According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in Southeast Africa. Most of the country is covered by an inland highland. Over 1200 m high hull areas, the high field, extend between Bulawayo and Harare. The western part descends towards the Kalahari Basin. To the north, south and southeast the plateau slopes down to the Lowveld. The east is occupied by a threshold with the greatest height of 2592 m. In the north-east of the country, the Zambezi borders the country with Zambia. Its water masses plunge into the depths there as Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe has a marginal tropical climate with summer rains. Wet and dry savannahs as well as the evergreen rainforest in the eastern fringes dominate the landscape.
95% of the population belongs to the Bantu peoples, who largely follow natural religions.
Agriculture, mining and industry are the pillars of an efficient economy. Tourism, especially in the national parks and game reserves, is an important source of foreign currency.
A land reform was intended to balance the unequal distribution of fertile land in favor of the white minority, but it can only be implemented slowly and leads to further conflicts between black and white people.
In 1980 the former British Rhodesia became independent and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
In the north, the Zambezi forms the border with Zambia. The country borders Mozambique in the northeast and east. In the south, the Limpopo forms the border with the Republic of South Africa. Botswana is the neighboring country in the southwest as well as in the west. The country is roughly the size of Germany and Denmark combined. The former Rhodesia has been named Zimbabwe since 1980 in memory of an early black African high culture. The capital is Harare.
The country is essentially shaped by three types of landscape:
Most of Zimbabwe is covered by an undulating inland highland. It belongs to the northeastern boundary of the Kalahari Basin. The hull areas, which are over 1200 m high, are also known as the Hochveld and extend from the city of Bulawayo to the capital Harare. The western part, the Matabeleland, sinks down to 500 m to the Kalahari Basin.
To the north, south and southeast the plateau drops to the Lowveld at heights between 400 and 800 m.
East Zimbabwe on the border with Mozambique is bordered by the threshold captured the Eastern Highlands. They are around 350 km long and their peaks are over 2000 m high. The area is covered by lava rocks from recent volcanic activity. At 2596 m, the Inyangani is the highest peak in the country.
The Limpopo forms the border with South Africa in the south. The Zambezi flows in the northeast and feeds the Victoria Falls with water on the border with Zambia. The waterfalls are called “thundering smoke” in the Bantu language. The 1700 m wide river plunges 110 m deep into a gorge only 50 m wide at Livingstone. Spray and clouds of mist rise up to 500 m. The Victoria Falls were discovered in 1855 by the African explorer DAVID LIVINGSTONE.
Zimbabwe lies in the region of the humid tropics. It has a marginal tropical climate with summer rains. The climate in the highlands and the peripheral areas is tempered by the altitude of the country. The rainy season starts in November and lasts until March. The amount of precipitation varies depending on the region. They are lowest in the south and highest in the eastern mountains. In the central highlands, rainfall is between 600 and 900 mm per year.
The flora of Zimbabwe is diverse with great regional differences. In the Eastern Highlands, the highest and rainiest region in the country, grass savannahs and evergreen mountain forests determine the landscape. Wet and dry savannas predominate in the highlands and the lower areas. Tree savannahs dominate the dry lowlands. In the southwest of the country on the edge of the Kalahari, the drainless basin landscape in southern Africa, there are still remnants of teak forests.
Important data about the country
|390 757 km²
|33 residents / km²
|Growth of population:
|0.5% / year
|Form of government:
|English, Fanagala, Bantu languages
|Christians 55%, followers of natural religions, minorities of Muslims, Orthodox and Jews
|Arable land 6.9%, pasture land 12.6%, forest 61.6%
(share of employees)
|Agriculture 17%, industry 24%, services 59%
|Sugar cane, wheat, citrus fruits, vegetables, tea, tobacco and cotton
|Gross domestic product:
|US $ 17,750 million (2003)
|Gross National Product:
|US $ 521 / residents (2003
The most important economically are agriculture, mining and industry. After gaining independence, a socialist state economy was first introduced. This was later abandoned and Zimbabwe’s economy was largely transformed into a liberal market economy.
Due to the dictatorial political environment, the conditions for the once prosperous economy have deteriorated substantially since the 1990’s. Almost all sectors of the manufacturing industry suffered massive sales losses. In addition, the war with the Democratic Republic of the Congo has deprived the economy of hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign currency. Unemployment was estimated at around 80% in 2007.
The large farms are mostly owned by white farmers. Around 75% of all agricultural products are produced for export on around a third of the country’s area. Sugar cane, wheat, citrus fruits, vegetables, tea, tobacco and cotton are grown and cattle are raised. Medium-sized and small farmers in the less fertile regions of the country grow wheat, millet, beans, peanuts and rice mainly for self-sufficiency.
The land reform, which aims to expropriate white landowners and make the land available to black farmers, is very controversial. Clashes broke out in 2000 when “white” farms were occupied by black landless people.
Mining and industry
The most important economic factor is mining. Around seventy ores and minerals, including gold, iron, chromium, copper and nickel ore, are mined. Ore smelting, mechanical engineering, food, tobacco, textile and wood production and the chemical industry are the most important branches of industry. Industrial centers are Harare and Bulawayo.
The tourism provides for Zimbabwe is an important source of foreign exchange, though are widely used among local hunger, unemployment, energy shortages and domestic flight.
Attraction for foreign tourists are the Victoria Falls, the Kariba Lake, the mountains in the northeast, the 26 national parks and game reserves as well as historic Zimbabwe.
The transport network is well developed. Harare and Bulawayo have international airports.
The highlands in Zimbabwe are among the oldest human settlements. The earliest archaeological finds date from the Paleolithic.
Since around 900 AD. ore mining was operated. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the city complexes of Zimbabwe were built, which gave the current state its name.
In the 15./16. In the 19th century there was a Bantu empire in present-day Zimbabwe, which was subjugated by other South African tribes in the early 19th century.
In 1889 the British South Africa Company, run by CECIL RHODES, was granted sovereignty over the country. The settlement of Europeans began. The British government declared the country a British protectorate in 1891.
The white settlers appropriated the most fertile parts of the country and drove out the native population. Riots were put down.
Named after RHODES, Rhodesia became a British crown colony in 1923. In 1953 Great Britain united Southern Rhodesia with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to form the Central African Federation, which broke up in 1963.
Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent in 1964 as Zambia and Malawi. After long internal conflicts, southern Rhodesia became independent in 1980 and became the Republic of Zimbabwe.