Harare Travel Blog› entry 20 of 36 › view all entries
So, here we are in probably one of the least eagerly anticipated places on our travels - the wonderful city of Harare (no political views listed here, just in case)!
From our Bush Camp in Mozambique (that Denise is writing about on the computer next to me because we are so far behind with the blog and have decided on the double-pronged attack to catch up!), we have travelled across the Zimbabwe border and through to the capital of Harare. Despite all the press that it receives, Zimbabwe is actually a beautiful country in many places. Harare is much like a large British city for infrastructure and roads, although there was a feeling of tension in the air.
We had no money to spend at this time, so our two hours walking around the city was more of a break from travelling, before we made our way to "The Rocks" campsite (prizes for guessing where the name comes from). It was Denise's turn to cook for the group tonight, so Aaron made himself useful in the bar by drinking enough beer for us both! We also received our local currency here, which is a story in itself...
...and hopefully we won't get arrested for typing this...
...so, the situation is that the Official Government Rate is 250 Zimbabwe Dollars to 1 US Dollar. At many places in Zimbabwe, they ask where you got your money from to ensure it is all legal. For this reason, we changed 10 US dollars at the border to get a receipt.
Now for some simple maths:
10 US Dollars = 2,500 Zim Dollars (official rate).
1 x bottle of water from a shop = 12,500 Zim Dollars (equal to around 52 US Dollars!!!!)
100 US Dollars + 1 "parallel market acquaintance" = 1.6 million Zim Dollars (13,000 : 1!!!!!!!)
Loathing in our wads of cash, some of the group took for a photo call by lighting cigarettes with a 10,000 Dollar note. We decided to keep ours safe - Zimbabwe is actually an expensive country, even at the exchange rates we were getting!
We took rest at The Rocks and left early the next morning, pockets bulging with several million dollars between the group, and headed for the Zimbabwe Antelope Park - the only place on Earth where you can walk with lions, swim with elephants and roll around on the floor with lion cubs!
Assuming we don't get arrested on the way, of course...!!!