(Last updated Feb 2017)
There are a number of options for flights to Zimbabwe. Below, I’ve listed airlines that fly to Zimbabwe, and further down the page, I’ve given some information on major airports in Zimbabwe.
Airlines with routes flying to Zimbabwe
Note that some airlines have partnerships with others, in order to facilitate these routes.
- Air France – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- British Airways (and its subsidiary ComAir) – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- Egypt Air – Flies to Harare and Victoria Falls
- Ethiopian Airways – Flies to Harare
- Emirates – Flies to Harare
- Fastjet – Flies to Harare and Victoria Falls
- FlyAfrica – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- Kenya Airways – Flies to Harare and Victoria Falls
- Kulula – Flies to Victoria Falls
- KLM – Flies to Harare
- South African Airways – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- Air Namibia – Flies to Harare, Victoria Falls
- Air Botswana – Flies to Harare
- LAM (Mozambique Airlines) – Flies to Harare
- South African Airlink – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- South African Express – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- TAAG (Angola Airlines) – Flies to Harare
- Zambezi Airlines – Flies to Harare
- 1time/Freshair (starting soon) – Flies to Harare and Victoria Falls
- Air Zimbabwe – Flies to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Kariba
Long-haul airfares are cheapest about 6 months in advance. I prefer to search for prices using a website like Skyscanner, and then when I find the flights and prices I want, I book directly with the airline or trusted booking site (rather than a potentially dodgy third party).
The major connection hubs when flying to Zimbabwe from out of Africa are Johannesburg, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Nairobi, Doha, Addis Ababa, and Amsterdam. I’ve had flights to Zimbabwe via all of these airports except Amsterdam. Below is some more guidance on flying via Johannesburg.
Flying via Johannesburg
You should ideally allow 3 to 5 hours’ transit time in Jo’burg, so that you’re not rushed during your connection. Johannesburg O.R. Tambo airport is large and clean compared with other African airports, with lots of shops and restaurants and views of the runway. It’s one of the best African airports, in my opinion, especially compared to experiences I’ve had in Nairobi or Ethiopia. However, I would recommend you get your bags plastic shrink-wrapped at your departure airport, as an extra precaution. When you check in at your departure airport, you should also request that your bags are checked in all the way through to Zimbabwe. When in Johannesburg airport, follow the signs for ‘Inernational Transit’. The flight from Johannesburg to Harare takes 1.5 hours, so isn’t very onerous.
A note on flights via South Africa: If you are travelling from, or via, South Africa with children, ensure you are acquainted with the 2015 South African entry requirements which require your child’s birth certificate and other documents (here’s a link to official UK travel advice for SA).
Also: Check with your airline(s) to ask whether you’ll need to exit the transit area when you arrive in South Africa (ie collect luggage, be issued with an onward boarding pass and check in again). If the answer to this is yes, you’ll need to provide the correct documentation for your children.
The South African Department of Home Affairs have confirmed that no supporting documents will be required by people in direct transit through a South African International Airport. I have travelled from the UK to Zimbabwe via South Africa with a child, and I did not have to provide any additional documents other than a passport, because we were in direct transit. We did not have to produce the additional paperwork for transit. However, it is wise to always bring your child’s birth certificate just in case.
Top tip: Many airlines fly into Johannesburg, so consider flying into Zimbabwe via South Africa. This is often cheaper and gives you a wider variety of options to choose from.
How to do it: Fly into South Africa’s Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport with an international airline such as Delta, Lufthansa, South African Airways, Emirates, Air France, Qatar, British Airways, etc. Then, get a connecting flight into Harare, Bulawayo or Victoria Falls with one of the following airlines:
- Air Zimbabwe – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Kariba
- British Airways (via its subsidiary ComAir) – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- Fastjet – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare and Victoria Falls
- FlyAfrica – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- Kenya Airways – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare
- Kulula – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare, Victoria Falls
- South African Airlink – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- South African Express – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls
- Zambezi Airlines – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare
- 1time/Freshair (starting soon) – Flies from Johannesburg to Harare and Victoria Falls
About Harare International Airport
Harare International Airport is clean, new and spacious. There are a few Western-style and African-themed shops and restaurants in the check-in area and at the departure gates. Although many tourists see Harare as a means of getting to Victoria Falls or one of the game camps, there are still loads of things to see in the capital, offering a glimpse of what life is like for an urban Zimbabwean.
When you arrive at the airport, you will most likely need to get a visa upon landing. I’ve compiled information about this on the Visas for Zimbabwe page.
If you need an airport transfer, or transport around the city where you’re staying, try arranging this with your hotel/lodge in advance. They would be more than happy to do so, and will know the most reliable companies to use.
Alternatively, you could book taxi services or a shuttle service in advance. If you don’t want to organise transport ahead of time, there are a host of taxis and shuttle buses waiting outside the airport which are safe to use – but you should agree the price up front and have the address of your hotel ready. Also, many Zimbabweans travel in minibuses called ETs (Emergency Taxis) – but these are best kept for locals and seasoned visitors. For a list of car hire companies see my post Driving in Zimbabwe.
The road from the airport into the city centre is one of the least inspiring sights in the country: they are currently widening the road (and have been doing so for the past few years), which means that there are a lot of diggers and piles of gravel, and not much else to see. After about 15 minutes, you’ll have gone past the roadworks, so don’t let this part of the journey put you off. Harare city centre has its own special breed of interesting things to see, and if you head towards the northern and eastern suburbs you’ll be greeted with tree-lined spacious suburban streets.
About Victoria Falls Airport
A new Victoria Falls International Airport has been built, and the domestic terminal is also being refurbished. Visitors can look forward to upgraded facilities and larger airport coming, but, flights continue as normal. Queues for visas can be time-consuming, so allow a little extra time to clear immigration. I’ve compiled information about this on the Visas for Zimbabwe page. One option is to ask your tour company to start the paperwork in advance (if applicable). If you don’t mind spending a little more money ($15 extra), join the shorter queue for the multi-entry visa rather than the one for a single entry visa.
Bulawayo Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport has recently been expanded and refurbished. It is large, clean and secure. Cafes and shops can be found at the gates and the check-in area.
There are taxis and shuttles waiting outside which are safe to use, but it’s best to agree a price upfront. I’ve compiled information about visas on the Visas for Zimbabwe page. Also see my Bulawayo travel guide. For a list of car hire companies see my post Driving in Zimbabwe.
- How to travel around in Zimbabwe
- Internal flights in Zimbabwe
- I flew from the UK to Zimbabwe with a 3-month old – read my Tips on flying to Africa with a baby
- Practical information including visa advice for Zimbabwe
- Top tips on staying safe in Zimbabwe
- What to pack for a Zimbabwe holiday