Top Things to Do in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo - Source wikipedia

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, has a history dating back to its late 1800s trading town origins. Now, it’s a thriving metropolis with a population exceeding 600,000.

Popular for its rapid growth and historical significance, Bulawayo houses landmarks like the Ndebele Royal Kraal, Bulawayo Railway Museum, and Khami Ruins. It also features parks, gardens, and quality restaurants and hotels.

The city offers various activities, catering to different interests. Highlights include the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Natural History Museum, and Khami ruins.

Discover Bulawayo Town

Discover Bulawayo Town
Top Things to Do in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe 9

Bulawayo, situated in western Zimbabwe, offers numerous attractions for both new and seasoned visitors. The city boasts top-notch museums, beautiful parks, and cultural experiences.

Bulawayo is a lively and inviting city with a well-maintained city center, serving as a convenient gateway to other Zimbabwean regions.

The city houses various educational institutions, including the National University of Science and Technology and several technology institutes and vocational training centers.

Bulawayo is home to the National History Museum of Zimbabwe, the country’s largest museum emphasizing African history. Additionally, the city features other museums showcasing old carriages, trains, and more.

Art enthusiasts can explore several galleries, such as the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, displaying sculptures, basketry, and beadwork. For souvenirs, visit the Fazak Gift Centre.

Explore The Matobo National Park

Explore The Matobo National Park
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Matobo National Park, established in 1926, lies in southern Bulawayo. Cecil Rhodes bequeathed the park, which hosts diverse wildlife, including leopards, black eagles, and black and white rhinos.

The park serves as an Intensive Protection Zone for rhinoceroses, housing nearly extinct species. Its dams support varied vegetation.

Matobo National Park is renowned for rock art paintings and is the burial site of Cecil Rhodes. The park’s wildlife includes giraffes, Cape Eagles, rock hyraxes, and black and white rhinos.

Guided walking tours and pony trails are available for visitors to explore the park and observe animals closely.

Stop By The Natural History Museum

Stop By The Natural History Museum - Source wikipedia
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The Natural History Museum in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, offers captivating exhibits on the country’s history and mineral resources. Noteworthy features include dioramas with mounted specimens, an artistic insect display in the Hall of Invertebrates, and a 120-seat lecture hall.

The museum houses one of the world’s largest bird specimen collections and an impressive gemstone collection. It also provides a cafeteria and library for visitors.

Find the museum on Leopold Takawira Avenue in a circular, four-story building, with most research departments on the lower floor.

Explore The Khami Ruins

Explore The Khami Ruins - Source wikipedia
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The Khami Ruins, near Bulawayo, is a World Heritage Site with historical and cultural significance. Once a major capital and trade center of a pre-colonial Shona state, it was linked to Swahili ports on Africa’s east coast. Archaeological finds suggest it was one of the region’s largest trade centers.

Key features of the ruins include stone platforms, dry stone walls, and three-tiered platforms. The northern area contains a chief’s residence (mambo). The Hill Complex has artificial stone platforms, hut platforms, and circular platforms, with cord and chequer decorations in the western parts. An elaborately decorated wall is also present.

The site also includes the Precipice Ruins and the Cross Ruin, known for its mysterious stone Dominican cross. Several earthen houses can be found on the site.

Visit Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and Research Centre

Visit Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and Research Centre - Source wikipedia
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Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and Research Centre in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, is a nonprofit animal rescue center providing sanctuary to various animals while offering educational opportunities for children. The center, situated on 60 ha of land, also serves as a research and breeding facility, caring for hundreds of animals.

Attractions include the Barry Wilson Aviary, housing diverse bird species such as flamingos, owls, eagles, monkeys, and peacocks. The center offers a volunteer program for individuals and families, involving animal care, enrichment ideas, and construction work, with benefits like orphanage tours, Animal Time, and Matopos National Park exploration.

Do Not Miss The Tshabalala Game Sanctuary

Koure Giraffe Reserve
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Tshabalala Game Sanctuary, situated in Bulawayo’s thorny bushveld, is an affordable and attractive green space offering over 50 vacation rentals, a restaurant, and a gift shop. Nature enthusiasts can explore nearby national parks, such as Hwange National Park.

The National Art Gallery and Queens Sports Club are located in the same area, providing cultural and sporting activities. The city features multiple stadia and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, all accessible on foot. Tshabalala Game Sanctuary is 10 kilometers from the city center with a nominal entrance fee.

Do Not Miss The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo

Do Not Miss The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo
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The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, established in 1957, aims to preserve and promote contemporary art and visual heritage. It offers a gallery shop, a non-circulating library focused on African Modern Art, and educational programs for the public.

The gallery invites proposals for self-funded curatorial projects, international exhibitions, and artist residencies, particularly encouraging artists from SADC to apply.

Currently, the gallery presents the POWERPLAY group exhibition, showcasing digital media, moving image, and technology artists from 15 August – 26 September at the arebyte Gallery in Bulawayo.

A virtual reality version will also be displayed at the National Gallery in Harare. The gallery features studios for observing local artists at work and a sculpture garden.

Explore The Hillside Dams Conservancy In Bulawayo

Hillside Dams in Bulawayo is a national monument, favored by King Lobengula Khumalo, Zimbabwe’s founding father. The area became a national monument in 1942 and offers a pleasant day out with a walking trail around the dam, picnic spots, and a caf√©.

The site features free entry, a viewing deck, a small museum, a zipline, canoeing, and a giant trampoline for children. Built in 1895 by Rhodesian settlers, the water supply system was completed in January 1898, with Hillside Dams being the first bird sanctuary in the country.

Conclusion

Bulawayo, with its rapid growth from a small trading town to a bustling city, offers a rich history and various attractions for tourists.

Highlights include Matopos National Park, ancient river valleys with granite boulders and caves, Sengwa Sculptors’ rock art, the Munhumutapa Empire, Victoria Falls, and Lake Kariba’s wildlife.

The city provides vibrant nightlife, excellent restaurants, historical sites, and museums, ensuring a diverse range of activities for all visitors.

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