Located about 260km south-east of Harare, by the Machipanda border with Mozambique, Mutare is a relaxed town & makes a lovely introduction to Zimbabwe for those arriving from Mozambique. It is the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe it's economy is fuelled by gold & diamond mining & forestry. It sits amongst green hills & is the gateway to the Bvumba mountains, botanical gardens & nature reserve, just over 30km away.
Mutare has a Mozambican consulate, which is why travellers linger here for a day or two. Visas for Mozambique are available at the border for most western nationalities, but the process is slow and expensive, so get your visa at the consulate. The Mutare Museum, Utopia House Museum and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe can all be visited. Murahwa Hill, at the foot of Christmas Pass, west of Mutare, is well-known for its Iron Age excavations and nature reserve.
There is good standard hostel accommodation in town and information about the area is available here, particularly for the Bvumba Mountains and nature reserve south-east of Mutare. There is also hostel accommodation on the Bvumba mountain road.
It's a little difficult getting public transport up the Bvumba road to the mountains and reserve so, if you're in a group, you can organize a driver through your accommodation. Otherwise, wait by the Bvumba road, and someone will stop and give you a lift at least part-way up.
150km south of Mutare is the mountain village of Chimanimani, another beautiful place to visit, which has really good hostel accommodation and very good transport links to and from Mutare.
Whilst Mutare won't get on the list of most interesting places to visit in Zimbabwe, it's an easy going place with friendly locals. There are plenty of restaurants and banks, but beware! At the time of writing, the Zimbabwean economy was undergoing severe problems and the US dollars, which it adopted in 2009 as its trading currency, were running out. Make sure you have enough with you for your whole trip in Zimbabwe, as there is no guarantee you'll be able to withdraw any from ATMs.
Hi, I'm Londonroad,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Mutare hostels. Welcome.