Skip to Content

25 Amazing Facts About Zimbabwe 

Disclaimer: Some posts on Tourism Teacher may contain affiliate links. If you appreciate this content, you can show your support by making a purchase through these links or by buying me a coffee. Thank you for your support!

There are so many incredible facts about Zimbabwe that most of us have no idea about. But why is this country so fascinating and what makes it so special? Read on to learn all about the most amazing 25 facts about Zimbabwe…

Interesting Facts About Zimbabwe  

There are many countries out there that baffle your mind and soul with their natural beauty and diverse culture.

Located in the Southern region of Africa, Zimbabwe is all about spectacular sights, breathtaking waterfalls, and exotic animals. But, after reading some facts about Zimbabwe and talking to the locals, I realised that there is more to the country than what meets the eye. 

In this article, I’ll be talking about the known and unknown facts about Zimbabwe. So, without any further ado, let’s get into it. 

facts about zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

1. Zimbabwe Has Over 16 Official Languages!

If you adore languages, then you’re going to love this one fact about Zimbabwe! After all, this country has more than 16 official languages, as stated by UNICEF. The common ones include Shona, Ndebele, Ndau, and even English.

Over 70% population in Zimbabwe speaks Shona, whereas 20% speaks Ndebele. English is also widely popular in Zimbabwe, as it is the first language of white Zimbabweans. Moreover, it is also used extensively in government, school, and business sectors.

Apart from these common languages, you’ll also find a few Zimbabweans speaking in other rare dialects like Manyika and Koisan.

2. You Might Find Mermaids in Zimbabwe!

Every country has its own ancient folklore and mythical creatures. I had a fascinating revelation when I came to know that mermaids are popular mythical creatures in Zimbabwe! 

However, Zimbabweans seem to have a different perspective on mermaids. Unlike most of us that imagine mermaids as kind souls, like Ariel, Zimbabweans believe that they’re evil and ruthless

The locals believe that mermaids are capable of torturing, kidnapping, and even killing humans! The fear is so widespread that once, they even stopped the installation of pumps at a dam because somebody reportedly saw a mermaid.

3. The Largest Man-Made Lake Is Between Zimbabwe and Zambia’s Border

Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is gifted with natural resources, but it doesn’t have any natural lakes. Still, you’ll find many man-made lakes there, including the largest one by volume in the world, Lake Kariba.

Between the years 1958 and 1963, Lake Kariba was filled with water. André Coyne, a renowned French engineer, not only conceptualised but also designed this beautiful lake. 

Today, Lake Kariba is home to several unique fish species and has an ecosystem of its own. Travellers can also enjoy activities like birdwatching and fishing here.

4. Zimbabwe Has Five UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Even though Zimbabwe looks like a small country on the map, I cannot deny that the country is still very culturally and geographically rich. Did you know that presently, Zimbabwe has five UNESCO world heritage sites? 

These sites include Great Zimbabwe, Khami Ruins, Victoria Falls, Matobo Hills, and Mana Pools National Park

Great Zimbabwe, Khami Ruins, and Matobo Hills are well-known for their ancient history and ruins. On the other hand, Victoria Falls and Mana Pools National Park are a treat for nature lovers due to their scenic beauty. 

Believe me, all of these sites are impressive enough to leave you speechless!

5. Athletes from Zimbabwe Have Won Eight Olympic Medals 

Here is one of the facts about Zimbabwe related to the people.

Zimbabweans are no less amazing than the country itself! In fact, the athletes from Zimbabwe have made the country proud by winning eight Olympic medals. 

Out of these eight medals, three are gold, four are silver, and one is bronze. Seven out of eight medals were won in the swimming category, whereas one was awarded in the field hockey team category too.

All seven medals in the swimming category have been awarded to Kirsty Coventry, a talented Zimbabwean swimmer. Apart from just Olympic medals, Kirty Coventry also holds the record for winning more individual Olympic medals than any other female swimmer. 

6. Zimbabwe Is Home to Many Old Ancient Ruins  

Let’s talk about some historical facts about Zimbabwe.

If you’ve read about Africa before, you might already know that the oldest human civilisations started here and then spread across the world. This could be one of the reasons why Zimbabwe is home to many ancient ruins! 

The Great Zimbabwe is one of the most interesting ancient sites today, in Zimbabwe. Today, this area is nothing but stone ruins, but can you imagine that around 1100 C.E., people actually lived here?  

Archaeologists have also found artefacts from other parts of the world, like China and Persia. This shows that Great Zimbabwe was also an important city for world trade! Yet, the natives (Shona people) abandoned this city around the 15th century.  However, there are no known reasons for it. 

