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Bulawayo

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Matabeleland : Bulawayo
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Bulawayo is in Zimbabwe. It is the second-largest city in the country, after the capital Harare, and until recently was Zimbabwe's industrial capital. It is a relaxed, elegant city with tree-lined boulevards and an air of shabby gentility. However, it is worth a day or two--you can find good shopping and a worthwhile movie. It means to slaughter. This is the place where Mzilikazi had his first capital and used to slaughter his enemies.

Get in[edit]

A train runs about once every day from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo. The trip takes about 14 h with expected delays and costs US$12 for first class and US$8 for second class--first-class generally has 4 bunks per compartment, second class generally has 6, but there are special "half compartments" with 2 and 3 bunks respectively. First class comes with bedding provided but not second class.

One should be aware that this train is usually without electricity, so a torch is a must, as after 18:00, it becomes quite dark inside of the train.

Minibus taxis run from the township outside Victoria Falls to Bulawayo in the very early morning and take approximately 7 h.

The two most commonly recommended bus companies running daily services from Johannesburg to Bulawayo are Intercape [1] and Greyhound [2]. The journey costs $40-50 on high quality luxury coaches. There are many other bus companies on the route. Bookings can be made online.

A daily bus runs between Gaborone and Bulawayo, operated by Seabelo Transport [3]. Call the office for more information, as it is not yet listed on their website.

Pathfinder[4] has a daily luxury coach service operating between Harare and Bulawayo. They also have a 3-times a week service between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo.

Get around[edit]

Taxis normally charge US$1 per km.

Local taxis are light blue. There are also many pickup trucks operating as taxis, primarily light blue but also white. A journey from the train station to the city centre should cost $4; you may be asked for at least $5. The city itself is fairly walkeable.

Bulawayo has an informal bus system using minibuses to take people around the city. A single journey costs R5 (five South African Rand).

See[edit][add listing]

  • National Art Gallery, Bulawayo, and its good art shop
  • Natural History Museum, that also has a historical section
  • The Train Museum with good historical exhibits. This includes Cecil Rhodes's private carriage. The cost is $1, and the old man running the show is friendly and eager to explain his museum.
  • Amakhosi Theatre Company

Do[edit][add listing]

