We love Africa. It’s beautiful, exciting and humbling—from the people, culture and way of life to the animals that roam freely. Whether it’s scoping out Johannesburg or Cape Town in South Africa, roaming through the streets of Nairobi or heading north to Tunis, Africa has an array of destinations that are very different from one another yet are equally as striking. Another one of the many cities in this vast continent is Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, located in the northeastern part of the Nation.
Before Harare grew into a municipal city, it was inhabited by native tribes up until 1890 when it was founded by the British. The City, initially named Salisbury, rapidly grew in just two decades and sped up once the railroad was built. As a result, Harare became a major player in mining. In the mid-20th century, many immigrants made a home in Harare due to industrialization and Britain’s role during WWII.
Following the country’s independence in 1980, Harare experienced a grave period of economic decline and the City great suffered. Although Harare is slowly trying to recover after some political misfortunes, there is still work to be done. Nonetheless, as you pass through Zimbabwe’s capital onto your next African adventure, here are some gems to see in a few days’ time.
Mbare Cultural Tour
In order to learn about the traditions, we recommend a cultural tour to the southern part of Harare called the Mbare Township. During the tour, you’ll be able to interact with the locals, learn about the history of the area which includes visiting the cemetery that dates back almost 130 years and catching up with the farmers. You will also pass by various centers and markets where you can shop at, plus you will be able to watch a cultural dance and even get your fortune read by a healer.
National Handicraft Centre
One of the best places to purchase high-quality, handmade goods is at the National Handicraft Centre. From pots, figurines, handbags, t-shirts, scarves, home goods and more, this shop has it all. The staff is very friendly and you will most likely find something for yourself and others back home.
Guided Food Tour
To get the best of the culturally-mixed food options in Harare, we recommend booking a guided food tour. During this experience, you will be able to taste a variety of cuisines that have been merged with other nations such as Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, U.S. and more. During the food tastings, you will taste home-cooked dishes at various restaurants around the city. The tour will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel, so all you need to bring is your empty stomachs and some cash for wine or other drinks containing alcohol (water, tea and coffee are included).
Wild Is Life Trust and ZEN
One way to interact with animals without heading out to a safari is to visit a sanctuary. Wild Is Life Trust and ZEN has been around for more than 20 years, helping rescue animals in danger. From elephants and tigers to pangolin and Limpopo, Wild Is Life Trust and ZEN is a warming and underrated experience, but you have to book in advance and children under 12 are not allowed inside. The care team there is welcoming and you’ll learn a lot about each animal, how they got there, and their recovery journey. You get closer to the animals than you would on a typical safari in a car—the entire experience is very memorable.
Regardless whether you’re in Harare for a day or longer, the City has much to offer its visitors. From the food and culture to the sites and experiences, we hope this guide can help you enjoy your time there, whenever that may be.
If this or any other destinations speak to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and put some savings in your pocket. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!