Formerly known as Salisbury, Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. Lying in the Northeastern part of the country, Harare was founded in 1890, and was named after the British Prime Minister at the time - Lord Salisbury. The city eventually underwent a change of name after a Pioneer Column arrived and seized the land. Thereafter it was named Harare - after Chief Neharawe who occupied the land with his people. It officially became a city in 1935 and as industrialization increased the population, it eventually became the new capital of Zimbabwe in 1980. Today, there are many things to do in Harare and many Harare tours offered.
Unfortunately, Harare often gets a bad reputation - and an unjust one at that. While every capital has its own problems, Harare is actually a relatively safe and laid back city. The city is considered to be very modern and well laid out, with plenty of high rise buildings and tree-lined aves. It has its own railroad hub, as well as its own airport, and is at the centre of the industrial and commerce world. Its also booming with gold mines.
After arriving at Harare’s airport, many people spend the night in the city centre just to move to more popular tourism areas in Zimbabwe. But there are actually many things to do in Harare and many tours that are worth taking a second look at. Some of Harare’s most beautiful sights come in the form of open garden coffee shops and craft centers. If visiting Harare from mid September to October, you may be lucky enough to encounter the thousands of vivid flowers as they bloom and fall to the ground from Jacarunda trees, otherwise referred to as “purple snow”. If visiting in the last week of April, you won’t want to miss the Harare International Festival of Arts. During this week the city comes alive with performing artists of all types. The festival is one of Harare’s biggest attractions and draws spectators from around the world every year.
Harare lies at an elevation of 1 483 meters above sea level and has a temperate climate with an average annual temperature of 17.95 degrees celsius, or 64.3 degrees fahrenheit. This means hot, but not overly scorching summers, and warm winters.
While most of Harare is seen as modern and industrial, there are still many things to do in Harare that involve wildlife and wilderness. Many Harare tours focus around places like the Mukuvisi Woodlands, the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary, and the Haka Game park. And if you really want to get up close to wildlife, you could also take a drive through tour of the lion enclosure at the Lion and snake park. Here you will find majestic lions relaxing under the shade of msasa trees, or sunbathing out on the rocks. Other wildlife at the park include zebra, duiker, and eland.
If you’re willing to take a day break away from Harare, you can travel to some beautiful surrounding areas like the Lake Chivero Recreational Park or Ngomakurira (the Mountain of Drums). Other Harare tours that take you just outside of the city include the Thetford Game Reserve, the Imire Safari Ranch, and the Mbizi Game Park.
So while Harare often gets a bad name, the city is definitely worth staying for more than a night. Beautiful flowers, lively festivals and events, and amazing day tripping opportunities are just a few of the things to do in Harare and that this wonderful city has to offer.