How To Buy Goods On Amazon From Zimbabwe…

William Chui Avatar
tablet on table

In the Techzim WhatsApp groups almost on a daily basis someone asks where they can buy the cheapest cellphones or tablets. My usual response to this is AliExpress, where I’ve written numerous posts on how someone can go about it. There are a few minor setbacks with buying using this model though: your package takes between 6-8 weeks to get here and after that depending on the price of your goods (if over US$10) then you have the tax-man to deal with.

A number of people whom I’ve referred have come back running with their tails between their legs asking what they should do, sadly when it’s in the hands of ZIMRA the best you can ask is that they use a lower tariff for which they calculate duty.

If you still want cheaper goods (and while Visa and Master Cards – including Ecocash) are still working, I’d advise you to buy from Amazon.

Techzim has previously posted some work-arounds of how to go about buying from the American platform but of late there is another method that I’ve been using that I’d encourage anyone to make use of if they want to get genuine products at a cheaper price and you’re willing to make about a week or so.

  1. Ask friends and family whether they have someone in USA (or even UK) who is coming to Zimbabwe any time soon. You’ll need about a 1-2 week buffer, so be always in the know of who is travelling in and out the country.
  2. Sign up to Amazon (if you haven’t already) and be sure to register for Amazon Prime – you can have a 30 day trial if you sign up using this link. I’d suggest you signing up for the 30 day trial once you’re ready to shop. You just need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber for quicker delivery of your goods, though there are a number of benefits which I hope to get into in another post.
  3. Shop for the goods you want, like you would any other eCommerce platform.
  4. Set the delivery address for the goods to be the person in USA who will be coming to Zimbabwe and have the goods shipped to his/her house.
  5. Pay for the goods on checking out using your bank’s Visa or Master Card (we’ve used the Ecocash VCN successfully a number of times, though it’s now limited to a maximum of $200/month)
  6. The goods are then shipped and delivered in between 24 hrs (if you subscribed to Prime) and 72 hours.
  7. The person travelling to Zimbabwe makes receipt of goods, after which they then pack it together with their stuff. As a traveller, they have a rebate of $200 for ‘new goods’ (I presume they classify new goods as those that are boxed) while they do not stress (at least when I’ve travelled) about ‘used goods’. So they can take the goods out of the packaging and “start using it” so that they enter duty-free. (My legal disclaimer: DO NOT DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL, OR TRY TO SMUGGLE IN GOODS 😉 )
  8. You then meet up with the person at the airport – less hassles, no stories, but mainly if there is any duty that needs to be paid you’re on standby with your bond notes or local ZimSwitch bank card to make payment.

This has worked for me a number of times and thus far has proved to be successful. The chances are high, with the amount of people who have left Zimbabwe, that you know someone who is in America and frequents back to Zimbabwe.

Have you bought anything from Amazon and managed to bring it in? What are the lessons learnt thus far? Any suggestions or comments will be most appreciated as we ready to buy a drone and a lense.



  1. Tawanda Chirima

    Thanks for the post.
    Do Amazon deliver directly here to Zim if I dont have someone coming here.

    1. William Chui

      Most of the goods that I’ve tried to bring in would have a huge shipping and subsequently duty obligation so I have never explored this option.

      The one time I brought in some modems from Singapore, out of the blue DHL jumped into the equation and raised a bill of $50, without me even engaging them. From that day on I’ve vowed never to use courier services to bring stuff in.

  2. 3v

    This is just one sided what if i don’t have anyone coming to zimbabwe how best can i use amazon to buy stuff?

    1. Moses They are very very efficient! You get a local US address and you can buy small items which are shipped to your address. MyUS will then consolidate these packages and send to you by DHL. I have used them many times.

      1. William Chui

        The previous posts written on Techzim how to use such methods, so great to know that you are getting some level of success with this.

    2. William Chui

      Yes, it is one sided. It’s me sharing my experiences and how I go about it. Can’t comment much on other means and ways that I have employed.

      If you’ve information on how to go about it otherwise, do share, we’d be interested to read.

  3. Peter

    There used to be a local website that offered Amazon goods. However their prices were very high

    1. William Chui

      I think the website you refer to is Zimazon.

      Their prices looked “worth it” based on the speed of which goods would come, but I’m a sucker for cheap/free hence opted to use the route mentioned above.

  4. Simba

    Zimbos normally cme back home after decades, yet we want to buy things online time and again. Tell us how to buy those goods without the option of friends and relatives.

    1. William Chui

      From my experiences, friends and relatives return about once every two years. And having even more friends will help the situation.

      I’m yet to explore the option of buying and having it delivered direct, so I’m not the best person to advise on your request.

  5. Mbongeni


    1. William Chui

      not 4? Always thought it was 4 for some strange reason. Oh well…

  6. Moses

    When I saw this article, I thought you were going to explain how to use! Using relatives is not always ideal. Besides, many people do not have relatives there. The answer to buying in US is I have used them dozens of times, very efficient!

    1. Anonymous

      But isn’t it that you still have to deal with ZIMRA when you DHL your package to Zim? Besides, the DHL shipping charge will be expensive.

    2. William Chui

      Thanks for the comment Moses.

