Officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. The capital is Harare. Zimbabwe achieved de jure sovereignty from the United Kingdom in April 1980, following 14 years as an unrecognised state under the conservative white minority government of Rhodesia, which unilaterally declared independence in 1965.
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages. English, Shona and Ndebele are the most widely spoken languages. The present territory was first demarcated by Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company, becoming a self-governing colony as Southern Rhodesia in 1923. President Robert Mugabe is head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces; Morgan Tsvangirai is the serving Prime Minister. Renowned as a champion for the anti-colonial cause, Mugabe is also viewed as an authoritarian responsible for Zimbabwe's mediocre human rights record and substantial economic decline. He has held power since internationally recognised independence in 1980: as head of government since 1980 and head of state since 1987.
The name "Zimbabwe" is based on a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, an ancient ruined city in the country's south-east whose remains are now a protected site. There are two theories on the origin of the word. Various sources hold that the word is derived from dzimba-dza-mabwe, translated from the Karanga dialect of Shona as "large houses of stone" (dzimba = plural of imba, "house"; mabwe = plural of bwe, "stone"). The Karanga-speaking Shona people are found around Great Zimbabwe in the modern-day province of Masvingo. Archaeologist Peter Garlake claims that "Zimbabwe" is a contracted form of dzimba-hwe which means "venerated houses" in the Zezuru dialect of Shona, and is usually applied to chiefs' houses or graves.
Geography and environment
The country is mostly savanna, although the moist and mountainous east supports tropical evergreen and hardwood forests. Trees include teak and mahogany, knobthorn, msasa and baobab. Among the numerous flowers and shrubs are hibiscus, spider lily, leonotus, cassia, tree wisteria and dombeya.
Elephant at water hole in Hwange National Park
There are around 350 species of mammals that can be found in Zimbabwe. There are also many snakes and lizards, over 500 bird species, and 131 fish species.
Large parts of Zimbabwe were once covered by forests with an abundant wildlife. Deforestation and poaching has reduced the amount wildlife. Woodland degradation and deforestation, due to population growth, urban expansion and lack of fuel, are a major concern and have led to erosion and land degradation which diminish the amount of fertile soil. Zimbabwe is a country that relies mostly on hydroelectric power. Zimbabwe had once relied heavily on electricity from Mozambique and other neighbouring countries, but due to the accumulation of debt Mozambique has cut off Zimbabwe's power supply. This has caused ZESA, Zimbabwe's main electricity supplier, to begin excessive load shedding all over Zimbabwe with some urban areas only having electricity three days a week. Thus the amount of deforestation has increased as the population in urban areas has also started using firewood for fuel whereas before it was mainly the rural population due to lack of electricity in the rural areas.
Proto-Shona speaking societies first emerged in the middle Limpopo valley in the 9th century before moving on to the Zimbabwean highlands. The Zimbabwean plateau eventually became the centre of subsequent Shona states, beginning around the 10th century. Around the early 10th century, trade developed with Arab merchants on the Indian Ocean coast, helping to develop the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in the 11th century. This was the precursor to the more impressive Shona civilisations that would dominate the region during the 13th to 15th centuries, evidenced by ruins at Great Zimbabwe, near Masvingo, and other smaller sites. The main archaeological site uses a unique dry stone architecture.
The Kingdom of Mapungubwe was the first in a series of sophisticated trade states developed in Zimbabwe by the time of the first European explorers from Portugal. They traded in gold, ivory and copper for cloth and glass.
Zimbabwe Attractions draw tourists to Zimbabwe over and over again to experience the adventure. The wildlife adds to the beauty of nature in Zimbabwe. The exciting safaris are unparalleled.
The waterfalls are and lakes are the perfect tourist destinations.
The jungle safaris can be life time experiences, as they always call for thrill and fun. The unique culture, beautiful scenery along with various types of games is the Attractions of Zimbabwe. Sightseeing in Zimbabwe includes mainly the Victoria Falls, National Park and jungle and lake safaris. However Lake Safaris are also known as boat safaris.
Zimbabwe Attractions are also increased by the comfort provided in the luxurious hotels and resorts. The hotels are situated near the main tourist spots. Since Victoria Falls and National Park are two of the main places, there are quite a number of big hotels near Victoria Falls and National Park.
The cities and museums are the bonus for the travelers and make them fall in love with the place. Thus Zimbabwe can be said to be a perfect holiday destination for those who love thrill and excitement. Zimbabwe Attractions are definitely incredibly adventurous. Moreover the shopping of exquisite traditional items also adds to the attractions of Zimbabwe.
Major places to visit in Zimbabwe are:
- Victoria Falls
- Great Zimbabwe
- Ruins of Zimbabwe
- National Art Gallery
- Natural History Museum
- Lake Kariba
- Mana Pools National Park
- Mt Selinda
- National Archives of Zimbabwe
- Nyanga National Park
- Khami Ruins
- Leopard Rock Golf and Country Club
- Leopard Rock Casino
- Matopos National Park
- Matobo Hills
- The Victoria Falls National Park
- Zambezi River Bridge
- Wild Is Life Trust, The Animal Sanctuary
- Varden Safaris
- Lake Chivero Recreational Park