Tourism in Zimbabwe

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The logo of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority showing the Victoria Falls and the Zimbabwe Bird found at Great Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls, the end of the upper Zambezi and beginning of the middle Zambezi

Since the Land Reform programme in 2000, tourism in Zimbabwe has steadily declined. After rising during the 1990s, with 1.4 million tourists in 1999, industry figures described a 75% fall in visitors to Zimbabwe by December 2000, with less than 20% of hotel rooms occupied.[1] This has had a huge impact on the Zimbabwean economy, where thousands of jobs were lost due to companies closing down or simply being unable to pay staff wages.

Several airlines have also pulled out of Zimbabwe. Australia's Qantas, Germany's Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines were among the first to pull out[1] and most recently British Airways suspended all direct flights to Harare.[2] The country's flagship airline Air Zimbabwe flies to the United Kingdom but makes several stops en route for refuelling.

However, Zimbabwe boasts several tourist attractions, located in the North West of the country. Before the economic changes, much of the tourism for these locations came to the Zimbabwean side but now Zambia benefits from the tourism. The Victoria Falls National Park is also a tourist attraction in this area and is one of the eight main National Parks in Zimbabwe,[3] largest of which is Hwange National Park.

The Eastern Highlands are a series of mountainous areas near the border with Mozambique. The highest peak in Zimbabwe, Mount Nyangani at 2593 metres is located here as well as the Bvumba Mountains and the Nyanga National Park. World's View is in these mountains and it is from here that places as far away as 60–70 km are visible and, on clear days, the town of Rusape can be seen.

Great Zimbabwe as featured on the defunct $50 note

Zimbabwe is distinctive in Africa for its large number of medieval era city ruins built in a unique dry stone style. Possibly the most famous of these are the Great Zimbabwe ruins in Masvingo which survive from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe era. Other ruins include Khami Ruins, Zimbabwe, Dhlo-Dhlo and Naletale.

The Matobo Hills are an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 kilometres south of Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe. The Hills were formed over 2000 million years ago with granite being forced to the surface, this has eroded to produce smooth "whaleback dwalas" and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name, meaning 'Bald Heads'. They have become famous and a tourist attraction because Cecil John Rhodes famous for his vision that led to foundation of Rhodesia, and other early white pioneers like Leander Starr Jameson, Major Allan Wilson, and most of the members of the Shangani Patrol are buried in these hills at another site named World's View.[4]

Hwange National Park and Mana Pools, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are some of the best National Parks and safari destinations in the region.[according to whom?]


  1. ^ a b Lewis Machipisa (2001-03-14). "Sun sets on Zimbabwe tourism". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  2. ^ Sebastien Berger (2007-10-29). "British Airways abandons flights to Zimbabwe". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  3. ^ "Zimbabwe Tourism Authority". Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  4. ^ "The Spirit of Matobo". Retrieved 2007-11-16.