Zimbabwe – Is It Safe?


Rainbow at Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe

Rainbow at Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a very safe country, though the usual safety precautions still apply – do not walk alone in dark areas at night, and not overtly displaying valuables being just two of many precautions to follow. The people of Zimbabwe are friendly and welcoming, remarkable considering the terrible economic circumstances of the country in recent years.

The biggest danger in Zimbabwe is transport. The roads in Zimbabwe are in good condition, but some of the buses are not. Choose your bus carefully, and ask the advice of locals which companies are the safest and most reliable. I witnessed a suspiciously large number of police checkpoints which local people assert are police seeking bribes for inventing spurious traffic or vehicle issues. If driving on your own, you may need to deal with this.

Best avoid train travel in the country. On my journey from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo, I thought the line to be unsafe in parts as evidenced by the extremely slow speed and disconcerting tilt of the train. A passenger train derailed whilst I was in the country, injuring more than 30 people, and after the accident, both the railway union and railway administrators publicly stated that the rail network is not safe for carrying passengers.

If you are in Harare, do not loiter on the road in front of Presidential Palace. Signs outside the front of Palace state that the carriageway is closed during the evening. According to a local, what the sign does not say is that one should not stop, photograph, talk on mobile/cell phones or even break down on that road, for the security forces surrounding the palace can be particularly difficult. Taxi drivers even avoid the road by taking a longer route, so best to avoid the road if you can.

If you wish to visit Zimbabwe, it is important to read the following information:

Lonely Planet Tripadvisor UK FCO