Foreign tourists usually fly into Harare, and rush to get out as quickly as possible, as if they are running away from a disease.

Johannesburg, Lusaka and Nairobi face the same problem. Whilst cities like New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Sydney and Beijing attract huge numbers of visitors, easily spending there a week or more, African cities seem to be places to be avoided, with Cape Town being the only exception.

Hararians perceive their city as a place where they earn a living. The place they call Home is the family farm in Banket or the village (Musha) near Gutu, where their grandfathers were born. A Berliner is proud to be a Berliner, but I have never heard someone say: “I am proud to be Hararian”.

So how does one promote a product whose maker is not proud of it?

 

I suspect that tour operators do not promote Harare either. They think tourists don’t enjoy towns and are simply here to look for a giraffe or a lion. A misconception of the first order.

 

However, insiders know better.  Visitors do like to interact with the People, the locals. Not only do they like to interact with the waiters, drivers and guides, but tourists are usually interested in meeting and interacting with the people of Zimbabwe.  Harare has plenty of those! But, where does one meet them? Local flea markets, Mbare Musika or townships are ideal and welcoming places where outsiders will be safe and comfortable, especially in the company of a local guide. Harare has a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, bars and other eating places where one can socialize and mingle. Here one can find and meet the Hararians. They have a great sense of humour, are very welcoming and never shy to chat with anyone. The huge urban arts scene in Harare is relatively unknown to outsiders. The National Gallery, Reps Theatre, Alliance Française with the Restaurant Chez Zandi and Theatre in the Park are just a few of the many where one can go local. These are all great places with mainly young performers of all sorts of art forms who have great talent. Not to forget are the new class of stand-up comedians who are all very different but have a typical raw type of city humour.

There are a good number of pubs all over the place, friendly, safe and entertaining.

Then there are the typical places to see around Harare: the local Bushmen rock paintings, the amazing and breath-taking views at Domboshava meaning “red hill” in Shona , the mountain called Goma Kurira meaning where the drums drum, the Balancing Rocks in Epworth, Lake Chivero, the Queen Victoria Museum and the many galleries with beautiful pieces of Stone Sculptures and local art. The National Gallery in Harare City Centre offers a bit of Contemporary Art and has a beautiful garden cafe where one can mingle with some local people.

 

Harare is an African city full of hobbyists. It has many active societies and clubs with special interests: fauna, gardening, trees, flowers, orchids, archaeology, history, wildlife, fishing, rock climbing, philately, photography and many more. Do you have a hobby? If yes, with a bit of research, you will find your fellows in Harare.

 

Sometimes you need a non-Hararian, like me, to tell how interesting and likeable the place is. Indeed, its treasures are a bit hidden and sadly they are not sign posted like the national parks in Zimbabwe. It needs a bit of courage and research to walk on unfrequented paths, but I assure you that the rewards are definitely worth it.

Goof de Jong

January 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zimbabwe ranks among the best countries to visit on Lonely Planet’s list. The ranking, compiling some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, had this to say:

A journey to Zimbabwe will take you through an attractive patchwork of landscapes, from high-veld, balancing boulders and flaming msasa trees, to laid-back towns, lush mountains and lifeblood rivers.

Here you can spot the Big Five (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo) in its national parks, discover World Heritage–listed archaeological sites and stand in awe of one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls.

We’re also super proud to see Zimbabwe ranked the highest of all African countries on National Geographic’s Cool List Of 2019. This is what the National Geographic had to say:

Victoria Falls and the surrounding area have always enjoyed the lion’s share of the attention, and for good reason.
As well as the beautiful falls themselves, the Zambezi flows through gorges and over rapids that are perfect for those after an adrenaline rush.

There’s plenty more to see if you head to the two primary wildlife hotspots: Hwange National Park and Mana Pools National Park. Don’t miss Gonarezhou National Park for amazing wildlife-viewing!

We couldn’t be more pleased that Zimbabwe topped ranking as one of the top countries to visit in Africa, and in the world.

If any of those destinations whet your appetite for travel, feel free to get in touch with us here and we’ll be happy to chat. We would love to tailor a trip for you for any of the above destinations, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Recommended reading:

The 5 Best Zimbabwe Tours and Experiences

We are humbled and excited by winning the prestigious Association of Zimbabwe Travel Agents (AZTA) Award for Best Tour Operator of the year 2017/8.

Horse Riding in Matobo (Matopos).

At $180 per person per night, All Inclusive except for National Parks Fees at Matobo National Park.  All modes of payment accepted except for swipe.

A SHORT HISTORY OF RIDE ZIMBABWE.

Still operating under the same principles and ideals of Varden Safaris, Ride Zimbabwe now operates in new riding areas which include Matobo National Park and Cawston Wildlife Estate in Matabeleland. These areas are easily accessible from the major tourism hubs of Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Bulawayo.  If you love horses, adventure and the great outdoors there is truly no better way to discover Africa than on the back of one of our beautiful safari horses.

Read more

Rwandair is super excited to share their new route with you! Direct flights from HARARE to CAPETOWN starting 16th May 2018….

There has never been a better time to visit Zimbabwe and Imvelo Safari Lodges are thrilled to announce the launch of daily horse riding activities for guests enjoying a safari at Bomani and Camelthorn Lodges in the south of Hwange National Park!

7 magnificent and well trained horses are making their way to their new stables on the Camelthorn Concession ready for this fantastic new activity to kick off on the 1st March 2018.

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