Harare is home to some two million people, with most in central Harare but some 500,000 in the surrounding districts of Rural Harare, Chintungwiza and Epworth. Once a city of modern buildings, wide thoroughfares, numerous parks and gardens, it suffered from increasing disrepair thanks to Zimbabwe's economic downward spiral. However, there has been improvement since the adoption the US dollar as Zimbabwe's currency has facilitated some investments.
Taxis from the airport to the main hotels cost $25. This exhorbitant fixed price, given the relatively short distance and great age of the taxis, is attributed by the drivers to the high fees that they have to pay to the airport authority.
By trainBulawayo sees departures three times a week at 8PM, arriving next morning around 8AM. $12 for a sleeper and $10 for a seat. Trains from Mutare at the border with Mozambique runs three times a week departing Mutare also at 9PM, arrival time in Harare is early morning at 6AM. $7 for 1st class sleeper. $5 for 2nd class sleeper. There are no international trains to Harare except occasional cruise trains.
is on Kenneth Kaunda Ave, just south of the city centre.
By carThe condition of the roads in Zimbabwe has deteriorated dramatically since the government has failed to maintain them. Most of the country is now without street lights. The main highways are still in a good state of repair outside of the cities: traffic is so light now that damage from trucks is minimal.
A good road from Johannesburg allows easy access. However, be careful of the sometimes frightening drops at the side of the roads, at the edge of the tarmac, particularly with oncoming trucks at night. In fact, night driving is not advised.
You should be all right without a 4x4 unless you head into rural areas and game parks. If you enter from South Africa, be sure that your insurance waiver is valid for travel in Zimbabwe.
By busBuses from Johannesburg are easily available ranging from Eagle Liner (for R330). Greyhound (for R450) and Intercape (R420). The bus takes between 16-24 hours. Delays at the border are very common and typically range 3-8 h, but they can be as much as 20 h at Christmas time.
Intercape, which has the largest intercity network in southern Africa also have buses from Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, and Bulawayo.
Most ordinary long-distance bus services arrive at the Mbare Terminal, 3 km southwest of the Central district. The terminal itself is giant, hectic, confusing, and dangerous. There are several disconnected regions of the terminal, and finding something as simple as a taxi can require walking over 500 m through markets and alleys. Although minibuses to Mbare depart from the 4th Street Terminal in Central (at 4th and Mugabe), it may be worth taking a taxi, which will be able to find a bus to your destination for you.
"Luxury" buses (including Eagle Liner/Greyhound/Intercape) arrive and depart from the modern Roadport terminal at 5th & Mugabe.
Taxis: in 4+1 style taxis, it is very common to fit as many as 8 people inside. Rides around town should cost about $5 for the entire cab at night, typically $2 or $3 during the day, unless you are going to the suburbs. Make sure you negotiate the price before you get inside the car
Minibus taxis are readily available with frequent services between central and all suburbs. Ask around for the terminal for your destination. Typically the fare is about $0.50c.
There is a strong appreciation for the city's cultural and historical heritage and a number of the older buildings have been preserved. The Mining Pension Fund Building at Central Avenue and Second Street is one example and many more are to be found along Robert Mugabe Road between Second Street and Julius Nyerere Way.
National Gallery of ZimbabweHouses not only a valuable and interesting national collection but also hosts travelling international exhibitions and has a permanent display of some outstanding Shona soft-stone carvings.
National Heroes Arc
National ArchivesHouses a priceless collection of Rhodesiana and Africana in the form of diaries, notebooks and reports of various origins. Some of the original works of some of the greatest names in African exploration and missionary can be viewed.
Zimbabwe Museum of Human SciencesFormerly the Queen Victoria Museum.
Harare City LibraryFormerly the Queen Victoria Memorial Library
The KopjeA granite hill rising above the southwest corner of central Harare, is a great place to go for views of the city.
Chapungu Sculpture ParkThe vast number of rocks of black serpentine stone found around Zimbabwe, and noticeable even as you drive in from the airport, have encouraged the development of stone carvings by Zimbabwe's talented artists. This large area has exhibitions by numerous artists.
Harare Botanical Gardensaddress: Sandringham Dr68ha and hosts more than 900 species of wild trees and shrubs from all over the country.
phone: +263 4 747 111address: Hillside Rd277 hectares of remarkably preserved natural woodland that straddles the banks of the small Mukuvisi stream. A variety of bird and of wild animal species such as giraffe, zebra, impala, tsessche, wildebeest, bushbuck, steenbuck, reed buck and eland can be viewed.
Epworth Balancing Rocksaddress: Chiremba Rd, EpworthA famous balancing rocks formation is located 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southeast of Harare, off the Chiremba Road. These rocks achieved fame when they were featured prominently in the design of Zimbabwe's bank notes. Be careful of your personal safety inside the park.
