Harare Travel Guide
Introduction to Harare
While Harare has seen better days due to the strain that the economic hardships of the currency collapse wreaked on the city and country, recent years have seen the development of a slow but sure recovery. Its cultural institutions make this city worth a couple of days at the start or end of your trip to Zimbabwe.
Cultural Attractions in Harare
Check out some of the best works that the best creative minds in the country have created by browsing the halls of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Opened as the National Gallery of Rhodesia by the Queen Mother in 1957, it has gone on to feature the best paintings, drawings and sculptors that this nation has to offer.
There are crafts and books on Zimbabwean art in the gift shop, and there is also an attached cafe where you can chill out after exploring the artistic talent of this country.
If your visit to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe has you looking for more art in Harare, then head over to the Shona Sculpture Gallery. A garden filled with all sorts of unique art pieces created by indigenous artisans, you’ll enjoy spending an hour or two viewing these amazing creations.
The experience here is made even better by the hosts, who offer commentary on what the pieces represent, and offer homemade touches such as free drinks as you browse.
Finished your safari and/or your time at Victoria Falls, and ready to head home to your family and friends? If you realize that you are missing souvenirs for some of your loved ones, don’t panic, as the Avondale Flea Market offers a last-minute chance to pick up a gift for them.
Situated at the top of the car park at the Avondale Shopping Centre, many of the stalls sell local clothing, but there are plenty of other that deal in local music, crafts, and other goods that are irrevocably Zimbabwean. Be prepared to haggle with the merchants, as practically none of the goods up for sale have price tags on them.
Other Attractions in Harare
While there appears to be an abundance of wildlife in Zimbabwe and in the rest of Southern Africa, there is a poaching problem that is getting progressively worse with each passing year. As the middle class rises in places like China, the demand for ivory has shot up, making it lucrative for hunters to illegally shoot elephants solely for their tusks.
If left unchecked, it is projected that elephants will be driven to extinction in the next 20 years. While enforcement action is on the various government stakeholders in Africa and Asia, non-profit organizations such as Wild is Life are aiming to repair the damage through breeding programs.
They are working to rebuild devastated elephant populations in Zimbabwe and across Africa, and they also take in orphaned baby elephants to raise them in captivity, away from the dangers of predation. Visitors can view the ongoing efforts by visiting their facilities in Harare, and in doing so, they’ll also get the chance to interact with one of nature’s most intelligent non-human species up close.
Kuimba Shiri Bird Sanctuary is another wildlife park in Harare that is well worth a visit. Started by Gary Stafford, a falconer that used to help produce wildlife documentaries for the BBC, this facility of the shores of Lake Chivero is home to over 460 species of birds that call the continent of Africa home. There is a restaurant and chalets on site, and fishers will find plenty of amazing angling on the waters of the lake as well.
Looking to a great place to unwind in the middle of downtown? The lushness of Harare Gardens is one of the best spots to both relax and get some amazing shots of the cityscape of Zimbabwe’s capital. Plenty of flowers, monuments, and a replica of Victoria Falls are among the highlights here, but don’t hang out here after dark, as ongoing economic difficulties make it an unwise place to be at night.