Harare trip, what to buy & bring

(Revised 2012-08-270

While discussing with folks here in Zimbabwe, the subject of what items are harder or expensive to find here came up. Some of the things you might consider bringing with you include:

  • Batteries - not hard to find in Zim, but much more expensive than in the US.
  • Cheese (WSU Cougar Gold) - also not hard to find, and not too much more expensive.  However, if you like cheese and are from North America you may want to bring some, because all dairy here is sterilized so the taste is distinctly different than pasteurized dairy products.
  • Chili powder/Cayenne Pepper/Chipotle - in Zim it's easy to find British, African and Chinese vegetables and spices. Others, such as Mexican, are somewhat more difficult.  Peppers are common (bell, ancho and jalapeƱo) but the powders are rare to non-existant.
  • Beans - you can easily find "sugar" beans, which are a mix of pinto and red beans, and lima beans (often labeled "kidney").  Garbanzos are also around, though rather expensive.  Black beans are nearly impossible.  Other varieties are quite rare to impossible to find.
  • Candles - basic beeswax and paraffin are available; fancy, scented, large, or decorative are uncommon to non-existant.
  • Wooden implements such as cutting boards - wood is quite costly here, which is reflected in all wooden products.  If you have wooden furniture, implements, or other items that you like, bring them with you.
  • Towels and sheets - expensive and low quality in Zim.
  • TV - cable is around $80 per month.  Many folks here use iTunes & similar services to obtain home-country programming, so consider bringing whatever you'd need to connect your computer/iPad/macTV etc. to your TV.
  • Voltage regulators, step-downs for 110v equipment, 220 surge protectors (110220volts.com)
  • Car - should be left side driving (japanesevehicles.com)
  • Hangers (metal or plastic) - they're very expensive 
  • Contact fluid - available but outrageously expensive ($20 for 4oz bottle!)
  • Soft tissues - not common and rather expensive.  The lotion kind are non-existant here.
  • Kids warm weather clothes and shoes - more expensive, shoes much more expensive; everyone recommends buying your year's supply in the US and bringing into Zim with you
  • Small presents for other kids birthday parties ours get invited to, as well as party bags for our parties.   There are kids toy stores here, but toys tend to be either cheap plastic junk or quite expensive.

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