Saturday, 18 November 2017

ZIMBABWE: Harare, Condition Of Roads Is Bad And Street Lights Are Lacking, Without A National Currency

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe.

Harare is home to some two million people, with most in central Harare but some 500,000 in the surrounding districts of Rural Harare, Chintungwiza and Epworth.

Once a city of modern buildings, wide thoroughfares, numerous parks and gardens, it suffered from increasing disrepair thanks to Zimbabwe's economic downward spiral.

However, there have recently been a few signs of improvement as the decision of the country to adopt the US dollar as its currency has begun to facilitate some investments.

The capital city retained the name Salisbury until 1982.

The name of the city was changed to Harare on 18 April 1982, the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, taking its name from the village near Harare Kopje of the Shona chief Neharawa, whose nickname was "he who does not sleep".

Prior to independence, Harare was the name of the black residential area now known as Mbare.

In the early 21st century Harare has been adversely affected by the political and economic crisis that is currently plaguing Zimbabwe, after the contested 2002 presidential election and 2005 parliamentary elections.

The elected council was replaced by a government-appointed commission for alleged inefficiency, but essential services such as rubbish collection and street repairs have rapidly worsened, and are now virtually non-existent.

Harare officially called Salisbury until 1982 is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe.

Situated in the north-east of the country in the heart of historic Mashonaland, the city has an estimated population of 1,606,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area.

Administratively, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates Chitungwiza town and Epworth. It is situated at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet) above sea level and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category.

The city was founded in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a small military force in the service of the British South Africa Company, and named Fort Salisbury after the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.

Company administrators demarcated the city and ran it until Southern Rhodesia achieved responsible government in 1923. Salisbury was thereafter the seat of the Southern Rhodesian later Rhodesian government and, between 1953 and 1963, the capital of the Central African Federation.

It retained the name Salisbury until 1982, when it was renamed Harare on the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence.

Harare is Zimbabwe's leading financial, commercial, and communications centre, and a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits.

Manufactured goods include textiles, steel and chemicals, and gold is mined in the area.

The city's suburbs include Borrowdale, Helensvale, Greendale, Chisipite, Shawasha hills, Mbare, HIghfields, Kuwadzana, Marlboro, Marlbereign, Vainona, Mount Pleasant and Avondale, Glen View, Budiriro, Southly Park, Warren Park; the most affluent neighbourhoods are to the north.

The University of Zimbabwe, the country's oldest university founded in 1952, is situated in Mount Pleasant, about 6 km (3.7 mi) north of the city centre.

Harare is home to the country's main Test cricket ground, Harare Sports Club, and to Dynamos F.C., Zimbabwe's most successful association football team.

In May 2006 the Zimbabwean newspaper the Financial Gazette, described the city in an editorial as a sunshine city-turned-sewage farm.

In 2009, Harare was voted to be the toughest city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's livability poll.

The situation was unchanged in 2011, according to the same poll, which is based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

In May 2005 the Zimbabwean government demolished shanties and backyard cottages in Harare and the other cities in the country in Operation Murambatsvina or Drive Out Trash.

It was widely alleged by residents and politicians that the true purpose of the campaign was to punish the urban poor for supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and to reduce the likelihood of mass action against the government by driving people out of the cities.

The government claimed it was necessitated by a rise of criminality and disease.

This was followed by Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle or Operation "Better Living" a year later which consisted of building concrete housing of poor quality.

In late March 2010, Harare's Joina City Tower was finally opened after 14 years of on-off construction, marketed as Harare's new Pride.

Initially, uptake of space in the tower was low, with office occupancy at only 3% in October 2011. By May 2013, office occupancy had risen to around half, with all the retail space occupied.

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Harare as the world's least liveable city out of 140 surveyed in February 2011, rising to 137th out of 140 in August 2012.

During late 2012, plans to build a new capital district in Mt. Hampden, about twenty kilometres (12 miles) north-west of Harare's central business district, were announced and illustrations shown in Harare's daily newspapers.

The location of this new district would imply an expansion into Zvimba District. The plan generated varied opinions.

In March 2015, Harare City Council planned a two-year project to install 4,000 solar streetlights, at a cost of $15 million, starting in the central business district.

The city sits on the one of the higher parts of the Highveld plateau of Zimbabwe at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet). The original landscape could be described as a parkland.

Harare has a subtropical highland climate. The average annual temperature is 17.95 °C (64.3 °F), rather low for the tropics, and this is due to its high altitude position and the prevalence of a cool south-easterly airflow.

There are three main seasons: a warm, wet season from November to March/April; a cool, dry season from May to August (corresponding to winter in the Southern Hemisphere); and a hot, dry season in September/October.

Daily temperature ranges are about 7–22 °C (45–72 °F) in July (the coldest month), about 15–29 °C (59–84 °F) in October (the hottest month) and about 16–26 °C (61–79 °F) in January (midsummer).

The hottest year on record was 1914 with 19.73 °C (67.5 °F) and the coldest year was 1965 with 17.13 °C (62.8 °F).

The average annual rainfall is about 825 mm (32.5 in) in the southwest, rising to 855 mm (33.7 in) on the higher land of the northeast,from around Borrowdale to Glen Lorne. Very little rain typically falls during the period May to September, although sporadic showers occur most years.

