With Valentine’s day around the corner a lot of romantics are scurrying in a last minute ditch to find that perfect gift.The tech-savy might want to try online but one of the problems that any newbie Zimbabwean online shopper quickly learns is that household names like Amazon, Sears, BestBuy, Ralph Lauren and Ebay were not meant for them. For starters one has to watch as countless deals meant for Americans and advanced humanity pass you by; Sears goes further by denying you this favour since they do not even let you access their website. Then there is the need to familiarize yourself with the quaint way of measuring things: Pounds and Ounces for weight, gallons for liquids, weird degrees where 100 is not even the boiling point, inches and feet and a hell lot of other mumbo jumbo.
Even if you are willing to put up with these little inconveniences you will soon learn that most items do not ship to Zimbabwe and often times these happen to be the very items you are after. We have already covered how you can work around this but even if you are to implement the work around you will soon learn of the extortionist prices that couriers like to charge. Other retailers like Ebay use PayPal to checkout and PayPal have made it clear that they will not be bothered by the humans from this realm. In the end it is easy to feel more like an intruder than a shopper that is until one visits Kalahari.com.
Kalahari is a South African based online retailer that operates in much the same way that Amazon does but serves the entire SADC region without making us go through hoops. Unlike our sad and inadequately stocked e-commerce sites, Kalahari has an extensive collection of merchandise including School textbooks( you have no idea how hard it is to get college textbooks in Zimbabwean stores), electronic equipment like tablets, movies and games, e-books and sports and outdoor equipment. Zimbabwean issued cards are accepted without you doing penance and calling the Pope for an intervention and all items are shipped to this side of the Limpopo within 3-7 days all for the good price of $0 (or R0 as the shop would have it.) Items are shipped via the Post Office which means you get to avoid all those crazy handling costs that couriers charge at the airport.
If that does not settle it for you then you should know that the US-Rand exchange rate( currently at 1:11) has never been more favourable. Instead of dealing with those pesky and profiteering Money Changers at Road Port (who keep insisting that the exchange rate should remain stuck at 1:9) you will get your full money’s worth if you make the purchase online and get the official exchange rate. If you somehow had forgotten about Valentine’s, you can go ahead and make the purchase and if the gift does not arrive in time for the great day, you can always deviously blame it on the current South African Postal Service strike without getting any blow back coming back to you because you will be totally right.
The only drawback of using Kalahari is that they somehow do not sell Laptops nor do they have an extensive collection of tablets and smartphones but there are other South African Retailers that carry these and we will be reviewing these soon enough.
Happy Shopping and as usual please feel free to leave tips about other regional online shops that you feel are pro-Zimbabwean and any other info you may feel is useful.