With the removal of the Zimbabwean Dollar in 2009, the country has adopted a multi-currency system. Although GBP, Euros and South African Rand are all accepted, US Dollars are the most widely used.
Though credit cards are generally not accepted as a form of payment, there are some hotels that do accept credit cards – Visa is most widely accepted, while MasterCard and American Express are less so. Some of the larger tour operators in Victoria Falls are now accepting Visa Credit Cards for payment of activities. However many of the smaller operators do not accept cards for payment and cash is still required. Traveler’s Checks are not accepted.
The easiest method by far is to travel with US Dollar cash, preferably in small denominations, however this clearly increases the risk of loss or theft. The only ATMs in Zimbabwe are in the major urban centres, where banks can also be found. Pre-1996 notes are not accepted due to the high number of counterfeits in circulation.
For many Zimbabwe itineraries the only cash you will need during your time there is enough to cover any gratuities, airport taxes and personal purchases in the curio shops. However if you are spending time in Victoria Falls it is often the case that you will need to pay for meals (except breakfast) and drinks locally, plus any additional activities you book directly. We recommend you pay for as much as possible in advance of travel and then carry US Dollar cash, along with a visa debit/credit card.
Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you want to tip because you have received good service, the following brief guideline may assist you:
Camp or Game Lodge Guides, Specialist Guides and Butlers: US$10.00 per guest per day
Trackers: US$5.00 per guest per day
General Safari Camp / Lodge Staff: US$10.00 per guest per day. This should be placed in the communal tipping box to be distributed equally amongst all the staff
Hotels, Restaurants and Taxi drivers: A tip of 10% is customary, although please check as a service charge may have been automatically added
Zimbabwe on the whole is recovering from the political and economic problems of recent years and in general we consider it a safe destination to travel. The United States and United Kingdom have removed all travel warnings, showing their confidence in Zimbabwe’s recovery. Other countries have also followed suit.
For up to date advice we recommend you refer to your own governmental travel advisories:
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice Zimbabwe: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/zimbabwe
US Department of State International Travel Information Zimbabwe: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1063.html