Rainfall varies a great deal from year to year and follows cycles of wet and dry periods from 7 to 10 years long. Records begin in October 1890 but all three Harare stations stopped reporting in early 2004.

The climate supports a natural vegetation of open woodland. The most common tree of the local region is the Msasa Brachystegia spiciformis that colours the landscape wine red with its new leaves in late August.

Two introduced species of trees, the Jacaranda and the Flamboyant from South America and Madagascar respectively, which were introduced during the colonial era, contribute to the city's colour palette with streets lined with either the lilac blossoms of the Jacaranda or the flame red blooms from the Flamboyant.

They flower in October/November and are planted on alternative streets in the capital. Also prevalent is Bougainvillea.

Harare has been the location of several international summits such as the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (6 September 1986) and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1991.

The latter produced the Harare Declaration, dictating the membership criteria of the Commonwealth. In 1998 Harare was the host city of the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

In 1995, Harare hosted most of the 6th All-Africa Games, sharing the event with other Zimbabwean cities such as Bulawayo and Chitungwiza.

It has hosted some of the matches of 2003 Cricket World Cup which was hosted jointly by Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Several of the matches were also held in Bulawayo.

The city is also the site of one of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), which has featured such acclaimed artists as Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares.

The public transport system within the city includes both public and private sector operations.

The former consist of ZUPCO buses and National Railways of Zimbabwe commuter trains.

Privately owned public transport comprised licensed station wagons, nicknamed emergency taxis until the mid-1990s, when they were replaced by licensed buses and minibuses, referred to officially as commuter omnibuses or Makombi.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe operates a daily overnight passenger train service that runs from Harare to Mutare and another one from Harare to Bulawayo. Harare is linked by long distance bus services to most parts of Zimbabwe.

The largest airport of the country Harare International Airport serves Harare.

Soccer is most popular among the people of Harare. Harare is home to Harare Sports Club ground. It has hosted many Test, One Day Internationals and T20I Cricket matches.

Harare is also home to the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League clubs Dynamos F.C., Harare City, Black Rhinos F.C. and CAPS United F.C..

Residents are exposed to a variety of sources for information. In the print media, there is the Herald, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe Independent, Standard, NewsDay, H-Metro, Daily News and Kwayedza.

There has been an increase of online media outlets. These include ZimOnline, ZimDaily, Guardian, NewZimbabwe, Times, Harare Tribune, Zimbabwe Metro, The Zimbabwean, The Zimbabwe Mail and many others; however, a number of factors have combined to effectively eliminate all media except those controlled by the state.

Therefore, it is difficult to find a news source that is not bribed or influenced by the government.

The government controls all the electronic media, though Voice of America, Voice of the people and SW Radio Africa beam broadcasts into the country without the clearance of the regulatory authority.

Harare's airport is the major gateway for flights into the country. Air Zimbabwe also operated a small network of domestic flights before ceasing operations.

The National Archives has a priceless collection of maps, sketches, books, diaries and documents, as well as most of Thomas Baines' paintings.

The National Art Gallery holds frequent exhibitions of both indigenous and foreign works of art. The National Museum's specialty is the Story of Man and the Story of Animals in Mashonaland.

Ten minutes from the city you'll find Chapungu Kraal, in pastoral surroundings, where there is a magnificent collection of soapstone and verdite sculpture and an authentic 19th century Shona village complete with n'anga (traditional doctor).

Watersports of all kinds are available on the resort-filled north Shore of Lake Chivero, just a few minutes out of Harare, and the Lake's south shore is 2 023,4 ha of fascinating wilderness, where zebra, giraffe, sable, white rhino, tsessebe and eland roam.

Bird life is so prolific that, in one day, ornithologists recorded 200 species.

In the granite hills you can find many Bushmen paintings. Lodges and chalets on the lake shore are available.

Drive through the city for an appreciation of the Sunshine City’s historical buildings to Kopje hill for a 360-degree panorama of the city.

Bargain for exquisite hand-crafted souvenirs at the bustling Mbare Musika, and sample the swinging action at the Tobacco Auction floors in season.

Mukuvisi Woodlands - Call in on elephant, impala, ostrich and giraffe in a natural woodland reserve set aside and run by the Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe.

Only 15 minutes from the city centre.

Chengeta Safari Day Trip - Visit Mashonaland’s largest private game reserve with over 45 mammal and more than 180 bird species. Tailor-made safari options include horseback, canoe, game drives, walking and fishing. Unspoilt Africa at its best!

Kuimba Shiri Bird Gardens and Snake World - Here’s another aspect of Zimbabwe’s wildlife – 100s of exotic and indigenous birds at Kuimba Shiri.

At the nearby Snake World, you’ll face some of Africa’s most venomous vipers – all in one place. Definitely not something you’ll see anywhere else!

Lion & Lake Chivero Game Park - The wilds of Africa right on the city outskirts. Your chance to see the big cats and rare nocturnal species up close.

At Lake Chivero, free-ranging plains game abound and you may even catch a glimpse of the why white rhino.

Lake Manyame Recreational Park - Lake Manyame is one of the best angling environments in the world.

