COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Zimbabwe travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Zimbabwe - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Zimbabwe due to crime and the risk of civil unrest.
Safety and security
Marange mining area
Security forces restrict the access to the Marange diamond mining fields in Chiadzwa, Mutare.
Don’t attempt to enter the area.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs regularly. Crime also includes incidents such as:
- house robberies
- passport theft
Highway robberies are common, particularly at night. Robberies from vehicles have occurred on the road to and from the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and when travelling through the Beitbridge area. There is also an increased risk of crime near the border with Mozambique.
In addition, you should particularly cautious:
- in large cities such as Harare and Bulawayo
- at tourist sites such as Victoria Falls and Honde Valley waterfalls, including Mterazi Falls and Pungwe Falls
- at popular safari camps in the Hwange and Mana Pools national parks
Criminals target both foreigners and residents.
Local police are often unable to travel to the site of a reported crime. The police are likely to ask you to travel to a local police station to file a report, or to make arrangements to transport police officers to your location.
- Be vigilant and avoid travelling alone at all times
- Avoid walking after dark
- Be particularly cautious when leaving banks and after using ATMs
- Drive to the nearest police station if you suspect that you are being followed by an unknown driver
- Drive with your doors locked and windows up at all times
- Park in a guarded parking lot overnight
- Ensure that your personal belongings are secure at all times
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Demonstrations and civil unrest may occur. They usually take place in the central business district and high density suburbs of major cities such as Harare and Bulawayo. They have led to violence in the past.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Don’t attempt to cross roadblocks, even if they appear unattended
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Always carry photo identification, such as your passport, with you
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
There have also been fraud attempts through emails.
Carefully scrutinize any unsolicited business proposal.
Outages and shortages
Power outages are common. Many regions, including the city of Harare, regularly experience long and frequent interruptions to the electrical and water supplies. Outages may be scheduled by local authorities or occur without notice. This can affect telecommunications networks.
Food and fuel shortages also occur.
Keep supplies of food, water and fuel on hand in the event of lengthy disruptions.
Wildlife viewing can be risky, particularly if you are on foot or at close range.
- Always keep a safe distance when watching wildlife
- Leave a vehicle only when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
- Use only reputable and professional guides or tour operators
- Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ instructions
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country.
Most roads don’t have street lights. Potholes are common and cause many road accidents. Highways are often narrow and have sharp downhill stretches. Pedestrians often walk on the roads, even at night. Domestic and wild animals roam major roads, also posing a risk.
Avoid driving after dark.
Drivers are reckless and don’t respect traffic laws. Traffic lights are frequently broken, and drivers don’t treat non-functioning lights as four-way stops. They instead use hazard lights when entering these intersections. This often results in accidents.
Vehicles are often poorly maintained. Drivers may not have functioning lights on their cars, which makes driving at night even more dangerous. Pay close attention before proceeding through an intersection.
Security forces may erect roadblocks anywhere without notice. They use them to enforce order and collect fines, particularly in urban centers and on major roads.
Security forces can search you and your vehicle any time, as well as any person travelling with you. They can seize any items they deem suspicious during a search. Police officers may ask you to accompany them to the police station or to pay a fine on the spot.
- Drive carefully and always cooperate if you are stopped
- Don’t go through roadblocks without stopping, even if they appear unattended
- Ask for a ticket to be issued if you are fined by local authorities, as fines on-the-spot are illegal
Public transport is very limited and services are not reliable.
Commuter buses or “combis” are often overcrowded, uninsured and poorly maintained. Drivers are reckless.
Avoid using intercity bus services.
The rail system is underdeveloped and poorly maintained, resulting in numerous accidents.
Avoid using rail services.
Taxi service is only available in major cities. Taxis will normally not take you more than 20 km outside the city limits.
Major hotels usually have their own taxis, which are safe for intra-city travel.
Taxis recommended by hotels are normally reliable and in good condition.
- Only use a reputable taxi company
- Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi centre
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Zimbabwean authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Zimbabwe.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Work permit: required
Residential visa: required
You can obtain a single-entry tourist visa, valid for 30 days, at a port of entry into Zimbabwe or at a Zimbabwean embassy.
You can apply for 2 consecutive extensions (for a total of 90 days) at any Zimbabwean Department of Immigration office.
- Zimbabwe Department of Immigration
- Apply for an eVisa - Government of Zimbabwe eVisa Website
Business visa and work permit
If you enter Zimbabwe with a business visa or work permit, you cannot extend it from within the country.
