International flights to Zimbabwe: Includes route map and airline list

This article about flights to Zimbabwe was fully updated in May 2024.
International Flights to Zimbabwe Africa Airlines RoutesInternational flights to Zimbabwe are not as straightforward as they were 30 years ago – but they’re still absolutely worth the effort! When I was young, there were easy, direct flights from Harare to London Gatwick where all you had to do was sit back and watch a few movies. Now, as an adult, multi-stop flights are the norm – and doing them with my own young kids has made me yearn for those direct routes even more. Airline bosses, hear my plea!
Written by Beth
Although we can only hope for an increase in direct international flights to Zimbabwe, there are still a number of decent airlines and routes operating. The good news is that airlines in Africa are opening up new routes between national parks and cities, so you can visit a number of national parks and cities in the region to really make the most out of your holiday or safari.
When booking international flights to Zimbabwe, it’s not always a case of choosing the cheapest ticket available. Sometimes booking the most direct route isn’t the best option, either.
This article gives you top tips for booking international flights to Zimbabwe, as well a Zimbabwe flight route map showing connections with regional destinations such as Kruger National Park, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Top tips for booking international flights to Zimbabwe

1. Choose the right airport in Zimbabwe for you

Zimbabwe airportThere are three international airports in Zimbabwe:
  • Harare International Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport (HRE) is in the capital city and therefore the biggest and busiest airport. It is clean and spacious. Choose this airport if your holiday or safari is around: Harare, Mana Pools, Kariba (Matusadona National Park), the Eastern Highlands, Great Zimbabwe (Masvingo) or anywhere in the northeast or southeast of the country.
    • Pros: Harare is usually the cheapest airport to use when flying internationally into Zimbabwe. For this reason you might choose to fly into Harare, spend a night or three there, and then go to another destination in Zimbabwe. Cons: Queueing time on arrival can vary from 10 minutes to 1 hour to process visas. Avoid flights that arrive between 13h00 and 16h00 to try get around this.
  • Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) is located in Zimbabwe’s tourist hotspot and is therefore the most visitor-friendly airport. It has been recently refurbished. Choose this airport if your holiday or safari is around: Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park, Kasane or Chobe.
    • Pros: If your primary goal is to see Victoria Falls waterfall and perhaps a safari in the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, this is the easiest airport to use. It is great at welcoming tourists, but remember, it is still Africa. Cons: It can get very hot if the air conditioning is broken, and there may still be queues for visas.
  • Bulawayo Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUQ) is smaller and easier to move through as a result. Choose this airport if your holiday or safari is around: Bulawayo, Matobo National Park, Hwange, Great Zimbabwe, southern Zimbabwe.
    • Pros: There are much fewer people flying into Bulawayo, so queues are likely to be shorter and you will have more space to yourself. Cons: This is usually the most expensive of the three international airports in Zimbabwe. It also has fewer flight connections to other locations.
There may be a slight price difference for each airport in Zimbabwe. Generally, Harare is the cheapest. If you’re using a tour company to visit Zimbabwe, they will let you know which airport to fly into.
Most visitors will get a visa upon arrival at the airport, and this is still done manually in all of Zimbabwe, so there may be queues. Read the article on Zimbabwe visa requirements for more.
If your onward journey in Zimbabwe requires another flight, see our Internal flights within Zimbabwe article. If you’re going by road, our article on Road transport within Zimbabwe will help.

2. Research the route options available

Check our our route map further down the page as your first port of call to get a general understanding of layover locations for flights to Zimbabwe.

My preferred tool for researching flight routes is usually Google Flights. You don’t have to book your flights there, but it’s a useful way to find the best dates, prices and airlines. You can input your dates, locations, baggage and desired duration with a few easy clicks. Perhaps the most useful aspect of Google Flights is the ‘Date grid’ function. After you’ve clicked Search, there’s a button labelled ‘Date grid’. This allows you to see the cheapest flights on specific dates in the weeks surrounding your trip. If you’re lucky enough to be flexible with your dates, this could save a lot of money. You can also remove layover airport that you’d rather avoid.

