Harare International Airport, Zimbabwe – car hire guide

Air Zimbabwe jet at Harare Airport
By Perry Hoppe – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-Zimbabwe/Boeing-707-330B/1980325/L/, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17701901

Zimbabwe’s number one tourist attraction is Victoria Falls, up in the north-west of the country by the border with Zambia. But this land-locked African nation has much more to offer visitors than this mile-wide waterfall. Other big attractions include Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park and the capital Harare.

Most visitors arriving in the country will fly into Harare International Airport (IATA code: HRE), which is located just to the south of the capital Harare. At the time of writing, international flights from the airport are generally available to other African destinations only. The only exception to this appears to a direct Emirates service to Dubai.

Airports served with direct flights at the time of writing include:

Car hire at Harare International Airport

Car hire is available from a number of international and local companies at Harare Airport. At the time of writing (August 2017) I was able to obtain quotes from the following companies:

  • Budget
  • Hertz
  • Europcar
  • Avis

A full range of vehicles was offered, with models ranging from economy and compact models up to standard-size cars, SUVs and 7-seater minivans. As with some other African countries, prices seemed fairly high. Presumably this reflects the cost of importing and purchasing cars in Zimbabwe.

Driving in Zimbabwe

Drive on the left in Zimbabwe. Give way to the right at roundabouts.

Police road blocks are frequent and although not usually troublesome, it’s important to make sure that your hire car contains all legally-required safety equipment and that you carry all necessary papers and identification documents.

In rural areas and national parks, a 4×4 may be necessary. Aim to fill up with fuel and use restroom facilities, etc, when in towns. Try not to stop in highway lay bys, as these are not always the most salubrious or safe places.

Try to avoid driving at night. In urban areas, robbery and hijacking are a risk. In rural areas, wildlife, potholes and other obstructions could be dangerous in the dark.

Several traveller accounts mention the importance of moving out of the way if you spot the President’s motorcade on the road. Regardless of which direction you are travelling in, stop as soon as you see it and pull as far off the road as possible.

Internet reports seem to suggest that for tourists, driving in Zimbabwe was relatively trouble-free until late in 2016. However, during 2017, reports have suggested that road blocks and spurious fines have become far more of a nuisance.

For information about airport car hire at other locations in Zimbabwe, click here.

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