Zimbabwe Geography


As one of the two countries starting with letter Z according to, Zimbabwe is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Mozambique to the northeast and east, the Republic of South Africa to the south, and Botswana to the southwest and west.

Most of Zimbabwe is covered by inland highlands. Between Bulawayo and Harare, the hull areas of the Hochveld (Maschonaland in the east) extend over 1,200 m above sea level, the western part of which (Matabeleland) gradually descends to 900 m above sea level to the Kalahari Basin. In the north, south and south-east it falls in striking steps over the narrow Middleveld (900–1 200 m above sea level) to the Lowveld (400–800 m above sea level) on the Zambezi, Limpopo and Save. The east is dominated by the more than 2,000 m high edge step (Nyanga Mountains, in Inyangani 2 596 m above sea level). Precambrian rocks of the African pedestal are predominant; sedimentary rocks of the Karru series appear as a chain of hills only in the north and northwest. As a special geological phenomenon, hardly noticeable in the landscape, the intrusion body of the Great Dyke runs through the high plateau from south-southwest to north-northeast; it harbors most of the country’s natural resources. In the northwest, the border runs along the Zambezi and through the 275 km long Karibasee. The Victoria Falls and the Mana Pools National Park with the safari areas Sapi and Chewore have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Zimbabwe: Mana Pools National Park

Canoeists on the Zambezi River in Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Great Zimbabwe

The ruins of Greater Zimbabwe in the highlands of Zimbabwe contain the remains of a city from the 14th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe were discovered by David Livingstone in 1855. He was the first European to visit the waterfalls, which have been designated a national park since 1972.


Zimbabwe has a marginal tropical climate, tempered by its altitude. The highland shows warm temperate temperatures and sufficient summer rain (Harare 18.0 ° C annual mean, 816 mm annual precipitation), but becomes hotter and drier to the west; the Lowveld is hot and receives little, irregular rainfall (Chirundu on the Zambezi 25.7 ° C and 550 mm, Beitbridge on the Limpopo 23.1 ° C and 298 mm). The mountains in the east receive over 1,000 mm of precipitation annually. The highest temperatures occur before the rainy season. The daily temperature differences are very large, in winter (July-August) night frosts can also occur. In recent years, Zimbabwe has been hit by periods of drought again and again.


The vegetation reflects the altitude and climate classification. In the Middle and High Veld there are savannas with deciduous trees, more dense in the north and east, more open in the south and west, here with species of the Baikiaea (“Rhodesian teak”) species. In the Lowveld, thorny savannahs and dry forest with mopane species are widespread. In the mountains of the more humid east there is evergreen mountain forest, interspersed with open grassy areas (here partly reforestation with pines and eucalyptus).


The majority of the population belongs to the Bantu peoples. The largest groups are the Shona (72%) in the northern and central parts of the country (especially Maschonaland) and the Ndebele (16%) in the southwest of the country (Matabeleland). Numerous whites have left the country since independence; today their share is less than 1%. Other minorities are mixed race, Indians and Chinese.

The average population density is (2014) 38 residents / km 2. The main settlements are the eastern and central provinces in the climatically favorable Hochveld. The largest cities in the country are also located here. Overall, the urbanization rate (2014) is 33%, but the cities, especially Harare, are growing significantly faster than the population as a result of the rural exodus. It is estimated that up to 1.5 million Zimbabwean nationals live – legally or illegally – abroad (mostly in the Republic of South Africa).


The capital Harare with its skyscrapers and well-kept parks looks more European than African.


Church in Harare: The capital of Zimbabwe is both a Catholic Archbishopric and Anglican Bishopric.


Church and skyscrapers in Harare: The capital of Zimbabwe is the cultural and economic center of Maschonaland.

Harare: colonial style

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. Numerous buildings have been preserved from the time of the colonial conquest.

Social: As a result of the immune deficiency disease AIDS, the annual population growth has fallen to 2.21% (birth rate 3.2%; death rate 1.0%). Although the infection rate has been reduced through prevention and treatment, 15.0% of the adult population (age group 15 to 49 years) are infected with HIV.

The biggest cities in Zimbabwe

Largest cities (population 2012 census)
Harare 1 485 200
Bulawayo 653 300
Chitungwiza 356 800
Mutare 186 200
Epworth 167 500


Religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution. There is a separation of state and religion. According to different estimates, between about 84% and 94% of the population can be assigned to Christianity, with half of the residents – a high percentage belonging to one of the numerous independent churches (well over 100 denominations) – practicing religious “hybrids” in which Elements of traditional African religiosity are linked to Christian beliefs. This causes statistical blurring. It is estimated that around 63–83% of the population belong to (post-) Reformation religious communities; between 7 and 17% are Catholics and around 3% Anglicans. The Catholic Church comprises the Archdioceses of Bulawayo and Harare with six suffragan dioceses. The five Anglican dioceses (Bulawayo,

Non-Christian religious minorities are Muslims (up to 1% of the population), Hindus, Buddhists, Bahais (Indians, Yao and some Lemba) and Jews. The Jewish communities are in Bulawayo and Harare. Between 5 and 13% of the population cannot be assigned to any religion.

Zimbabwe Geography