A pressing question for many people that want to visit the Victoria Falls or one of the magnificent parks in Zimbabwe is how safe the country is as a destination. With the recent political developments and violence, it is understandable that people will have concerns about their safety.
The good news is that, despite the political unrest, violence and other concerns, Zimbabwe is still a relatively safe destination. The main reason is that most of the tourist destinations are remote from the areas where the unrest is situated. Much of the unrest and violence is situated around dense urban areas such as the capital of Harare and other cities. The national parks and game reserves are not located near these centres, making them a safe destination for tourists.
The people who work at these locations are also very aware that their livelihood depends on the tourists who come to visit them. Towards this end, many of the lodges, resorts and reserves function in an almost microcosm that is set apart from the rest of the country. Their efforts to stay removed from Zimbabwe's situation allows these locations to remain safe and accessible to tourists from all over the world.
With that being said, a person's safety is also dependent on their own actions. Keep the following tips in mind and your trip to Zimbabwe should proceed without any difficulty:
- Keep your political opinions to yourself. The people of Zimbabwe are more than aware of the problems facing their country and do not need to be reminded of the problems facing their people.
- Restrict your stay to main tourist destinations. Avoid high-density, urban locations as violence can erupt without warning in these places.
- Ensure that your personal documents (passport, licence, visas, etc.) are valid and up to date and KEEP THEM SAFE!
- Do not travel on your own. Rather take a tour with an established, experienced tour company that knows what to expect and what areas to avoid.
- If you plan on self-driving, keep in mind the fuel shortage that is gripping the country. Refuel whenever possible and ensure that you have extra fuel in case of emergencies.
- While tourist areas are safer, crime is on the increase. Be aware for your own safety and do not take risks.
Ensuring that your stay in Zimbabwe is a safe one is as much your own responsibility as it is your tour operator's. Be responsible and do not take chances.
Zimbabwe is still home to vast tracts of wilderness teeming with some of the best of Africa's wildlife and ancient ruins that hint at a civilisation that once ruled the southern reaches of the continent. Do not let this period of transition keep you from experiencing one of Africa's greatest destinations.