Sunday, July 15, 2012
Get to Know Zimbabwe
Having had various names in the past - Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia - Zimbabwe now goes only by this name. Having regained independence from the United Kingdom in April 1980, the country entered its still ongoing era of Robert Mugabe's rule.
The controversial leader has been President since 1987, and has been criticised internationally as an unfair ruler, tolerating state-level corruption and torture. His main opponent is Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, the country started experiencing economic turmoil with many industrial firms forced to shut due to high real interest rates.
Elections in 2002 gained international attention as they were found to be rigged, and members of the opposition found to have been intimidated and suppressed. In 2008, Tsvangirai went as far as to withdraw his candidacy for presidency due to violence against his party members.
Since 2009, a coalition government has been in force, with Tsvangirai the Prime Minister. Many believe this is the long awaited start of political change.
In light of the political goings-on and the Land Reform programme that was passed in 2000, quite a few international airlines have stopped serving Zimbabwe. Though this has made travelling to the South African country a tad more difficult, it doesn't in any way imply it's not worth the journey. In fact, the tourism industry is seeing a gradual revival with international tour operators beginning once more to offer package deals and tours.
Zimbabwe is well worth a visit. Its best known attraction is Victoria Falls, the world's largest waterfall in terms of the overall size of its sheet of falling water. The falls are located on the river Zambezi, on the border with Zambia. Accommodation and amenities are available at the tourist towns nearby.
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument is the site of a ruined city, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. It was built from the 11th to the 14th Centuries. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The capital city of Harare is definitely worth exploring. Inner city sights worth seeing are the National Gallery, Chapungu Sculpture Park, the National Botanic Garden, and Kopje hill for stunning views.
To ease your travels, look into a cheap calls to Zimbabwe service to book your accommodation and tours.
English is an official language in the country so foreign visitors can communicate very easily with the friendly locals. As a tourist, there's no need to worry about the political situation unless you do something to provoke a reaction.
Harvey McEwan writes to offer information on a variety of areas, from travel and politics in Zimbabwe to cheap calls to Zimbabwe. View Harvey's other articles to find out more.