The city's outdoor swimming pool is like something out of a 1920s movie, with its ranks of brightly painted changing booths. Lie on the grass and watch the cranes roost in the towering trees of the neighbouring botanic gardens.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Jairos Jiri Craftshop. selling craft from the network of disabled people - great place to go for baskets  edit
  • Aphrodisiac. nice local craft and art  edit
  • The Bulawayo Centre. A modern shopping centre with chic clothes shops, an internet cafe and a cinema.  edit
  • Ascot shopping center. has 1 supermarket & other general convenience shops, a restaurant and bar, and curios  edit
  • Zonkizizwe Shopping Complex (Bradfield Shopping Centre), Hillside Road (approx 300m after the Trade Fair along Hillside Road). the newly opened complex has a supermarket, bar, gift shop, botiques, nursery and several other interesting shops  edit
  • Haddon and Sly Mall, Fife Street, 8th and 9th Avenue (opposite the Small City Hall entrance). the Haddon and Sly Mall has a total of four floors which house a supermarket, gift shops, stationery shops, clothing boutiques, event management and coordination offices, restaurants  edit
  • Ivory Kraal, Stand 16377, Fife Street Extension, Doncaster Road, Belmont East, Bulawayo (Right off 23rd Avenue into Fife Street Extension, 200m passed Bathroom Boutique. Adjacent to Doncaster Industrial Park/Oasis Beverages and opposite Spin Weave), (09) 884 811/02. 8:30-16:00. "Treasures from Africa". An ideal place to purchase gifts and mementos of your trip. A curios shop with an array of beautiful African themed items. Everything from jewelry, wooden carvings, statuettes, cow-horn and warthog tusk items, paintings and pottery and more. Also stockists of honey jewelry and scarves. Exports are possible. Safe parking is available.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • The Pergola Restaurant, 22 Jaywick Road, Matsheumhlope, Bulawayo (Southern Comfort Lodge). Great Food and welcoming Staff wholesome affordable food.  edit
  • New Orleans Restaurant, Banff Road, Hillside. Classy, for Bulawayo. Has great staff and reasonable prices.  edit
  • Haefelli's Bakery., On Fife Street in Town: ask anyone for directions. Haefli's (pronounced hay-flees) offers a strange mix of food services. It is a bakery (offering various breads and pastries), it is a pizza shop (Pizza Inn), it offers ice cream (Creamy Inn), and sandwiches, mostly pre-made. It is a popular hang-out with the younger crowd and is open until 10pm. There are security guards at all hours. Alcoholic beverages are not served.  edit
  • Bonne journee. Not really French, but reasonable meals, in town  edit
  • K & S Restaurant, (Robert Mugabe Road—acoos the road from Cape to Cairo Restaurant). Cheap and tasty local food. $1 for Samza and Beans up to $5 for the best Samza and meat dishes, with a range of liver, hooves and other animal parts in between.  edit
  • Bulawayo Club, (Corner of 4th Street and 8th Avenue), [5]. Old fashioned club with a wood-panelled bar and an open-air atrium. Dinner is around $11, including a soup course. Must book in advance—-visit during the day or call 648689. Lunch is around $9 and does not require a reservation. Also a lovely place to go for a drink throughout the day.  edit
  • River Cafe, (on 12th Avenue after Bulawayo Athletic Club). Chill out in the garden, great witrth kids, and nice curio shop attached  edit
  • La Plaza, (on 12th Avenue after Bulawayo Athletic Club). A deli and coffee shop where you will find Mediterranean speciallties  edit
  • The Coffee Shoppe. Located in the National Gallery, a limited menu offers sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads. The food is freshly prepared and very good by the standards of Bulawayo. A wireless internet is available, but can only be accessed with local internet services offering with a pay as you go feature. The patio offers a pleasant spot for lunch and a number of local artists and ex-pats can be found there. It is only open for breakfast and lunch.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Cape to Cairo. on Takawira Avenue, a pub sometimes featuring live music and food is served.  edit
  • Cattleman Steakhouse, 12thAvenue/Josiah Tongogara Street. The restaurant is a long time Bulawayo favorite. Its slogan, "our reputation is at steak", says it all. It's a nice place serving beef, chicken and occasionally fish. It is the best steakhouse in Bulawayo..  edit
  • Horizons. Right in town, the new place to be in Bulawayo: a lounge atmosphere, swimming pool on a terrace, drinks and light meals.  edit
  • Brass Monkey, Zonkiziziwe Shooping Center. This is a large venue that has been a disco, a sports bar, a venue for weddings and private events, but is mostly closed. Currently it has been refurbished as the 'Food Lover's Market - Fruit & Veg City". Check it out, because from time to time it reopens.  edit
  • Cafe Baku, In the Bulawayo Center. Once a pleasant place for lunch and a drink, it is now mainly a late night disco with a noisy crowd in a fairly small space.  edit
  • Walkers Pub. Nice pub where you can relax and have a drink or two with friends. Situated on the first floor on Bulawayo Centre shopping mall, the pub boasts of a conducive environment for relaxation. If beer is your drink, then this is the place to be when in Bulawayo  edit
  • Bulawayo Athletic Club, (12th Avenue / 3rd street). Now has a great bar on the back, with light meals, live music and drinks in a warm local atmosphere.  edit
  • Mosaics, Stand 6, Kingfisher Road, Burnside, Bulawayo. (Located within Hornung Park Club). Mosaics(located in what used to be the old Squash Club Bar within the Hornung Park Club) has been refurbished into a stylish and comfortable club for those looking to have a quiet drink or dance all night and be merry. A pub that caters to everyone's needs. Open on Wednesdays (but ba generally more calm pub-based night) and Fridays. Entrance charges are normally $0 on Wednesdays and $5 on a normal Friday night, but larger fees up to $15 can be expected if special functions and DJs play at night. Drinks are affordable. Large parking space and security are provided too.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Upmarket

