Electricity, Phones & Internet, Time, Public Holidays and Dress

by WildZambezi.com

ELECTRICITY

Electricity is is 220 volts. Plug sockets are mostly 3-pin square (13 amp), but 2-pin round shaver/charger sockets are common and 3-pin round (15 amp) sockets can be found in older establishments. Note that the electricity grid in Zimbabwe can be erratic. Camps and lodges in remote Zambezi valley areas usually operate without electricity.  Some of these (and most houseboats) are powered via generators which are switched on only at set times of the day.   It is possible to charge mobile phones and camera batteries when power is available. The more eco-friendly camps use solar-generated power and inverter storage systems.  

TIME

Time is GMT +2 hours. On average, daylight is roughly 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. slightly shorter in mid-winter (June) or longer in mid-summer (December).

PHONES AND INTERNET

Zimbabwe has a landline phone system and several mobile networks.  Service can be erratic, especially in more remote areas and calls are expensive.  However, international roaming does work where signal is available.  The International Dialling code for Zimbabwe is +263.  When not using this international prefix code, an extra 0 is required before area codes or mobile numbers within the country. 

Zimbabwe's main urban centres, including Victoria Falls have good mobile network coverage (3G and sometimes 4G) and Kariba has 3G, but it is sometimes erratic.  Mobile coverage does extend into some of more remote parts of Lake Kariba and the Zambezi Valley, however signal can be erratic.  In the very remote parts of the Zambezi valley, there is no mobile network coverage at all, but some safari camps and operators have access via satellite phone links. 

Pay-as-you-Go phone and data sim cards are available from local mobile suppliers (Econet is probably the most reliable).  It is cheap to buy a sim card, however - be warned - mobile phone airtime and data is expensive in comparison to other countries. 

Wireless or Fibre Internet access is increasingly available, especially within towns and cities, but is not universal. Tourism operations often have their own connections, but in more remote areas, internet access is only possible where there is good mobile network coverage or a satellite system is in operation. Be warned, download times may be slow.  Check with your agent or operator if you need web access while on safari.

HOLIDAYS (PUBLIC)

1 January - New Year's Day
Good Friday to Easter Monday
18 April - Independence Day (Zimbabwe)
1 May - Workers' Day
25 May - Africa Day
Mid-August - Heroes' & Defence Forces Day (Zimbabwe)
25/26 December - Christmas and Boxing Day

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 

Early December - Mid January  (Zimbabwe and South Africa)
Mid April - Mid May (Zimbabwe)
July  (South Africa)
Early August - Early September (Zimbabwe)

DRESS

In the Zambezi River areas, the climate is usually so warm/hot that only very light, comfortable and casual clothes and footwear are necessary during the day, even in winter months (May - August).   A wide-brimmed hat or cap is essential. Wear lightweight cotton shirts/tops, shorts or longs during the day, and something that covers up your legs and arms at night. A lightweight, fleece tracksuit is useful for cold nights and early mornings (especially in the mid-winter months of May - July). Neutral colours (avoid white) are the most suitable for game viewing and walking in the bush, when you want your presence to be as unobtrusive as possible.   

A very useful multi-purpose item is a cotton wrap which can act as sunscreen, shawl or towel. Keep shoes to a minimum: a pair of practical, flat sandals, "thongs" or "flip-flops" for inside and a pair of comfortable walking shoes are all you need. Don't bother with heavy boots.

Be aware that revealing tops or very short shorts or skirts are culturally provocative or even offensive to some in this part of Africa.

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