Travellers are urged to exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to crime and civil unrest. The advisory states: “Zimbabwe will hold general elections across the country on July 30, 2018. Due to heightened political tensions around the elections, acts of violence may occur at political rallies.”
Gavin Rennie, Director of local tour operator Off2Africa, says: “We need to put this US travel advisory in context. The US Government has a responsibility to inform its citizens of upcoming events such as elections, and any possible or potential acts of violence current or in future. Unfortunately, such statements are broad-brushed, non-specific in geography, have to be over-cautious, and therefore create unnecessary alarm and despondency.”
Gavin says all travellers are cautioned to be streetwise regardless of which country in the world they may be visiting. “I live in and travel the streets of Harare, the capital city, daily and feel completely safe and unthreatened. I keep out of areas where light crime may happen and try to stay off the roads late at night. This is common sense. Local hotels, guest houses, transfer and taxis will gladly offer advice to travellers about where to go and not to go. Outside of the cities, and especially in tourist areas, travellers have even less to be concerned about. Travellers who have already made their bookings and travel arrangements for the election period will be extremely well looked after on the ground in Zimbabwe. Consulting tour operators in country, such as Off2Africa, will give additional perspective, guidance and peace of mind. Furthermore, the President of Zimbabwe has made it abundantly clear that he insists on peaceful elections. With the above said, there is no reason why plans to travel to Zimbabwe should be changed as a result of this travel advisory. Consult your local tour operator in Zimbabwe. Travel to and experience the many diverse, culturally rich, game-abundant tourism destinations and love the warm hospitality of the people of Zimbabwe.”
The US Advisory says travellers who decide to travel to Zimbabwe take note of the following:
- Stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash.
- Carry a copy of your passport and visa and leave originals in your hotel safe.
- Stay away from political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
- Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
- Enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Zimbabwe.
- US citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveller’s Checklist.