Zimbabwe – Geography
Zimbabwe – Geography, Zimbabwe is an inland state. A wide plateau with a height of over 1200 m runs from SV to NE and divides the country. The plateau together with a mountain area in the east constitutes a quarter of the area and is called Highveld. It is the most fertile part of the country and most major cities are found here. From Highveld the ridges decrease north towards Zambezi and south towards the Limpopo River. Areas between 1200 and 900 meters are called Middleveld and make up 40% of the country’s area. It is less fertile than Highveld; agricultural has been the most used by the African people. The lowest areas, especially found in the south, are called Lowveld.
Climate. The height above the sea is crucial for the climate, which is subtropical and sunny. There are four seasons. There is winter from May to August; night frosts can occur and it does not rain. Spring is August to November, warm and usually dry. Summer and rainy season run from November to April, while it is autumn from April to May. The average temperature in Highveld ranges from 18 °C in October to 11 °C in July, while in the Zambezi Valley it varies between 30 °C and 20 °C. The annual rainfall reaches 1000 mm in the mountainous regions of the east, but otherwise varies from 800-900 mm in Highveld to approximately 600 mm in Middleveld and several places below 400 mm in Lowveld in the south. However, the rain may not appear, and drought occurs regularly and with serious consequences for agricultural production.
Plant growth and wildlife. The climatic differences are reflected in the natural plant growth, which varies from woodland in Highveld over grassland to semi-desert in Lowveld. Cultivation, deforestation and extensive harvesting mean a constant decline for wild nature. However, more than 10% of the country’s land is national parks or otherwise protected; this is of great importance for tourism to the country. In the largest national park, Hwange to the west, are some of the largest herds of elephants and buffaloes in Africa.
The majority of the population is black. The white minority makes up only about 100,000. The two largest ethnic groups are Shona and Ndebele, which make up respectively. approximately 75% and 20% of the population. Ndebele resides mainly around the town of Bulawayo. approximately 70% of the population lives in the countryside, but due to colonial land laws that reserved the best land for whites, the population density is uneven. Large parts of Highveld are thus still sparsely populated. Of the urban population, almost 70% live in the capital, Harare, and in Bulawayo. Population growth is more than 3% per year and thus among the highest in the world.
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Overall, agriculture is the most important profession, as 75% of the population lives there, and approximately 50% of foreign exchange earnings are derived from this. Characteristically, there is a large difference between a small number of commercial large farms, which are mainly owned by whites and employing blacks, and the large number of small farms and self-sufficiency farms owned by blacks. The approximately 4500 large farms have approximately 11 million ha of the most fertile soil. It represents over a third of the total arable land, and no major changes have been made in this relationship since independence, although it has been a clear political goal for a more even distribution of land. Many different crops are grown. Most importantly, corn is the main food for the majority of the population. Usually, a considerable part is also exported. Other important food crops are wheat, millet, cassava, barley, peanuts, soybeans, and many different vegetables and fruits. Tobacco is the most important export crop. The country is the world’s third largest tobacco exporter and the largest producer in Africa. Other important sales and export crops are cotton, sugar and coffee. Animal husbandry is also an important part of agricultural production. Cattle keeping is of the greatest importance; Meat and dairy products come first and foremost from commercial farming. As the country is authorized to export meat to the EU, meat production has become increasingly important.
Zimbabwe is rich in minerals and mining contributes one-third of its export revenue. In and along The Great Dyke, which is a 540 km long and 2-10 km wide geological formation extending from north to south in the middle of the country, there are chromium, copper, asbestos, nickel, gold, silver and iron ore. Large coal deposits are found in NV near Hwange. Other mineral deposits include cobalt, tin, lithium and graphite. Gold, nickel and chromium are most important for exports.
Industrial production is well integrated in the country’s other production, not least in agriculture, and produces a wide range of goods for both domestic and export. Much of the industry is owned by foreign companies, especially South African, English and American. The major industries are the metal, food, textile and clothing industries. Half of the industrial workplaces are located in Harare, a quarter in Bulawayo, and the rest in Kwekwe, Gweru, Kadoma and Masvingo. However, from the late 1990’s the country’s political crisis meant declining investments in the industrial sector and a sharp decline in production, especially in the textile and clothing industry. For culture and traditions of Zimbabwe, please check allunitconverters.
The country’s infrastructure is well-developed and includes railways, paved roads and domestic flights between all major cities as well as post, telecommunications and radio communications. In the trade with the outside world, the railways are of the greatest importance. Trade with countries outside Africa takes place via Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa.
Zimbabwe receives foreign aid from Denmark as one of the so-called main partner countries. Since 1999, political violence and the occupation of white agriculture in the June 2000 parliamentary elections, as well as the government’s unwillingness to respond to the growing lawlessness crisis created in the cooperation. More importantly, the Zimbabwean government, led by Robert Mugabe, has led the country into a deep economic and social crisis, particularly affecting the poorest population groups. The violence has escalated and tourists are gone, production on several large farms has stalled and many businesses are closed.