Zimbabwe has introduced a new electronic visa as part of an ongoing government effort to open up the country to foreigners and to boost economic growth. The move comes following concerns about the length of time visitors were spending queuing at ports to gain authorization to enter.
The application and the payment will both be processed online. The aim is to make it easier for visitors to obtain travel authorization to enter Zimbabwe and to speed up the process at the border.
Clement Masango, Principal Director of the Immigration Department, said: "We are cognizant of our position in government and have introduced online visa application system where people from around the world can apply and pay online.”
“One pays online in advance and this means that the waiting period at the port of entry is reduced. An online visa is taking 48 hours but we even want to reduce that time as we continuously review our visa regime by upgrading countries. We are also working on totally removing visas like what we have done for SADC (South African Development Community),” he said.
At the moment, the online payment can only be made using Mastercard and Visa. The government is working on ways to try and solve this.
Before the introduction of the new Zimbabwe eVisas, it was possible to apply for visas online but it was not possible to pay for them. Visitors had to queue and put up with delays at ports.
Zimbabwe has been undergoing a period of great change since the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, came to power following the 37-year reign of Robert Mugabe. The plan is to boost the economy and tourism is one area which will be developed.
A beautiful country, open for visitors
For those thinking about visiting Zimbabwe, there is plenty of things to see and do. The range of wildlife will be one of its main draws. With animals such as rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, and buffalos, going on a safari in Zimbabwe is a special experience. Matobo Park is particularly spectacular, and the best place to see white and black rhino.
Victoria Falls is one of the great natural wonders of the world. It is the largest waterfall in the world (though it is neither the widest or highest) and it is situated on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
'Great Zimbabwe' is another highlight. It is the archaeological remains of a Southern African ancient city built of stone. It was the center of an empire known as the Munhumutapa Empire which covered Zimbabwe as well as Mozambique.
Visitors should also be aware that Zimbabwe is recovering from an economic collapse. It used to be known as the 'Breadbasket of Africa' but this rapidly changed around the turn of the millennium. Thankfully, things are improving and the future looks hopeful.