Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that holds a wealth of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its diverse population and rich heritage, Harare has become a melting pot of traditions, cuisines, and languages. From the iconic architecture of the city center to the lush green spaces and beautiful botanical gardens, Harare offers a unique blend of modernity and nature.
In this article, we will delve into 32 fascinating facts about Harare that will give you a deeper understanding of this captivating city. From its origins as a British colonial settlement to its present-day status as a thriving economic hub, we will explore the landmarks, the music and art scene, the wildlife, and the vibrant cultural tapestry that make Harare truly one-of-a-kind. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey and discover the wonders of Harare!
The Origins of Harare
Harare was founded in 1890 as Salisbury, named after the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. It was later renamed Harare in 1982, after Zimbabwe gained independence.
The Meaning of Harare
The name “Harare” is derived from the Shona word “Haarari,” which means “he who does not sleep.” It symbolizes the energy and liveliness of the city.
Harare’s Strategic Location
Harare is situated in the northeastern part of Zimbabwe, at an altitude of 1,483 meters (4,865 feet) above sea level. Its central location makes it a hub for transportation and commerce.
The Harare Jacaranda Trees
Harare is famous for its stunning jacaranda trees, which fill the city with vibrant purple blossoms during the spring months. These trees have become an iconic symbol of the city.
The National Heroes Acre
Located on a hill overlooking Harare, the National Heroes Acre is a burial ground and monument dedicated to the national heroes of Zimbabwe. It serves as a symbol of the country’s struggle for independence.
The Lion and Cheetah Park
Harare is home to the Lion and Cheetah Park, where visitors can get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. It offers a unique wildlife experience in the heart of the city.
The Mbare Musika Market
Mbare Musika is Harare’s largest market, offering a vibrant array of fresh produce, clothing, arts, and crafts. It is a bustling hub of activity and a must-visit for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in the local culture.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, located in Harare, showcases an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional African art. It is a cultural gem that highlights the nation’s artistic heritage.
The Kopje Hill
Kopje Hill is a granite hill located in the heart of Harare, offering panoramic views of the city. It is a popular spot for picnics, walks, and enjoying the breathtaking sunset.
The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)
HIFA is an annual six-day festival that celebrates music, dance, theater, and visual arts. It attracts both local and international artists, making Harare a hub for cultural exchange.
The Borrowdale Racecourse
The Borrowdale Racecourse in Harare is a prominent venue for horse racing events, attracting enthusiasts and bettors alike. It provides thrilling entertainment for locals and visitors.
The Chiremba Balancing Rocks
The Chiremba Balancing Rocks are a natural geological formation located just outside Harare. These unique rocks are known for their incredible balance and have become a symbol of the city.
The Harare Sports Club
Harare Sports Club is a prestigious sports facility that hosts international cricket and rugby matches. It is a gathering place for sports enthusiasts and a source of national pride.
The University of Zimbabwe
Founded in 1955, the University of Zimbabwe is the oldest and most renowned institution of higher learning in the country. It attracts students from all over Africa.
The National Botanic Gardens
The National Botanic Gardens in Harare is a picturesque oasis filled with a diverse collection of plant species. It provides a tranquil escape from the bustling city life.
The Avondale Flea Market
The Avondale Flea Market is a treasure trove of crafts, antiques, and unique souvenirs. It offers a vibrant shopping experience and the opportunity to support local artisans.
The Epworth Balancing Rocks
Epworth, a suburb of Harare, is home to its own collection of balancing rocks. These natural wonders have attracted tourists and locals for their peculiar formations.
The Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences
The Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences showcases the rich cultural heritage and archaeological treasures of Zimbabwe. It is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
The Mbizi Game Park
Mbizi Game Park is a wildlife sanctuary located just outside Harare, offering visitors the chance to see various animal species up close, including zebras, giraffes, and antelopes.
The Chapman Golf Club
The Chapman Golf Club is a renowned golf course nestled within the scenic landscapes of Harare. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy challenging rounds of golf while admiring the natural beauty of the surroundings.
The National Archives of Zimbabwe
The National Archives of Zimbabwe house extensive collections of historical documents, photographs, and recordings that provide insights into the nation’s past. It is a valuable resource for researchers and history buffs.
The Harare International Airport
Harare International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Zimbabwe. It serves as a gateway to the country, connecting Zimbabwe to various international destinations.
