A Woman Standing Under the Tree

Discover Harare / Zimbabwe as Solo Traveller.

Exploring Harare: A Guide for Woman Solo Travelers

Introduction

Welcome to Harare, the vibrant capital city of Zimbabwe! With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes, Harare is a fascinating destination for adventurous women who love to travel solo. In this comprehensive guide, I will share my personal experiences and tips to ensure that your trip to Harare is not only safe but also incredibly enjoyable. So pack your bags, put on your adventurous spirit, and get ready to explore this incredible city!

Getting There and Getting Around

Arriving in Harare

Most women solo travelers reach Harare by flying into the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. The airport is well-connected to major international cities and offers a range of transportation options to the city center. Upon arrival, I recommend pre-arranging a reliable airport transfer service or using reputable taxis to ensure a safe and hassle-free journey to your accommodation.

Navigating Harare

Harare has a reliable public transportation system comprising buses and minibusses, commonly known as “kombis.” While these options are affordable and provide a local experience, it’s important to exercise caution, especially during rush hours, and avoid overcrowded vehicles. Alternatively, you can opt for ride-sharing services or rent a car from trusted rental agencies to have more flexibility and convenience.

Where to Stay

Safe and Welcoming Accommodation Options

When it comes to accommodation in Harare, there are plenty of safe and welcoming options that cater specifically to solo female travelers. From budget-friendly hostels to boutique hotels, Harare offers a range of choices to suit every traveler’s preferences. Opting for centrally located accommodations such as Newlands, Avondale, or Westgate will ensure easy access to major attractions and enhance your overall convenience and security.

Connecting with Other Female Travelers

If you’re interested in connecting with fellow female travelers and exchanging experiences, staying in female-only hostels like “She-n-She” or “Ladies Haven” is a wonderful option. These accommodations not only provide a comfortable stay but also facilitate a supportive and empowering environment for solo women travelers.

Must-See Attractions

Exploring the Cultural Heritage

Harare is a city full of vibrant cultural heritage and history. Be sure to visit the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, where you can appreciate the impressive collection of African art. The Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences is also worth a visit, as it showcases the country’s rich archaeological and anthropological history. Additionally, the Chapungu Sculpture Park provides a unique opportunity to admire beautiful stone sculptures created by local artists.

Discovering Natural Landscapes

Nature lovers will be delighted to explore the lush green spaces and natural landscapes within the city. The Harare Gardens, known as the “Green Lung,” offer a serene escape from the bustling city life. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, enjoy a peaceful picnic, or simply soak in the beautiful scenery. Another must-visit is the Mukuvisi Woodlands, a conservation area where you can spot wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, and antelopes, in their natural habitat.

Safety Tips for Woman Solo Travelers

Blend In

While exploring Harare, it’s essential to blend in with the local culture and dress modestly. Wearing appropriate attire will not only respect local customs but also minimize unwanted attention.

Stay Alert and Trust Your Instincts

As with any travel destination, it’s crucial to stay alert and trust your instincts. Avoid walking alone at night in poorly lit areas, and always let someone know your itinerary and plans for the day.

Connect with Locals and Fellow Travelers

Harare is known for its warm and friendly locals. Engaging with them will not only enhance your experience but also provide valuable insights into the city’s culture and traditions. Consider joining local guided tours or connecting with other travelers through online platforms, such as travel forums or social media groups.

Utilize Reliable Transportation Services

To ensure safety during your exploration, make use of reliable transportation services such as reputable taxis or ridesharing applications. Avoid boarding overcrowded public transportation, especially during peak hours.

Conclusion

Harare offers an enchanting blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for women traveling solo. By following the safety tips, connecting with fellow travelers, and immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll create unforgettable memories while exploring this dynamic city. So, embrace your wanderlust, step out of your comfort zone, and get ready for an incredible adventure in Harare!

Accommodation Options for Woman Solo Travellers in Harare

1. Meikles Hotel

Luxury hotel located in the city center with comfortable rooms and excellent amenities.

2. Rainbow Towers Hotel

Modern hotel offering spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and a variety of dining options.

3. Bronte Hotel

Quaint hotel known for its charming atmosphere and personalized service.

4. Cresta Lodge

Mid-range hotel with comfortable rooms and a range of facilities including a swimming pool and restaurant.

5. New Ambassador Hotel

Affordable hotel offering basic amenities, suitable for budget-conscious travelers.

6. Airbnb Listings

Various accommodation options available through Airbnb that cater to solo travelers.

7. Camping or Caravan Options

Unfortunately, there are limited camping or caravan options within the city of Harare. It is recommended to explore nearby national parks or camping sites for such accommodations.

Must-See Places in Harare

1. National Gallery of Zimbabwe

Explore Zimbabwean and African art at this renowned gallery located in Harare.

2. Harare Gardens

A scenic park with well-manicured lawns, beautiful flowers, and a serene environment for relaxation or picnics.

