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's 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.
A train runs about once every day from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo. The trip takes about 18 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, although there are special "half compartments" with 2 and 3 bunks respectively. First class comes with bedding provided but not second class.
Minibus taxis run from the township outside Victoria Falls to Bulawayo in the very early morning and takes approximately 7 hours.
The two most commonly recommended bus companies running daily services from Johannesburg to Bulawayo are Greyhound and Pathfinder. The journey costs $40-50 on high quality luxury coaches. There are many other bus companies on the route. Heading back bus company touts in Bulawayo will be sure to catch you if you walk near the Greyhound or Pathfinder offices.
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 walkable.
National Art Gallery, Bulawayo
Natural History Museum
The Train Museum
Amakhosi Theatre Company
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.
The Bulawayo Centre is a modern shopping centre with chic clothes shops, an internet cafe and a cinema.
New Orleans Restaurant, Banff Road, Hillside. Classy, for Bulawayo. Never had a bad meal there in seven years; great staff and reasonable prices.
Haefelli's Bakery., Banff Road, Hillside. in town, for simple meals
Bonne journee. Not really French, but reasonable meals, in town
K & S Restaurant, (Robert Mugabe Road—diagonally opposite 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.
Bulawayo Club, (Corner of 4th Street and 8th Avenue), . 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.
River Cafe, (on 12th Avenue after Bulawayo Athletic Club). Chill out in the garden, great witrth kids, and nice curio shop attached
La Plaza, (on 12th Avenue after Bulawayo Athletic Club). A fdeli and coffee shop where you will find Mediterranean speciallties
Cape to Cairo. on Takawira Avenue, a pub sometimes featuring live music
Cattleman's, 2nd Avenue/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 with great beaf, and well worth a visit when in town.
Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, . right in town, a comfortable place that is also worth a lunch or dinner.
Bulawayo Club, 4th Street and 8th Avenue, ☎ 648689, . 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.
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.
Bulawayo City Lodge, 14th Ave/Fife Street, ☎ 263967824, . rooms are spacious with ensuites and close to the city center railway station and International Trade Fair.
Zak's Place, Robert Mugabe Way.
Berrkeley Place. Josiah 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.
Holiday Inn. ; located by Ascott, has a tennis and gym.