Overview

Jacarandas in Harare
Jacarandas in Harare © GrahamBould

Known as 'the sunshine city', Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe and a gateway to the country's many attractions, including Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba. Turmoil in Zimbabwe has cast a dark shadow on the city, with fuel and food shortages affecting tourism and day to day life throughout the country.

Foreigners should note that the country is still struggling with many hardships; violence is seldom aimed at tourists but travellers should be sensitive to the political situation and exercise caution in the big cities, such as Harare. The tourist enclaves like Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba remain virtually untouched by any sort of upheaval.

Beautiful residential areas surround the city centre of Harare, the most developed being Borrowdale, Chisipite, Mount Pleasant, and Avondale. There are some interesting galleries and museums in and around Harare showcasing local culture and heritage, some of the most popular being the National Gallery, the Dendera Gallery, and the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences (formerly the Queen Victoria Museum).

Borrowdale Village is a quaint complex offering a variety of shops, restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs. Other Harare shopping centres include Westgate, which has a great movie theatre, and the Eastgate Shopping Mall, located in the CBD.

When not sipping cappuccinos at a café in the village, the local residents often go to the Harare Sports Club to watch cricket, or to Old Georgians (OGs) for rugby. Golf is another favourite pastime, with some fantastic courses as well as a couple of fun putt-putt courses based in the city.

For nature lovers, visiting the Lion and Cheetah Park is a must when in Harare, and the Chriemba Balancing Rocks are also good to see. The National Botanical Garden is another good outdoor attraction in Harare. Horse riding and walking safaris are offered in the nearby Mukuvusi Woodlands, while Lake Chivero is great for jet-skiing, sailing, and fishing.

There are a number of parks in Harare - in particular the Mukuvisi Woodlands Environmental Centre is a popular spot for family picnics and birdwatching. Two thirds of the 260-hectare reserve is natural parkland, while the remainder is a small wildlife park.


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