You will need to exit the country and either:
- re-enter as a visitor
- or apply for a new business visa or work permit and wait for its delivery before re-entering
Working or living in Zimbabwe
It’s very difficult to arrange a work permit or residential visa after arriving in Zimbabwe.
If you plan on working or living in Zimbabwe, you should contact the nearest Zimbabwean diplomatic office before your arrival.
Volunteering and missionary activities are considered work. You will require a business visa to engage in these activities.
Foreign media organizations must obtain prior accreditation for their journalists visiting or working in Zimbabwe.
Journalists attempting to enter the country without proper advance accreditation may be denied entry or deported. Journalists working in Zimbabwe without accreditation risk arrest and prosecution.
If you are seeking registration to enter Zimbabwe as a journalist, contact the nearest Zimbabwean diplomatic office well ahead of your planned departure.
Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 8 September, 2022
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse flies usually bite during the day and the bites are usually painful. If untreated, the disease is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is limited in Zimbabwe. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.
Medical facilities and medical supplies are limited, especially outside of the major cities. The best hospitals are often at full capacity and cannot admit further patients. Trained medical staff are scarce. You will likely need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury.
Overseas medical insurance payments may not be accepted. You will likely have to provide upfront payment in cash to obtain medical services, such as:
- doctor visits
- hospitals visits
- air ambulance
- medical evacuation
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
There is a significant shortage of prescription medication.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Zimbabwe.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack them in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
There are severe penalties for the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs. If you are convicted, you can expect to be arrested, detained and prosecuted.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Demonstrations and assemblies, even for private meetings, are illegal in Zimbabwe if not pre-approved by the government. Local authorities have taken bystanders into custody at such events.
Making political commentary or discussing the President or the President’s office is also illegal.
- Avoid political activities and discussions
- Don’t post or react to online content criticizing the government
- Limit your social media footprint
Photography of the following is prohibited unless permission is granted from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Information:
- the State House
- government offices
- military establishments
- official residences and embassies
- police officers
- armed forces members
You may need a special permit for other photography. Local authorities strictly enforce all restrictions. Observe all restrictions. When in doubt, don’t take a picture.
Local authorities may ask you to show identification at any time.
You must carry your passport, visa and other travel documents with you at all times. Failure to produce these documents upon request may subject you to detention or arrest.
Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case the original is lost or confiscated.
Possession or importation of pornographic material is forbidden.
It’s illegal for civilians to wear any form of clothing made from camouflage material.
Carrying precious or semi-precious stones (rough or uncut) without the correct paperwork or permit is prohibited.
Zimbabwean law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
Those convicted can face imprisonment and heavy fines. 2SLGBTQI+ travellers could also be discriminated against or detained based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Zimbabwe.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Zimbabwe.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Zimbabwe, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Zimbabwe.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Zimbabwe, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Zimbabwean court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Zimbabwe to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Traffic drives on the left.
You must have a copy of your vehicle clearance certificate with you when driving.
You should carry an International Driving Permit.
On-the-spot fines are illegal in Zimbabwe.
You can pay a fine at the nearest police station. Police officers may ask you to accompany them there.
If you receive a fine:
- ask for a ticket to be issued
- don’t pay the ticket on-the-spot
The currency in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWL). This refers to government-issued bond notes, bond coins and mobile money known as real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems. However, it has no monetary value outside of the country.
Most transactions in Zimbabwe are made in US dollars. Foreign credit cards are not always accepted.
The country is currently experiencing a severe local currency shortage. It’s impossible to withdraw money from ATMs or banks using an international bank card. Counterfeit banknotes are in circulation.
You can bring in any amount of cash into Zimbabwe. However, you can only leave the country with a maximum of US$2,000 in cash, or the equivalent in other foreign currencies, unless you completed a blue Baggage Declaration form upon entry at the airport.
- Plan accordingly
- Bring sufficient US dollars to cover your stay
- Check with your tour operator or hotel which payment methods will be accepted
- Change currency at registered currency exchange offices only
Importation and exportation of currency by travellers - Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
Natural disasters and climate
Rainy season and cyclones
The rainy season extends from November to March. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
During this season, cyclones also occur.
If you travel to Zimbabwe during this time:
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
Veld (bush) fires are common during the dry season (April to October). They are very unpredictable and extremely dangerous. They can spread very quickly and travel at speeds of 60 km/h or more, due to high winds.
- Stay clear of active fires
- Always verify local conditions with relevant authorities before going on bush walks, particularly during the dry season
Emergency services exist but may be limited.
In case of emergency, dial 999.
Harare - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe, in Harare, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
- Date modified: