Zimbabwe - At a glance


Zimbabwe at a glance

Location Landlocked and immediately north of South Africa

Bordering countries South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique

Area 390,580km²

Climate November–March hot and wet, April–August moderate and dry, September–October dry and increasingly hot

Independence 18 April 1980 (from Britain)

Capital Harare

Other major towns Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare, Gweru and Victoria Falls

Type of government Democratic Presidential Republic

Head of state President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa

Main political parties ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front) and MDC (Movement for Democratic Change – two main factions, MDC-T and MDC-A) Main national parks Hwange, Victoria Falls, Zambezi, Matobo, Chizarira, Matusadona, Mana Pools, Nyanga, Bvumba, Chimanimani and Gonarezhou

Currency The Zimbabwe dollar (ZIM$) was withdrawn in 2009 and finally demonetised in 2015; various hard currencies were allowed until June 2019. Since 2016 five denominations of Zimbabwe Bond coins and two notes (on par with the US$) were introduced to deal with the small change situation. The Zimbabwe government announced plans to create its own currency in June 2019 but at the time of writing had done nothing towards this goal. 

Economy Agriculture, tourism, mining and forestry. All of these have much greater potential than is currently being realised.

Population 14 million (estimate following 2017 partial census)

Main ethnic groups Shona 80%, Ndebele 14%, white 0.2%, others 5.8%

Languages Shona and Ndebele (or IsiNdebele) are first languages for most, although English is the most widely used official language.

Religion Syncretic (mixture of Christian and traditional) 50%, Christian 25%, traditional 24%, Muslim and others 1%

Time GMT+2

Electricity supply 220/240V AC; sockets are either UK-style 3 square pin or South Africa-style 3 round pin and 2 pin.

International dialling code +263. When calling from outside Zimbabwe, drop the initial zero from the local area code or from the cell number.

Flag Seven horizontal bands with central black, then red, yellow and green top and bottom. White triangle inset on left containing stylised yellow Zimbabwe bird national symbol on a red five-pointed star in the centre of the triangle.

National holidays 1 January (New Year’s Day), 21 February (Robert Mugabe Youth Day), variable (Easter), 18 April (Independence Day), 1 May (Workers’ Day), 25 May (Africa Day), 11 August or nearest Monday (Heroes Day), 12 August or nearest Tuesday (Defence Forces Day), 22 December (National Unity Day), 25 December (Christmas Day), 26 December (Boxing Day) 

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Zimbabwe articles

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From Kigali to Kilimanjaro: the world’s most intrepid running races

We've all heard of the London and Boston marathons, but what about these adventurous running races?

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Why visit Zimbabwe in 2020

Why 2020 is the year to rediscover the natural wonders of Zimbabwe, one of our Exceptional Places for 2020.

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Should you go to Zimbabwe?

Authors Paul Murray and Paul Hubbard explain that although tourism in Zimbabwe is a shadow of its former self, you should still make the time to visit.

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