life in zimbabwe

Moving to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Score
Shithole Paradise

What is Zimbabwe?

how is zimbabwe flag

Zimbabwe is a landlocked southeast African country

The Republic of Zimbabwe is a southeast African landlocked country, bordering South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.

It’s a republic with a presidential system of government.

English is an official language here, and is used in official government communication.

In addition, there are 15 other official languages. Yes, really.

It used to be called Rhodesia, and was a colony of Great Britain – as was common in those days.

In 1965 it declared independence, ushering in a 15 year period of isolation and guerilla warfare.

Under Mugabe’s rule (1980 to 2017) Zimbabwe had some widespread human rights violations, again as is common in the area, which of course are still prevalent to this day.

However, the economic growth of Zimbabwe is quite exquisite in general (roughly 5% per year on average since 1980), with some declines and hyperinflation thrown in.

Zimbabwe is a geographically elevated country, with a central plateau, mountains and highlands – which are popular tourist destinations.

And of course, Victoria Falls is located here, one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls.

It has a subtropical climate, with a lot of variation between regions, and an unusually lower average temperature for the region.

Being gay is illegal, rape is prevalent, women’s rights are … sparse, and freedom of speech is a joke.

Zimbabwe has been under sanctions from the US and the EU for decades now.

Oddly enough, the national infrastructure is relatively well-developed, as is its educational system – this  means a lot of growth potential.

Moving to Zimbabwe map
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Requirements for moving to Zimbabwe

The requirements for moving to, and living in Zimbabwe are pretty relaxed.

You most likely don’t need to apply for a visa beforehand, you can just get one upon arrival, which is valid for up to 3 months.

Applying for residency is possible when you invest in the country, and after a certain amount of years you can even get permanent residency and citizenship.

English is spoken at a moderate proficiency, which means the language barrier isn’t too steep, and the cost of living is low enough.

What is the cost of living in Zimbabwe?

As a single person, you can expect to spend less than $1,000 a month when living in Zimbabwe.

This should cover all your average expenses.

If you want to be safe, and you should, I suggest you earn at least double that amount, which you can use to invest, or just save in case of emergency.

Your international, location independent income, will most likely not get taxed here, which means it goes much further than in countries like the US where it definitely is heavily taxed.

Benefits of living in Zimbabwe

  • Decent visa system

    Moving to Zimbabwe is easy, with a visa on arrival that is valid for up to 3 months

  • Low cost of living

    An average cost of living of less than $1,000 a month for a single person is really low

  • Decent climate

    Zimbabwe has plenty of sunshine, low humidity, infrequent rain, and a pleasant (but not too high) temperature

  • English proficiency

    English is one of Zimbabwe’s official languages, so most people will be able to communicate in it at a basic level

  • Strong economic growth

    Zimbabwe’s economy has been growing at an average pace of 5% per year since 1980, and over the past 10 years it was regrettably lower (3.7%), due to severe dips in 2019-2020 – for obvious reasons

  • Almost no taxes on international income

    Income derived from outside the country isn’t taxed, except dividends and a few other things

life in zimbabwe harare

Downsides of living in Zimbabwe

  • Iffy safety numbers

    While terrorism isn’t a problem whatsoever, the murder rate is elevated, and the rape rate is unpleasantly high

  • The usual gamut of African bullshit

    Zimbabwe’s a pretty decent African country, but it still has to deal with the usual crap, like superstition, human rights violations, no freedom of speech, and so on

Moving to Zimbabwe - by the numbers

Zimbabwe Score
Shithole Paradise

Climate: 9.3/10

Hours of sunshine (9.5/10) Temperature (8/10) Rainy days (10/10) Humidity (9.5/10)
19 C – 66 F

Level of English: 6/10

Moderate Proficiency

Cost of Living: 9/10

Minimum Annual Wage Average monthly cost single person

Taxes on international income: 9/10

Only income derived from sources within Zimbabwe is subject to taxes – for the moment.

However, interest, dividends and other random things coming from outside the country are taxable

Economic growth: 7/10

Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 3.7%

Very spiky growth, with some years nearly +20%, and others -6%

Safety: 5.3/10

Global Terrorism Index (10/10) Intentional homicide rate (5/10) Rape rate (1/10)
22 per day

Visa: 7.3/10

  • Visa (8/10)

    Most Westerners can get a visa on arrival, or apply for an eVisa. This is valid for 1 to 3 months

  • Permanent Residence (7/10)

    You can get an Investor Residence Permit, which obviously requires you to invest money in the country. When you live in Zimbabwe for a continuous 5 years, you can apply for permanent residence, but for some reason you can’t do this while living in the country

  • Citizenship (7/10)

    After 10 years of legal residence in the country you can apply for citizenship, and dual nationality is allowed

living in zimbabwe

How is life for expats in Zimbabwe?

Living in Zimbabwe seems to be much better than I originally had anticipated it would be.

Sure, there are some real disadvantages, such as slightly elevated crime numbers (but still lower than many cities in the West), a high rape rate, illegal gay sex, inequality, superstition, and no freedom of speech … but as a straight, very unrapeable man with zero interest in openly voicing your opinions about the government and a penchant for staying indoors at night … none of that should really affect you much.

As opposed to these are the significant advantages: the strong economic growth (which is expected to keep going for a long time), decent climate, low cost of living, moderate English proficiency, no taxes on most international income, and so on.

Honestly, I personally wouldn’t live in Zimbabwe for a few reasons (African countries in general aren’t to my liking, African women aren’t attractive to me, and I prefer a country where I’m bigger than most inhabitants), but I can definitely see how a younger, single man could really do well here.

A surprisingly good option in Africa, one of the best – but it still pales in comparison to Asian or Latin American countries for actually living in.

However, you don’t have to go live in Zimbabwe to take advantage of this country, for example you can invest here, and ride the economic growth the country will see in the future.

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