Harare Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe


The ruins of Great Zimbabwe are rarely visited by tourists. When the evening light covers the place with a soft filter, you have the vastness of the bushland to yourself. This equips emotionally for a visit to the capital Harare. A terrible juggernaut.

You don't want to live in Harare. But if you are traveling through and want to turn your back on the rural areas for a while, you can spend two rest days there. Nevertheless, the capital of Zimbabwe is not particularly handsome. Just a chunky, dirty million city in Africa .

On the man-sized fence that shielded our guest house, the Palm Rock Villa on Selous Ave, from the rest of the city, there was a roll of barbed NATO wire, and there must be some reason for that. We only strolled from the hostel into the city center in daylight.

One evening one of the taxi drivers showed us the scars on his head - we stopped at a gas station and bought water. Once, he said, a man and a woman tried to rob his car and attacked it with an ordinary screwdriver. The sun was shining during the day, however, and the streets of the downtown area were not too life-threatening.

Anyone driving up from Masvingo to Harare will most likely disrupt the bustle of the big city. Not far from Masvingo are - easily accessible for travelers in need of harmony - the medieval remains of the lost Munhumutapa empire, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. And from the hill, on the top of which they lie exactly, you can look over the country for miles.

When we made our way there on an excellent February day, there were no other tourists on the grounds of the park. The late afternoon light fell yellow and mild on the warm remains of the walls. It was a bit like walking around in a kitsch setting, only that the ruins and the landscape and the light were not staged by anyone, but interacted as a matter of course, as it couldn't have been any other way that day. In the evening we climbed to the highest point and waited for the red fireball to set behind the distant mountains.

Unfortunately, the minibuses between Great Zimbabwe and Masvingo run very irregularly after dark. A taxi for a distance of 39 kilometers is also a well-considered investment in Zimbabwe, where there is no longer a local currency and is instead paid for with the relatively expensive US euro and South African rand. We decided against it and for hitchhiking. In general, hitchhiking in Southeast Africa is of course associated with a certain risk, which, depending on the situation and the time of day, is again negligible. However, we were lucky enough to be taken by an obviously very wealthy MP and his wife in a spacious, black SUV.

The man said that he was planning to cooperate with a school in Germany, if we couldn't recommend contacting him there. We exchanged addresses and thanked for the trip, got out in the extremely quiet center of Masvingo and settled down for coffee and banana milkshakes in a brightly lit restaurant.

By the way, you can stay overnight in the Titambire Lodge , the pension on the outskirts is more reminiscent of a private house than a public hostel.

If the traveler in Zimbabwe now moves north from Masvingo, he should be grounded enough to be able to get involved in Harare, which is basically what was said at the beginning. It could now be mentioned that there should be no running water for at least a whole day when we arrived in the city, which caused a certain feeling of discomfort given the dusty overland slopes. However, the owner of the guest house provided his guests with large plastic bins with collected rainwater on request. However, the smell of the questionable content could never completely dispel the latent association with motor oil while showering. The city's bus station also has by far the worst public toilet in southern Africa.

To serve a phrase from the classic travel vacation forever : Harare may not be as bad as it was presented here.

  1. Oh yes, the ruins of Greater Zimbabwe are also on my wish list. But after an unplanned transfer stay of just under 10 hours in the transit area of ​​Harare International Airport in October 2007 (without money, at that time still with a forced exchange of US $ into the local currency at an adventurous rate - after which we had breakfast with 1 cup of coffee, 2 slices of toast , Blob of jam and a glass of watery yellow (orange juice ??) should have cost approximately € 125), the spouse is currently not trying to make another attempt to enter the country ...

    But that's why I enjoyed reading the report and admiring the magical pictures. Thank you!

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