Many parts of Zimbabwe, especially the Hwange and Kariba areas, recorded much higher than average rainfall this season, so the country will be a great safari destination for 2000.
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Harare with a population of over 1.6 million,is the heart of the nation
in nearly every respect. The city was bequeathed a distinctly European flavour by
its colonisers,and it continues as Zimbabwe's showpiece city and centre of commerce,
with high-rise buildings, traffic and all their attendant bustle.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is the final word on African art and material culture..
Its displays range from earthy African art to colonial and post-colonial painting and sculpture.
Harare Gardens, the city's largest park, has music at the bandstand on weekends,
and an island-like stand of rainforest which contains a miniature model of Victoria Falls
and the Zambezi Gorges. Much of Harare's activity focuses on Mbare musika,
5km south of the centre, Zimbabwe's largest market and busiest bus terminal.
The Kopje, a granite hill rising above the south-west corner of central Harare,
is a great place to go for views of the city.Central Harare is compact,
making it a breeze to get around on foot.Cheaper shops and hotels and
much of Harare's nightlife is concentrated just west of the trendy central shopping area.
The Kopje area is the best place to look for a pungwe,
an all night drinking and dancing performance by top musicians.
Bulawayo,the second major city of Zimbabwe once home to the dynasty of fabled Ndebele kings which finally came to grief at the hands of the white settlers at the turn of the century. With a population of half a million, Bulawayo is a spacious and attractive city,Laid out on a grid of boulevards designed to be so wide that they would allow a team of sixteen oxen to turn full circle. The city is proud of its grand old buildings, and allocates substantial funds to keep them maintained.
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The city has countered an alarming increase in violent crime by drastically increasing its police force and posting officers on virtally every street corner. There are still problems - especially in quieter areas - but things have vastly improved. However, never walk around the city alone, keep off the streets altogether at night and only use official taxis. Also be aware that Chancellor Ave (a short stretch of the street known in the city as Seventh St and further out as Borrowdale Rd) is the site of the Executive President's residence and the State House. It's off limits and barricaded between 6 pm and 6 am. Don't wander in there between these hours; the guards are under orders to fire without questioning.