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.
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 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, 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' private carriage. Cost $1
- 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.
- Jairos Jiri Craftshop. selling craft from the network of disabled people - great place to go for baskets
- Aphrodisiac. nice local craft and art
- The Bulawayo Centre. A modern shopping centre with chic clothes shops, an internet cafe and a cinema.
- Ascot shopping center. has 1 supermarket & other general convenience shops, a restaurant and bar, and curios
- 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
- 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
- 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., 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 (Dairy 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.
- Bonne journee. Not really French, but reasonable meals, in town
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Cape to Cairo. on Takawira Avenue, a pub sometimes featuring live music and food is served.
- Cattleman's, 13th 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 serving beef, chicken and occasionally fish. It is the best steakhouse in Bulawayo, but don't expect the food to match first world standards.
- Horizons. Right in town, the new place to be in Bulawayo: a lounge atmosphere, swimming pool on a terrace, drinks and light meals.
- 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. Check it out, because from time to time it reopens.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- to Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, . a home to orphaned, abandoned and sick wild animals, great to visit with kids
- to Khami Ruins. less than an hour out of town
- to Matopos. Located 1h 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. You can book a tour from town or just go self-drive on a picnic, or book a stay at Amalinda [www.campamalinda.com] or Big cave camp.
- to Hwange National Park. for great safaris, staying at Ivory Lodge, Somalisa Camp, The Hide, Hwange Safari Lodge