ZIMBABWE
Vic Falls, (image of bridge over the Falls - which marks border between Zim and Zambia. Alas, at the moment, rail-travel for passengers over the bridge is not an option). The Falls, Great Zimbabwe, and (what were) some of the best game reserves in Africa. It should make for the holiday of a life-time. 

HOWEVER, 

Currently travel in Zimbabwe cannot be recommended. 

This is NOT for safety reasons. Beyond the usual problems of petty crime, violence since the 1999 elections has only been directed against tourists on isolated occasions when they have been unlucky enough to be caught up in political protests. As a tourist you are likely to remain safe so long as you avoid going into rural areas or the high density housing settlements and squatter camps at the major cities.

Zimbabwe should be avoided 

Your visiting Zimbabwe at this time succeeds only in giving credibility to the current regime. Unfortunately, with the politically naive decision to go ahead with England's Cricket World Cup matches in Zimbabwe in 2004, the regime, quite rightly, gained the impression of international gullibility. I hope that you went to watch matches in South Africa instead. And as a brief update, John Howard, the then Australian P.M., just ordered that a future, planned cricket tour should not take place in Zim. Good for him.

  
For a better Beyer garret pic, check my railways gallery 

Update 2

Well, this may at last now be the final months (let us hope not years) of the Mugabe regime. What the Rhodesians failed to achieve militarily, it now seems that the MDC may well be able do democratically. After all, one man, one vote - it is what the people want. Assuming that the MDC are able to withstand the growing, desperate onslaught of a regime on its last legs it is possible that Zimbabwe will again become one of the greatest countries in the world, balancing only with Norway and Namibia. 


Bulawayo railway station - main purpose for pic is Morris Minor

ZANU(PF) would have thrown the kitchen-sink into the coming elections, but unfortunately they sold it (not withstanding the recent, ridiculous appointment to the UN of a Zimbabwean as chair of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Why? The cynical answer is that the complete destruction of the industrial base, dreadful inflation, and appallingly low life-expectancy, have all done their bit), a country being fed on lies rather than food. 

Update 3

The news now coming out is that the MDC has decided (due to the ridiculous degree of violence being perpetrated - even if, going by what the Herald says, most of it is being perpetrated by the MDC "neo-colonialists") not to stand for the second round. Unsurprisingly, Mugabe won the second round by a landslide, despite a large number of apparently highly abusive voting slips. The standard conclusion is that Mugabe lost in the first round by too great a margin to be fixed, as has been done before. And, ironically, in January 2008 Muzorewa took over one of the few remaining white-owned farms (a farm which the owner had already, voluntarily, given up over half of his land for redistribution) - full article here. That Mugabe is now content for Muzorewa to do this - when, presumably, in 1979 he would have had him shot on sight - reflects well on Mugabe's desire not to rely on previous struggles to keep himself in power. An item in NEWS 24 reports that a number of Zimbabwean farmers have now moved to Nigeria, to continue farming. 

And, for some amusement value, click on the following link to see some remnants of the Rhodesian war - still performing, even if not quite as intended. 

 

 Otherwise, this photo (Bulawayo 1997) of a Zimbabwean police car blatantly parked on an expired meter effectively sums up one of the more minor discretions the police get up to. 

 

Travel information - up to date information from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

As the Zimbabwean currency disintegrated - until it became legal and necessary to use foreign currency, one US dollar was worth four million Zimbabwe dollars at the official exchange rate and many billion Zimbabwe dollars on the black market, the "unofficial" market that anyone with money who is not one of Mugabe's associates or Gideon Gono (Central bank chief) - click here for a link to his own personal site, which proudly claims "Failure is not an option" ?!!!? Zimbabwe is now spiralling out of control. Cholera, state-sponsored violence against anyone perceived as a threat - Zim is in such a mess that hopefully South Africa will at last exert its power to try to bring the country back to some form of normality.

(picture taken on the South Africa side Beitbridge border post) It now seems that Britons have been involved in the slaughter of much of what is left of Zimbabwe's once incredible elephant population - click link for more (opens in new window). And if that is not depressing enough, more HERE -  the people cannot be blamed, but the conditions - and leaders CAUSING this - can be.

 

Trace