Best Tourist Attractions in Bulawayo Zimbabwe
Things to do in Bulawayo: Here we find a city with world class tourist attractions including 2 UNESCO World heritage sites, Matobo Hills and Khami Ruins. See images below.
With direct train, road and air connection to Hwange and Victoria Falls, Bulawayo is the perfect gateway city to Matebeleland and Zimbabwe’s biggest and iconic resorts and game reserves found in Matebeleland..see pictures below.
The city’s iconic features include museums, parks, wildlife, Victorian buildings and a colourful Highlanders Football Club. Here is a guide list of over 21 places to visit and your best things to see and do in and near Bulawayo. Just keep Reading! Bulawayo has good services including a wide range of restaurants and very excellent road network, exclusive and cheap accommodation facilities with a choice of hotels, motels, guest houses, lodges, backpackers, caravan parks, camping sites, bed and breakfast.
pictures by geoff cooke
A List of Best Bulawayo Tourist Attractions & Places to Visit
Bulawayo Places to Visit and See
Of all the places and attractions that Bulawayo offers, this is a crown in the jewel. The former Rhodes Matopos National Park is home to Matobo Hills a burial place for King Mzilikazi, Cecil John Rhodes, Alan Wilson, Leander Starr Jameson and other early British settlers. Why is Matobo Hills so interesting? It has one of the highest concentration of endangered black and white rhinos, leopards, ancient rock paintings, cave systems, balancing rocks, birds of prey and black eagles per given area in the world. Visitors can also do rhino tracking a very rare and enjoyable exercise given the ‘scarcity’ of rhinos in present day Africa. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Grounds
Held annually in April at Trade Fair Grounds, Bulawayo, The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is an opportunity for businesses and traders to showcase their merchandise and products to the world. Attendance is usually from local, regional and international businesses. The trade fair offers the best opportunity to network and interact with leading and emerging Bulawayo businesses. It is a good place to just visit and see when it opens for a week in April. There is also another section that is opened throughout the year.
Bulawayo Railway Museum
The internationally renowned museum is considered among the best rail museums in the world. Visitors, tourists and rail enthusiasts will view historic trains that were used from 1897 including Cecil John Rhodes’s private carriage train, still in good condition. There are also trains that were built by the North British Locomotive Company, Montreal Locomotive Works, Henschel and English Electric at different time periods. There is a wider collection of steam engines and other bits like British royal family photos.
Also known as Kame, Khame or Kami. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Though they are smaller than Great Zimbabwe Ruins, they highlight the African way of life in centuries gone by. At the site visitors and tourists will see enclosures that were used by royalty and commoners. There are also remains of structures that were used to keep animals like cattle.This is one of the best attractions around Bulawayo. This place offers real history and a picture of Africa’s past.
Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
Located at Leopold Takawira Avenue, Centenary Park, Bulawayo, the natural history museum is among the best in Africa. It showcases an array of valuable information and displays. There, one will learn and see a lot about Zimbabwe’s history, mining and wildlife wealth. There are many other things to see and it is not a surprise that this place is one of the city’s most recommended attractions.
Highlanders Football Club
Highlanders FC is an iconic sporting symbol of the city and nation. Founded by descendents of King Mzilikazi in 1926, it is Zimbabwe’s oldest football club. It is a club that has produced some of the nation’s finest footballers like Benjamin Nkonjera, Adam Ndlovu and his brothers Peter and Madinda. The former Zimbabwe and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Gobbelaar also played for Highlanders. Visiting the Barbourfields Stadium on match day will definitely connect you with the spirit of the city, Highlanders FC.
Located near Hillside surbubs, Hillside dams are a treasure to the city. They draw visitors from all walks of life because of the beauty they exude and the activities they offer.In their glory days this was arguably the best family recreational resort in Bulawayo. It is important to acknowledge the work being done by the Bulawayo community to restore the place to be one of the top recreational parks in Bulawayo. There are many things to see and do. Nature walks, wall climbing, team building, games, hiking and more.
This is a European castle in the heart of Bulawayo. Nesbit is unique as the architecture is exotic and a wonder to those who visit to see and enjoy the European feel of the city. Here you will see that there is a lot more to see than the English castle. The gardens and environment outside is also amazing. It is no surprise that many people consider it the best place for weddings and family events.
