Zimbabwe is an underexplored, yet richly endowed landlocked country. Only little is known about its diverse and rich culture, its liberation struggle and its critical role in the independence movement of the whole Southern African region, its pre-colonial history, post-colonial developments and present-day social and economic innovative endeavors. The country gained its independence in 1980 after having been a colony of Great Britain since 1890. The colonial history left indelible marks on the hearts and memory of the country. Hence of the 16 official languages, English is the most spoken language in the country. Yet, the national liberation struggle became the cornerstone in the rebuilding process. 

Names of leaders of the liberation struggle, such as Robert Mugabe, Simon Muzenda, Josiah Tongogara, Jason Moyo, etc. are given as street names, government buildings, schools, hospitals and the airport in independent Zimbabwe. A survey of street names in major cities in Zimbabwe tells a story of the liberation struggle; that it was achieved through help from many regional countries hence names like Kwame Nkruma of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Samora Machel of Mozambique,  and Keneth Kaunda of Zambia are common. The naming of the streets after the great African liberators continued even after independence. It is a chronicle of the story of African struggle. When Namibia got independent Sam Nujoma, the first president, got a street and Nelson Mandela of South Africa, too. The process of naming is a process of rebuilding the image of the country from colonialism. Names of colonial masters are replaced by African leaders. Colonial statues are neglected while new ones are eracted. Mbuya Nehanda statue, Joshua Nkomo and others have been erected as a way of celebrating their contribution to the struggle for independence.

Little is also known about the warm-hearted character of Zimbabweans and the country’s rich and diverse landscape. Nestled at the heart of the Southern African region, Zimbabwe shares borders with South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. The country’s population accounts to 16 Million (https://www.zimstat.co.zw/). 

Visitors to Zimbabwe meet people and nature in constant conversation; rural and urban life in close competition. Conflicts often characterising the existence, each seeking dominance over the other. Mountains, forests, hills and valleys, vleis, rivers and streams decorate the face of Zimbabwe. Animals; domestic and wild pace up and down the various terrains. A visit to the rural areas leaves one with an indelible impression of a real Zimbabwean hospitality. Life in cities and towns, with their colonial segragatory signature most visible in separate racial settlements testify a tug of war between the past, the present and the future. Low density suburbs are for the rich and affluent, portraying Zimbabwe as prosperous, multiracial, multicultural and cosmopolitan. High density suburbs on the other hand, are for the low income earners and the unemployed who cherish being in the vicinity of city lights. They hope for a better future, making them attractive targets for prophets of prosperity and others who promise miraculous deliverance from poverty. On a bus from the city, dialogue between socio-economic classes continues until it dies upon arrival in rural villages. 

Zimbabwe is the most literate country in Africa (https://allafrica.com/stories/202203020101.html). This is because the Government of Independent Zimbabwe has prioritised education as pivotal for development and reconstruction. Other public and private players have also contributed to the government’s efforts in the field. Since independence, the number of primary schools increased from 2401 to 7081 and secondary schools have increased from 177 to 3066 by 2021. Of these, 1200 of the schools were constructed between 2017 and 2021. At independence, there was only one University; by 2023, Zimbabwe boasts of 18 Universities. 

Zimbabwe‘s economy is agrarian. With the advantage of conducive climate, fertile soils, techonlogy, and public and private sector commitment to eradicate poverty, Zimbabwe exports her agricultural products to the world. At its peak, before the year 2000, agriculture contributed about 14 percent of the national GDP, employed 70 % of the population andcontributed to 45 % of the country’s exports (http://www.zimfa.gov.zw/index.php/about-us/zimbabwe-in-brief/agriculture). Efforts are underway, both by the government and the private sector, to reestablish Zimbabwe’s agricultural dominance in the region. As of 2023, the responsible ministry intended to start exporting maize to neighbouring countries following a successful season that recorded a bumper harvest. The success is attributed to the adoption of a locally conceived Conservation Agriculture model called Pfumvudza.

Tourism and mininig complement agriculture in their contribution to GDP. Zimbabwe has plenty of tourist attractions such as rain forests, water falls, hot springs, mountain ranges, game parks, balancing rocks, caves etc. You can find more information about Zimbabwe’s attractions here: https://www.thrillophilia.com/destinations/zimbabwe/places-to-visit

Zimbabwe also has over 40 precious minerals under her belly at various stages of exploitation. More details can be found here: https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/zimbabwe-mining-and-minerals Zimbabwe further boasts of a large variety of fauna and flora as it is home to 350 species of mammals, more than 500 birds, and 131 fish species (https://www.awf.org/country/zimbabwe).

