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Zimbabwe travel guide

About Zimbabwe

After a difficult decade or so, stability is returning to Zimbabwe and pioneering tourists are gradually trickling back to the country. They are richly rewarded for their endeavours: with its abundance of natural wonders, welcoming locals, fascinating heritage and good climate, Zimbabwe is one of the most remarkable countries in Africa.

The jewel in its glistening crown is Victoria Falls. Straddling the border between Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia, this waterfall is officially the largest on the planet and hearing the roar of all that cascading water makes for an unforgettable experience.

As well as awe-inspiring natural spectacles, Zimbabwe offers some of the best wildlife in southern Africa. From the forested mountains of the Eastern Highlands to the sun-washed grasslands of Hwange National Park, the country is teeming with flora and fauna, including the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo and lion).

Roughly 11% of Zimbabwe's land has been set aside for parks and wildlife estates, but it can do big cities too. The two most populous are Harare and Bulawayo, which serve up an impressive selection of cultural attractions, hip bars and fine dining restaurants. Between these two urban hubs lie the astonishing late Iron Age stone ruins at Great Zimbabwe, which shoot down theories that sub-Saharan Africa had no great civilizations.

It’s not all smooth sailing, though. Whilst Zimbabwe’s fragile economy is slowly improving, there is still widespread poverty and the government lacks the resources to deal with the ravages of the HIV pandemic, which affects an estimated one in four people here. Corruption is rife too, and roadblocks manned by officials looking for any excuse to fleece you can hinder cross-country travel.

But for the most part Zimbabwe remains a peaceful place full of peaceful people, who desperately need tourism to help build a better future for this incredible corner of Africa.

Key facts

Area:

390,757 sq km (150,872 sq miles).

Population:

15,966,810 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

36.4 per sq km.

Capital:

Harare.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Emmerson Mnangagwa since November 2017.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Zimbabwe on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

There are commercial flights between the UK and Zimbabwe. You should check carefully with your travel provider which routes are available along with any additional requirements for your transit and destination countries. You should also check the FCDO Travel Advice when planning a journey.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Zimbabwe.

Returning to the UK

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Passengers who display COVID-19 symptoms, despite having the certificate, will be denied boarding and will be screened and tested for COVID-19 at their own expense. If found positive, passengers will be quarantined for 10 days at their own expense.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe currently has some exceptional measures in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a curfew between midnight and 5:30am. You should comply with these requirements wherever you are staying in Zimbabwe.

It is compulsory to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth whenever you are outside of your home.

Intercity travel is permitted. All journeys operate under current COVID-19 restrictions.

Accommodation

You should ensure you have accommodation for the period of your stay, as some hotels may close at short notice.

Public spaces and services

Everyone in a public place must observe social distancing (i.e. keep at least one metre apart), sanitize their hands and wear a face mask.

Non-essential business can open at their discretion as long as they adhere to the above-mentioned measures of social distancing, sanitizing and mask-wearing.

Restaurants, hotels, liquor suppliers, bars and nightclubs can open from 8am to 10pm (license dependent) to fully vaccinated customers, subject to strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Healthcare in Zimbabwe

If you take regular medication, you should ensure you have a sufficient supply and make sure you can access a repeat prescription in the event of travel delays. Most medicines that require a prescription from a doctor in the UK will require one in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean pharmacies do not accept prescriptions issued in the UK. There is no reciprocal healthcare agreement between Zimbabwe and the UK. For contact details of English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your medical practitioner for advice.

The government of Zimbabwe has said that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be detained at a place of isolation for 10 days.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Zimbabwe.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Zimbabwe

We will update this page when the Government of Zimbabwe announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to receive email notifications when this page is updated.

The Zimbabwe national vaccination programme started in February 2021 and is using the Covaxin, Sinopharm, Sinovac and Sputnik V vaccines. The Government of Zimbabwe has stated that British nationals resident in Zimbabwe are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme. You should contact your local health care provider to find out more.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad page.

