Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in southern Africa.
The official name of the country is Republic of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Zimbabwe was estimated to be 16,111,699 people.
It is the 60th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 390,757 square kilometers (150,872 square miles).
Harare is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. It is situated at an elevation of 1,483 meters (4,865 feet) above sea level and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category.
Much of zimbabwe’s terrain is high plateau with higher central plateau (Highveld) forming a watershed between the Zambezi and Limpopo river systems. The Limpopo and the lower Zambezi valleys are broad and relatively flat plains. The eastern end of the watershed terminates in a north-south mountain spine, called the Eastern Highlands.
Mount Nyangani is the highest mountain in Zimbabwe at 2,592 meters (8,504 feet) above sea level.
Major bodies of water include Lake Kariba and Victoria Falls both on the western border with Zambia.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft) and height of 108 meters (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. It has been described by CNN as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. It lies 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) upstream from the Indian Ocean, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its northeastern end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River. Lake Kariba is over 223 kilometers (139 miles) long and up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) in width. It covers an area of 5,580 square kilometers (2,154 square miles) and its storage capacity is 185 cubic kilometers (44 cubic miles).
The network of protected areas in Zimbabwe covers about 27% of the national territory. It is made up of11 national park, plus other types of protected areas.
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to one half of the Mosi-oa-Tunya — ‘The Smoke Which Thunders’ — known worldwide as Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. The river forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, so the falls are shared by the two countries, and the park is ‘twin’ to the Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwean side. The park covers 66 square kilometers (25 square miles). Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park provides a home for numerous antelope species, zebra, giraffe, rhinos, lions, warthog, and a variety of birds and smaller animals. Elephants cross the Zambezi and freely walk through the Park and the surrounding area.
Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe. The park lies in the west, on the main road between Bulawayo and the Victoria Falls and near to Dete. It was founded in 1928, with the first warden being by the 22-year-old Ted Davison. The Park hosts over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores.
Mana Pools National Park is a 219,600 hectares, wildlife conservation area and national park in northern Zimbabwe. It is a region of the lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season. As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing regions. The park was inscribed, in conjunction with the Sapi Safari Area (118,000 ha) and Chewore Safari Area (339,000 ha) as a single UNESCO World Heritage site (for a total of 676,600 ha) in 1984.
Zimbabwe has 5 UNESCO world heritage sites.
Great Zimbabwe is a medieval city in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age. Construction on the monument began in the 11th century and continued until the 15th century. The most widely-accepted modern archaeological theory is that the edifices were erected by the ancestral Shona. The stone city spans an area of 7.22 square kilometres (1,780 acres) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. It is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Khami is a ruined city located 22 kilometres (13.5 miles) west of Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe. It was once the capital of the Kingdom of Butua of the Torwa dynasty. It is now a national monument, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
By around 300 AD, Bantu-speaking iron-age farmers had spread into southern Africa and settled in the Zimbabwe region.
In later centuries, they were joined by people from the north, such as the Karanga and Rozwi. These and other groups formed the early Shona kingdoms.
From the 11th–15th century, the Shona peoples thrived in a prosperous society, worshipping a supreme deity called Mwari.
During the 1800’s, Zimbabwe underwent a period of aggressive colonization at the hands of the British who were intent on seizing the country’s rich mineral reserves. The British South Africa Company led by Cecil John Rhodes, took control of the territory, which came to be known as Southern Rhodesia. In 1923, the British Government annexed the area and Southern Rhodesia became an official British colony.
In 1965, the conservative white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia. Stripping black people of rights, this government sparked international outrage and economic sanctions were introduced.
Black Zimbabweans had been fighting for their rights for many decades.
Guerrilla warfare broke out, turning into civil war in the 1970s.
Britain helped negotiate a ceasefire and a new constitution in 1979. Elections were held the following year. The Republic of Zimbabwe became independent in April 1980 and Robert Mugabe became executive president.
Today, Zimbabwe’s political and economic state is volatile.
Minerals, gold, and agriculture are the main foreign exports of Zimbabwe. Tourism also plays a key role in its economy.
Zimbabwe’s culture is extremely diverse as a result of the many indigenous groups which call the country home. While Shona is the largest ethnic group with the predominant hold in many areas, there are several other groups which have influenced the Zimbabwe of today.
An estimated 80% of the country’s citizens identify themselves as Christians. Protestants (mostly followers of Pentecostal African Churches) are around 63% of the population.
The main staple of Zimbabwean cuisine is corn and is used in a variety of dishes. Sadza is the most common dish found in Zimbabwe and is stiff maize meal that is like a thickened porridge. It can be rolled into a ball and dipped into meat, sauce, gravy, sour milk, or stewed vegetables.
The most popular sport in Zambia is football. Rugby Union and cricket are also popular.