Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city after the capital Harare, is a transit point for all travellers working their way through Zimbabwe from Harare to Victoria Falls. It is the capital of Matabeleland province. Although it's a large city by Zimbabwean standards with a population in excess of 650,000, it still retains the air of a small town rather than a big city. As far as practicalities are concerned, there are many supermarkets and banks in Bulawayo, and it's a good place to get things done on your way through the country, as it has all the infrastructure you'd expect from a city this size. Bulawayo has the reputation of having the most vocal opposition to President Robert Mugabe's policies and the council is controlled by the main opposition party.
Over the last few years, many hostels in Bulawayo have closed down, due to the difficult economic situation, however hostel accommodation can still be found in Bulawayo. As tourists slowly return to this beautiful country, more options will appear.
While in the city centre, there are a few worthwhile things to see and do here. There are a number of museums, the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe and Railway Museum being the highlights, plus the Bulawayo art gallery. Bulawayo is home to one of Zimbabwe's test cricket grounds at Queens Sports Club and is also home to Highlanders, one of the top football teams in Zimbabwe, who play their home games at Barbour Fields stadium.
22kms west of Bulawayo lies Kame Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of late Iron Age ruins that adjoins the Mazwi Nature Reserve, which is a very pleasant area to walk. Also worth a visit, if you have your own transport, is the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, about 25km south-west on the A6. Most accommodation, including the hostels, have information on the area and can help organize trips.
As you would expect, Bulawayo is well-served by public transport either the 430km north to Victoria Falls or the 440km north-east to Harare, the capital. As a transport hub close to the centre of the country, you can pretty much get anywhere. Bulawayo is also handy for Hwange and Matobo National Parks.
Hi, I'm Londonroad,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Bulawayo hostels. Welcome.