Safety advice for Zimbabwe

Countries  »  Zimbabwe  »  Safety Advice

Zimbabwe has had its fair share of turmoil in the past, but in recent years things have calmed down and life there is readjusting. However, there are still some strict and somewhat unusual laws that travellers should be made aware of before visiting.

Zimbabwe is still quite politically sensitive so try to not force any locals to discuss the political regimes as many locals will feel uncomfortable doing so. It is actually against the law to offend, insult, or criticise, the current President, Robert Mugabe, so avoid discussing similar matters amongst other backpackers as well. Waving can also get you in to trouble as this could be misinterpreted as the ‘open hand’ political symbol of the opposition group in Zimbabwe

Photography of any armed forces, police, demonstrations, airports, government offices, official residence and embassies are prohibited. This includes the President’s residence in Harare which is best avoided all together to stay out of trouble. Homosexuality is effectively illegal here as well so gay travellers should take extra precaution, and if travelling with a partner then it’s best to avoid any PDA. Lastly, wearing anything camouflage is also illegal – so leave those army prints at home! You should also remember to carry your passport, or a copy of it, with you at all times.

In terms of general safety, the risk of terrorism is low and the usual crimes, such as theft and pick pocketing do occur, but as long as you use some common sense and keep your valuables hidden then you should be fine.  Car theft can be a problem in certain areas, particularly along the route to Harare airport and on the Masvingo-beitbridge road, so just make sure to lock your car, don’t leave it in the middle of nowhere and be wary when filling it up at night.