A landlocked country in southern Africa, Zimbabwe sits between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. Zimbabwe holds de jure sovereignety following fourteen years as an unrecognized state when it was under the white conservative leadership of Rhodesia.
Zimbabwe is perhaps best known for its beautiful natural life, including elephants which can be viewed at the Hwange National Park, and more than 500 species of birds.
The climate in Zimbabwe is tropical, with a rainy season that lasts from October to March. The altitude can range up to 1,600 m, and the area is faced with recurring droughts, with extreme storms being something of a scarcity. Victoria Falls, found in the northwest part of the Zimbabwe river, is one of the world's largest waterfalls.
Outside of Africa, the continent is regarded as one rich with culture and history and colorful people. Much of this is true. Zimbabwe is known for its sculpture. In particular, Shona sculpture, which combines African folklore with more European influences. A number of Black American artists have apprenticed under Zimbabwean Shona sculptors, with such sculptors as New York's M. Scott Johnson combining Zimbabwean influences with a more western, progressive approach.
Cornmeal and porridge, called sadza, are the staples of Zimbabwean cuisine, which often comes with gravy, spinach, collard greens, beans, and stewed, roasted, sundried or grilled meat. Sadza is often served with sour, curdled milk and sardines. Many find that this meal tastes a lot better than it sounds.
The cost of living in Zimbabwe is relatively modest, with single room apartments to be found in the city for as low as the equivalent of USD $350 a month or £231. If you've lived in a lower middle class town in the US or Europe, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Zimbabwe. There are cheaper restaurants where you can enjoy a meal for pocket change, and others where you'll be paying $30 or £20 a person.
Obtaining health insurance in Zimbabwe, for a foreigner, can be a tricky maze to navigate. Some students simply wait until they fly home for visits to see a doctor. The most important thing is to take all of the right precautionary measures. Get your vaccine shots and make sure that you're neither catching or spreading any diseases.
Beyond routine vaccines, you'll need to get a Hep A shot, as Hep A is frequently found in Zimbabwe municipal water, Malaria, before, during and after your visit, and Typhoid, which will help you if you come into contact with contaminated food or water.
Your health insurance may cover you at certain Zimbabwean medical centers, you will have to talk with your insurer. If not, you may want to contact an international health insurance provider before you head to Zimbabwe, as it can be prohibitively difficult, time consuming and taxing to try and get covered while in Zimbabwe.
Regarding transportation, buses are available for travelers, but the bus system in Zimbabwe is considered poor. Taxis on the other hand can be quite affordable, and the roads have seen a lot of repair since 2008. English is one of the official languages of Zimbabwe, so there shouldn't be much difficulty communicating with the drivers.
Speaking against the Zimbabwean government is a crime, so wait until you get back to your home nation to talk about government mismanagement.
An important point on manners: Don't accept anything with two hands, as this is seen as greedy, and always use the right hand to show respect. Show thanks by clapping twice. This is essentially Zimbabwean for "Thank you." Men are expected to clap with finger tips and wrists touching, while women are expected to deliver a cross-handed golf clap.