7. Zimbabwe Is Known for Its Rock Art

In modern-day Zimbabwe, you’ll find several rock art paintings, drawn on the hills by the initial inhabitants. Zimbabwe also has the most number of rock art paintings in the entire Southern African region.

Most of this rock art is concentrated in two regions – the northern part of Mashonaland and the southwestern part of Matabeleland. These areas are full of hills beautifully capturing the rock art which depicts the way the ancient humans viewed the world. 

I hope these art-related facts about Zimbabwe entice art lovers to visit the country once.

8. You’ll Find Multiple Currencies in Zimbabwe

Between the years 1980 and 2009, Zimbabwe’s official currency was the Zimbabwe dollar (ZWD). But, during these years, the country underwent massive hyperinflation.

Therefore, to curb the hyperinflation problem, the country’s official currency was retired. This gave rise to a multi-currency system comprising various currencies like the US dollar, Indian rupee, the British pound, and Euro

The multi-currency system was removed and replaced in 2019, with the RTGS dollar, but was then reinstated in 2020. So, if you’re planning to visit Zimbabwe, you can still use pounds or dollars. This is one of the important facts about Zimbabwe.

9. Zimbabwe Is Rich In Mineral Reserves 

Due to its geographical location, Zimbabwe is extremely rich in mineral reserves. It has reserves of some of the most valued and priced minerals like gold

Some other minerals include diamonds, platinum, copper, and nickel. Apart from these, there are known occurrences of over 40 other minerals in Zimbabwe too.

10.  Zimbabwe Has the Beautiful Victoria Falls 

Victoria Falls

Any country that has breathtaking falls becomes my personal favourite! So, imagine my surprise when I discovered one of these facts about Zimbabwe – it has the mind-boggling Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and is also one of the five UNESCO world heritage sites in Zimbabwe. 

Moreover, the water falls from such a great height, that it leads to a lovely mist with rainbows surrounding the region!

11. The Country Has An Impressive 90% Literacy Rate 

The literacy rate of any country is quite indicative of its overall development. Therefore, it is amazing that Zimbabwe boasts an excellent literacy rate between 85% and 90%. It is even more impressive when we consider that the majority of the population here is young. 

In 1992, Zimbabwe’s literacy rate was around 83.51%. It kept on increasing in the subsequent years, as it was around 83.58% in 2011, and 88.69% in 2014. In 2021 and 2022, it stayed around 88% and 89.70%. 

12. Zimbabwe’s Flag Has a Unique Symbolism 

We should talk about the flag if we’re discussing the facts about Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s flag might just be an ordinary flag to the rest of us, but there’s a lot of symbolism present in it. 

If you look at it carefully, you’ll find seven even horizontal bands filled with colours like green, gold, red, and black. It also has a white triangle, with a star and bird drawn on it. Here’s what the different colours represent:

  • Green for vegetation 
  • Red for the bloodshed during the liberation war
  • Gold for the country’s wealth 
  • Black for the black majority 

Moreover, the white triangle stands for peace, and the Red Star represents the nation’s aspirations. 

13. Zimbabwe Is a Landlocked Country 

Let’s discuss some common facts about Zimbabwe.

If you’re unfamiliar with the word ‘landlocked’, you just need to know that it represents a country that doesn’t have direct access to any oceans, from any side. 

On the map, you’ll find that Zimbabwe is bordered by South Africa (south), Mozambique (east),  Botswana (west), and Zambia (north). It is located between two rivers, Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, but there’s no ocean surrounding it. 

14. Zimbabwe Is One of the Last Countries to Achieve Independence from the British Rule  

The British Empire conquered and colonised many countries, including Zimbabwe. Moreover, Zimbabwe was initially named Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes, the British politician who colonized the country. 

Cecil Rhodes got exclusive mining rights in regions like Matabeleland, but he later waged war on the king with his army. 

Zimbabwe continued to stay under the British Empire from 1890 to 1979. It finally got freedom on April 18, 1980. 

15. Zimbabwe Recognizes Two Types of Marriage 

This is one of the unique facts about Zimbabwe related to marriage laws.

Zimbabwe is certainly a special case in this regard as I came to know that there isn’t just one type of legal marriage here. Instead, the country recognizes two types of marriage – Civil Marriage and Customary Marriage.

Civil marriage is monogamous, as it only allows the marriage union of one husband and one wife. On the contrary, customary marriage allows polygamy, and the husband can lawfully get wedded to more than one wife. 

