Work and Travel in Zimbabwe
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN ZIMBABWE FOR TRAVELLERS
Bordering the other popular countries for sub-Saharan African backpacking - Botswana, Mozambique, and South Africa, Zimbabwe’s outstanding scenery and temperate climate make it a logical stop along your African itinerary.
Facilities for backpackers are up and running, and the locals are always keen to see visitors. However, like other sections of Africa, working and travelling in this country will be no walk in the park. You’ll face frequent blackouts, unfamiliar foods, and bare accommodations.
But If you’re excited by the prospect of working and travelling in a region known for such natural wonders as the Victoria Falls, then read on with our handy travel guide to Zimbabwe.
1. Work on websites and social media in Harare
You may not think of journeying deep into sub-Saharan Africa in order to work online, but Zimbabweans have a desire to get up to speed digitally with the rest of the world. You can help move this process forward by using your first-world expertise in website design, social media management, or editing/videography to mentor locals.
2. Volunteer at a homestay in a rural African tribal village
Once you’ve made the effort to come all the way out to Zimbabwe, why not fully immerse yourself with a local family and experience the authentic tribal culture. You can trade your language skills for instruction in manual farming or building with traditional techniques. A gap year experience like this will look awesome on a CV once you return to your home country.
3. Learn canoe guiding along rivers such as the Lower Zambezi
Zimbabwe is most renowned for its excellent wildlife and safaris, so one great industry to break into as a working traveller is nature guiding. You can likely find a family-run guiding company to join up with, who will teach you the ropes of guiding in a truly unique environment.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR ZIMBABWE
With a few exceptions, visas are required by nationals of all countries; they can be obtained at your point of entry.
Single-/double-entry visas cost US$30/45 (and can be issued upon arrival) and multiple-entry visas (valid for six months) cost US$55, but are only issued at Zimbabwean diplomatic missions. British and Irish citizens pay US$55/70 for single/double entry.
In December 2016, the KAZA visa was reintroduced, which allows most visitors to acquire a single 30-day visa (US$50) for both Zimbabwe and Zambia. As long as you remain within these two countries, you can cross the border multiple times (day trips to Botswana at Kazungula will not invalidate the visa). These visas are available at Harare airport, as well as at the Victoria Falls and Kazungula crossings.
See the Department of Immigration Control website for more information.
To work in Zimbabwe you need to obtain a work permit. These are usually given to people who are trained in fields that are otherwise lacking experienced personnel. It is relatively easy for UK nationals to receive one of these permits, and they can be applied for through the Ministry of Home Affairs.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN ZIMBABWE
We recommend spring as the best time of year to work and travel in Zimbabwe. If you visit early in the dry season (April/ May); just after the rainy season, you will be able to see Victoria Falls at their best. This will be the time to join up with guiding opportunities or find positions in hospitality around Victoria Falls. If you have specific sports skills, you can join up with groups offering white-water rafting, canoeing, jet-boating and kayaking in the falls and abseiling down the cliffs.
This is still the dry season, so a fine time for any outdoor work on eco-farms or community volunteer projects that take place outside. Finding work and travel opportunities in conservation, such as helping to protect elephants, are best done in the summer.
The autumn months might be the ideal time to head to the capital of Harare to work on tech projects or to work with disadvantaged youth. If you’re interested in historical ruins or have archaeological or museum skills, head to one of the best medieval sub-Saharan African cities, Great Zimbabwe.
Winter is the rainy, humid season, but it may come as a surprise that winter is the best time to visit the country for wildlife watching, as at this time animals can be seen assembling around watering holes. So this will be another good time to work with tour groups or join up with a safari company.
During this period temperatures can rise to 35C, which may be a hindrance, but you will find the rain will have little impact on your travelling.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN ZIMBABWE
Much of Zimbabwe is the iconic Africa that you picture in your head – villages, baobabs, rivers, mountains, prehistoric fossils, and amazing wildlife.
However, this continues to be an impoverished country lacking in the modern amenities you might be used to. Parts of the country have experienced violence and you are advised to be vigilant throughout your visit. For this reason, take normal safety precautions and be wary if you get the chance to work and travel in Zimbabwe for money. You should volunteer sustainably.
So maybe you are ready to ignore the naysayers, and start planning your work and travel adventure in Zimbabwe?
- Edited on Jun 16 2021 by