Zimbabwe Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Zimbabwe > Map Economy History

Mana Pools National Park and Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls are World Heritage sites.

Facts About Zimbabwe

Background: The UK annexed Southern Rhodesia from the South Africa Company in 1923. A 1961 constitution was formulated to keep whites in power. In 1965 the government unilaterally declared its independence, but the UK did not recognize the act and demanded voting rights for the black African majority in the country (then called Rhodesia). UN sanctions and a guerrilla uprising finally led to free elections in 1979 and independence (as Zimbabwe) in 1980. Robert MUGABE, the nation's first prime minister, has been the country's only ruler (as president since 1987) and has dominated the country's political system since independence.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Harare
Currency: 1 Zimbabwean dollar (Z$) = 100 cents

Geography of Zimbabwe

Location: Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia
Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 30 00 E
Area:
total: 390,580 sq km
land: 386,670 sq km
water: 3,910 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 3,066 km
border countries: Botswana 813 km, Mozambique 1,231 km, South Africa 225 km, Zambia 797 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: tropical; moderated by altitude; rainy season (November to March)
Terrain: mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: junction of the Runde and Save rivers 162 m
highest point: Inyangani 2,592 m
Natural resources: coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum group metals
Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 23%
other: 57% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,930 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts; floods and severe storms are rare
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air and water pollution; the black rhinoceros herd - once the largest concentration of the species in the world - has been significantly reduced by poaching
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water

People of Zimbabwe

Primarily of the Bantu group of south and central Africa, the black Zimbabweans are divided into two major language groups, which are subdivided into several ethnic groups. The Mashona (Shona speakers), who constitute about 75% of the population, have lived in the area the longest and are the majority language group. The Matabele (Sindebele speakers), representing about 20% of the population and centered in the southwest around Bulawayo, arrived in within the last 150 years. An offshoot of the South African Zulu group, they maintained control over the Mashona until the white occupation of Rhodesia in 1890.

More than half of the white Zimbabweans, primarily of English origin, arrived in Zimbabwe after World War II. Afrikaners from South Africa and other European minorities, including Portuguese from Mozambique, are also present. Until the mid-1970s, there were about 1,000 white immigrants per year, but from 1976 to 1985 a steady emigration resulted in a loss of more than 150,000, leaving about 100,000 in 1992. English, the official language, is spoken by the white population and understood, if not always used, by more than half of the black population.

Population: 12,746,990 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.64% 
15-64 years: 56.82%
65 years and over: 3.54% 
Population growth rate: 0.26% 
Birth rate: 25 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 22.43 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
note: there is a small but steady flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa in search of better paid employment
Infant mortality rate: 62.25 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 37.78 years
male: 39.18 years
female: 36.34 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.34 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Zimbabwean(s)
adjective: Zimbabwean
Ethnic groups: African 98% (Shona 71%, Ndebele 16%, other 11%), white 1%, mixed and Asian 1%
Religions: syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%
Languages: English (official), Shona, Sindebele (the language of the Ndebele, sometimes called Ndebele), numerous but minor tribal dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English
total population: 85%
male: 90%
female: 80% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Zimbabwe > Map Economy History