious Disease Concerns:

The water supply is not always potable; use bottled or distilled water for drinking.
Malaria is prevalent throughout Zimbabwe, except in Harare, due to the capital’s high altitude.  The CDC strongly recommends that malaria prophylaxis and preventive measures are taken when traveling outside of Harare.
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), and trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region, mostly in rural areas. African tick bite fever, a rickettsial infection, is common in South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities, particularly outside of Harare and Bulawayo, are extremely limited.  Many illnesses or accidents require medical evacuation to South Africa. Doctors, hospitals and air ambulance medical evacuation services often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Provincial hospitals in rural areas have rudimentary staffing, equipment, and supplies, and are not equipped to provide medical care in case of a serious accident.  The fuel shortage further diminishes emergency response capabilities.  Emergency patients have sometimes had to arrange their own transportation to the hospital.
 

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 2
Referrals: 5
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

CDC Outbreak Notice
Cholera in Zimbabwe and Neighboring Countries
Updated: January 16, 2009
An outbreak of cholera has been reported by health officials in Zimbabwe. According to the United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, from August 26 through January 14, 2009, 42,675 suspected cases and 2,225 deaths have been reported in the country. The worst-affected areas are the capital city of Harare (11,919 cases and 391 deaths), Mashonaland West (10,151 cases and 555 deaths), Matabeleland South (4,416 cases and 142 deaths). Cases of cholera have been reported in all of Zimbabwe’s provinces. Cases have also been confirmed in the neighboring countries of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Additional sources have reported cases in Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Togo.
Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is spread through untreated sewage and contaminated drinking water. There is no cholera vaccine available in the United States.
 
Adult HIV/AIDS prevalence rate: 24.6%

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +263
Internet Country Code:  .zw

 



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