Harare -- the capital of Zimbabwe, Africa -- has a population of around 1.6 million people, most of whom live in the city centre. Founded by the Pioneer Column in 1890, this small military body serving the British South Africa Company originally called the city Fort Salisbury to honour Lord Salisbury, a British Prime Minister. However, Salisbury changed its name to Harare in 1982 on the second anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence. Despite a turbulent past, the city is now on the way up after deciding to adopt the currency of the US dollar. Overall, it's a safe and slow-paced city with wide boulevards, reddish soil and many native plants in bloom, creating a real summer-in-Africa feeling. The best outdoor attractions include a surprising granite hill named the Kopje that springs up to the southwest corner of the city and the Chapungu Sculpture Park with stones carved by the country's top artists. The National Gallery will delight art lovers with its precious national art and international collections. There's plenty to do and the city hosts a prestigious International Festival of Arts, an International, Book Fair and an International Food and Music Festival.
Things to do
Harare has a strong historical and cultural heritage and many important old buildings and landmarks have been preserved as well as a wonderful diversity of wildlife and spectacular scenery.
Go Wild and Native
The Wild Is Life Trust and ZEN is an amazing wildlife experience in the city. Many say it's better than any safari because it's a wildlife rescue park. The staff and animal keepers live at the park and their care for the animals is wonderful to see.
Art Lovers' Paradise
The Shona Sculpture Gallery displays mesmerising African sculptures, and a tour will enlighten visitors as it educates them on the world-renowned stone sculptures of Zimbabwe. Many fantastic and exquisite sculptures find their home in this gallery, which is an art lover's paradise.
Shop in a Flea Market
Avondale Flea Market is a great place to pick up a bargain with local hand-produced items at really affordable prices including African clothing, animal sculptures and paintings.
Calendar of Events
Harare doesn't lag behind any international capital city when it comes to annual events, with arts, culture and music all on offer in Zimbabwe's centrepiece city.
International Festival of Arts
Taking place every year since 1999, this festival runs for a week (from late April to early May), and it encompasses five main disciplines: music, theatre, fine art, dance and poetry.
International Book Fair
Zimbabwe's International Book Fair first took place in 1983 and is now one of Africa's major book and publishing fairs. It features a huge range of books, magazines, journals and periodicals as well as CDs and DVDs.
International Food and Music Festival
This festival celebrates the tastes and sound of Zimbabwe over three days, featuring regional and international artists promoting Zimbabwean culture at the end of April to the beginning of May every year.