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Referred to as the City of Kings, Bulawayo is a multicultural hub in the southwest of Zimbabwe. The second-largest city after Harare, it is regarded as a business and industrial capital, partly due to its proximity to South Africa and Botswana.
Once a thriving city, Bulawayo has experienced a sharp decline in living standards and infrastructure over the past decade. The city was once home to a number of large business headquarters, including large manufacturing centres and transportation company hubs. But many of these have since closed or moved to Harare, leaving behind large-scale unemployment and poor service delivery.
Nevertheless, Bulawayo remains the country's cultural centre, with a large community of creatives and artists in the city. Various theatre and dance productions, classical and contemporary music events and open mic poetry evenings can be enjoyed here.
The scattered parks, low colonial buildings, minimal traffic, and wide tree-lined streets give Bulawayo a laidback atmosphere. Close to the Kalahari Desert, Bulawayo is hot and dry for most of the year, with enough rainfall in the summer to support the natural vegetation of open woodland that surrounds the city.
Bulawayo is the largest city near the tourist hotspots of Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Matobo National Park. The Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage for abandoned, sick or wounded animals is a great educational outing for the kids, as many exotic animals there are rescued pets and therefore perfectly tame.
If you're stopping in, make sure to visit the city's museums and parks. A good kid's attraction in Bulawayo is the Bulawayo Railway Museum, one of only a few of its kind in the world, which features some excellent colonial-era exhibitions.
The climate in Bulawayo is a humid subtropical climate due to the city's high altitude. As with most of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo has three main seasons: a dry, cool winter season from May to August, a hot, dry early summer from late August to early November, and a warm, wet late summer from early November to April.
It's fairly easy to get around Bulawayo city itself on foot, although you may want to consider hiring a car as a safer option; walking around parts of the city is fairly safe during the day, but walking is not advisable at night. Several international car hire companies, such as Avis and Europcar, are represented at Bulawayo Airport.
Driving is one of the most convenient ways to get around, but travellers should note that the roads have deteriorated over the last few years. Local taxis are also a good way to get around; taxis are usually light blue. The minibus taxis used by locals are cheap and convenient, but tend to be overcrowded and poorly maintained which can make catching a ride a hair-raising experience.
No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination
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