Zimbabwe is the most southerly of the three countries of south-central Africa which share a similar climate and which are described in more detail for Zambia. In area, Zimbabwe is about one and a half times the size of the United Kingdom.
It is bordered on the north by Zambia, east by Mozambique, south by South Africa, and west by Botswana. Most of the country consists of a plateau with an average height of over 1,200 m/4,000 ft. Along the eastern border with Mozambique there are hills rising to over 2,400 m/8,000 ft, while in the north and south of the country, in the valleys of Zambezi and Limpopo respectively, altitude falls below 450 m/1,500 ft.
The low-lying parts of the country have a rather dry climate with an unreliable rainfall of between 400 mm/16 in and 600 mm/24 in. In the eastern highlands annual rainfall is as much as 1,500 mm/60 in to 200 mm/80 in.
Over most of the country annual rainfall is between 750 mm/30 in and 1,000 mm/40 in. Most of the rain falls during the period November to March at the time of high sun.
Except in the lower regions, temperatures are warm but rarely hot around the year. Hours of sunshine average eight to nine a day during the dry season and as much as six to seven during the rainy season.
Most of Zimbabwe has a healthy and generally pleasant climate around the year. The tables for Bulawayo and Harare are typical of the upland regions between 1,200 m/4,000 ft and 1,500 m/5,000 ft. The table for Zumbo, in the Zambezi valley but actually in Mozambique, is typical of conditions in the lower parts of northern Zimbabwe.
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