The Glen Lorne Shopping Centre
Glen Lorne Shopping Centre is a popular retail hub in Harare, offering a wide range of shopping and dining options. It is a favorite spot for locals to unwind and socialize.
The Domboshawa Caves
The Domboshawa Caves, located just outside Harare, offer a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric times. These ancient caves are adorned with rock art and provide a unique cultural experience.
The 1US$ to bond/RTGS
HARARE is the capital of Zimbabwe. In Harare, the official currency is the US dollar, and local bond notes/RTGS are also accepted. This dual currency system facilitates local and international transactions.
The Harare Gardens
Harare Gardens is a well-maintained park in the heart of the city, offering a serene environment for relaxation and recreation. It is a popular spot for picnics and outdoor gatherings.
The Sam Levy’s Village
Sam Levy’s Village is a premier shopping destination in Harare, featuring a wide range of international and local brands. It is a one-stop-shop for fashion, dining, and entertainment.
The Manyame Dam
The Manyame Dam, located on the outskirts of Harare, is a major water source for the city. It also serves as a recreational spot for fishing, boating, and bird watching.
The Harare International Conference Center
The Harare International Conference Center is a state-of-the-art venue for conferences, exhibitions, and events. It hosts both local and international gatherings, showcasing Harare’s role in the global arena.
The African Unity Square
The African Unity Square is a landmark public square in Harare, named in honor of the African unity and liberation movements. It serves as a gathering place for events and celebrations.
The Bvumba Mountains
The Bvumba Mountains, located near Harare, offer breathtaking landscapes and panoramic views. They are a popular destination for hiking, bird watching, and nature lovers.
The Harare International School
The Harare International School is a prestigious international institution that provides a world-class education to students from various cultural backgrounds. It contributes to the multicultural fabric of the city.
These 32 facts about Harare only scratch the surface of what this vibrant city has to offer. From its rich history and cultural heritage to its stunning natural landscapes and lively markets, Harare is a destination that never ceases to amaze. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a food lover, Harare welcomes you with open arms to explore its captivating charm.
Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, is a vibrant and fascinating destination that offers a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its bustling city center to its serene parks and gardens, Harare has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring its iconic landmarks, indulging in delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in the vibrant arts scene, Harare never fails to captivate visitors.
With a deep sense of community and a warm hospitality, Harare welcomes travelers from all around the world. As you explore this remarkable city, you’ll discover its unique charm and discover the many wonders it has to offer. So, plan your trip to Harare and get ready to create unforgettable memories in the heart of Zimbabwe.
1. What is the best time to visit Harare?
The best time to visit Harare is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. The weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy outdoor activities without the interruption of heavy rainfall.
2. How do I get to Harare?
Harare is accessible by air, with several international flights landing at the Robert Mugabe International Airport. Additionally, you can also reach Harare by road from neighboring countries.
3. Are there any safety concerns in Harare?
Harare is generally a safe city to visit, but it’s always a good idea to take basic safety precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night and keeping an eye on your belongings.
4. What are some must-visit attractions in Harare?
Some of the must-visit attractions in Harare include the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare Gardens, and the Mbare Market, where you can experience the local culture and indulge in shopping for traditional crafts.
5. Is it easy to navigate around Harare?
Harare has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses and taxis, which makes it relatively easy to navigate the city. However, it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the routes and transportation options beforehand.
6. What are some popular dishes to try in Harare?
When in Harare, make sure to try local delicacies such as sadza (a staple food made from maize), muriwo nechicken (vegetables with chicken), and kapenta (small dried fish).
7. Are there any cultural events or festivals in Harare?
Yes, Harare hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year. The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is one of the most popular events, showcasing music, dance, theater, and visual arts.
8. Can I use US dollars in Harare?
Yes, the US dollar is widely accepted in Harare, along with the local currency. However, it’s always a good idea to have some local currency for small purchases and to pay for public transportation.
9. Is Harare a family-friendly destination?
Yes, Harare offers plenty of family-friendly attractions and activities, including the Lion and Cheetah Park, the Mukuvisi Woodlands, and the Harare Botanical Gardens.
10. What is the nightlife like in Harare?
Harare has a vibrant nightlife scene, with a range of bars, restaurants, and clubs to choose from. From live music venues to trendy cocktail bars, there’s something for everyone to enjoy after the sun goes down.