  • Bulawayo Club, 4th Street and 8th Avenue, 648689, [6]. The Bulawayo Club has been completely renovated and reopened with accommodations. The current building was built in 1935 and the complete renovation has brought out the elegant grandeur of the building's interior. Every detail of the previous club has been renovated and maintained. The interior is the epitome of gentility and was the pride of Bulawayo for several generations. Among its previous members, for example, was Governor Sir Humphrey Vicary Gibbs, long time Bulawayo resident. The new Bulawayo Club is a hidden gem in Zimbabwe and well worth a night's stay. The staff are also attentive and kind, and the food is excellent.  edit
  • Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, [7].  edit right in town, a comfortable place that is also worth a lunch or dinner.
  • Holiday Inn. ; located by Ascott, has a tennis and gym.  edit
  • Nesbitt Castle. , a real castle built in Victorian style by a local industrial figure. It is a Bulawayo favorite for venues and marriages, and also can be visited on request.  edit

Mid-Range

  • Bulawayo City Lodge, 14th Ave/Fife Street, 263967824, [8]. rooms are spacious with en suite and close to the city center railway station and International Trade Fair.  edit
  • Ebuhleni Guest Lodge, 42 Gladstone Road, Bellevue, Bulawayo (From town along Plumtree Road turn left by Bellevue Spar only 1.5km from Spar.), 002363 772 414 046. checkin: 10am; checkout: 11am. An executive accommodation, at a quiet suburb that offers DSTV and WIFI. $45 p/person.  edit
  • Southern Comfort Lodge, 22 Jaywick Road, Matsheumhlope, 281340 or 281103, [9].  edit 10 min drive from the center of town on the Old Esigodini Road, a peaceful and serene setting for a comfortable stay, Dinners - A-La-Carte and full English Breakfast in the Morning in the Restaurant or sitting in the well kept Garden.

Budget

  • Berkeley's Place.  editJosiah Tongogara Road, close to Evelyn High Street and Central Police Station Cheap, comfortable accommodation. Twin room with a shower and sink for $20 per night (negotiated down from $25 per night). Friendly staff and close to the town centre. You can also pitch your tent in their lovely gardens.
  • Burkes' Backpackers Paradise (Burkes' Paradise), 11 Inverleith Drive, Burnside, +263-779832473 / +263-9-246481, [10]. Affordable backpackers accommodation in dorms, double rooms, twin rooms and camping. Peaceful location, easily accessible by minibus from the city centre. US$15 per person per night.  edit
  • Packers Paradise Lodge, No. 1 Oak Ave, 0712515503/ 0779429598. Located next door to the Bulawayo Athletic Club. Features clean dorm beds and private rooms. Full English breakfast included in price. 7 minute walk to city center.  edit
  • Youth Hostel, 3rd Street/Townsend Road (located in the Suburbs neighborhood about 300 meters east of the Bulawayo Athletic Club), 256488. Anne and Lulu, two natives of Bulawayo who love talking to international travelers about Zimbabwe and Africa in general, run this clean and quite hostel. Dorms (men's and women's) are $10 and private rooms are $15. Curfew is 21:30.  edit
  • Zak's Place, Robert Mugabe Way.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, [11]. a home to orphaned, abandoned and sick wild animals, great to visit with kids  edit
  • Khami Ruins. less than an hour out of town  edit
  • Matopos. Located 30km from the city, Matobo Hills National Park features amazing landscapes, interesting game (including the rare white rhino), and a historical site with Cecil Rhodes grave. There are alsoo several bushman cave paintings. You can book a tour from town (try African Wanderer or Black Rhino Safaris) or just go self-drive on a picnic, or book a stay at Amalinda [12] or Big cave camp.  edit
  • Hwange National Park. for great safaris, staying at Ivory Lodge[13], Somalisa Camp[14], The Hide, Hwange Safari Lodge  edit
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