Zimbabwe Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
The research for this website was carried out mainly in 2011 and 2012. Therefore there is a good chance that much of the information may now be out of date. This is particularly true of countries in the developing world, especially Asia, Africa and parts of South America where conditions can change often. Also, the political climate in many countries has changed a lot in recent years. Therefore the information on this website should be treated with caution. You should always check with your Government’s website or the UK Foreign office travel advice website before finalising plans to drive abroad.
Driving in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe drives on the left and you can use the photo ID licence of most countries to rent a car. Main roads are in reasonable condition for Africa but you may encounter the odd unexpected deep pothole. Minor roads are likely to be in worse condition particularly after heavy rain.
Traffic lights are sometimes out of action and are one cause of the numerous accidents which occur on Zimbabwean roads. Avoid driving outside the main towns at night, as roads are badly lit and marked. Also, vehicles are often poorly lit and abandoned unlit heavy goods vehicles, cyclists without lights, pedestrians and animals are often encountered. Traffic accidents are common cause of death and serious injury as emergency services can be slow to react. Avoid stopping in lay-bys, particularly in the Beitbridge area, as there have been incidents of cars being robbed and occupants attacked. There have also been cases of smash-and-grab robberies from vehicles, especially at main intersections along the route to Harare Airport and on the Masvingo-Beitbridge road. Drivers should keep their vehicle doors locked and windows closed and be cautious when travelling, particularly at night and at filling stations.You must obey police signals, stop at roadblocks and toll-gates and produce identification if asked to do so. There have been reports of police officers trying to extract unofficial ‘fines’ from foreign drivers, though they do the same with local drivers too.. For further info on dealing with the police when driving abroad, check my advice on this on the self drive advice page, and also in Roadtrip tales.
Also after June 11, it is the law that every vehicle must carry the following and police are likely to check this-
Two Breakdown Triangles : Mandatory: two reflective breakdown triangles per vehicle. A pair is also required for each trailer. These must be placed one in front and one at the rear of a vehicle (30 to 50m) when it is stationary on any road at a place not designated for stopping. The triangles should be sturdy and of good quality. However, they are not required to have a Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) logo.
A Fire Extinguisher: All vehicles to carry an appropriate and SAZ approved fire extinguisher in the CAB of the vehicle – Light vehicles (1kg) and heavy vehicles (1,5kg). Every fire extinguisher shall be of a type and make approved by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe, which approval shall be visibly marked on the fire extinguisher , and secured at an easily accessible and visible position within the cab of such vehicle.
Reflectors: White reflectors in front, red reflectors at the rear
Florescent Reflective Vest: One for each person travelling.
It is an offence to continue driving when a motorcade containing the President or one of his cronies goes past, no matter which side of the road you are on. If you see the motorcade or hear sirens, pull off the road or onto the side of the road if this is not possible. There have been incidents where people have been assaulted by the security forces for stopping in the wrong place or for not stopping soon enough. I’ve also heard of cars being ‘bulldozed’ off the road if they don’t move in time. Though the situation has improved there can still be shortages of fuel in Zimbabwe and you should make sure you have enough to complete your trip- don’t set off on a long journey and assume you will be able to fill up. Tell the rental company where you intend to drive and ask their advice on the fuel situation.
Some travel times and distances between major locations-
Victoria Falls to Harare – 860KM, 9 hours
Victoria Falls to Bulawayo – 440KM, 5 hours
Bulawayo to Harare – 435KM, 5 hours
Victoria Falls to Kariba – 560KM, 6 hrs 30
Kariba to Harare – 360KM, 4hours
Harare – Mutare – 260KM, 3 hours
Baitbridge – Bulawayo – 320KM , 3hrs 30
Bulawayo- Masvingo -280Km, 3hours
Masvingo to Harare – 290KM, 3 hours
Zimbabwe Car Rental –
Europcar,Avis, Budget,have branches in Bulawayo, Harare and Victoria Falls. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Hire and Web discount sites such as ebookers.com. or Expedia
This is an internet car rental broker who rent vehicles in Zimbabwe –
These are some local companies-
This company can arrange self drive safaris throughout Southern African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland & Lesotho
These companies also arrange self drive safaris throughout Southern Africa including Zimbabwe