If you’re a British national living in Zimbabwe, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, you should contact your local British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephones numbers are available 24/7.

Sign up for email alerts and follow the British Embassy Harare on Twitter and Facebook.

Crime

There is a moderate level of crime. People travelling alone may be more vulnerable. Mugging, pick pocketing and jewellery theft are common in city centres, especially after dark. Street lighting can be poor. Remain vigilant at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and when leaving banks and cash points. Don’t carry or display large amounts of cash in public places.

There have been occasional armed robberies targeting foreign residents. Make sure your accommodation is secure at all times.

There have been thefts and smash-and-grab robberies from vehicles, including at the main intersections along the route to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and on the Masvingo-Beitbridge road. You should be particularly vigilant when using these routes. Keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed. Be careful at night and at filling stations. Don’t leave your vehicle unattended in unguarded areas in towns.

Carry your Zimbabwean residents’ ID or a photocopy of your passport at all times. You are advised to leave your original passport somewhere safe as there have recently been increased reports of lost/stolen passports. If you lose your British passport, you will need to get a police report and apply online for an Emergency Travel Document.

Local travel

Zimbabwe has many safari lodges and game reserves. Safety standards vary and you should check whether operators are trained and licensed. There have been a number of incidents in which animals have attacked visitors, resulting in injuries and, in some cases, death. Some activities, such as walking or canoe safaris, could pose risks to personal safety. You should treat wild animals with caution and respect and keep a safe distance from them at all times.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing some electricity shortages resulting in extended periods without power. During blackouts, you should exercise a high degree of caution when driving as traffic lights may not be operational. Water rationing is being experienced in certain parts of the country. Contact your tour operator or hotel for latest updates.

The Zimbabwean mobile phone network and land lines are unreliable.

Natural disasters

The rainy season runs from November to April. Heavy rainfall can make roads harder to pass, and make some areas impassable. Flooding is also a possibility. Monitor local reports and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation, check your routes before travelling around the country, and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Rural areas

Since 2000 most of Zimbabwe’s commercial farms have been occupied or taken over by members of the National War Veterans’ Association and others. Farm invasions continue, sometimes accompanied by violence and threats. Take care when visiting farming areas that you are not familiar with.

The diamond mining area in Marange is a restricted area. If you are stopped and told that you may not access a particular area, you should turn back.

Road travel

You can drive in Zimbabwe using a full UK driving licence for up to 12 months. If you’re a resident in Zimbabwe you may wish to get a Zimbabwean licence to minimise the potential for problems at road blocks. Make sure you have your personal documents such as your passport and visa (we recommend photocopies) at all times. You’ll also require a police vehicle clearance certificate (temporary import permit) if you’re bringing in a non-Zimbabwe registered vehicle.

You must obey police signals, stop at roadblocks and toll-gates and produce identification if asked to do so. You should insist on a receipt for any fine you’re asked to pay.

It’s an offence to continue driving when the President’s motorcade goes past, no matter which side of the road you’re on. If you see the motorcade, pull off the road or onto the side of the road if this isn’t possible. There have been a number of incidents where people have been assaulted by the security forces for stopping in the wrong place or for not stopping soon enough.

Traffic accidents are a common cause of death and injury in Zimbabwe. There are often deep potholes in the roads. Traffic lights are often out of action. You should avoid driving outside the main towns at night. Vehicles and roads are often poorly lit and roads badly marked. Abandoned unlit heavy goods vehicles, cyclists without lights, pedestrians and stray livestock are particular hazards. Emergency services may provide very limited help in the event of an accident and ambulances are often delayed.

Travel carefully on inter-city roads, always wear seatbelts, lock car doors and carry a comprehensive medical kit. Be careful about stopping at lay-bys, particularly in the Beitbridge area, as there have been incidents of cars being robbed and occupants attacked.

Plan carefully before setting out on long distance journeys. Availability of fuel can be sporadic and queues are common, so either carry extra fuel or top up your tank whenever possible. You are advised to check in advance if you can make payment with an international payment card. Seek up-to-date local advice about any places that you plan to visit.

Public transport

Public transport and services are unreliable. Commuter omnibuses or “combis” are often overcrowded, inadequately maintained, uninsured and recklessly driven. You should avoid them if possible. Larger intercity buses may also be poorly driven. There have been a number of serious road accidents involving long distance buses travelling at night.

Major hotels usually have their own taxis which can be used safely for local city travel. Taxis recommended by hotels are usually reliable and in good condition.

Rail travel

The rail system is underdeveloped and very poorly maintained. Level crossings are poorly marked, resulting in numerous accidents.

Air travel

There are commercial flights between the UK and Zimbabwe. Please check carefully with your travel provider which routes are available along with any additional requirements for your transit countries. You should also check the FCDO Travel Advice when planning a journey.

Air Zimbabwe has been refused permission to operate flights to the EU because the airline has been unable to demonstrate that it complies with international air safety standards. British government employees travelling to and within Zimbabwe have been advised to use carriers that aren’t subject to the EU operating ban.

A full list of airlines banned from operating within the EU is available on the European Commission website. Refusal of permission to operate is often based on inspections of aircraft at EU airports. The fact that an airline isn’t included in the list doesn’t automatically mean that it meets the applicable safety standards.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation last audited Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority in 2010. The report found that the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Zimbabwe was close to the global average.

You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes lists of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices – IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Standard Safety Assessment. These lists aren’t exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.

Political situation

You should avoid political activity, or activities which could be construed as such, including political discussions in public places. You should avoid all demonstrations and rallies. These can be unpredictable and may turn violent. The authorities have in the past used force to suppress demonstrations. It is an offence to make derogatory or insulting comments about the President or to carry material considered to be offensive to the President’s office.

Always carry photographic identity documentation or a copy of your passport rather than the original when out and about in Zimbabwe.

Photographing government offices, airports, military establishments, official residences, embassies and other sensitive places is illegal without special permission from the Ministry of Information. Taking photographs of members of police and armed forces personnel and of demonstrations and protests is not permitted. Laws are strictly enforced.

The area around State House in Harare (the President’s official residence) is patrolled by armed members of the Presidential Guard. They don’t allow loitering, by motorists, cyclists or pedestrians, and photography is strictly prohibited. The roads in this area are closed at night (from 6pm – 6am). Avoid using GPS navigation systems around the President’s Residence and if possible avoid the area altogether.

Holding dual nationality (i.e. holding a Zimbabwean and a foreign passport at the same time) has been prohibited under Zimbabwean law since 1984. Following the passage of a new constitution in 2013, this legal position has been subject to some debate and the Constitutional Court recently ruled that some categories of dual nationality were in fact legal, and Zimbabwean citizens by birth have been permitted to hold dual nationality. However, the legislation remains inconsistent and it is possible that the Zimbabwean authorities may obstruct, detain or even seek to prosecute those they consider offenders. The British Embassy is not able to provide the full range of consular services to people with dual British and Zimbabwean nationality.

Conservative attitudes towards same-sex relations, especially between men, prevail in Zimbabwe. Sex between men is considered to be “sexual deviancy” and an “unnatural sexual act” under local law, which are illegal. Same-sex marriage is explicitly prohibited by the 2013 constitution. However, there is a small but active underground gay scene in Harare and prosecutions are rare. Public displays of affection may cause offence, regardless of gender or sexuality. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel. You can also find more local information on the GALZ Association website.

Possession or importation of pornographic material is forbidden.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict and offenders can expect heavy fines or jail sentences.

Don’t carry any precious or semi-precious stones without the correct paperwork.

It’s against the law for civilians to wear any form of clothing made from camouflage material.

The use of a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving is illegal and may result in a fine.

Zimbabwe is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which bans trade in ivory. It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence. Those caught purchasing or trafficking such goods risk prosecution and prison sentences of up to 9 years.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Zimbabwe, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

This page has information on travelling to Zimbabwe. Check what you must do to return to the UK.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Zimbabwe set and enforce entry rules.