Challenge the staggering Bass fishing record of 18,4 pounds, experience stunning and breathtaking views of the lake from the dam wall and picnic sites, try out a variety of water sports or enjoy bird watching in this peaceful and tranquil environment.

Located 76 kilometres west of the capital city of Harare, Lake Manyame (formerly Darwendale) Recreational Park occupies a total area of 11,200 hectares.

Of this area, Lake Mayame water body swallows 8,100 hectares, just under three quarters of the parks total area.

The dam wall is 2 kilometres long and the maximum water depth is 226 metres. It took about three years to construct the dam, from 1973 to 1976. The park was established in 1973 but was officially opened in 1976.

The recreational park has a small area reserved for game. Here you can expect to see the less dangerous and smaller animals, mainly herbivores.

The most prevalent species are sable, kudu, waterbuck, bush pig, reedbuck, common duiker, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, oribi and porcupine.

This park is a prime fishing destination attracting local, regional and international fishing enthusiasts. The major fish species within the lake are Mozambique and blue bream, Hunyani salmon, mud sucker, tiger fish, barbel, parrot fish, bulldog, spot tail, minnow bass and African mottled eel.


Fishing is the main attraction and bass fishing attracts thousands of enthusiasts annually. Fishing tournaments are held frequently with the most distinguished and world renowned being the Bass Masters Tournament.

The record catch on 25 July 2004 was a bass weighing 18,4 pounds.
The vegetation is well fed by the thick soils made fertile by humus derived from falling leaves and dying tall grass and other plants coupled with favourable rainfall.

The park is able to sustain a variety of tree species among them; musasa, munhondo, mukarati, ficus, capensis, dicyrostachys, cinera, pseudolachnostylls, maprononeifolia, euphorbia ingens, diopyros.

The park has two well sited lodges, camping sites, caravan sites, and picnic sites. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.

The park has 2 lodges situated less than 2 kilometres from the main entrance and 500 metres from the main park office. The lodges have views which overlook the water body, have 2 bedrooms each with 2 beds.

There is a dining room, kitchen and bathroom with hot and cold running water for each lodge. All cooking utensils are provided complete with cutlery and crockery.

The kitchens are fully equipped with refrigrators and four plate stoves with grills.

Each lodge has an open air braai point where visitors can catch the fresh water breeze rising from the sprawling lake. The lodges have electricity for lighting and for energy.

The camping site is situated close to the launching point for boats making it an ideal camping point for both fishing enthusiasts and water sport enthusiasts.

There are communal ablution blocks with bathrooms and showers providing both hot and cold running water.

Water points and braai points are dotted around the camping site, while the lake is only a stone's throw away for those who may need fresh untreated water.

For those campers who may need electricity for their sites, it can be sourced from the nearby ablution block.

In such cases the Parks authorities encourage you to carry long extension cables in the event that your site may be situated a few metres away from the ablution block.

The camp site and caravan site share the same ablution facilities. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.

The picnic sites are sprinkled along the north-western shore of the lake. The beauty of the lake can be savoured from the 10 rondavels at the picnic site.

Each picnic rondavel has its own individual braai point. There is also an ablution block in close proximity to all the rondavels.

The following are some of the main activities offered at Darwendale Recreational Park:

- Fishing, angling

- Boating, water skiing, yatching

- Camping

- Picnicking

- Walking

- Bird watching

Chinhoyi Caves - The Chinhoyi Caves consist of a system of tunnels, dark caverns & sunlit pools.

Explore The Wonder Hole, a large collapsed cavern whose walls drop vertically down into the depths of the unbelievably blue and crystal clear Sleeping Pool.

Historically, the first white man believed to have discovered the Caves was Frederick Selous, the famous European hunter, during his wanderings in 1887.

It was believed that prior to that the Caves were being used as a stronghold by an outlaw called Nyamakwere who murdered many victims by throwing them into the "Silent Pool".

The notorious Nyamakwere was eventually defeated and killed by a Headman called Chinhoyi who became a Mashona Chief, hence the name Chinhoyi given to the nearby town.

Chief Chinhoyi and his followers used the Caves as a refuge from raiding tribes such as the Matebele. Until a few years ago the remains of Chief Chinhoyi's grain bins could be seen in some of the underground passages.

The traditional name for the Caves is "Chirorodziva" which means the "Pool of the Fallen". The name was derived from an incident which took place in the 1830s when the Angoni Tribe, who were moving northwards surprised people living near the Caves and flung them into the pool.

The area close to the caves was first declared a National Monument and in 1957 it was declared a National Park with its existing boundaries. It was then redesignated as a Recreational Park in 1975.

The Caves consist of a system of tunnels and caverns. This system is a dying one (in geological time spans), in that they are slowly collapsing. These collapses can be noticed by the sink holes and depressions within the surrounding area.

The Wonder Hole, which is the main feature of the Caves, is in fact a "swallow hole" or a large cavern with a collapsed roof.

The walls or sides of the Wonder Hole drop vertically down for 150 feet to the Sleeping Pool. The pool is unbelievably blue and crystal clear which reflects great depth and non-flowing water.