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage & Research Centre
Chipangali is an animal rehabilitation center. The place takes care of those wild animals that need attention so that they can be released into game parks when they are deemed healthy. Here visitors will see big cats, plain game, primates and different bird varieties. The place is a top attraction for animal lovers, researchers and those who want to see and learn more about animal welfare in Africa.
Tshabalala Game Sanctuary
Just some 9 km out of the City, this a perfect place to see plain game. There are zebras, kudu, tsessebe and many other animals. The place also offers some opportunities for bird watching and horse riding. Visitors can walk, drive or cycle around the park.
Mzilikazi Arts & Craft Centre
Found in Mzilikazi residential area, this place is one of the most important art and craft institutions in Zimbabwe. It is an educational centre and a tourist attraction. It has produced some of Zimbabwe’s best artists who have gone on to gain international stardom. Here tourists can see and buy different forms of Zimbabwean and African art in the form of wood and stone sculptures, ceramics, pottery, fine and commercial art.
Bulawayo National Art Gallery Of Zimbabwe
Housed in a 1901 building in Bulawayo city’s main street, Douslin House, this is where the most outstanding visual art is kept and displayed in the city. Visitors will see temporary and permanent displays. There is also a library for those who want to get more information about the place.Visitors get the opportunity to see artists doing their work in workshops.
Mguza Nature Reserve
Just some 14,5 km outside Bulawayo, this place offers a number of activities like birding, hiking and game viewing. Far from the bustles of the city, it is the perfect place to cool down and relax. There are several bird species that have been observed at Mguza nature reserve. On the right day, one can see different kinds of birds around the place.
Mazwi Nature Reserve
Located close to Khami ruins, this place is good for horse siding, game viewing and birding. Note: we have recieved reports that the game reserve has been neglected and is no longer as good as it was. You have to find out before visiting to see if this is the case.
This place offers a lot in terms of history of Zimbabwe and Bulawayo city. For those who want to know more about the original city of kings, Old Bulawayo is the place to visit, it is the former capital of Ndebele royals.
The amphitheatre is there to reinforce the position of Bulawayo as the cultural and arts centre of Zimbabwe. The theater has hosted entertainment acts from individuals and groups that are popular in the country and region. Some of the groups have also go on to establish international stardom through global tours and exhibitions.
Amakhosi academy of performance arts is well known in Zimbabwe and internationally for its role in cultural and performance arts related activities. While supporting the country’s talent, the project has also been a voice against social challenges like HIV/AIDS and inequality.
The park is very close to the city. It is the right place where one can take a rest or spend the day relaxing under a shed while reading a book. It closer to some Bulawayo attractions like theater and museum. The central park is also close by making the whole space a huge park.
Jairosi Jiri Craft Shop
This shop sales a number of beautiful artefacts done by blind and disabled people from the Jairosi Jiri Centre.The center offers vocational skills that have made these people to be some of the country’s most productive and creative artists.
Bulawayo Home Industries
This is an art and craft workplace where city residents can be observed making artifacts. The products are sold to visitors at very low price.
Bulawayo Shopping Bulawayo is a big city with a number of top of services catering for all sorts of customers. There are big supermarkets and stores where one can buy a different groceries and essentials.
The city of Bulawayo has a number of big and small restaurants where one can buy different types of food. some of these restaurant are up to international standards and it is common to get your best Chinese, Indian and western restaurant from the city.
When travelling and visiting Bulawayo there is a wider choice of places where people can go to sleep, to stay and to rest. Bulawayo is a place where you can get exclusive and affordable budget in 2,3,4 star range. The city has a number of hotels, inns, overnight lodges and motels. Bed and breakfast cottages can be found at very cheap rates. For those who want to do their own cooking, there are guest houses and self catering apartments with facilities. There are several bush camping sites and caravan parks that can be utilised by backpackers and other travellers.
Bulawayo Car Hire
There are a number of options for travellers and car users in Bulawayo. It is possible to hire a driver to take you around different places in and around the city. This can be a better option than hiring a car as there will be no additional costs. The good thing about hiring a driver In Bulawayo is that you don’t have to worry about insurance and any issues that may arise should there be a problem with the car.