Harare is the first stop for many in their Zimbabwe journeys. Unfortunately, Harare has garnered something of a bad reputation, leading many travelers to simply use this city as a transit point. However, the truth is that Harare is one of Southern Africa’s prettiest and comfortable capital cities, enjoying beautiful gardens and broad avenues. Given that most sights are located within central Harare, you will want your Harare hostel to be close to the centre of town yet still within a safe neighbourhood.
Those who appreciate contemporary history and politics will thoroughly enjoy Harare. The stark obelisk of the National Heroes Acre evokes Cold War Africa, with the adjacent museum providing a poignant memorial to those who died in the resistance movement. As one of the city’s main sights outside of the centre, make sure to ask your Harare hostel for the most convenient way of reaching the sight. This theme of African awakening is echoed in many of the street names in central Harare, including Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way, and of course Robert Mugabe Road. For many, a visit to Harare is like being transported to the era of African independence.
Harare also serves as something of a regional art capital. A must-see is the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, just southeast of the Harare Gardens. This gallery combines both African and contemporary Zimbabwean art, as well as some more stately crafts. In late April/early May, Harare hosts the Harare International Festival of Arts, one of the region’s largest international art festivals. For those who prefer to take something home, Harare has numerous arts and crafts galleries throughout town, exhibiting (and selling) Zimbabwean and African crafts, antiques, masks, drums, and paintings.
We recommend speaking to your Harare hostel about your further travel in Zimbabwe, in order to receive the most up-to-date information on everything from Hwange National Park, Great Zimbabwe, to the majestic Victoria Falls. Harare dorms are usually available throughout the year. However, if you’re traveling during South African holidays, book in advance.
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