      This is the method I use and that has worked for me time and again. I’m not best suited to comment on as I’ve never used it, mainly in that I have a number of friends and relatives there who come back and are willing to carry an extra parcel or two.

      I’m happy to note that you’ve experienced success with, maybe I’ll investigate into it. My challenge however is that when parcels come through couriering vultures like DHL jump on in and start charging handling and clearing fees, even when you contract them to do that for you… I’ve had bad experiences with that, hence my fears of the method you suggest.

  7. Sheik Benny

    Do amazon ship to that u can use some1 who is in S.A as there are many people who come frm s.a compared to america

    1. William Chui

      I haven’t explored that option Shiek, but that could work, if they ship there. I know Amazon (as a business) on based in SA, but I can’t seem to see the Amazon website selling stuff to South Africans.

  8. Jeremiah

    We are a local DJI drones distributor . You may inbox me for prices

    1. William Chui

      Happy to engage if prices are similar (or not too far off those in USA), as we’ve got someone coming this way in May/June.

  9. More free option

    Ridiculous article… Nothing new here… Plus what ig your courier is caught he still going to pay duty. Also you can just send the link of what ever you want bought to anyone traveling outside and they bring for you. How is this even published…. Literally common sense. Have you been paid by Amazon for this cause they should get a refund. Give me a hack to bypass zimra ….. That article on AliExpress was very misleading…..I’ve bought many times from Ali but you should have made it clear to other readers that over $10 they going to pay duty and in a lot of cases you might end up paying double.

    1. William Chui

      Hi there, my apologies for making you read (and even go to the extend of commenting on) a “ridiculous article” – that was not my intention.

      There’s were my experiences and I’m sorry that I didn’t teach you anything new.

      The reason I go to the airport is in case there is an issue of duty and I will pay it on their behalf (less hassles for them) – noting that I’ve never needed to do this.

      Giving the link to someone travelling outside usually wants them to do some extra stuff (logging on, or going into a shop), deciding what is the best colour, size, etc and needing them to make extra decisions. I’ve failed dismally at this (have been brought wrong products so many times), though a better way is for you to buy in online and have it delivered to where the person will be staying so all they have to do is come back with it – not so common sense after all, me thinks.

      Ok, publishing works like this: I write (well actually type – but I’m sure you get the point) and after I review the article and I deem it a true reflection of my thoughts, I hit the publish button. That’s hope it gets published.

      Amazon have not paid me (yet), when they do, I’ll be sure to advise them that one reader thinks that I ripped them off.

      Thought the bypass of Zimra was getting someone to just bring in the goods as a returning resident and have it covered under their rebate. However, seems you’d prefer some voodoo of some sort, sorry, can’t help beyond what I have already.

      Oh, no. AliExpress as well? You’re on a roll here buddy. In the AliExpress articles I’ve made it clear that they “may” charge you duty (sometimes the shipper sends $50 goods and pastes a label of $5, all without asking them), hence the “may” bit. It’s kinda Russian roulette, but yes, one should expect to pay duty on anything over $10 and it may become double the purchase price or more.

  10. Taps is your answer,you are able to obtain 3 addresses,US,China and UK to forward your goods to.The service allows consolidation of packages from a number of outlets into one package before shipment to Zim. You can buy from any online retailer in these 3 countries and the package is sent to your address and held free of charge for 21 days.Freight charges are usually cheaper than DHL or UPS.

    1. Calvin

      Thanks will check it out

  11. Tawanda Kembo

    You could also use
    It has a few advantages:
    – You can buy with bitcoin so that means there is no $200 limit
    – You get a 20% discount

    1. William Chui

      Iwe Kembo, you just preempted by next post!

    2. donald

      hie do you know anyone who sells bitcoins via ecocash or rtgs at a reasonable rate?


    Hi, I’ve ordered books and dvds via Amazon – and just gave my box number here in Harare as the delivery address (didn’t have anyone coming here and knew nothing about the other methods mentioned above). They all arrived safely, I think the time I ordered two hardback books and a dvd, I paid $20 duty. And not too long a wait either.

  13. Tsenny

    Lol I knew it. A third party. USA is serious about sanctions, you cannot ship to Zimbabwe. Its not just ebay or amazon. I always recommend to use sites like aliexpress ebay etc that have escrows. You can never lose money

  14. More free option

    @William I assumed anyone who has friends going to china UK india etc… Can just get the parcel sent to the hotel and they bring back for m. It’s been going on for years. Most ppl returning already have well over the rebate value. The trick is really zimra. If you caught you have to pay the Piper.i just think this point should be highlighted so people know. Allot of people don’t budget for that

  15. Calvin

    Dude, I lost interest the moment you start talking about friends who’re coming to Zim. Tell us the most cost-effective and fastest way we can buy gadgets etc online. I want to be able to put my address and have the items delivered by DHL etc to Zim. We can’t be that isolated you guys must know of a way or two..

    1. William Chui

      Dude, I’m sorry you lost interest…

      I strongly discourage ANYONE (even my enemies) not to use DHL, as I’m still left with a bad taste in my mouth from the last time we dealt with each other.

      This is the current method we use (and that works) and should we discover another, we’ll be sure to advise.

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