16. Many Special Animal Species Are Found in Zimbabwe 

Animal lovers unite because these fauna-related facts about Zimbabwe are going to blow your mind! Right from common species to exotic ones, Zimbabwe has it all. To put it more into perspective, the country has over 350 mammals, 131 fish species, and 500 bird species!

Some of the common animals (also known as the Big Five) are African elephants, leopards, rhinoceros, lions, and Cape buffaloes. Also, the country’s national animal, the Sable Antelope, is quite rare and found only in certain African regions.

17. Zimbabwe Is One of the Top Tobacco Producers 

Apart from exporting rich minerals, Zimbabwe also exports other things like cotton and tobacco. It is also one of the top five exporters of tobacco in the world. 

One of the astonishing facts about Zimbabwe related to tobacco is that in 2022, the country sold 187 million kg of tobacco leaf! The number of tobacco farmers also increased from 123,000 to 148,527

18. Tourism Is the Third Largest Sector of Zimbabwe 

The two main things that Zimbabwe is known for are agriculture (cotton and tobacco exports) and mining (gold exports). Now, apart from these two industries, tourism is also a huge source of income for Zimbabweans. It is also the third largest sector right after agriculture and mining!

In the year 2022 itself, the country’s tourism revenue was twice than that of 2021. This could be due to many reasons – the most important ones being the ease of travel restrictions and reduced health risks. 

19. Maize/Corn Is an Important Part of the Zimbabwe Diet

Foodies like me can never talk about a country without talking about its food! So, here are some cuisine-based facts about Zimbabwe – most dishes of Zimbabwean cuisine consist of maize or corn. 

The main staple dish of Zimbabwe, known as sadza, is similar to porridge. However, the primary ingredient here is maize or cornmeal

20. The Shoko Festival Is the Main Cultural Festival in Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe

If there’s one festival that the Zimbabweans truly look forward to, it is the Shoko Festival. It isn’t another religious festival, but instead, is a cultural one. 

During the Shoko festival, many urban artists from all over the country perform music, dance, and even comedy. It takes place in the country’s capital, Harare, around September month.

I believe this is one of the must-know facts about Zimbabwe if you love exploring the culture of various countries.

21. 50% Of the Zimbabwean Population Is Below 21 Years

There are countries with a less percentage of young people and then, there are countries like Zimbabwe which consist of 50% population below 21 years

In 2021, Zimbabwe consisted of 40.89% of the population in the 0-14 years age group, whereas adults (15 to 64 years) made up around 55.74%. 

22. Mbira Is Used During Tough Times Like Floods or Droughts 

Music has been essential to Zimbabweans, and these particular facts about Zimbabwe prove that.

As much as Zimbabwe is blessed with natural resources and beauty, the country has also experienced dreadful floods and droughts. Hence, to save themselves from the calamities, the locals are known to play a musical instrument, known as Mbira.

The people of Zimbabwe play Mbira during floods and droughts to ask the good spirits to help them. They also play it in times of sickness and while facing other difficulties in life. 

23. Men With Pot Bellies Are Considered Wealthy!

Here’s one of the funny facts about Zimbabwe.

While most men in the world dream of having toned abdomen and abs, men in Zimbabwe tend to think differently. 

In the Zimbabwe culture, men with pot bellies are considered rich, successful, and affluent! 

24. Mount Nyangani is the Highest Peak in Zimbabwe

Mount Nyangani, Zimbabwe

Who said Zimbabwe is all Savannah and no mountains? One of these facts about Zimbabwe begs to differ!

Zimbabwe is bestowed with magnificent mountains like Mount Nyangani which is the highest peak in Zimbabwe. It stands tall at a height of 8,504 feet, and offers breathtaking views from the top!

25. The Naming History of Zimbabwe

The name ‘Zimbabwe’ also has an elaborate history, just like any other thing in Zimbabwe! 

As I mentioned in one of the facts about Zimbabwe earlier, the country was named Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes. However, it changed its name to Zimbabwe in 1980, to stay closer to its historical and cultural roots. 

The name ‘Zimbabwe’ has origins in the Shona language. It is derived from the word ‘dzimba-dza-mabwe’ which translates to ‘great houses of stone’. Can you guess why it is named so? Well, it pays tribute to the historical site, the Great Zimbabwe!

Facts About Zimbabwe – further reading

Zimbabwe is a country that deserves some recognition and hype around it. So, I hope you got to know more things about this country in this article regarding the facts about Zimbabwe.

You can also share your knowledge in the comments, in case I’ve missed any lesser-known facts about Zimbabwe!

If you enjoyed reading these facts about Zimbabwe, you’re going to love reading my other posts too! Here are a few that you can check out. 

Liked this article? Click to share!