Towards quantifying climate suitability for Zimbabwean nature-based tourism

William J. Mushawemhuka, Jennifer M. Fitchett, Gijsbert Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Climate and weather are key resources for tourism. For nature-based tourism, weather determines the timing and variety of activities, while longer-term climate affects the seasonality of both tourism arrivals and the natural environment tourists will experience. This influence is heightened in developing countries, where little adaptation has been implemented to ameliorate unfavourable climate and extreme weather events. The Tourism Climatic Index (TCI) is widely used in the global North to quantify the climate suitability of tourist destinations. Initial studies for South Africa, Lesotho and Namibia reveal the applicability of the index in the African context, despite challenges in data availability and quality. This study presents the first TCI calculations for Zimbabwe, a country relient on outdoor nature-based tourism for attracting tourists and foreign income. The mean annual TCI scores classify Zimbabwe as very good to excellent in climatic suitability for tourism, with scores spanning 75.5–83 (of a maximum 100) for the period 1989–2014. Monthly TCI scores categorize four locations in the Lowveld region as having a winter-peak suitability; the remaining stations have either summer-peak or bimodal shoulder-peaks. This reveals year-round climatic suitability for tourism in Zimbabwe, and highlights the importance of understanding seasonal variability per destination to maximize tourist satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-463
Number of pages21
JournalSouthern African Geographical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Tourism
  • Tourism Climate Index (TCI)
  • climate Suitability
  • climate change
  • nature-based tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards quantifying climate suitability for Zimbabwean nature-based tourism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this