If this is your first time travelling to Zimbabwe or you’re now a regular visitor here’s some information that you might need to know before and during your trip! You can thank us later.
Currency – We’re sure you are wondering what we use as currency here. We assure you it’s not goats and chickens. Zimbabwe is a very unique country and this is one of the things you will get to learn. You’ll find some shops selling in South African Rand and some in US Dollars and some using bond notes. What are bond notes is probably the next question you’re going to ask. Bond notes are technically the local currency used in Zimbabwe so you may want to change some of your money to bond notes to pay for some of the smaller transactions you’re going to make during your trip.
Accommodation – You can find cheap guesthouses for as little $80 per night in the city and $50 – $150 per night in the countryside, though in the big cities like Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare, rooms start at about 80 per night. Hotels start at around $140 per night and go up from there. Big resorts around most frequented tourist destinations start at $250 per night for a shared room. Dorm rooms, which are increasingly widespread throughout the country, range from $50 – $60 per night. Airbnb is also growing in Zimbabwe and a good amount of cities have a nice selection. You can get a comfortable house for as low as $20 per night here.
Food – Food is really cheap in Zimbabwe. Street food costs as little as $2, though on average you’ll spend about $5 – $15 ( Depending on where you choose to buy) per meal if you want something really filling. If you stick to the local street food, you can eat for around $5 – $8 a day. Most western dishes (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc) cost between $7 – $18, though they can be higher in the fancier establishments. If you like to get your chef on, there are a number of supermarkets in Zimbabwe where you can buy groceries and fresh ingredients for your meals. Below is a list of some of the popular food joints.
- Gava’s Restaurant (Harare)
- Lookout Cafe (Victoria Falls)
- Indaba Book Cafe (Bulawayo)
- Toni’s (Mutare)
Transportation – Depending on where you want to go, local buses cost as little as $1 per trip, taxis cost about $5 per trip if you are travelling not more than 10km. In Zimbabwe, the majority of the population normally use “kombis” these are un-metered and generally cheaper, costing $0.75 – $1.50 per ride. Train service around the country is cheap although they are not so popular anymore because of the long hours you’d have to endure during the journey. Coach buses are a great way to get around the country. For example, a bus ride from Harare to Bulawayo costs $15 and a bus ride from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls costs $30. Zimbabwe also has taxi hailing services similar to your usual uber. The most popular ones are Hwindi and Vaya Africa.
Activities – Day tours cost $144.30 with Tiritose depending on the activity – 3 to 5 days trips range from $275 – $600. Keep in mind, you have more bargaining power if you are with a group (thank us later).
Money Saving Tips
- Go local – The easiest way to save money in Zimbabwe is to simply live like a local. Take local buses, eat street food, and drink local beer (we recommend you try the Zambezi, you’re welcome). The average Zimbabwean lives on a less than $10 per day in Harare, and on even less in the countryside.
- Take advantage of promotions – Most of Zimbabwe’s fast food outlets have half price days where you can buy pizza or chicken and fries at half the normal prize (most common one being Terrific Tuesday at Pizza Inn)
- Buy beer at The Usual Place– Buying beer at Jameson’s ubiquitous bar and drinking whilst listening to some old school tunes will save you quite a bit on your bar tab. A beer at The Usual Place is about $1 per pint, while the same beer will cost $2 – $3 in most restaurants or bars in the city.
- Don’t book any tours before you arrive – Want to take a dance class? Go zip-lining? Safari Drive? Bungee jumping? Wait until you get into Zimbabwe to book anything. Travel agencies are located all over the tourist areas, looking to sell their tours. We are not saying we are the best but hey who’s giving you tips (wink wink) Tiritose.
- Don’t buy at first sight – look around and take everything in before you buy a souvenir. After looking around you will be in a better position to decide on what to spend your money on.