A practical currency and money guide to travel, living and doing business in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL).
What's in this Zimbabwe currency guide:
The official currency of Zimbabwe (country code: ZW) is the Zimbabwean dollar, with symbol Z$ and currency code ZWL.
Here are some things you might want to know about the Zimbabwean dollar:
Throughout its past two decades of governmental mismanagement, political violence and economic disaster, Zimbabwe continued to welcome visitors with the same grace and politeness that they were famed for. And as a result those who did travel here usually left insisting that that the country was hands down one of the safest, friendliest and most spectacular countries on the continent.
Around 70% of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are Shona-speaking while some 20% are Ndebele speakers. English, the country's official language, is widely spoken and visitors to Zimbabwe are often struck by the friendliness and optimism of its people, despite recent hardships. The country is a profoundly religious one - nearly two thirds of the population attends church regularly - and some 85% consider themselves Christian.
The U.S. dollar is the official currency for governmental transactions in Zimbabwe. Also legal tender and widely accepted for non-governmental transactions are the Euro, the British Pound Sterling, the Pula, the South African Rand, plus several other currencies.You should check in advance if a restaurant or hotel will accept cards, especially outside Harare.
Most people rely on electronic bank transfers or mobile money to pay their bills, usually at a hefty premium.
Zimbabwe has introduced a local issue of Bond Coins to supplement the current money supply. The coins come the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents - they are on par with American coins. In supermarkets, you may be given change in chewing gum or sweets if there is no coinage available. Haggling for a better price is common, but keep in mind that most people are very poor.
It’s illegal to leave Zimbabwe with more than $2,000 (or equivalent) in cash. It’s illegal to exchange foreign currency anywhere other than at officially licensed dealers (eg banks). Carry small denomination notes as change is rarely available in smaller businesses.
The use of credit cards is still very limited, with only a few service providers accepting VISA or MasterCards in Zimbabwe.
ATM use is very limited for non-citizens, so please do yourself a favour and come with plenty of cash on hand. Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a severe shortage of cash so it’s mostly not currently possible to make cash withdrawals with an international bank card.
Banks allow customers to withdraw just $20 a day, not in real dollars but in local bond notes. Long queues form each morning.
Air Zimbabwe has flights from Harare to Bulawayo (45 minutes) and Victoria Falls. New to Zimbabwe is FastJet, a popular budget airline offering cheap flights to Victoria Falls from Harare. There’s a domestic departure tax of US$15. The only way by air from Harare or Vic Falls to Kariba is to charter, which is very expensive. The charter companies can arrange charter flights, which will seat four to six people to Kariba, Mana Pools and Matusadona National Park from Harare or Vic Falls.
The express or ‘luxury’ buses operate according to published timetables. Check carefully, however, as most bus companies have both local (‘chicken buses’ for locals) and luxury coaches. For example, Pioneer and Zupco have both luxury and chicken buses.
Taxis are safe and reliable and can be booked through your hotel front desk. Most are metered, charging around US$2.50 for 1km at the time of writing. Taxis in cities travel within a 40km radius of the city. Always take a taxi at night.
Connecting Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Victoria Falls, all major train services travel at night. The most popular route is from Vic Falls to Bulawayo. Definitely opt for first class, which is good value, comfortable and gets you a sleeping compartment.
Managing your money effectively while living and working abroad can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that your finances are in order.
By following these tips and managing your money effectively, you can reduce financial stress and enjoy your experience living or doing business in Zimbabwe.
The cost of living in Zimbabwe is high. The country has a high inflation rate and many basic goods and services are expensive.
The expat life in Zimbabwe is generally positive. People are friendly and welcoming, and there are plenty of activities and amenities available. The cost of living is relatively low, and the climate is pleasant. However, the political situation is unstable, and the country has a high crime rate.
All foreigners should be aware of the visa requirements for Zimbabwe. A visa is required for all foreign nationals wishing to enter Zimbabwe, with the exception of nationals of Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months. Nationals of Barbados, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Zambia may obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days.
The business environment in Zimbabwe is generally considered to be challenging. High levels of corruption, limited access to financing, and erratic power supply are some of the main constraints faced by businesses operating in the country.
The economy in Zimbabwe is struggling. The country has high unemployment and inflation rates, and the government is struggling to pay for basic services.
Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Zimbabwe:
Understand Zimbabwean dollar currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the ZWL exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.
Use a local Zimbabwean dollar bank account: A local ZWL bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Zimbabwe. It may also be more convenient to use a local ZWL bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.
Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Zimbabwe. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.
Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Zimbabwe. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.
Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Zimbabwe, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.
The exchange rate of Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL), or the amount of ZWL that can be exchanged for a foreign currency, can fluctuate rapidly based on a number of factors, including economic conditions, interest rates, and political events. Below you can check the latest USD/ZWL rate plus recent trend, chart, and historic rates.
15 Mar 2023
|no change||2 Week|
29 Dec 2022
|no change||3 Month|
29 Mar 2022
|no change||1 Year|
30 Mar 2018
|0.1% ▼||5 Year|
31 Mar 2013
|0.1% ▼||10 Year|
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make an International Money Transfer to Zimbabwe or planning a trip or maybe living there, so will need to exchange and spend Zimbabwean dollar.
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It is important to note that the exchange rate of the Zimbabwean dollar can change rapidly and that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. It is advisable to carefully consider the risks and factors that may affect ZWL exchange rates before making any financial decisions.