Harare is the bustling Zimbabwean capital which surprises many visitors with its beautiful resort areas and alluring tourist gems. A haven for wondrous wildlife, the city is encompassed by sprawling African plains and spectacular scenery home to giraffes, lions, wildebeests and more. And with some great museums and majestic gardens too, travellers can easily lose themselves for days in this busy, dynamic and charming place; here’s 10 of the best things to do and see in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Wild Is Life Grand Zimbabwe
Wildlife sanctuary for elephants and other animals
Wild Is Life Grand Zimbabwe is a wildlife sanctuary for local animal species, and it is located near to Harare’s International Airport. The sanctuary offers the incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with nature; tours here allow visitors to witness rescued animals in their natural habitats, and to watch rescue workers as they feed and clean many different species. Some of the animals you’re likely to see here are baby elephants, towering giraffes, roaring lions and speedy cheetahs. Wild Is life makes for an unforgettable afternoon, and showcases how a caring rescue operation respectfully treats animals before releasing them back into the wild.
Watch out for: elephants and lion cubs
Address & telephone number: Delport Road, Harare 0000, Zimbabwe +263 779 949 821
Thetford Game Reserve
Wildlife in a reservation setting
Thetford Game Reserve covers a sprawling 3,300 hectares of beautiful countryside and mountain terrain, and is set some 30 or so kilometers outside of Harare. Despite being such a short distance away from the vivacious city center, visitors will find this place an idyllic piece of paradise, a site teeming with wildlife and over 150 species of birds. The game reserve was founded with the objective of providing a safe space for animals to breed, and it now houses many diverse species including buffalo, girrafes, impalas, zebras and rhinos. There is the chance to go on a guided safari here, and you also can grab some tasty meals on-site.
Watch out for: the diverse flora and fauna of the area
Address & telephone number: Mazowe Road, Harare, Zimbabwe +263 776 634 938
National Botanic Gardens
Indigenous and exotic plants
Located 4 kilometers north of the city center, deep in the suburbs of Alexandra Park, the beautiful National Botanic Gardens boasts a wide ranges of the tree and garden plant varieties native to Zimbabwe. The garden area covers almost 7 square kilometers, and within the space there are species from Zimbabwean woodlands, as well as exotic trees and plants from such far away places as South America, India and the Far East. The lawns here make for an excellent picnic setting, and you can walk around and enjoy the cool shade of the trees on those scorching Harare afternoons.
Watch out for: grab a tasty lunch at one of the popular nearby restaurants
Address & telephone number: Sandringham Drive, Harare, Zimbabwe +263 497768
National Heroes’ Acre
A shrine for liberation war fighters
The National Heroes’ Acre was set up after Zimbabwe’s war of liberation to honor and commemorate the liberation war fighters. Every year it’s the central venue for the annual independence holiday and celebrations, a spectacle which features a state fanfare and various celebrity personalities. On a private visit you’ll get the chance to explore the museum and uncover the ornaments here much more closely. There are shrines for many of the famous liberation war fighters, and some noteworthy sights like the ‘tomb of the unknown soldier’.
Watch out for: a plethora of historical records and artifacts
Address & telephone number: 107 Rotten Row, Harare, Zimbabwe +263 4 277 965
The Lion & Cheetah Park is a favorite for locals and tourists alike, and is an extremely appealing place for young kids. Situated only 30 minutes outside of Harare, the Lion & Cheetah Park houses big game, lions and deadly snakes, and is also the home for zebras, impalas and wildebeests. If you crave extra adventure take a turn through the Drive-Through Lion Enclosure, with windows up of course, and experience these majestic mammals up close.
Watch out for: lions and cheetahs
Country Club Karts
Karting at a fun country club
A perfect venue for an afternoon family outing, Country Club Karts offers exciting karting fun for different age and experience levels. There’s a low speed track for young kids under 8 years old, as well as a faster track for teenagers and adults. Located in the plush Newlands suburb of Harare, the place has a professional set up and regards safety as the top priority, operating with only the best helmets and safety procedures. The staff here are friendly and make the experience fun even for first-timers.
Watch out for: fun-filled racing
Address & telephone number: 1 Brompton Road, Newlands, Harare, Zimbabwe +263 786 487 788
A touch of the wild
Located just 5 kilometers away from the heart of Harare, the Mukuvisi Woodlands give a real, enthralling taste of the African wild. Offering a whole jungle’s worth of fauna and flora, this game preserve is a top spot for animal watching in the region. The entire woodland covers more than 200 hectares, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a glimpse of impalas, giraffes, crocodiles and zebras. You’ll also get a chance to see some of Zimbabwe’s famous feathered friends, such as the water stork and the red-collared widow-bird, as well as hundreds of others.
Watch out for: bird walks and guided pony rides
Address & telephone number: Glenara Avenue, Queensdale, Harare, Zimbabwe +263 4 747 111
Located in Harare’s Msasa Park suburb, the Chapungu Sculpture Park was created in 1970 as a venue to showcase local stone sculpture and art. The project, started by architect Roy Guthrie, has flourished to become perhaps the most prominent exhibition of Zimbabwean stone sculpture in existence. Chapungu works with some of the most important stone sculptors in Africa, and showcases work in Zimbabwe, the U.S. and many other countries.
Watch out for: charming stone souvenirs are available for purchase here
For the rich and colorful story of the history and culture of Zimbabwe, take a trip to the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences. The site is renowned for housing some extremely old artifacts, relics which tell historians much about ancient African life in the region. The artifacts include stone sculptures, various works of wood and ancient kitchen utensils. The famous Ngoma Lungundu is also housed here, a stone instrument known as the ‘drum of the dead’ famous for the role it played in the oral traditions of the area.
Watch out for: Your visit here will give you plenty of history and intellectual food for thought.
Encompassed by one of Harare’s chief lakes, the spectacular Lake Chivero Recreational Park is a great venue for wildlife watching, and is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic whilst being surrounded by nature. The park is a reserve area for wildlife who live around the lake, and it spans a gigantic 6000 hectares in total. Openend in 1962, the site plays host to an array of wonderful creatures including white rhino, wildebeests, sables, warthogs and many bird varieties.
Watch out for: As well as game walks, visitors can go on a fishing trip, try their hand at boating or give horse riding a go!
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