All travellers

You will need a visa to visit Zimbabwe. It is no longer possible to get a visa from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London.

See Visas section for more information.

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter Zimbabwe by presenting a certificate of proof of vaccination (2 doses) by means of one or more of the World Health Organisation-approved vaccines. Alternatively, you can present a valid negative test certificate of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure.

You will be required to complete track and trace information on arrival in Zimbabwe.

Residents of Zimbabwe

Returning residents can enter Zimbabwe by presenting a certificate of proof of vaccination (2 doses) by means of one or more of the World Health Organisation-approved vaccines. Alternatively, you can present a valid negative test certificate of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure.

Returning residents who do not present proof of vaccination or the result certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours before their departure to Zimbabwe may be required take a PCR test and to quarantine for 10 days at their own cost.

Returning residents are required to complete track and trace information on arrival in Zimbabwe.

Proof of vaccination status

Zimbabwe will accept proof that you have received a full course (2 doses) of any one or more of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation .

If you’re not fully vaccinated

If you’re not fully vaccinated, you must possess the result certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours before your departure to Zimbabwe.

You will be required to complete track and trace information on arrival in Zimbabwe.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year

Entry requirements for Zimbabwe are not dependent on whether you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past year.

Children and young people

There are no exemptions from COVID-19 requirements for children. Children aged 17 and under should follow the rules for fully vaccinated travellers to enter Zimbabwe.

If you’re transiting through Zimbabwe

Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.

Transiting through Zimbabwe is permitted for travellers in possession of proof of vaccination (2 doses) by means of one or more of the World Health Organisation-approved vaccines or a valid negative test certificate of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure.

Check with your airline or travel provider for further transit requirements.

Exemptions

There are no exemptions to Zimbabwe’s entry requirements.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are visiting Zimbabwe, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of your arrival and have three blank pages left in it to enable you to enter Zimbabwe and exit via one of the neighbouring countries, if leaving at short notice becomes necessary.

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

You will need a visa to visit Zimbabwe.

It is no longer possible to get a visa from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London. Most visitors use the visa on arrival service. The current cost is $55 US Dollars for a Single Entry Visa (this includes a service charge) and $70 US Dollars for a Double Entry Visa (this includes a service charge). Take enough cash with you in small notes to pay for your visa at the airport. For more information, visit eVisa Zimbabwe.

Visitors are typically given entry permission for 30 days but you should check that the number of days given at the port of entry covers your intended period of stay. You can apply to have this period renewed and extended if required. If you wish to extend or renew visas or permits, you must do so via the relevant Government of Zimbabwe department. It is illegal to give a false statement in support of a visa.

Make sure you travel with the correct documentation, otherwise you risk arrest and deportation. You aren’t allowed to conduct any business or seek employment if you have a tourist visa. Volunteering and missionary work over a period of 30 days is considered work and a temporary employment permit is required to engage in these activities while in Zimbabwe. You must have the correct visa or work permit in order to work. Check current entry requirements with the Zimbabwe Embassy in London before you travel.

Anyone intending to carry out journalistic activity must arrange prior accreditation through the Zimbabwean Embassy in London. Journalists should not carry out any reporting or official photography without the proper accreditation as there is a risk of arrest, detention in difficult conditions, a fine and deportation. The Zimbabwean government has made clear that they will penalise any journalists found to be working in Zimbabwe without accreditation.

The Zimbabwe Government uses a broad definition of journalism. This may include any form of interview, filming or photography. You should also carefully consider risks associated with engaging in social media activities such as posting comments, blogging or sharing photographs, which could be construed as journalism.

Dual nationals

A growing number of British nationals who have travelled from the United Kingdom to Zimbabwe recently on Zimbabwean one-way temporary travel documents have found themselves stranded in Zimbabwe as these documents are not valid for re-entry to the United Kingdom. In some cases, this has caused serious inconvenience.

