With its tree lined avenues, spacious parks and colonial architecture, Bulawayo is one of Africa’s most attractive cities. While it was founded by a Ndebele king, the city has also been invaded by the British South Africa Company and colonised by Cecil Rhodes. This diverse history has led to an eclectic mix of colonial charm and African culture. Bulawayo sits in south-west Zimbabwe and, for most travellers, serves as a gateway to Matobo National Park, Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.
Things to do in Bulawayo
If the Big Five are on your African itinerary, Bulawayo is a great base for safaris to Matobo National Park. In addition to the dramatic rock formations and Stone Age cave art, the park is also home to lions, leopards, elephants, zebras and more.
Just west of Bulawayo are the ruins of 15th-century Khami. You can visit the ancient city in person or check out artefacts at the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe. Housing a fantastic collection of steam engines and carriages, the Bulawayo Railway Museum is another top attraction.
With a great gift store and elegant cafe, the National Art Gallery showcases the crème de la crème of Zimbabwean talent. You can also chat to artists at the gallery’s in-house studios.
Downtown Bulawayo is full of charm, with a fantastic lineup of restaurants, cafes and bars to explore. The best of these are housed in grand colonial buildings complete with sunny courtyards, gleaming hardwood floors and lush gardens.
Getting around Bulawayo
By day, Bulawayo’s city centre is compact and walkable. If you’d rather not walk there are always plenty of taxis cruising the streets. Tour operators can help organise safaris to Matobo National Park, Khami and other day-trip destinations. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport is short 25-minute drive out of town.