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Know Before You Go
- When driving through Harare, beware of any police cars. If a cavalcade approaches, it means the president is travelling in convoy. Pull over and let the vehicles pass before continuing your journey.
- Most of Harare's sights are easy to walk to and see without a guide. You can ask your hotel to arrange transport for you or if you aren't on a budget, book a tour.
- Zimbabwe uses the American dollar as the official currency. But small change is a problem as they don't use the coins. To get around this, try to make your purchases as close as possible to the nearest dollar, even if it means adding something extra like a pack of gum.
- When shopping for food or souvenirs, keep in mind everything made locally will be far cheaper. Anything imported is expensive, especially compared to the neighbouring country, South Africa.
Getting Around Harare
- Getting around Harare isn't as easy as other countries in the world, but it's part of the charm.
- With most of Harare quite spread out, your best option is to hire a car. Keep in mind that few petrol stations operate 24 hours a day. It's best to fill up in the mornings before setting out to avoid getting stuck. Roadblocks are also common throughout the country. So make sure you have your identification documents, vehicle registration and ownership papers with you at all times.
- If you want to give Harare's public transport system a try, you can hop on board one of the taxis. Rides cost around USD 2 to USD 3 during the day and prices should be agreed upon before you get inside the car.
- Your other option is the minibus taxis. But you will need to ask around to find the terminal for your destination. Fares for central and suburban locations cost around USD 1.
- Lastly, there are a couple of luxury coach liners that operate in Zimbabwe. These luxury buses are in good condition and come with air conditioning and comfortable seating. While they are more expensive than other options, the cost difference isn't that huge for Western travellers.
When is The Best Time to Visit Harare?
The best time to visit Harare is from April to August. The city sees the least amount of rain during this period, and in the last week of April, Harare hosts the International Festival of the Arts. The city comes alive, and you'll find visitors and performers from all over Africa.
From September to October, the jacaranda trees that line the city's streets are in full bloom. While it is a beautiful time of year to visit, October is also Harare's hottest month. Make sure you drink plenty of water and pack on the sunscreen before venturing outside.
If you are planning a game drive while in the city, the best time to visit is during the dry season. From May to October, Zimbabwe's wildlife congregates around the waterholes and makes for some of the best wildlife viewings.
Peak season is from July to October. Expect prices to be higher than usual, but the city won't feel crowded. It only really gets congested in Victoria Falls around this time of year.
November to April is the best time to visit if you are on a budget. It's low season, the crowds are thin, the national parks are empty, and you'll have better luck finding deals on accommodation.
Airports in Harare
Harare International Airport
Harare International is the largest and busiest airport in the country. It's a hub for Air Zimbabwe and only 15 km from the city centre. Few airlines fly directly to the airport; you'll most likely have a stop over in South Africa or one of the other neighbouring African countries.
Getting To and From Harare International Airport
Harare doesn't have any public transport to and from the airport. Your best option will be to take a taxi or private shuttle bus to the city centre.
Taxis from the airport cost about USD 25 one way. While the city is not that far away, taxis are expensive because the airport places high fees on the drivers.
A variety of airport shuttles can be pre-booked online. The vehicles are safe, comfortable and a reliable way to get to your final destination. Prices start from USD 40 and shuttles are available 24 hours a day.