Exploration by the Zimbabwe Sub-Aqua Spelaelogical Research Group has revealed that the depth of the water in the Sleeping Pool varies between 80 metres and 91 metres.

This fluctuation in depths is attributable to the amount of rainfall received in a particular season. Several under water passages have been found leading from the Sleeping Pool, but all those so far explored lead back into the Pool.

Near the end of the Dark Cave is a small cavern accessible only to diver known as the Blind Cave. A second one connects with the Sleeping Pool 58 metres below the surface and the third one is yet to be fully explored.

The Caves are composed mainly of the sunlit "Sleeping Pool" and the artificially lit Dark Cave.

The Sleeping Pool 46 metres below the ground level is accessible in two ways:

- Through the main entrance with an inclined passage, where the view of the water has been compared to the famous Blue Grotto of Capri

- Through the Dark Cave, which leads down steps and along a narrow passage to a point just above the water at the far side of the Sleeping Pool.

The exit from the Dark Cave is demanding, as the steps are very steep.

Therefore, less agile visitors would be well advised to avoid this latter option.

It seems probable that further caves remain to be discovered. Research suggests that the water in the cave is connected to an even bigger body of water in view of the fact that the temperature in the Sleeping Pool never varies from 22 degrees Celsius.

Excavations in and near the Caves have revealed that people have stayed around the area from early times. Pottery and human remains were unearthed from the area which radio-carbon dated around AD 650.

Although Chinhoyi Caves Recreational Park covers a large area only 20 acres of it in the vicinity of the actual Caves are used by the public. The remainder of the Park is largely taken up with dolomite mining claims and wooded scrubland.

The Picnic sites and camp sites are serviced by three ablution blocks with hot and cold water, baths, toilets and showers.

The Park's flora is made up largely of indigenous species and a few exotics. In the indigenous group, there are: Mukwa (pterocarpus angolencis), Cape Fig (ficus capensis), Combretum species, Terminalia species, Msasa (brachystegia), Violet tree (securidaca longipediculata), Yellow wood (monotas glaber) and Pink Jacaranda (stereospermum).

Although birds are not numerous, there is a wide variety of species, especially during the dry months of winter.

The Park's bird diversity includes the Arnot's Chat, Angola Rock Thrush, Mocking Chat, Large Striped Pipit, Woodpecker species, Black Tit, Redwing Starling, Batis, Flycatcher, Penduline Tit, Glossy Starling, Bat Hawk, Tree Creeper, Familiar Chat, Paradise Flycatcher and other species.

There are virtually no large animals in the Park. However, monkeys, baboons, bushpigs and rock hares can occasionally be sighted.

Activities

- Photographing - scenic photographs can be taken from the Viewpoint of the

- Wonder Hole

- Exploring the caves

- Leisurely strolls in the Park

- Picnicking

Amanzi Restaurant - Situated in the heart of the Northern Suburbs of Harare, Amanzi Restaurant is set well back from the road in 4 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

An old farmhouse, architecturally converted to a stylish modern restaurant, Amanzi has the capacity to seat 100 people.

Its versatile interior, with rooms linked through open arches, guests can sit in one of 2 main rooms, a private function room or the large terrace surrounding the restaurant.

The décor is a sophisticated blend of interior styles created to form a backdrop for unusual collections of African antiquities and contemporary art. The water feature is stocked with koi carp, and is floodlit at night.

The property is noted for its collection of indigenous trees, predominately msasa, and colourful shrubs, which provide a cool, restful atmosphere.

Amanzi Restaurant has recently gone green! Lime, leaf, sage and avocado - the full range of the green palette, has given the interior décor a whole fresh new look.

A look in line with Amanzi's philosophy of eco-conciousness: many ingredients used in Amanzi's kitchens are organically grown in our own garden; kitchen scraps are composted; paper, glass and plastic are recycled; staff are trained in energy saving practices.

Amanzi offers its customers "fusion" cuisine - a combination of the best food taken from different countries & cultures around the world.

The concept behind the new A La Carte menu at Amanzi Restaurant is Fusion Cuisine. It is an exciting and creative blend of Eastern and Western elements, combined together on one plate.

Recipes created for the menu are inspired from spices and ingredients from Nigeria, Morocco, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, the Mediterranean and back again to Zimbabwe. The current new menu offers a wide variety of fusion tapas-style starters for the casual diner.

These can form the basis of a formal four-course meal when enjoyed with soups, main courses and a selection of delicious desserts. Or just pop in for a plate of tapas and a drink.

At Amanzi the choice is yours! they stock a comprehensive and unusual collection of both local and imported wines.

They are open for both Lunch and Dinner, and cater for cocktail parties, wedding parties and corporate functions.

Open Monday to Saturday from 12pm for lunch and from 7pm for dinner.

Seating

- Fire Room - 25 people

- Main Room - 25 people

- Private Room - 12 people

- Terrace - 38 people

Special Occasions: They will be happy to quote for weddings, cocktail parties, birthdays & Christmas parties.

National Herbarium and Botanic Garden - The 58-hectare National Botanic Gardens contain examples of the diverse plant life that thrive in Harare's pleasant climate.

Most Zimbabwean species are represented, as well as specimens from Southern Africa. It's a great place to spend the day. One can walk one's dog, have a light meal in the restaurant and generally enjoy the situation.

