Being in the hospitality industry we meet many foreign tourists visiting Zimbabwe for the first time. Without fail, each traveler begins their conversation something like this:
” all our friends told us we were crazy to come to Zimbabwe, it’s such a dangerous country, what were we thinking? But instead, we’ve been blown away by the wonderful, friendly people and the magnificent scenery and facilities.”
Visitors arrive in Zimbabwe with apprehension, expecting a dangerous country. And yet nothing could be further from the truth. Whilst the country is facing a myriad of problems including a devastating national drought, uneven politics and a shortage of cash (and who isn’t…?), the idea that it is not a safe country to visit is an untruth perpetuated by lazy journalism the world over. Yes, there is poverty but compared to some of our north eastern neighbors, we are comfortable. Is there crime? Yes, but in comparison to other southern African countries our violent crime rate is low, in fact it is negligible. South Africa is frequented by millions of tourists a year and yet consistently appears in the top ten countries for violent crime. Cape Town logged in as the number seven most murderous city in the world and yet it is the most visited city in Africa! We don’t even feature in the top fifty bad boys!
If you happen to see lions or elephants in countries such as South Africa or Kenya, there will probably be more safari vehicles clustered around than animals. In Zimbabwe, wilderness is king, safari vehicles a rare sighting and the possibility of just you, your companions and your guide up close and personal with a rhino or elephant is greater than anywhere else in Africa. If you want to get off the beaten track, then Zimbabwe must be your pick.
As a tourist visiting Zimbabwe your dollars are not a political statement but they are a social stand. Those dollars create jobs, and contribute to the welfare of thousands of families, many of whom depend on the single wage of the cook who boiled your perfect egg, the game guide who worked tirelessly to show you rhino or the housekeeper who cleaned your room. Tourism employs 1 in 12 people worldwide, a total of 235 million jobs. Zimbabwe could do with more of those, we have a 90% unemployment rate. Think about it…. You can help, every visitor means a job retained, boosts moral and assuages uncertainty.
Zimbabwe is still one of the best and most sensitively developed countries you can visit in terms of tourism facilities. From adrenaline adventure to luxury indulgence, from budget to high end we have something to offer, but most of all, and here’s the big plus, the smiles, friendliness and hospitality of the Zimbabwean people cannot be overstated. You will not be disappointed so come and see for yourself.