Bulawayo is Zimbabwe’s second-largest city and is located approximately 439km (272mi) southwest of the capital, Harare. The city is regarded as a regional tourism springboard to several tourist attractions in the country’s east, including Hwange National Park which is situated 281km (174mi) northwest of the city centre. The city is located near several archaeological sites and its history as a modern settlement dates back to the mid-1800s. Bulawayo has a relaxed ambiance, although years of economic difficulty are evident. Still, the range of accommodations, wildlife sanctuaries, and places of cultural interest make it a worthwhile pre- or past safari stopover.
Many visitors arriving in Bulawayo use it as a springboard to western Zimbabwe’s cultural and natural attractions, with convenient flights arriving regularly. The city itself does have its share of highlights, including museums and wildlife sanctuaries. Africa’s Eden member properties and local Africa travel agents can assist in planning your trip and arranging day tours, accommodation, and onward travel arrangements. While the city has struggled economically, it still offers some good options for both dining and accommodation. By day, Bulawayo is quite vibrant with a laid-back atmosphere. As is common throughout the world though, tourists should be cautious with their belongings, refrain from exhibiting items of value, and not travel unaccompanied after dark.
Visitors from abroad can fly into Joshua Mqabuko International Airport via South Africa on scheduled flights and from there, either join a tour or rent a vehicle. There are also flights arriving to Bulawayo with Ethiopian Airways that connect with numerous international destinations. The airport in Bulawayo is 19.6km (12mi) from the city centre with taxis the only public transport available. Zimbabwe has an extensive network of roads, in various states of repair. While the roads vary in condition, visitors travelling in sedan vehicles should have no problem, unless they are planning to venture into remote areas, in which case a 4×4 is recommended. Given the high incidence of pedestrians and animals on the road, travel by night is not recommended.
Timing your visit to Bulawayo may depend on the regional activities that you would like to pursue. The city sits at a relatively high altitude with a subtropical climate marked by high humidity. The climate is marked by three “seasons”. From November to April, it is warm with rainfall common in the afternoons. From May to August it is cool, with no rain expected, while September and October are hot and dry. Night-time temperatures are significantly cooler than by day. Bear in mind that the rainy season often equates to inaccessible roads in national parks and remote areas.
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