Our Sunshine City - Harare
Zimbabwe’s capital Harare is acclaimed as The Sunshine City and several renowned organisations have rated its climate as among the best – if not THE best - in the world. A modern, tree-lined metropolis of 1.6m people it has wide streets, tall buildings and a vibrant soul.
Meikles Hotel commands a primary location in the heart of the city overlooking the lush gardens and trees of Africa Unity Square.
You’ll discover abundant night life in night clubs, theatres, cinemas and a remarkable diversity of quality restaurants and pubs. It’s a cosmopolitan hub with many embassies, NGOs and foreign companies providing an international flavour.
Harare is Zimbabwe’s commercial, administrative and communications centre and the trade centre for agriculture, whose main products are tobacco, maize, cotton and citrus fruits. Gold and diamonds are also mined. The city has a pleasant sub-tropical climate and the average year-round temperature is 18 C – low for the tropics but that’s due to its high altitude and the prevalence of a cool south-easterly airflow.
A striking feature of Harare is the spectacular canopy of flamboyant and jacaranda trees, the bouquet of trendy restaurants, modern shopping malls and the booming cottage industry of coffee shops.
Importantly, after the business is done, Harare is just an hour’s direct flight to our Natural Wonder of the World destination, Victoria Falls – a “must-see” in your lifetime and World Heritage Site. Here the supreme place to stay is the acclaimed, century-old Victoria Falls Hotel, an elegant five-star masterpiece that commands a superb vista of the famous bridge and spray of the falls.
Here’s a snapshot of some captivating things to do, see, experience in and near Harare:
Chapungu Sculpture Park
One of the many fine homes to collections of Shona stone sculpture for which Zimbabwe has become globally renowned. Many of the abstract figures are carved from the spiritual world and have deep cultural meanings. Chapungu was founded in 1970 and displays the works of Zimbabwe’s most talented sculptors. www.chapungusculpturepark.com
Wild is Life
A private animal sanctuary located five minutes from the airport, dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild orphans. It’s a free-roaming sanctuary where most animals roam unhindered, though lions and cheetah are accommodated in large pens. Visitors enjoy an exclusive guided tour, including hands-on encounters with various species, and an end-of-day sunset melody of champagne cocktails, lions roaring, cheetahs purring and surrounded by an array of gentle antelope. Visits are strictly by appointment only and this is an excellent venue for groups of any size – perfect for a conference getaway function. www.wildislife.com
Bally Vaughan Animal Sanctuary
A pleasant 45-minute drive out of Harare where you will experience a strange and wonderful variety of animals from civets to marmosets and lions to zorse. The sanctuary cares for injured, orphaned, abused and unwanted animals and, since 1992, has rescued countless animals. Some return to the wild; others find a permanent home at Bally Vaughan. Open every day except Monday 0900 -1700. Fascinating and well worthwhile.
Imire Safari Ranch
Want to see an endangered black rhino? Imire is a special and famous place in Zimbabwe, just 105km east of Harare for an enthralling day out or even an overnight in rustic lodges. This fertile area was once rich in wildlife, but commercial farming changed that – the wildlife was hunted and the land used for cattle and cropping. In 1992 Norman Travers of Imire decided to try to restore some of the wildlife and thus Imire was born and today is home to the world-renowned Black Rhino Breeding Station. It also offers a home to young orphaned elephants
Lion & Cheetah Park
A sanctuary for lion, cheetah, the largest and oldest Galapagos tortoise in Zimbabwe and a variety of other animals, just 23km out of Harare.
Mbizi Game Park
Just 10km from Harare International Airport where you may go on game walks, drives, boat cruises,, horse riding, canoeing and fishing.
Mukuvisi Woodland Nature Reserve
Just 5km from the centre of the city on 263 hectares of natural miombo woodland the reserve provides environmental education and non-intrusive recreational facilities for the public. Book a horse ride as a fine way to experience the reserve.
Kuimba Shiri Bird Park
Established over 20 years ago it is Zimbabwe’s only bird park and is open daily from 0800 and is 28km from Harare. This is home to a variety of orphaned, injured and abandoned indigenous and exotic birds. There’s a birds of prey display each day at 4pm.
If you have limited time in Harare but would like to touch the wilds then we highly recommend Antelope Park. It’s a four-hour journey by road to the city of Gweru and to experience the world famous ALERT lion rehabilitation and release programme. Walk with the lions, ride thro0ugh the wilderness on elephant back, canoe the scenic lake and observe some superb wildlife.
Stay in an exclusive en-suite chalet or tent and experience one of southern Africa’s most intriguing destinations.
Wonderful scenic walks and climbing amongst the rocks just outside Harare.
History & Culture
The National Museums & Monuments
Located on the edge of the city, at 107 Rotten Row, and well worth a visit. A short taxi ride from Meikles.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe
In the centre of the city this is Zimbabwe’s main art and culture gallery. A 10-minute walk from Meikles.
Harare has four active Rotary clubs operating Mondays and Tuesdays for luncheons; Wednesdays for breakfast (Senior Citizens) and Thursdays at 18h00. Contact: +263-4-795415, +263-4-498946. www.hararecbdrotaryclub.org
Patrick Mavros Silver Sculptures
The workshop and showroom of Zimbabwe's famous carver and silver sculptor near Harare are well worth a visit - highly recommended. Since creating a pair of silver ear-rings more than 30 years ago for his bride-to-be Patrick Mavros has emerged as a distinguished international figure and his flagship store is in Chelsea, London.
Read the fascinating Patrick Mvros story, view a gallery of his pieces at www.patrickmavros.com and ask our guest services about arranging a visit to his Harare workshops, showroom and family homestead.
Ask the concierge to check what’s on at the well-established REPS Theatre as they produce a string of acclaimed productions well worth seeing. A 10-minute taxi ride from Meikles. www.reps.co.zw
There’s a modern cinema in the shopping mall complex adjacent to Meikles, a two-minute walk away.
There’s a late-night buzz at Meikles in the Explorer’s Pub, but off-property you might like to visit night clubs and restaurants such as H20 and Mekka in Borrowdale Village) or jazz clubs.
Harare has long been acclaimed for its plethora of championship golf courses and we highly recommend Royal Harare, Borrowdale Brooke and Chapman as top of the range – the two first mentioned are a 10-minute drive from Meikles. Other worthy courses include Wingate Park and Country Club. Visitor fees are very reasonable and amongst the lowest in the world for such high quality courses. Due to its fine weather and courses Zimbabwe has produced a string of international stars over the years, including former world No 1 and multiple major championship winner Nick Price.
Harare’s Sunshine Climate
Harare blesses visitors with a pleasant sub-tropical highland climate with an annual average temperature of 17.95 C – low for the tropics but because of the city’s altitude (1,490m/4,890ft). There are three main seasons – warm and wet (November-March); cool and dry (April-August); hot and dry (September- October).
The average rainfall is 825mm and very little (if any!) rain typically falls during the period May to September. The climate supports a natural vegetation of open woodland, with the wine-red msasa the most common indigenous tree. Two South American species (the jacaranda and the flamboyant), which were introduced during the colonial era, contribute to the city’s vibrant colour palette, especially in October/November.
Check Harare weather here.