Google Flights Date GridYou can filter your flight results by a number of criteria, but I do not filter my searches by the number of stops. Why? Because some airlines do ‘touchdowns’ in smaller airports where you stay on the plane but other passengers get off. This isn’t a big deal for me as it doesn’t require much effort on my part. However it still counts as a stop and may alter the search results.

I usually filter my flight results by duration, because that is what I care about most. After you click Search, use the option that allows you to filter by journey duration. For flights from the UK to Zimbabwe, I only look at journeys that take under 24 hours. If price is the most important to you, filter by that. On a piece of paper or an electronic note, jot down the top four airlines, routes and prices.

Can you improve the journey by tweaking your airports?

Ask yourself whether there are other airports in your home country that might also work. Then have a play around and change your airport in Zimbabwe to a different one to see how that changes the duration, airline and price of your flight. Remember that you could add an extra stop within Zimbabwe to your holiday, see a new place, and catch an internal flight between airports.

Be open minded

As well as tweaking your departure and arrival airports, would you be willing to add a stopover in another country to tag an extra few days on to your holiday and then switch airlines? This could make for a shorter time in the air. Key stopover locations for flights to Zimbabwe are those serviced by the airlines that service Zimbabwe. The cities are: Dubai, Addis Ababa, Doha, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Frankfurt. In Google Flights, where it says ‘Return’, click on this and select ‘Multi-city’ from the drop-down instead. Add one of the cities, such as Dubai, to your journey, and see if this improves your time in the air, price, or airline options.

Google Flights Multicity International Flights Zimbabwe

Some examples of route tweaks if you’re flying to Zimbabwe from the USA

Many airlines have good flight routes to Cape Town, and this is a much more scenic city than Johannesburg. You could spend a few days in Cape Town, then catch an Airlink or RwandAir flight to Zimbabwe.

Flight itinerary example 1: From Washington DC / Newark, take the direct flight to Cape Town, with United Airlines. Spend a few days enjoying the beaches in Cape Town, then fly from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, with Airlink. Spend a few days exploring Victoria Falls and the Zambezi National Park. From there you could extend your holiday even more and catch an internal flight from Victoria Falls to Hwange, with Safari Logistics.
Flight itinerary example 2: From Atlanta, fly to Johannesburg with Delta. Spend the night at an airport hotel in Johannesburg if you need a decent night’s sleep. Then fly from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls with Airlink / Fastjet. Spend a few days exploring Victoria Falls and the Zambezi National Park. From there you could extend your holiday even more and catch an internal flight from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo, with Air Zimbabwe.

Look on multiple platforms

Now that you have a general idea of your preferred dates, route and airline, look on other flight search engines for cheaper options. I always go directly to the airline website to check their prices too. In addition to Google Flights, I search for my journey on Skyscanner, TravelUp, Kayak, Momondo, Opodo, Matrix ITA, and Expedia. Many of the lowest fares are offered through an Online Travel Agency (OTA) aggregator such as Momondo or Skyscanner. Note that Google Flights compares fares offered directly from the airlines and other major booking sites (such as Expedia and eDreams), but OTAs compare fares from smaller booking sites as well. Ensure that whatever site you use to book a flight is ATOL registered. If you book with a company that is not the airline itself, bear in mind that all your communication (such as refund and change requests) going forward will be via that company and not with the airline.

Sometimes the most direct route isn’t the best option

Layover Johannesburg International Airport Transfer Info 05
O.R. Tambo / Johannesburg International Airport

In some cases, there are international flights to Zimbabwe via Johannesburg or Cape Town, which may mean flying further south than you might need to. I much prefer airports in South Africa to ones in other African countries, so if price wasn’t a factor, I would choose a layover in Johannesburg against one in Addis Ababa any day. Read my article giving advice about layovers in O.R. Tambo Johannesburg Airport here. The same principle applies with other airlines and routes: you may prefer to fly via Doha, adding extra distance to your journey, in favour of stopping in another layover airport. This comes down to personal preference based on experience or research.

