Known in its glory days as “the sunshine city”, Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe and the largest urban centre in the country. Harare has an estimated population of about 1.2 million people. The general standards of living in the city have sadly dropped significantly over the last decade and basic services such as garbage collection, roads and street lighting.
The city’s slum inhabitants bore the brunt of a government program implemented in 2005. The program involved the destruction of slums and shanty towns in the city and the forced relocation of their residents. This move drew widespread criticism from the International Community.
Harare was established in 1890 as a military outpost. It was known as Salisbury and became the capital of the Rhodesian colony. Zimbabwe attained its independence on the 18th of April 1980 and two years later, the city’s name was changed from Salisbury to Harare.
Harare is home to the University of Zimbabwe; the largest institute of higher learning in the country, situated in the suburb of Mt. Pleasant. The city is also home to the Harare International Airport which is the key airport in the country. Harare is one of the most entertaining cities in Zimbabwe. Here you will find a variety of interesting places to visit such as the Mbare Market, Borrowdale Park for horse racing, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, movie theaters and galleries. The city is also home to a number of good hotels.
Harare International Airport:
The Harare International Airport is the key airport in Zimbabwe. The airport is situated about 13 km from the city centre and transport to and from is mainly by taxi, buses or minibuses (public transport). There are also shuttle services offered by some tour operators and hotels for their clients.
The Harare Airport is the main hub for national airline Air Zimbabwe. The airline flies regularly from here to a number of destinations including; ; Beijing, Blantyre, Bulawayo, Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Johannesburg, Lilongwe, London, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls.
The airport offers a range of services for travelers such as; duty free shopping, foreign exchange and banking services, gift shops, bars, restaurants, car hire and information desk.
Kenya Airways, South African Airways, British Airways, Air Malawi, Air Botswana, Zambian Airways, Ghana Airways.
Car hire in Harare:
There are a good number of local and multi-national car hire companies in Harare. Most are situated within the city centre and your travel agent can provide you with address details in case you need to book a vehicle on arrival. Alternatively a number of car hire firms in Harare offer online booking and vehicles can be reserved prior to arrival.
Car rental companies in Harare include; Zimshine Car Hire, Europcar, Avis, Classic Car Hire, Gemini Tours & Car Hire, Magma Car Hire and Sato Car Hire.
It could be more convenient to hire a car in a group especially when intending to visit the same places; e.g. game parks. This can work out cheaper though there is the option of traveling with the local tour companies who organize drives to game parks.
Smaller car hire companies are generally cheaper than the major ones. It is also important to shop around, compare quotes which should include insurance and all associated expenses.
Flights to Harare:
There are a number of flights that offer regular flights to Harare. The city is well catered for by air transport linking it to a number of key regional and international cities. One of the most visited cities in Zimbabwe; it is served by the Harare International Airport which is the key airport in the country.
The airport is also the main hub for national airline; Air Zimbabwe which flies regularly from here to a number of domestic and international destinations including; Beijing, Blantyre, Bulawayo, Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Johannesburg, Lilongwe, London, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls.
Other airlines that offer regular flights to Harare are; Kenya Airways, South African Airways, British Airways, Air Malawi, Air Botswana, Zambian Airways, Ghana Airways.
Hotels in Harare:
There are a good number of hotels in Harare. The Zimbabwean capital is home to some of the best establishments in the country, many within easy reach of the city centre and the international airport. Popular hotels in Harare are;
Crowne Plaza Hotel Harare: a reputable hotel in the city, the Crowne Plaza is situated at 54 Park Lane with easy access to the city centre and CBD. The hotel offers a wide range of amenities and services such as; swimming pool, health and fitness centre, access to a golf course, massage, sauna, 204 air conditioned rooms with satellite television, business and conferencing facilities.
Sheraton Harare Hotels & Towers: a member of the Sheraton International chain of hotels, the Harare Hotel & Towers occupies a monumental building near the city center at Pennefather Avenue. The hotel offers a wide range of luxury services such as conference rooms, comfortable rooms with cable television, restaurant, bar, swimming pool, spa, tennis courts.
Meikles Hotel Harare: another of the city’s popular establishment, the Meikles Hotel is situated at the corner of Jason Moyo Avenue and Third Street in the heart of the city. The hotel is one of the oldest in the Southern African Region and was established in 1915. The hotel offers 317 luxurious rooms, restaurants, bars, meeting rooms, business center, information desk, gym, beauty parlor, hair salon, swimming pool.