3. Mbare Musika Market

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling market, known for its wide range of fresh produce, arts, and crafts.

4. Chapungu Sculpture Park

Discover impressive stone sculptures created by Zimbabwean artists within a tranquil park setting.

5. Parliament of Zimbabwe

Take a guided tour of the parliament building to learn about Zimbabwe’s political system and history.

6. Mukuvisi Woodlands

Enjoy nature walks, game drives, and horse riding in this protected woodland area, home to various wildlife species.

7. Amanzi Trail and Canopy Walkway

Embark on an exciting adventure through the forest, crossing Zimbabwe’s longest canopy walkway and enjoying panoramic views.

8. National Heroes Acre

Visit this monument and burial place honoring fallen national heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

9. Epworth Balancing Rocks

Marvel at the mysterious rock formations that have become an iconic symbol of Zimbabwe’s natural beauty.

10. Domboshawa Rocks

Hike to the top of these ancient granite rocks for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Note: It is advisable to check the current safety conditions and any travel advisories before visiting these places.

Favorite Foods to Eat in Harare

1. Sadza

Sadza is a staple food in Zimbabwe and is commonly eaten in Harare. It is made from finely ground maize meal cooked with water to form a thick porridge-like consistency. Sadza is typically enjoyed with a variety of relishes such as beef, chicken, fish, or vegetables. It has a neutral flavor that complements the rich and flavorful accompaniments. Sadza is a satisfying and filling meal that is loved by locals and visitors alike.

2. Mazondo Stew

Mazondo stew is a popular dish in Harare, made from slow-cooked beef trotters or cow hooves. The trotters are first cleaned and then simmered with spices, tomatoes, onions, and other aromatic ingredients for several hours until the meat is tender and flavorful. The resulting stew is rich, gelatinous, and packed with delicious flavors. Mazondo stew is often served with sadza or rice, providing a hearty and satisfying meal.

3. Dovi

Dovi is a peanut butter-based stew that is commonly enjoyed in Harare. It is made by cooking chicken or beef with peanut butter, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of spices. The combination of the creamy peanut butter and savory flavors from the meat creates a delicious and unique taste. Dovi is usually served with sadza or rice, making it a popular and flavorful meal in Harare.

4. Bota

Bota is a traditional breakfast dish in Harare. It is a thick, porridge-like dish made from maize meal, water, and sometimes sugar. The mixture is cooked on a stove until it thickens and is then served hot. Bota is often enjoyed with milk, butter, or a variety of toppings such as peanut butter, syrup, or jam. It is a simple yet comforting breakfast option that provides a good start to the day.

5. Muriwo Unedovi

Muriwo Unedovi, also known as “greens with peanut butter,” is a popular vegetable dish in Harare. It typically consists of cooked leafy greens such as collard greens or spinach, mixed with peanut butter, tomatoes, onions, and spices. The peanut butter adds a rich, nutty flavor to the greens, making them even more delicious. Muriwo Unedovi is often served as a side dish alongside sadza or rice, providing a nutritious and flavorful addition to a meal.

6. Kapenta

Kapenta is a small freshwater fish that is a popular delicacy in Harare. The fish are usually salted and dried before being cooked. They are often fried or stewed with tomatoes, onions, and spices to create a flavorful dish. The crispy texture and savory taste of kapenta make it a sought-after food in Harare, often enjoyed with sadza or rice.

Daily costs for solo travellers in Harare

Food

– Street food: $3-5 per meal
– Local restaurants: $8-12 per meal
– Mid-range restaurants: $15-20 per meal
– Groceries (if cooking own meals): $15-20 per day

Stay

– Budget accommodation (hostels, guesthouses): $15-30 per night
– Mid-range hotels: $40-70 per night
– Luxury hotels: $80 and above per night

Transportation

– Public bus: $0.50-1 for a single trip
– Taxis: $5-10 for short distances within the city
– Car rental: $50-70 per day (excluding fuel)

Safety for woman solo travellers in Harare

General Safety

Harare, in general, is considered relatively safe for woman solo travellers. However, it is always important to exercise caution and follow standard safety precautions.

Transportation Safety

– Make sure to use licensed taxis or reputable ride-hailing services for transport.
– Avoid traveling alone at night, especially in poorly lit or isolated areas.

Accommodation Safety

– Choose accommodation with good security measures, such as CCTV cameras, secure entrances, and 24-hour staff.
– Avoid sharing personal information with strangers and lock your valuables in a safe.

Street Safety

– Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
– Avoid displaying expensive items or large amounts of cash in public.
– Try to blend in with the local culture and dress modestly.

Emergency Contacts

– Harare Central Police Station: +263 4 777 777
– Harare Central Hospital: +263 4 751 461

Please note that conditions may vary, and it is always recommended to research and stay updated on the current safety situation before traveling to any destination.