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Africa > Southern Africa > Zimbabwe > Eastern Highlands > Mutare

Mutare

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Mutare is the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe.

Get in[edit]

Although Mutare has an small airstrip there are no regular scheduled services; however airtaxi or small private planes may land. Nearest international gateway is in the capital of Harare.

National Railways of Zimbabwe runs an overnight train service from the capital Harare three times a week, leaving Harare at 9:30PM on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Arrival time is early morning the next day just after dawn, at 5:20AM according to schedule. Services have been in decline for the past few years, don't expect top-notch conditions. The 2nd class sleeper fare is $5. There are no cross-border rail services from Mozambique. 1 Mutare railway station is located southwest of the city centre.

Roads are decent and asphalted but potholes are common. Highway A3 leads inlands towards Harare while A9 turns southwards. Across the border to the east is EN9 which connects with the coastal city of Beira. Traffic can be heavy since this is one of Zimbabwe's main routes to the ocean. There is also a lot of cross-border traffic with people visiting the nearby cities of Manica and Chimoio

Commuter buses are a popular way of travelling for traffic across the border and from outlying villages. Expect a rough ride however! Long-distance buses are also available from Harare.

There are buses from Johannesburg in South Africa.

Get around[edit]

Map of Mutare

See[edit]

  • Cross Kopje Memorial. A memorial built in memory of 269 Africans from Rhodesia, Nyasaland, and the Portuguese East Africa who had lost their lives in the German East African Campaign (World War I). Erected by Colonel Methuen, the memorial took the form of a massive Cross constructed of granite and reinforced concrete and it stands nearly ten metres high, and is over a meter thick, has cross arms of nearly five metres and weighs over fifty tonnes. The memorial was illuminated by 400 watt high pressure sodium floodlights (now defunct) giving the cross an impressive silhouette which was unique in the country and perhaps in Africa. Can be found in Greenside, 2-3 kilometers north of the city centre by following Park Rd.
  • Cecil Kopje Nature Reserve. Antelope, elephant, rhino, zebra and wildebeest. Open daily. The Cecil Kop Nature Reserve encompasses 4,200 acres (1,700 hectares) of scenic beauty, where you can see Zimbabwe's wildlife under natural conditions 3 km from the City Centre, open every day of the year. Visitors may also drive around Thompson's Vlei section of the game park on the eastern borders of the city. The Murahwa's Hill forms the backdrop to the Mutare Showgrounds, a nature reserve that is a naturalist's delight. Rare birds, butterflies and trees are found in their natural environment. The hill is within easy reach of the car park behind the Showgrounds or from the sign-posted turn-off on the Old Christmas Pass Road. Can also be found by following Arcadia Road north of the city centre.
  • 1 Mutare museum, Aerodrome Rd, +263 20 63630. Daily 9AM-5PM. The Mutare Museum was established in 1945 and in 1959 was taken over by the National Museums and Monuments as the third of its five national museums. The museum houses the national collection of antiquities, firearms, edged weapons, and road transports. The display galleries include flora and fauna of Manicaland, zoology exhibits, transport items and a large "walk-in" aviary housing over 500 birds. Temporary displays are held regularly. Can be found on Victory Avenue off Aerodrome Road.
  • The Civic Centre Complex. The Civic Centre complex, apart from being the administrative centre of the city, contains the Courtauld Theatre, the Queen's Hall and the Turner Memorial Library. Across the road from the complex is the Mutare Post Office, which was opened in 1973. Visitors may see the Mayor's Parlour, the reception rooms and the Council Chamber during working hours. The Turner Memorial Library, in the Civic Centre complex, is a subscription lending library with a good variety of fiction and non-fiction.
  • Mutare Main Park Aloe Gardens. The result of many years of hard work, the Aloe Gardens in Mutare's Main Park are becoming increasingly famous throughout the southern Africa region. The gardens contain about 10,000 aloes and numerous indigenous shrubs and cycads. The 243 species of aloe were collected from throughout Africa and Madagascar. Lake Alexander is situated 40 km north of Mutare on the Odzani Road which passes through Penhalonga. This site offers magnificent views, as well as thatched shelters, toilets, braai areas for campers, and is popular for fishing, yachting and rowing. Row boats are available for hire, and there is a yachting club at the lake. Smallbridge Dam, upstream from Lake Alexander on the Odzani River offers fishing and boating in scenic surroundings.

Do[edit]

The National Arts Gallery and Courtauld Theatre are two places in Mutare where you can go to experience some culture.

Buy[edit]

Stone sculptures can be found cheaply at the intersection going to the Mozambique border.

  • T M-Pick N Pay Supermarket.

Eat[edit]

Karen’s kitchen (Lunch), Green Coucal (lunch), Nando’s, Chinese in 1st street in Mutare, Hillside Sports Club (Good curry), Portuguese Club (prawns and chicken), Greek Club (good chicken), Wise Owl (go for the steak), Calvary (best sadza in town), Mira Sol (chicken or pasta) and Fasho.

White Horse Inn and Tony’s Café (great cakes) are very good and somewhat expensive places to eat in Bvumba.

  • Zimbo's Cafe, Aerodrome Road, Mutare, Mutare, Zimbabwe, +263 78 289 5200. Coffee, tea, burgers and sandwiches.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • Ann Bruce Backpackers, 99 Fourth Street, +263 772 249089. Great location, very secure and clean. This long established backpackers is Ann's home which has been converted to include dorms and private rooms. Ann is a lovely lady who is very sociable with guests. There's a nice garden to relax and kitchen to cook in. WiFi ($2) and laundry services are available. There are two dogs and a cat. double room from $40. dorm bed 15 USD per person.
  • 1 Gordon's, 125 First Street, +263 20 67200. Check-in: 11AM to 7PM, check-out: 10:30AM to 11AM. Free WiFi and private parking on site. Each room has a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and private bathroom. Some rooms include views of the mountains or garden. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property.
  • 2 Holiday Inn Mutare, Corner Aerodrome Road and Third Street, +263 20 64431. Check-in: From 2PM, check-out: Until 11AM. Restaurant, bar, casino, free private parking. Free WiFi throughout the property. The rooms have a flat-screen TV, private bathroom, bathrobes and a hairdryer. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. The hotel also provides car rental.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Mutare is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.