For anyone interested in Zimbabwe plants this is one definate place to visit.

The National Herbarium and Botanic Garden is a center for research and information on the indigenous plants of Zimbabwe. It s responsible for the study of Zimbabwe flora in order to promote its conservation, development and sustainable use.

Its mission is To Increase Knowledge and Appreciation of Zimbabwean Plants. It fulfills this mission by looking after the plant specimens that are the essential resource material required in studying plant characters in order to arrive at their identity and names.

The National Herbarium stores preserved plant specimens while the living specimens are grown in the National Botanic Garden.

The Herbarium has about 500 000 plant specimens. It is the main reference center for research on identifying and naming plants of the Flora Zambesiaca Region.

This region comprises Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and the Caprivi.

The Botanic Garden grows over 900 trees and shrubs of Zimbabwe in groups to show the associations that are found in various parts of the country. It has sections with trees of the Highveld, Lowveld and Eastern Highlands.

Also growing are a number of trees from other countries that have climatic conditions similar to Zimbabwe e.g. Asia and Australia.

The Education Centre disseminates information on the plants of Zimbabwe and the plant kingdom in general to educational institutions especially schools.

Aims and Objectives

To conserve, enhance and curate Zimbabwe's principal collection of botanical specimens for national and international reference and study.

To do scientific research and documentation on Zimbabwean plants and plant communities based on the herbarium collection and field surveys
To provide botanical services to Government Departments, NGOs, students, researchers and the public.

To provide a focal point for the international network of herbaria, in order to facilitate research on the flora of Zimbabwe and the region by national and international researchers.

To provide a pleasant and peaceful environment in which the Harare community can enjoy activities that are compatible with Botanic Garden management.

To raise revenue that will help in the development and maintenance of the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden.

Facilities

The Botanic Garden Restaurant / Teahouse
This is open daily from 0730 hours to 1800 hours.

Auditorium

This open-air-under-thatch building is hired out for meetings and workshops.

Venue for Photography / Films

The Botanic Garden is a popular spot for wedding photos, especially around the lake. It is also used by a number of companies in the shooting of films and adverts.

The Desert House

In this house are plants from the dry areas of Southern Africa.

Mazowe Botanic Reserve - This is a 48-hactare outstation of the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden. It is located some 30km North of Harare in Christonbank Township.

It provides a good example of the vegetation of the highveld (miombo). The Reserve has over 300 plant species representing about 70 families.

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park - Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is situated on the shores of Lake Chivero, in a National Park boasting over 460 species of indigenous birds in the wild.

Established over 20 years ago Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is the only bird park in Zimbabwe and is home to orphaned, injured and abandoned birds.

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is situated on the shores of Lake Chivero, in a National Park boasting over 460 species of indigenous birds in the wild.

Established over 20 years ago Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is the only bird park in Zimbabwe and is home to orphaned, injured and abandoned birds.

The bird park was founded by owner and falconer, Gary Stafford, whilst he was training eagles for a number of BBC WILDLIFE documentaries including “Eagles “ and “The Life of Birds”.

Kuimba Shiri boasts the first free flying bird display in Africa. Their birds of prey are flown daily at 16:00hrs.

Visitors can enjoy waterfront chalets or the camp site and fish for carp, bream and bass to name a few. They hosted two Tri-Nations Bank Angling competitions in 2006 and 2009. In 2009 five international records were broken in three days of fishing.

Guests can enjoy game viewing by boat and a tasty meal at the Admiral’s Cabin Restaurant, whilst enjoying the spectacular view of the vast Lake. Sunday afternoons can be spent relaxing under the Msasa trees listening to live music. An ideal family venue, run by a family, for families.

Bird Park

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is now enjoying a long overdue facelift, after nearly ten years of economic turmoil. They are home to an ever increasing number of orphaned and injured birds.

The bird park is important as it offers a home to birds that otherwise would have died, offering an opportunity to educate people and allow these birds to breed in captivity, where the offspring may be released.

The National Parks surrounding Kuimba Shiri Bird Park will keep birdwatchers busy marking off in excess of 460 species from their bird list including the “Spotted Creeper”.

Top recognised international Falconers have visited to enjoy flights with Peregrine and Lanner Falcons not to mention their African Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrow Hawk and African Hawk Eagles

Activities

Boating & Game Viewing

A cruise in a speed boat 7 kilometers across the lake brings you into the Game Park, where if you are lucky, you can sneak up to White Rhino grazing the water hyacinths only a few meters away.

Other game to be spotted along the lake shore are Giraffe, Zebra, Impala, Ostrich, Eland, Waterbuck, Crocodile and a host of water birds.

Alternatively, guests can enjoy water tubing, or for those wanting to chill and relax, a late afternoon sunset booze cruise.

Fishing

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park hosted the Tri-Nations bank angling competition between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia in 2006 & 2009. The largest fish caught, in this off season event, was a carp weighing in at approx. 9kg. Other fish caught were barbel, bream and bass.

Their favourite competition is the annual “Rapala Kid’s Classic” which last year attracted over 100 entrants. This competition epitomises commitment to family values, as it encourages fathers to fish with their children.

