Earlier this year, I spent quite a bit of time travelling around Zimbabwe doing research and collecting data. I travelled by myself, and having never been around the country, it felt like I was exploring a brand new country. There are so many things that I had never experienced in Zimbabwe, because I had never travelled around the country by myself. I wanted to share my experience and I hope you can learn what solo travel as a woman in Zimbabwe is like.
Is it safe to get around?
Probably the foremost on everyone’s mind. Can you really walk/drive around on your own? Zimbabwe is one of the safest places to travel. The one thing that annoyed me though, was all the men who would ask me why I didn’t find a male companion to drive my car for me (*rolls eyes*). That was the only time I felt very uncomfortable, because they would then proceed to look around in my car, and yell out to their friends to come and see this “little girl” that was driving all by herself. It made me feel so uneasy. But anyway, nothing bad happened. No-one followed me or anything drastic like that. I just wished they would leave me alone and stop preying on me because I was on my own. I also avoided being out at night, because while it’s a safe place to be, you don’t want to tempt fate.
How should you dress?
Zimbabweans are generally very conservative people. However, the response to what you wear depends on your skin colour. I found that white and asian people are usually left to their devices. The darker we go down the spectrum, the more inclined they are to express how conservative they are and why you should cover yourself. If you’re going to venture in the city centre, a bus terminus or a rural area, then just cover up. It’s not worth the hassle. You should be okay everywhere else.
Can you trust the people around?
As a general rule, no matter what country you are visiting, there are certain pieces of information you just shouldn’t share. You should never share your exact accommodation details or flight departure details with anyone. Most crimes committed against solo female travellers happen the day before they are due to leave. And it’s usually someone they were hanging with or talking to during the trip. So be as vague as possible.
How much money should you carry around?
With the exception of the Victoria Falls, you are going to need to have cash to pay for stuff, because visa cards aren’t widely accepted. So be careful how much money you bring out when you’re out and about. From touts harassing you to change your money on the black market, to opportunists lurking around, you want to be careful how much money you bring out. While it’s a safe country to visit
What has been your experience with travelling solo in other African countries?