All purchases in larger stores are made with US dollars, which is the national currency.
Anything made locally is inexpensive. Packets of Zimbabwe cigarettes cost $0.50 (as of April 2010). Everything that is imported is relatively expensive compared to South Africa. Cans of Coca-cola typically cost $1, for example.
If you want to experience shopping the way it is traditionally done in many African countries, you could stroll around at the open flea-market at Mbare. Here tourists could feast their eyes on a colourful array of baskets, food, clothing and other items.
ATMs give US dollars. The ATMs at Ecobank, Stanbic, Standard Charted will accept most international Visa or Master cards'
Eastgate Centreaddress: Robert Mugabe RdOne of the largest shopping malls in Harare, centrally located.
Spar Supermarketsthere are 64 Spar stores all over Zimbabwe.
TM-Pick N Pay Supermarkersthere are over 50 TM-Pick N Pay stores all over Zimbabwe.
OK Supermarketsthere are over 50 OK stores in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's staple food is Sadza: a thick white porridge (a bit like mashed potato), that's made from corn (maize) meal. It's eaten at every meal, accompanied by vegetables or meat in some form.
In Harare there are many westernised restaurants serving European or American style food, but far more exciting are the outdoor cafes:
- Cafe espresso on Cork Road, Avondale, Harare has a brilliantly landscaped garden and a wifi spot - excellent coffees
- 40 Cork Road, Avondale, Harare is an outdoor cafe, art gallery, and sculpture garden. Very much the place to be seen.
- 167 Enterprise Road, Chisipite, Harare - an old house converted into a restaurant with a huge garden with a pool, an art shop, gallery etc.
With the dollarisation of the economy, there has been a big increase in the number of restaurants and coffee shops in Harare. The Zimbabwe Tourism website has also been upgraded.
phone: +263 4 497768, +263 912 336 224address: 158 Enterprise Road, HighlandsGenerally considered Harare's best restaurant, Amanzi is a long ($10-15 each way) drive out of town into the upmarket suburbs but worth it. A booking is essential, or you probably will not get past the gatekeeper.
Coimbraphone: +263-4-700237address: 61 Selous Avenue, corner 7th StThis Portuguese restaurant has invested little in the decor but that is no problem. You go for the food, not the wall decorations, and the food is very good. Quick Service - Half a Chicken and Chips only $10
Shake-shake is prepackaged sorghum beer (brewed in the traditional African style) and is very thick and filling, and comes in milk cartons.
The locally brewed Castle, Lion, Zambesi and Bohlingers are definitely worth trying.
Harare has a vibrant club scene that goes on until the early hours.
- Stars, next to the Rainbow Hotel, is a high class bar/club/lounge that plays hip hop and house music. It can be expensive but a lot of fun.
- Symphony is a hip hop club/lounge very similar to Stars.
- Globe Trotters, also known as GT, is a much less expensive club.
- Balcony is very similar to Globe Trotters.
Beverlino Restaurantphone: +263 4 704741address: 100 Nelson Mandela Corner Fourth/Nelson MandelaBeverlino Restaurant, well known for its baskets, offered a wide range of food and beverages prepared to your taste. Wherever, you are in town, the warm savoury food will be brought to your door step. Place an order for food now.
There is now only one cheap backpackers lodge.
Harare also has quite a number of bed and breakfast/guest houses, mostly set in former residential houses with extensive gardens.
address: five avenue and Ninth street in down town Harareand At the corner of Ridge and Argyle in Avondale. It costs $12 per person in the dorm and $7 per person camping. some private rooms are available.
phone: +263 430 4613address: est House, 8Gu Bowood Road, Mount Pleasant, North Harare, has 4 double rooms. It is set in beautiful grounds and has internet and a pool. Very peaceful. Costs are around $75 per night for bed & breakfast. Evening meals are also available.
Cresta Oasisphone: +263 1 790861address: Nelson Mandela WayThree-star hotel just to the east of the Central Business District (walkable during the day, not advisable at night).
phone: +263 77 4647549address: est House, 522Gu Westgate, New Adyllin, North Harare, has 8 double rooms, and a large swimming pool. Own water supply (borehole) and el (Solar energy). Internet. Safe. Costs are from $20 per night (cabin) to $ 50(Main House) for bed & breakfast.Larger groups have been accommodated. Airport pickup arranged per request.
phone: +263 4 70451230address: 54 Park LnBacking onto the Harare Gardens park, this moon-shaped hotel provides comfortable accommodation.
phone: +263 4 795611address: Samora Machel Ave
phone: +263 4 7077219address: Jason Moyo AvenueDespite the problems experienced in Zimbabwe, Meikles has managed to maintain its standards as one of Africa's best hotels. All the usual amenities and excellent service.