Harare

Harare building.
Overview

First-time visitors are drawn to the head-spinning bustle and colour of Mbare Market and the National Gallery's pre-colonial art. History buffs can travel through Zimbabwean history at the National Archives while active types can join organised safaris in the Mukuvisi Woodlands.

Travel Alert

Zimbabwe is undergoing a time of continuing political and economic tension and the advice of the British Foreign Office is against all but essential travel. In the current climate, visitors should exercise extreme caution, and avoid remote or farming areas, demonstrations in high density suburban areas and public transport. Contact the embassy for up-to-date advice on Zimbabwe.

Background

Harare is a city of contrasts from high-rise embassies in the business district to shanty towns on the southern edges. In the centre of Harare is tree-lined Africa Unity Square, the National Gallery's collection of Zimbabwean art and the First Street shopping mile. The University of Zimbabwe, Avondale's flea market and Borrowdale's restaurants and malls are located north of the centre. The Mukuvisi Woodlands border Harare to the east.

First-time visit

In hectic Mbare Market, traders pedal everything from witchdoctor potions to handmade baskets. Jacaranda tree-fringed Africa Unity Square, where British colonisers raised the Union Jack flag in 1890, is home to the Anglican Cathedral, whose cloisters offer respite from the bustle outside. The nearby National Gallery shelters a peerless collection of Zimbabwean Shona sculptures.

Return visit

The National Archives on Borrowdale Road trace Zimbabwe's colonial past with notebooks, reports and missionary diaries. Visitors seeking peace can escape to the tropical Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens or walk to the top of Kopje hill for views of Harare's skyline. Guided tours of Harare's Tobacco Auctions, which are among some of the world's largest, offer a fascinating insight into the trade. For a taste of Zimbabwean safari, spot wildebeest and zebra on a day trip to the Mukuvisi Woodlands.

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