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I'm travelling to Harare this month for a week, and have no real idea how much I'll need in order to minimize harassment (I'm assuming I'll need to hand over some money to some official at some point). I'm travelling on a South African passport. Anyone with any ideas?

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Hi, and welcome to Travel SE. What you gonna/wonna do is not legal, so your question is off-topic on our site –  Dirty-flow Mar 4 '13 at 19:50
    
Asking 'how much' is VERY subject and against the faq for this site. I've tweaked your question to be more about whether you need money to offset corruption in Zimbabwe. I hope that's ok. –  Mark Mayo Mar 4 '13 at 19:51
    
@Dirty-flow I've tweaked it. Hopefully the answers will be more about how to avoid having to deal with corrupt officials, or more legal approaches to handling the situations. –  Mark Mayo Mar 4 '13 at 19:52
    
Paying bribes is a very good way to support corruption. Don't pay bribes! –  hippietrail Mar 4 '13 at 23:24
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2 Answers

I was in Zimbabwe a long time ago at a better time... While in South Africa, a police officer tried to extract money from us by a "fine" for a non-existing offense, but my brother (who is in a wheelchair) was able to convince him to let us go.

So, bribery can unfortunately happen at any time, but on the other side this was the only attempt during our long journey. To all people who are talking about "legal": This is not a western democracy. The police / officials are paid so extremely poorly (and sometimes sporadically) they often use (sometimes reluctantly) their authority to get money. They also know that they are pushing their luck, so you can get in very deep trouble as tourist if you try to accuse them of bribery or tell them that you will press charges.

Some tips:

  • Use the smallest paper cash possible in Rand and transport only the necessary amount of money with you. Part it in several parcels: One in your jacket, one in the trousers etc.
  • If possible, have someone who is able to send you money over Western Union if the needs arises: Nr. 12 Samora Machel Avenue
  • NEVER try to bribe without explicit demand: It is highly offensive. You will know that someone wants money from you. Only bribe if the person can really harm you (police etc.)
  • NEVER EVER bribe before witnesses. If the official has other people around him, talk to him that you want to talk with him alone (to which he/she will gladly agree). If someone tries to demand money with witnesses, all alarm-bells should go off: This is a trap.
  • NEVER bribe bluntly. It should always look harmless or official. The best method is to "forget" cash in your passport and give the official the passport for "authentification". Or you ask if you must pay a "fine" or if there is a "tax" on using this or that.
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There is no need to hand over money to any officials to bribe them. There are now anti-corruption units all over the country that will arrest on sight for such activity. Officials now fear taking bribes and fear foreigners in particular because they know they can go a step further to expose them. Personally i do not support corruption and it I have seen how it can destroy a country. Help fight against it by not being part of it.

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