Zimbabwe safari - safety

Nov 25th, 2007, 10:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14
Zimbabwe safari - safety


We are two females(English and Finnish) considering taking a horse back safari trip in Zimbabwe but are concerned about the saftey? We are thinking of going in Sept/Oct 2008, and would be riding around the Victoria Falls National Park, Zambezi National Park, and surround areas. I've read that there are food/general supply shortages out there, and that it is strongly advisable to register with the British Emabassy in Harare if travelling out there?

Has anyone taken one of these horseback trips recently, or due to take one? If you've visited these areas recently I'd love to hear your views/advice.

Many thanks
beela is offline  
Nov 26th, 2007, 12:34 AM
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At the moment Zimbabwe is generally safe for tourists I last visited a month ago. Whilst there are shortages of food and fuel for the genearal populace most camps seem to obtain these items mainly from Botswana.
What should concern you is the fact that there is a General Election taking place in March, the likelyhood of a non-Mugabe win is highly remote but you never know.

The area around Victoria Falls is generally safe as it is a large foreign currenct earner. I have no idea about thes safaris but doubt that you would see a lot of game.

I have no idea what use registering with the British Embassy would do to help you in any situation, probably no thing at all.
Nov 28th, 2007, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
I spent a couple weeks in Zimbabwe in July. Even before my trip, there was plenty of doom & gloom reports, some going as far as saying that they were sure that the military would be overthrown during my visit.

Needless to say, it was a very peaceful two weeks, mostly in the bush, but with 3 nights of complete calm in Victoria Falls, as well (only planned on two nights but thanks to a late delivery by Nationwide Air, the same airline that recently shed an engine on takeoff from Cape Town), I spent an extra night in Vic Falls after arriving too late for my connection into Hwange).

Zimbabwe is a top notch safari destination and this is further evidenced by Singita's recent acquisition of Pamushana, although I don't yet see it featured on Singita's website.

Cannot advise you on horseback riding (I am, most unfortunately, allergic to horses) but here is one very good operator of lodges in Zimbabwe for photosafaris:


Roccco is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 01:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Eventually something will happen in Zimbabwe so you will need to keep an eye on the situtation there as the time of your trip approaches. If it were me, I would not make flight reservations or pay (significant) money upfront for a trip there unless I could obtain traveler's insurance that would cover losses in the event the political situtation worsens. Assuming the situtation stays stable, you should have a wonderful trip. We travelled there (by public transport) about a year ago and found the people still very friendly.

As for registering with the embassy, that would allow them to locate you in the event they organized an evacuation of citizens because of an emergency. It would be a good idea.
tuckeg is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:42 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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I visited Vic Falls on a day trip (from the Zambia side of the river) last month and all was well from the point of view of a tourist. Many people living there cross the border and shop in Livingstone..if they have the money.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Nov 29th, 2007, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,064
I stayed four weeks in Zimbabwe last month and regard it as one of the safest places in whole Africa.

Registering with the embassy? Not sure how the guys in Harare could be of any help, if you are on safari in one of the parks.
nyama is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Registering with your embassy is a good idea when you're in a country with an unstable political situation. As said above, that lets them know you're there in case they need to try to evacuate their citizens. If your relatives at home hear frightening news stories, and can't get in touch with you, they can alert the embassy people, who will at least know some of your details if they need to search for you. If I were going to Zim, I'd certainly register with the US embassy.
Celia is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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The political situation in Zim isn't nice but I hadn't the impression that it is 'unstable' in any way. Everybody with whom I discussed the current situation told me that they don't expect any changes until the old man dies...

Evacuation? Look on a map! All the current main safari destinations (Zambezi, Hwange, Matusadonha, Mana Pools, even Matobo Hills) are located near an international border, so in case of any civil unrest you do much better asking your operator to paddle you over the Zambezi or drive you to the Botswanan border, instead of going to an urban center and waiting for instructions from Harare.
nyama is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 708

Even assuming that what you have been told about nothing happening until the old man dies is correct, can you offer beela any assurance that his death won't occur when she is in Zim?

As for evacuations, I, and I am sure other Fodors readers, travel outside the normal tourist areas. Even those visiting some of the tourist destinations you mentioned may arrive first in Harare and travel on from there. In the event of an emergency, (not necessarily political in nature) knowing their itinerary would allow the embassy to determine if they possibly needed assistance. As you point out, I would not rely on an embassy to solve my problems and would take action on my own, but when traveling having someone aware of where you are is not a bad idea.

tuckeg is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,274
When I led a group in 2004, we spent a few days in Vic Falls and travelled to and from Botswana by road. Our companions were all new to Africa, and I felt some responsibility so registered with the Australian Embassy in Harare. It was no hardship and may have been useful, so why not?

afrigalah is offline  

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