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Harare, Zimbabwe

Harare Guide Below

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Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, Southern Africa

Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, Southern Africa

© Denny Allen

Basic Facts about Harare

Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe in southern Africa. Harare is Zimbabwe's biggest city with a population of around 2 million; it's also the commercial capital of the country. The British founded the city in 1890 and called it Salisbury. When Zimbabwe gained independence in the early 1980's, the name was changed to Harare after a Shona chief, Neharawa.

Harare is a fairly cosmopolitan capital, with an excellent climate. It's easy to walk around central Harare, there are lots of shops, parks, banks and restaurants in the city-center as well as high-rise office buildings. There are nicely maintained suburbs where the wealthier folks live along with several golf courses. The outskirts of Harare are filled with townships that are home to most of Harare's workers.

Shona, Sindebele and English are the most common languages spoken in Harare.

Travel to Harare

Visitors fly into Harare via London (on BA and Air Zimbabwe) or Johannesburg (on SAA or Kulula). Regional airlines include Air Zimbabwe, Air Botswana and Malawi Airlines (web site coming soon!). Long-distance buses travel between Harare and Blantyre (Malawi), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Lusaka (Zambia).

Minibuses and taxis will get you around Harare. Commuter trains are used by locals making their way from the townships into the city center. It's not advisable to walk around Harare at night.

Where to Stay: Meikles Hotel (high-end, central location); Bronte and Baines B&B (luxury/mid range, Harare suburbs); Imba Motombo and Wild Geese Lodge (luxury, outside city center); Small World Backpackers Lodge.

Where to Eat: Amanzi (International); Keg & Maiden (British Pub food); Shangri-La (Chinese); Kwa Mereki (African BBQ).

Harare's Attractions

  • Harare Gardens and Africa Unity Square -- two parks that are worth checking out. Have a coke, enjoy street performers and watch Harare's youth stroll by.
  • Tobacco Auctions -- as a major tobacco producer, the auctions are fascinating to watch, tours are available (April - October).
  • Chapungu Sculpture Park -- a recreated Shona village with an excellent gallery showcasing Shona sculpture.
  • National Botanic Gardens - 58 hectares of gorgeous flowers, trees and shrubs.
  • National Gallery -- good display of African art and traveling exhibits.
  • Harare International Festival of the Arts -- excellent cultural festival, not to be missed in April/May.

More Info and Sources

Wikipedia on Harare
Travel Africa Magazine article on Harare
Lonely Planet - Harare
Zimbabwe Travel Guide
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