Arms embargo

There is a United Kingdom arms embargo against Zimbabwe. It is an offence in UK law to take firearms into Zimbabwe at the current time, even if you intend to bring them back to the UK at the end of your visit.

KAZA Univisa

The KAZA Univisa is valid for travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia and day trips into Botswana. It is available at Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls airports and at the land borders at Victoria Falls (Zambian border) and Kazungula (Botswana border). It costs US $50 and it is valid for 30 days.

Travelling with children to, from and through South Africa

If you’re travelling with children to, from or through South Africa, see our South Africa travel advice page for information and advice about the documents you’ll need to carry.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

Zimbabwe recognises UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) as valid travel documents. ETDs are accepted at ports of entry and exit and must be valid for the period of intended stay.

It may be necessary to produce a police report if your passport has been lost or stolen and you have been issued with an ETD as immigration officials want to see evidence of entry stamps on departure/exit.

Exiting Zimbabwe

You should check with your travel provider or airline prior to departure for any COVID-19 requirements for your transit and destination countries.

Returning to the UK

Check what you must do to return to the UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Zimbabwe on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Zimbabwe.

General Health Service

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Health facilities

The provision and quality of health care is variable and can be especially poor outside of the major cities. There’s a shortage of drugs and trained medical staff in hospitals, making it difficult for hospitals to treat certain illnesses including accidents and trauma cases. The shortage of fuel has reduced emergency response capabilities. Private clinics will not treat patients until they pay and often require large amounts of cash before they will admit even emergency cases. An increasing number of businesses in Zimbabwe will only accept US dollars in cash, rather than credit or debit cards. This includes some medical providers. Even if payment is available some of the best hospitals are often too full to admit patients. Medical costs, particularly for evacuation, can be high. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you’re on medication, bring sufficient supplies of your medication to cover the period of your stay. Pharmacies may not be able to provide you with the appropriate drug prescribed by your doctor.

There are continuing reports of typhoid fever and cholera in a number of areas of the country. The situation is being monitored by the World Health Organisation. You should familiarise yourself with the symptoms and follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

Recent (December 2020) data from a national survey estimated that around 1,225,000 people in Zimbabwe were living with HIV. They estimate that the prevalence rate in those 15 years and older is 12.9% with the prevalence higher in women at 15.3% compared to 10.2% among men. You should exercise usual precautions to avoid exposure to HIV.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, Econet subscribers should dial 112, NetOne subscribers should dial 114 and those using landlines should dial 0800 3222 911. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

The rainy season runs from November to April. Heavy rainfall can make roads harder to pass, and make some areas impassable. Flooding is also a possibility. Monitor local reports and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation, check your routes before travelling around the country, and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Zimbabwe’s economic situation remains unpredictable. Whilst the primary legal tender in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWL), it is currently possible for tourists to transact using the US Dollar at the official exchange rate. There are some bureaux de change which will accept and change foreign currency, particularly US dollars. The exchange rate is currently unpredictable.

Prices and transactions will mainly be in Zimbabwean dollars but US dollars are widely accepted. You should check before making a transaction whether the price quoted is in Zimbabwean or US dollars as the symbol for both is $. It is recommended to check exchange rates prior to any transaction. You should check in advance what payment methods a restaurant, hotel or tour operator will accept. Some businesses, including some medical providers, may not accept payment by credit or debit card.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a shortage of cash. Cash withdrawals can be made at some ATMs and bank branches with an international bank card but availability cannot always be guaranteed. Credit and debit cards are increasingly being used for transactions. You should always ensure that you are being charged in the correct currency. There are also some challenges with international transfers from outside of Zimbabwe.

It’s illegal to leave Zimbabwe with more than USD $2,000 (or equivalent) in cash, unless it is left over from funds which you have brought in yourself and declared on arrival. You should keep the proof of declaration to avoid problems with officials on exit. It’s illegal to exchange foreign currency anywhere other than at officially licensed dealers (e.g. banks or bureau de change). Carry small denomination notes as change is rarely available.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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