Why travel to Zimbabwe with Farafina Travels?

Touching down at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, most ‚mainstream‘ tourists head to their hotels. In the hotel, they are served familiar cusine. They interact with familiar faces, familiar entertainment games, turn on familiar TV stations and read familiar magazines. The next day they are either on flight again or on some specially arranged vehicle with tour guides to a tourist resort of their choice. Hopping from one resort to another for a week or two, soon they find themselves back to their hotel room, back to the airport and off they go. Most of what they know is familiar. They had either seen it on television or on the internet or had read about it in international newspapers and magazines before they came.

Farafina takes you to places you have never read about, places you never saw on televiusion. Farafina takes you to ordinary people. Life for the ordinary Zimbabweans is far from what the tourists see in hotels, tourist resorts and from one airport to another. The majority of Zimbabweans live in the rural areas (70 %). Their daily life experiences are neither documented in newspapers nor televised internationally. Their lives are unfamiliar territory for visitors.

If you want to experience the essence of Zimbabwe, you ought to dare visit such unfamiliar territories. Dare to leave your comfort zone and immerse yourself in environments where there is no electricity, no solar lights, no running water, and where you will be sleeping in rounded thatched huts. Travel to places where there are no tarred roads, no cars, no busses, or boats, and where children walk up to 10 km to reach their school. If you attempt to get at least a glimpse of the living conditions in such areas, you will be rewarded with the amazing hospitality of village people.

Travelling with Farafina Travels, you will have the opportunity to participate in the day to day experiences of the people of Zimbabwe. Rural areas are the only ideal place for that. In the villages, people herd cattle, donkeys, goats, sheep; they plough, weed and harvest crops; they fetch water from rivers, wash clothes in the streams, water gardens with buckets. Ordinary Zimbabweans in rural areas walk long distances bare-footed; in winter children walk to school bare-footed and without warm clothes.

In the rural areas of Zimbabwe you will witness for yourself the power of kinship systems during ceremonies (marriage, funeral and other ritual ceremonies). You will witness people’s traditional justice at play at local courts. Rural areas are custodians of Zimbabwe’s vastly different cultures. Farafina Travels enable you to appreciate the real culture of the people of Zimbabwe in their context.

Good to know


The warm/rain season lasts from mid October to March. The cold /winter season lasts from May until July. However, due to climate change, the seasons are  no longer predictable. 

Other things to consider carrying: Sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat, medicines for minor ailments.


Dress code depends on the location you are in. In urban areas there are generally no tight rules on dressing, and generally this is the case across the country. In cities however, ladies put on trousers, short skirts and wear shorts and sleeveless tops more often than in rural areas. But in the majority of cases, in rural areas, in villages, women usually put on dresses and long skirts more often than they put on trousers. Men generally wear long trousers.


In urban centres there are many restuarants. Some specialise in country-based cuisine (Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish etc). A majority of restaurants specialise in local Zimbabwean tastes – sadza (corn/maize porridge) and either chicken, goat, beef or vegetables. Prices depend on the location. In upmarket places lunch ranges from 10 to 30 USD. But in high density areas, prices start from 1 USD.  In Zimbabwe, generally people do not frequent restaurants. This is largely because of financial constraints. As such, they eat at home. For a normal family, a meal comprises starch (sadza, rice or potatoes) and relish, usually chicken, beef or pork.


Zimbabwe is an open, multiracial and multicultural society, yet it is predominantly Christian. Christianity exists in a variety of forms.

  • First, mainline or missionary christianity (Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, United Methodist Church, Salvation Army, Reformed Church in Zimbabwe, etc).
  • Second, African Initiated Christianity commonly known as the ‚White Garment‘ churches, although, most have various colours as uniforms. 
  • Third, the most predominent form of christitianity since about 2000 is the Charismatic churches.

There is also a resilient and competing African Indigenous Religion in all societies. In the past, African Indigenous Religion practictioners (healers and exorcists) were prevalent in the rural areas more than in cities. Of late, they have invaded even the urban spaces, with equal determination as charismatic christian preachers. Indigenous Religion is common in most cultural groups in Zimbabwe – Shona, Ndau, Korekore, Shangani, Tonga and Ndebele.


Until around June 2023, Zimbabwe had incessant electricity and energy problems. Long and unscheduled blackouts characterised urban life. Although the situation is not yet normal, there is marked improvement in the availability of electricity. 