3. Don’t be afraid of trying something new

Ethiopia Addis Ababa Airport-1-2 Great Zimbabwe Guide
Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir are two of the key airlines flying to Zimbabwe, but many people are nervous about flying with them. Similarly, African regional airlines such as Airlink or South African Airlines can be a step into the unknown for some overseas travellers. Don’t let your hesitancy prevent you from going to a fantastic location. Firstly, remember that air travel in Africa is much safer than going by road. Secondly, do a little research before writing off an airline: there are thousands of travellers who use these airlines every year, many of which write about them in blog or on forums. Simply Google the name of the airline followed by the word “review” to read a few real-life stories from fellow travellers. Searching social media is also a valuable tool. We’ve flown Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa as a family  for a number of years and it’s been absolutely fine. I’ve heard nothing but positive stories about RwandAir too.

4. Remember that it’s YOUR holiday

Ethiopia Addis Ababa Airport-1-3 Great Zimbabwe Guide
Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia

After doing all of this research, keep sight of what you really want out of a holiday. If you’d rather forego some comforts during your flight to save bucks to put towards that tented camp, go for the cheap flight with lots of layovers. If you can afford to book directly with one of the top airlines and enjoy a smoother journey, do it. There’s no point booking a flight that you think you’ll regret. For example, although Emirates is often an affordable and upmarket choice for flying to Zimbabwe, we don’t fly with them for the simple reason that they don’t make any allowances for passengers with nut allergies. One of our children has a severe nut allergy and we would rather pay a higher price for a flight than have to fly with an airline that shows no support for passengers with this illness. You go with the airline that suits your specific needs.

The second part of this article lists international flight routes to Zimbabwe that I’m aware of in 2024. I hope it will help you choose your layovers and airlines when planning a Zimbabwe holiday.

Zimbabwe scheduled flight routes (2024)

Note that some of these flights may operate on specific days, 3-4 times per week, rather than daily.

If you know of changes to these routes and airlines, feel free to leave me a comment below so that I can update it!

Route map of scheduled flights to Zimbabwe

International flights to Zimbabwe route map Africa airlines guide 1080

List of scheduled flight routes to Zimbabwe: By airline

The below list is in alphabetical order by airline. It shows scheduled flights only. For charter flights, see Internal flights in Zimbabwe.
International flights Zimbabwe route list Africa airlines guide green

List of scheduled flight routes to Zimbabwe: By route

This list is sorted by route. It shows scheduled flights only. For charter flights, see Internal flights in Zimbabwe.

International flights Zimbabwe route list Africa airlines guide blue

You are welcome to share the information here, but please credit GreatZimbabweGuide when doing so.

Here are links to the airlines mentioned in this article

Here’s a list of airport locations mentioned in this article of scheduled flight routes to Zimbabwe

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 
  • Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  • Bumi Hills (Kariba/Matusadona), Zimbabwe 
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Durban, South Africa
  • Gaborone, Botswana
  • Gqeberha Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Hoedspruit, South Africa
  • Hwange Somalisa, Zimbabwe
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Kasane, Botswana
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
  • Maputo, Mozambique
  • Nelspruit Kruger, South Africa
  • Skukuza Kruger, South Africa
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Windhoek, Namibia


What purchase would I make before my flight? These Sony Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are perfect for getting some shut-eye on a long journey. They have up to 35 hours battery life and quick charging. See them on Amazon here (I’m an affiliate, which means I may get pennies from your purchase at no extra cost to you).

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones

Great Zimbabwe Guide gives travel tips, information and inspiration about Zimbabwe, Africa. We share stories of Zimbabwe’s talented people, world-class wilderness & wildlife safari experiences, all wrapped up in an unmatched climate. 

Do you have a question about visiting Zimbabwe? Start with the Quick-reference list of travel advice. 

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Go2AFRICA ZIMBABWE GAME DRIVE SAFARIIf you’re planning your Zimbabwe holiday (hooray!), I can recommend Go2Africa, Africa’s Leading Safari Company (and one of our affiliates). Go2Africa has been tailor-making safari holidays for thousands of clients from across the globe since 1998. You can research African destinations, accommodation, and more. Even better, you can directly contact their safari specialists who can help you get the African experience that’s perfect for you. 

Please do visit the Go2Africa website, or check out their Zimbabwe tours here.


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Beth is the founder of Great Zimbabwe Guide Travel Blog: Zimbabwe’s first and longest-running independent online travel guide, created in 2010.

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