Money, Shopping, and Eating Out


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Zimbabwe has a multi-currency system (mainly the US$, the South African Rand (in some places) and the local ZIG (Zimbabwe Gold) currency, introduced in April 2024). 

NOTE : all foreign visitors to Zimbabwe are STILL required to pay for their tourism accommodation and services in US$. In major tourism centres International Card payment machines are available at some facilities (ask them), otherwise US$ cash is widely accepted for payments.  Visitors can pay for fuel in US$ cash at selected service stations in major centres. 

Bear in mind, however, that there are differences in exchange rate value.  It is advisable to seek authoratative local advice on the best value places to use your US$ for local purchases. Money can be exchanged at local Bureaux de Change, and some travel operators will assist their guests by providing alternative solutions to accessing local currency (e.g. access to the ECOCASH mobile banking platform). 

Below are the payment methods still applicable in Zimbabwe, according to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority:

1. International Credit cards are  acceptable at accommodation establishments in major tourism centres in Zimbabwe, where the relevant arrangements have been made with international credit card companies such as VISA, MasterCard and others issued by different banks in the countries of origin of the travellers. Service providers do have international credit card-enabled point-of-sale (POS) machines.

2. Foreign cash may be exchanged at the bank, bureau-de-change or at any other authorised foreign currency dealers at the prevailing bank rates. Visitors are however encouraged to use plastic money and only exchange amounts of money in cash that they anticipate using. However, visitors may convert their money back to their foreign currency subject to prevailing terms and conditions.

3.  US$ cash withdrawals at bank ATMs.  US$ cash withdrawals are available from ATMs for visitors using Foreign VISA, MasterCard or UnionPay Debit or Credit cards at some internationally-recognised banks (including Standard Chartered) in most major town centres throughout the country.  It’s worth checking with your travel advisor or accommodation provider which bank can provide this service.

4. Online payments and telegraphic transfers remain acceptable forms of payment in Zimbabwe.

5. Visa fees, where applicable, are payable in foreign currency cash at any port of entry. The Government of Zimbabwe has an e-visa system and intending travellers may apply and pay for their visas online.

6. Tipping is not a commercial transaction and hence visitors are at liberty to tip as they wish. It becomes incumbent upon the recipient to ensure adherence to the foreign exchange regulations.

NOTE:  Visitors entering Zimbabwe are advised to declare any foreign cash funds that they are bringing into the country on a Customs Declaration Form (Form 47) at their initial point of entry. Keep this declaration safe with your passport for when you leave Zimbabwe. This will enable you to export  any currency that has not been exchanged without risking having it forfeited to the State. 



Food supplies in Zimbabwe are usually readily available. Supermarkets are plentiful in the main centres and are relatively well stocked, but, as many goods are imported, prices can be high.  

Shop opening hours are generally: Weekdays: 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Saturdays: 8.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Some supermarket chains have longer hours and remain open every day including Sundays.

Restaurants offer a wide variety of food choices. Be aware that in the evening people eat fairly early: between 6.30 p.m. and 8.45 p.m. If you arrive later, you may find the kitchen has closed.

Note that apart from in Victoria Falls (above) and Kariba town, there are no modern shopping facilities or restaurants in Zimbabwe's middle Zambezi Valley at all.


If you want to show your appreciation for good service, a modest tip is customary, and much appreciated. Some restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill, and some lodges or camps have a sensible tipping facility at the reception desk which is shared among all staff. Please do NOT tip if your service has been bad. It will be more helpful to the future of tourism if you politely inform the management.


You will find an abundance of up-market boutiques and more informal craft stalls selling curios, souvenirs, carvings and other artefacts to suit every pocket in and around Victoria Falls.  Quality and prices vary.  The trick is to find something unique and hand-crafted at a fair price, that will be a lasting reminder of your trip.  

Vendors plying their wares at the side of the road or along pathways towards the Falls themselves can be a bit over-zealous.  If you are not interested in their wares, be courteously firm and move swiftly on.  Be aware that if you show interest, you may be swamped with a bewildering choice of even more products and more over-zealous salespeople.  It is probably best to make purchases in the more formal atmosphere of one of the shopping "villages" in Victoria Falls town or the central craft market specially designed for such a purpose.

Be wary of informal currency-exchangers on the streets or of vendors selling large-denomination notes of the old Zimbabwe dollar currency as "curios".  You may find that you become a victim of extortion or have paid over the odds for something worthless.

Kariba town has a more informal system of craft-sellers who display their wares along the main road and at various visitor spots including on top of the town's highest hill, The Heights: 

and at the Dam Wall Observation Point.

In the Zambezi Valley, crafts are more difficult to find unless your lodge or camp has some arrangement with a local community.  In Binga, at the western end of Lake Kariba, there is a thriving co-operative crafts industry (ask locally).

Bargaining is standard. A high price will be demanded at first. Some negotiation is expected, but be fair. Many craftspeople are skilled and deserve a fair price for their handiwork. Remember, their cost of living in Zimbabwe is now comparable with the rest of the world.


Cold drinks are a must in the Zambezi Valley. If you are self-catering, ice for your coolbox can be bought in blocks from the larger garages and supermarkets and from most of the harbours in Kariba. Cuts in electricity supplies make ice availability a bit erratic in some smaller towns, so it is advisable to collect ice in Harare or Kariba at the start of your journey, if you are going straight through into the remote Zambezi Valley.


No fisherman can embark on a trip to Lake Kariba or the Zambezi River without a box full of fishing worms for those delectable bream! There are side-of-the-road worm sellers all along the main road between Harare and Karoi, en route to the Zambezi, the most enterprising being those selling "Anaconda Worms" just south of the town of Banket.

Prices are negotiable and bargaining is standard. Make sure you keep your precious worms regularly watered, fed with vegetable peelings and kept cool out of the hot sun. If you don't have a smart wooden bait-box, get the kids to make one out of a cardboard shoebox! It will be just as effective. Reinforce the bottom with a layer of corrugated cardboard from a supermarket box and punch some small breathe-holes in the lid. HAPPY FISHING!

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