Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe. A landlocked country nestled in between South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. Zimbabwe is most famous for the Victoria Falls, known locally as the Smoke That Thunders; it is considered the largest waterfall in the world. To the east of Victoria Falls rests the gem called Harare, a vibrant city well worth visiting. Harare is rich in history, arts, culture and a variety of activities to take part in.
Mbare Market and Downtown Harare
Situated through the CBD lies downtown Harare, a thriving part of the city well worth a visit. Vendors and shops sell an assortment of goods from clothing to electronics. Just further is Mbare Market, famous for constant activity and Zimbabwean curios, sculpture and traditional herbs. Fruits and vegetables come straight from the farms to be sold here. It is a poor part of Harare but not without energy, work starts early and ends late. Watch your belongings, but the people are generally friendly and will just be curious.
Domboshava and Ngomokurira
Domboshava (Red Hills) Rock is a popular hiking spot located just 27 kilometres outside of Harare. It’s a quick walk to the top and well worth staying to watch the sunset. To the left of the rock are cave paintings that date back to 6000 years ago. Ngomokurira (Beating Drums) is 9 kilometres further from Domboshava. Ngomokurira is a steeper climb and will take an hour to two to get to the top. The views from the top are spectacular of this part of Zimbabwe. The top can also be reached by enthusiastic cyclists and for the sluggish; you can drive to the top with a 4×4 vehicle.
The Kopje is slightly neglected but has the best panoramic view of the city. On one side is the thriving CBD and the other, the booming industrial sites. The Kopje is a National Monument and can only be entered between 6am and 6pm.
The Harare Botanical Gardens
The Botanical gardens are located in the leafy suburb of Belgravia. The 58 hectare area has a diverse assortment of plant life, mostly indigenous but also including flora from various parts of Southern Africa. There is also an extensive herbarium, education centre and tearoom. The botanical gardens are perfect for a relaxing and educational afternoon walk.
Nightlife, Restaurants and Entertainment
- Harare has a buzzing nightlife with new restaurants and bars opening up frequently. There are a few that you can’t miss out on. Amanzi Restaurant is located along Enterprise road and is open Monday to Sunday. Set in beautifully landscaped gardens, the building is a converted old farmhouse. The restaurant side is locally known to have one of the best fusion menus in town. On Thursday nights they host a live band, which is popular with both locals and foreigners. On Wednesday evenings, for anyone willing to test your knowledge is a quiz. Tables get reserved very early; so make sure to book a table in advance. Amanzi can be contacted on 04-497768.
- Gava’s found at Belgravia Sports Club has the best traditional Zimbabwean food in Harare. Open seven days a week it’s family friendly with a jumping castle on the weekends and a live band on Sunday afternoons. Famous for their oxtail and beef stews with sadza, my personal favourite however is the grilled chicken with peanut butter rice served with extra chili. Gava’s can be contacted on 0772381863.
- Vee Mukarati, Harare’s most popular saxophonist, along with The Management Group and SWS, host a monthly party called The Circuit. The venue changes every four weeks to allow different audiences from different backgrounds an insight into Harare’s somewhat unknown spots. They have three resident DJs that perform alongside live musicians with a dedication to exposing Harare audiences to the best in sub culture music, from dancehall and soka music to underground hip hop. Find out about the next Cicuit Party on 0774509087.
- Hustler’s Market is Harare’s first urban creative market, which happens once a month at Moto Republik in Belgravia. The market has an array of locally made funky urban wear, crafts, street food and music. Speaking to Comrade Fatso, co-founder of Moto Republik he describes it as an event totally in support of local Zimbabwean creative’s and to encourage to buy locally! Call Loch on 0783167938 to find out more.
Harare tends to capture the heart and soul of both the locals and visitors. The friendly people and beautiful landscape make it a top travel destination.
Nikita Little: @nikitaafrica