The situation is different in the rural areas. Almost all rural areas are not electrified. They rely on solar panels to charge mobile phones and to use lights. If these are not available, people use candles and lamps. 

For people travelling to the rural areas, it is advisable to be equipped with a power bank, small sollar gadgets, and a torch.


Depending on the destination and location, there are three main modes of transport in Zimbabwe: air, road and rail. Road is the most common though. Inter-city travels are easy to make as there are buses that ply the routes. This has been necessitated by emergency road rehabilitation programmes since 2019. Main roads have thus been rehabilitated.

Currently, one would be lucky to find a train from one city to another. Plans are however underway to revive the rail transportation system. Until 2004 thereabouts, rail used to be the most reliable and cheaper way of travelling from city to city. 

Transport challenges are mostly pronounced in high density suburbs and in villages/rural areas. Many roads in rural areas are so bad that a traveler needs off-road vehicles. Roads are riddled with potholes and are barely tarred. In fact, the best way to travel from one location to another is by car. However, one has to avoid driving around 8 am, lunch time and around 4 pm. The roads are chaotic and congested during those times.


Grocery shopping is not difficult in the cities. Huge supermarkets and malls exist. Vendors are also found on every street corner. Vegetables and fruits especially are commonly available along the streets. 

In rural areas, one finds grocery stores, but they are quite distant. Travelers to rural areas are encouraged to buy most important stuff in town. Rural shops may lack some important stocks. However, rural areas have the most fresh and clean (from chemicals) vegetables and fruits.


Zimbabwe’s political space is dominated by the ruling party and various opposition parties. The ruling party has been in power since 1980. Most opposition parties that are vying for power were founded not later than 2000. The political space is too contested and somewhat toxic in Zimbabwe. 

Visitors are advised not to participate in public political debates, gatherings and any activities that could be construed political.

Meet the Cultural Consultant

Prof. Obvious Vengeyi

“Welcome to Zimbabwe; the land of many narratives. Let us make our own narratives with Farafina Travels! It is my great pleasure to be your tour guide. Your visit connects narratives to physical locations. Let us digest these many narratives together while traversing this beautiful and diverse nation! But let us remember that we can never exhaust these narratives. Please come again!“

Obvious Vengeyi is a professor in Biblical and Cultural Studies in the Department of Philosophy Religion and Ethics at the University of Zimbabwe and author of multiple academic papers. As a scholar of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) – German Academic Exchange Service, he completed his PhD at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and has since been returning to Germany on multiple fellowships and academic occasions. He lives in Harare. He is married to Elizabeth and they have two children; a son, Anesu and a girl, Atipaishe. Since their return from Germany in 2012, they have hosted friends and visitors from other cultures and other countries; local and abroad. Obvious Vengeyi was also a guiding expert for Farafina Institute’s youth exchange program in Zimbabwe.

Meet the Guide

Simon Mukwaya

“I take pleasure in connecting with people from different cultural and professional backgrounds. I am more than excited to be part of the tour and I look forward for the possibilities it will open up for the future.“

Simon Mukwaya has a Social Science background (a Masters in Public Policy and Governance and a Bachelors in Sociology). He works in the humanitarian and development sector. Simon Mukwaya is passionate about expanding development possibilities for the marginalized communities. He is easy going, humorous and loves to keep a positive energy to those around him. 

Simon Mukwaya originates from Mutare, a city on the eastern border with Mozambique, which is home to the Manyika people. He has contributed to a number of Farafina-led programs in southern Africa and in Germany. As the director of FT’s partner organisation, PDI, he has been organising international youth exchange visits and workshops in Zimbabwe. Together with Prof. Obvious Vengeyi, he was instrumental in the most recent exchange visit in Zimbabwe in early 2023 in organising exchange activities and cultural visits.

Partner organisation

Partnership for Development Initiative (PDI)

PDI is a grassroots-based organisation in Zimbabwe; it works through empowering local communities to realise their developmental aspirations. Working through partnerships, PDI strongly believes in the power of connection to transform the lives of the marginilised communities. PDI has collaborated with Farafina Institute in research and youth exchange visits. Since 2018, PDI has been organising international youth exchange visits and workshops in Zimbabwe and co-organising international youth exchange visits in Germany in cooperation with Farafina Institute.

Upcoming Events

17 Aprill  2024

Footsteps & Handshakes

Zimbabwe Tour

Flexible Date

Tinevimbo Children’s Project and Life Skill Training Centre, Mutare, Zimbabwe