Harare, Zimbabwe Report of what it's like to live there - 01/22/19
Personal Experiences from Harare, Zimbabwe
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
2. How long have you lived here?
Over a year.
3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing for expats and dips tends toward the more affluent northern suburbs of Harare. Housing is a mix of designs but most are in older ranch-style homes. Rooms tend toward small. Many have nice gardens and pools are popular.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Since October 2018, food is in continual short supply. There is a shortage of forex (USD) so imports are severely limited. If you have a consumables allowance you should use it. The economy is in a free fall and things will not get better anytime soon.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Cooking oils, olive oil, laundry detergent, dry foods, cereals, everything. If you have a pet or a baby, bring all your stuff in with you.
4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Ants and termites. And lots of flattie spiders. Did I say lots? If you have a spider phobia, you better bring your meds.
1. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
I currently pay US$70/month (cash) for the gym.
2. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Not a single ATM in this country can distribute cash. If you don't have a reliable access to USD, you'll have a hard time. Credit cards can be used widely.
3. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Very much so.
1. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
4WD. Potholes are terrible and getting noticeably worse by the day. The government has no money for repairs. Bring all of your service spares. Spares are insanely overpriced, if even available. Bring lots of jerry cans, especially if you want to make long trips or go on safaris in Zim.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Not likely in this environment.
1. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
No. Government seems hostile to same-sex relationships. Your same-sex partner, married or not, will not get accreditation.
2. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Nice safaris but long drives to get there. Which means you have to carry all of your own fuel with you.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
No. There are serious economic and other issues in the country making life difficult. Its problems seem to be profound and will have to get worse because of the forex issues.