Geography and Climate of Zimbabwe

Geography & Climate

Zimbabwe takes its name from the ancient walled ruins the control part of the country. A city of stone-walled buildings and ceremonial structures was built between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. The ruins of symbol of the achievements of African cultures before an arrival of the Europeans.
Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi were British territories. The British had combined these into the Federation, of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Malawi, formerly Nyasaland was to provide a labor force. Zimbabwe, formerly Southern Rhodesia, would provide industrial strength.

In 1964, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia became independent as the separate countries of Malawi and Zambia. In 1965, the white- dominated parliament of Rhodesia declared itself independent, an illegal action under British law. Most of the people living in Rhodesia were black Africans who were not being equally represented by the white-government. Only white-dominated South Africa openly traded with the country.

In 1979, this economic pressure, combined with successes of guerrilla fighters, brought black majority rule to Rhodesia. Soon after, Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, but the long period of conflict weakened the once prosperous economy.

In the years since the civil war, Zimbabwe’s leaders have focused on rebuilding the country. Many factories started during the neighboring countries. The commercial agriculture on forms owned by whites is prosperous again. Although the majority of commercial farms in Zimbabwe are owned by whites, the government recently passed legislation that would equalize the distribution of land among black and whites farmers. Other economic and political reforms are taking places as well.

The Republic of Zimbabwe formerly called Rhodesia, is a landlocked country in south central Africa. It is slightly smaller in size than California Harare (formerly Salisbury,) the capital, and Bulawayo are the largest cities in Zimbabwe.

Most of Zimbabwe is a high, rolling plateau. The land is largely veld, or grassland, with shrub trees. The Zambezi River flows between Zambia and Zimbabwe in the north, and the Limpopa River forms Zimbabwe’s southern border with South Africa.

Zimbabwe has rich farmland, on which tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, and corn are grown. Beef cattle are raised on the veld. The country has rich mineral resources, including gold, copper, coal, chrome, nickel, and asbestos. As is shown by the massive stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe, people have settled in this part of Africa since ancient times.


Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located on southern Africa’s Great Plateau. Covering 150,803 square miles. The highest mountain is Inyangani (8,502 feet or 2,592 meters). On both sides of the Highveld lies the Middleveld, which sends water from the Highveld into the Zambezi River (north) and the Limpopa River (south). Lush forests of the Eastern Highlands run along the border with Mozambique. Winter (May to August) highs average 55 to 73F (13 to 23C) and summer (November-March) highs range from 77 to 86F (25 to 30C). Summer is the rainy seasons.


Helgren David, Sager Robert, World Geography Today,
Zimbabwe Geography & Climate : Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1995.

7A Jessica S.
April 19, 2000

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