All the children are winners as they all receive a prize. The children may catch fish off the bank or from a boat. Favourite fishing spots on the lake are along ” Vorley Bay”, ” M.O.T.H Island ” or “Crocodile Creek”.

Horse Riding

An hour long outride can be arranged for an enjoyable hack through the old farmlands and along the stream that flows into Hippo Creek.

Marina

Admiral’s Cabin Marina is one of the oldest operating marina’s, with a concrete slipway and the deepest harbour on the lake. Their tractor will launch and recover your boat and they also have fuel, oil, drinks, ice and snacks available.

Live Music

Sunday afternoons can be spent relaxing under the Msasa trees listening to live music provided by their resident band “Cornerstone”.

Sunday’s are an ideal day out for the whole family. Whilst Mom and Dad are enjoying a meal from the Admiral’s Cabin restaurant, the children can play in the pool, ride a pony or fish in the harbour.

Cornerstone is a four-piece band and regularly perform at parties and weddings, entertaining with their unique style of music. Lead singer Stuart, an accomplished flutist and harp player, is joined by lead and rhythm guitarist Gerald, bass player Sidney and Steve on drums.

Conferences & Camps

The Conference facility is capable of hosting up to 20 delegates & has proved popular with groups wanting to get away from the City’s hustle and bustle. Overnight accommodation, meals, drinks and tea are available.

School groups book children’s camps in the five “barrack” rooms overlooking a ” Dare” (a campfire meeting place) where children visit the bird park, the National Park and enjoy all the other facilities available.

Kuimba Shiri has seven well appointed ”A” framed thatched chalets, comprising of en suite shower, wc and basin and power points. Each chalet has one double bed and up to three single beds per unit.

The chalets are 10 metres from the waterfront overlooking “Hippo Creek” and the magnificent Msasa covered Hunyani Hills in the back ground.

The Camping Site is situated alongside the chalets, nestled under the Msasa trees & has the same spectacular view as the chalets.

Ewanrigg Botanical Garden - Ewanrigg Botanical Garden is situated north-east of Harare. The most accessible road is the Shamva road.

Visitors to Harare should take the Enterprise road, passing through Newlands and Highlands, continuing on the highway until the Shamva and Mutoko road junction is reached approximately 29 km from Harare.

Take the left fork sign posted Shamva road and follow this road until you reach the sign post indicating a right turn, Christian Road, and drive 4 km to Ewanrigg Botanical Garden.

Christian is a loop road which links the Shamva road and the Mutoko roads, hence the alternative is to use the Mutoko road. The Muoko road should always be avoided during the rainy season, owing to a high flow of water over the low causeway at the Mvinzi River.

Generally, the roads are always kept in good condition throughout the year.

Ewanrigg Botanical Garden is noted for its wide collection of indigenous and exotic plants and is one of the world's largest aloe and cycad gardens. It has a calm and peaceful environment, scenic views and wide variety of plant species.

Ewanrigg Botanical Garden owes its origin to the late Mr. Harold Basil Christian. Mr. Christian came to the then Rhodesia in 1914 as a farmer. He later turned his attention to botany and horticulture.

It was in the field of botany and in the study of the genus aloe that he made many valuable scientific contributions.

Building on his success with aloes, he later turned his attention to a cycad collection.

In his garden which covered, 1,5 hectares, a very comprehensive collection of aloes, cycads and many species of small succulent plants was acquired - all of which were planted with considerable care and particular attention to their physical arrangement.

Some months prior to his death in 1950, he donated his garden with some additional land to the Governement. The cultivated area was very small, comprising some 1.6ha.

During the past 40 years, considerable development has been made. When the garden was eventually opened to the public and became widely known throughout the region, the need for expansion was identified in order to capture the interest of visitors throughout the year.

With this in mind many hectares of land were brought under cultivation incorporating several features that include spacious lawns with grouped trees and shrubs, a water garden and collections of cactii and bougainvillea.

Progress made over the past few years has brought 100 hectares under cultivation.

Ewanrigg has become widely known abroad and possibly the most favourable outcome of Mr. Christian's work has been the garden's capacity to create meaningful plant specie exchanges with other botanical gardens and numerous plant collectors as well as to create a richly endowed botanical habitat for both indigenous and exotic species.

Ewanrigg has now become one of the largest aloe and cycad gardens in the world.

The area is predominantly a habitat for the indigenous miombo wooodland, which is the most common in the garden, with brachstagia species and parinari species appearing here and there.

Exotic species have also been introduced in the landscaped regions of the Garden.

Picnic Site

The serene, calm and scenic environment of the gardens make Ewanrigg an ideal picnicking area. The sites are well serviced with ablution facilities, braai stands and water points.

For those that may need to sweat a little there is an open ground where visitors can play volleyball and many other ball games.

Activities

Garden viewing - aloe viewing is ideal from May to September when the aloes are in bloom

Winter time bird watching - aloes and cycads attract a wide variety of bird species.

When in bloom, aloes and cycads become a special fascination for sunbirds, which at times concentrate in large numbers to obtain nectar

Bird watchers should make this a key port of call

- Picnicking

- Photographing

- Walks - guided and unguided

However, an increasing number of foreign airlines are flying into Harare these days.

