Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cheap flights to Zimbabwe

Currently, Air Zimbabwe only connects Harare and Bulawayo and Harare with Victoria Falls due to lack of demand and fuel. Sometimes, combined flight and accommodation deals are available for the price of the air ticket, so it's worth making inquiries. There are two types of buses - express and local. Most foreigners use scheduled express coaches to travel between major tourist spots, but the local buses are often just as quick, and will almost always be cheaper. There aren't any schedules for local buses and they run only from early morning to late afternoon, departing from the 'African township' bus stations, which are never in the town centre. It's also quite common to strike a deal with a truck driver for intercity transport. Car rental in Zimbabwe is expensive, especially 4WD, and the vehicles are not generally well-maintained. Cyclists will be happy to know that most roads are surfaced and in fair repair, and winds are rarely strong enough to make cycling difficult. Although distances between towns are long by European standards, they're generally only a day's ride apart and there are plenty of small stores between towns where you can stop for refreshment. Zimbabwe's railway network connects Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Victoria Falls. Trains are very slow, and not particularly safe. All major services travel at night, and sleeping compartments with bedding are available but watch your belongings. There is a ferry service on Lake Kariba, connecting Kariba with Mlibizi, which is handy if you want to do a circular tour of Zimbabwe without retracing your steps between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. The ferry departs when there is sufficient demand.
Getting There And Away

Most international flights arrive in Harare. If you're already in southern Africa, there are frequent services between Johannesburg (and plenty of other Southern African cities) and Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Air Zimbabwe offers services throughout regional Africa and to major cities in Europe. Popular land borders include the Victoria Falls/Kazungala crossing between Zimbabwe and Botswana (from where you can continue through Chobe National Park to Namibia), the Victoria Falls/Livingstone crossing to Zambia, and the road and rail links to South Africa via Beitbridge. To Mozambique (and Malawi), the route is from Harare to Blantyre via the Nyamapanda and Mwanza border crossings. Daily buses run this route.