They include South African Airways with direct flights from Johannesburg. Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, Kenya Airways from Nairobi, TAAG Angola Airlines from Luanda and Egypt Air from Cairo via Dar es Salaam and KLM from Amsterdam.

Taxis from the airport to the main hotels cost $25. This exhorbitant fixed price, given the relatively short distance and great age of the taxis, is attributed by the drivers to the high fees that they have to pay to the airport authority.

Bulawayo sees departures three times a week at 8PM, arriving next morning around 8AM. $12 for a sleeper and $10 for a seat.

Trains from Mutare at the border with Mozambique runs three times a week departing Mutare also at 9PM, arrival time in Harare is early morning at 6AM. $7 for 1st class sleeper. $5 for 2nd class sleeper.

There are currently no international trains to Harare except occasional cruise trains.

Harare railway station is located on Kenneth Kaunda Ave, just south of the city centre.

A good road from Johannesburg allows easy access. However, be careful of the sometimes frightening drops at the side of the roads, at the edge of the tarmac, particularly with oncoming trucks at night. In fact, night driving is not advised.

Buses from Johannesburg are easily available ranging from Eagle Liner (for R330). Greyhound (for R450) and Intercape (R420). The bus takes between 16-24 hours. Delays at the border are very common and typically range 3-8 h, but they can be as much as 20 h at Christmas time.

Intercape, which has the largest intercity network in southern Africa also have buses from Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, and Bulawayo.

Most ordinary long-distance bus services arrive at the Mbare Terminal, located 3 km southwest of the Central district. The terminal itself is giant, hectic, confusing, and dangerous.

There are several disconnected regions of the terminal, and finding something as simple as a taxi can require walking over 500 m through markets and alleys.

Although minibuses to Mbare depart from the 4th Street Terminal in Central located at 4th and Mugabe, it may be worth taking a taxi, which will be able to find a bus to your destination for you.

Luxury buses including Eagle Liner/Greyhound/Intercape arrive and depart from the modern Roadport terminal at 5th & Mugabe.

Harare is very spread out. The best option to get around is by car, which is easier now that dollarization has made fuel shortages a thing of the past. Fuel is freely available at most outlets for cash or through a coupon system.

Most operators now import fuel by themselves and prices are independently set. Most service stations close at around p.m. although there are a number that offer 24-hour service.

Taxis: in 4+1 style taxis, it is very common to fit as many as 8 people inside. Rides around town should cost about $5 for the entire cab at night, typically $2 or $3 during the day, unless you are going to the suburbs. Make sure you negotiate the price before you get inside the car

Minibus taxis are readily available with frequent services between central and all suburbs. Ask around for the terminal for your destination. Typically the fare is about $0.50c.

There is a strong appreciation for the city's cultural and historical heritage and a number of the older buildings have been preserved.

The Mining Pension Fund Building at Central Avenue and Second Street is one example and many more are to be found along Robert Mugabe Road between Second Street and Julius Nyerere Way.

National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Houses not only a valuable and interesting national collection but also hosts travelling international exhibitions and has a permanent display of some outstanding Shona soft-stone carvings.

National Heroes Arc.

National Archives. Houses a priceless collection of Rhodesiana and Africana in the form of diaries, notebooks and reports of various origins. Some of the original works of some of the greatest names in African exploration and missionary can be viewed.

Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences. Formerly the Queen Victoria Museum.

Harare City Library. Formerly the Queen Victoria Memorial Library

The Kopje. A granite hill rising above the southwest corner of central Harare, is a great place to go for views of the city.

Chapungu Sculpture Park. The vast number of rocks of black serpentine stone found around Zimbabwe, and noticeable even as you drive in from the airport, have encouraged the development of stone carvings by Zimbabwe's talented artists.

This large area has exhibitions by numerous artists.

Harare Botanical Gardens, Sandringham Dr. 68ha and hosts more than 900 species of wild trees and shrubs from all over the country.

Mukuvisi Woodlands, Hillside Rd, 277 hectares of remarkably preserved natural woodland that straddles the banks of the small Mukuvisi stream. A variety of bird and of wild animal species such as giraffe, zebra, impala, tsessche, wildebeest, bushbuck, steenbuck, reed buck and eland can be viewed.

All purchases in larger stores are made with US dollars, which is the national currency.

Anything made locally is inexpensive. Packets of Zimbabwe cigarettes cost $0.50. Everything that is imported is relatively expensive compared to South Africa. Cans of Coca-cola typically cost $1, for example.

If you want to experience shopping the way it is traditionally done in many African countries, you could stroll around at the open flea-market at Mbare.

Here tourists could feast their eyes on a colourful array of baskets, food, clothing and other items.

ATMs give US dollars. The ATMs at Ecobank, Stanbic, Standard Charted will accept most international Visa or Master cards'

Eastgate Centre, Robert Mugabe Rd. One of the largest shopping malls in Harare, centrally located.

Spar Supermarkets. there are 64 Spar stores all over Zimbabwe.

TM-Pick N Pay Supermarkers. there are over 50 TM-Pick N Pay stores all over Zimbabwe.

OK Supermarkets. there are over 50 OK stores in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's staple food is Sadza: a thick white porridge a bit like mashed potato, that's made from corn (maize) meal. It's eaten at every meal, accompanied by vegetables or meat in some form.

In Harare there are many westernised restaurants serving European or American style food, but far more exciting are the outdoor cafes:

Cafe espresso on Cork Road, Avondale, Harare has a brilliantly landscaped garden and a wifi spot - excellent coffees
40 Cork Road, Avondale, Harare is an outdoor cafe, art gallery, and sculpture garden. Very much the place to be seen.

167 Enterprise Road, Chisipite, Harare - an old house converted into a restaurant with a huge garden with a pool, an art shop, gallery etc.

With the dollarisation of the economy, there has been a big increase in the number of restaurants and coffee shops in Harare. The Zimbabwe Tourism website has also recently been upgraded.

Amanzi Restaurant, 158 Enterprise Road, Highlands. Generally considered Harare's best restaurant, Amanzi is a long ($10-15 each way) drive out of town into the upmarket suburbs but worth it. A booking is essential, or you probably will not get past the gatekeeper.

2 Coimbra, 61 Selous Avenue, corner 7th St,$5 taxi ride from the main hotels. This Portuguese restaurant has invested little in the decor but that is no problem. You go for the food, not the wall decorations, and the food is very good. Quick Service - Half a Chicken and Chips only $10 $25.

Try Chibuku, a popular local beer. It comes in "scuds" - large 2 litre brown plastic containers. The beer is lumpy and opaque beige, but is good and painfully cheap.

Shake-shake is prepackaged sorghum beer brewed in the traditional African style and is very thick and filling, and comes in milk cartons.

The locally brewed Castle, Lion, Zambesi and Bohlingers are definitely worth trying.

Harare has a vibrant club scene that goes on until the early hours.

Stars, located next to the Rainbow hotel, is a high class bar/club/lounge that plays hip hop and house music. It can be expensive but a lot of fun.

Symphony is a hip hop club/lounge very similar to Stars.

Globe Trotters, also known as GT, is a much less expensive club.

Balcony is very similar to Globe Trotters.

Beverlino Restaurant, 100 Nelson Mandela Corner Fourth/Nelson Mandela (Opposite Quality International Hotel. Beverlino Restaurant, well known for its baskets, offered a wide range of food and beverages prepared to your taste.

Wherever, you are in town, the warm savoury food will be brought to your door step. Place an order for food now.

The city boasts an internationally recognized 5 star hotel (The Meikles Hotel), but also has a significant number of three to four star hotels that offer affordable accommodation without compromising on quality.

These include The Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, The Cresta Lodge and The Holiday Inn. There is now only one cheap backpackers lodge. Harare also has quite a number of bed and breakfast/guest houses, mostly set in former residential houses with extensive gardens.

Small World Backpackers Lodge, five avenue and Ninth street in down town Harare. and At the corner of Ridge and Argyle in Avondale.

It costs $12 per person in the dorm and $7 per person camping. some private rooms are available. the only backpacker hostel in Harare. $7/$12.

Bowood Lodge, est House, 8, Gu Bowood Road, Mount Pleasant, North Harare, has 4 double rooms. It is set in beautiful grounds and has internet and a pool.

Very peaceful. Costs are around $75 per night for bed & breakfast. Evening meals are also available.

Cresta Oasis, Nelson Mandela Way. Three-star hotel just to the east of the Central Business District (walkable during the day, not advisable at night). Around $100.

Simba Harare, est House, 522, Gu Westgate, New Adyllin, North Harare, has 8 double rooms, and a large swimming pool. Own water supply (borehole) and el (Solar energy). Internet. Safe.

Costs are from $20 per night (cabin) to $ 50(Main House) for bed & breakfast.Larger groups have been accommodated. Airport pickup arranged per request.

1 Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, 54 Park Ln, Northwest corner of the Central Business District. Backing onto the Harare Gardens park, this moon-shaped hotel provides comfortable accommodation.

2 Holiday Inn, Samora Machel Ave.

3 Meikles Hotel, Jason Moyo Avenue,Next to Africa Unity Square. Despite the problems experienced in Zimbabwe in recent years Meikles has managed to maintain its standards as one of Africa's best hotels.

All the usual amenities and excellent service. Prices start at $200 per night.

WiFi is available around the city provided by private from as little one as 1 USD

Walking around the town after dark should be avoided. If you leave your hotel to visit restaurants, take a taxi.

Epworth Balancing Rocks are located on Chiremba Road, 10km Southwest of Central. Looks for the signs on the left. 4th Street Terminal has frequent minibus services to the Balacing Rocks--the driver will know where to let you out.

Be careful of your personal safety inside the park. The cost is between $2 and $10 per person depending on the situation.

The condition of the roads in Zimbabwe has deteriorated dramatically in recent years since the government has failed to maintain them. Most of the country is now without street lights.

The main highways are still in a good state of repair outside of the cities: traffic is so light now that damage from trucks is minimal. You should be all right without a 4x4 unless you head into rural areas and game parks.

If you enter from South Africa, be sure that your insurance waiver is valid for travel in Zimbabwe.



Tourism Observer