Bulawayo

Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city and is home to the country's main museum - the Natural History Museum, the Bulawayo Art Gallery, good hotels and the finest caravan and camping parks in Zimbabwe. It is also home to the Chipangali wildlife orphanage and the Khami Ruins.

About Bulawayo

Bulawayo is sometimes called Zimbabwe’s forgotten city. It may not have the glamour and clamour of modern Harare, but it does have a much more interesting history.

Bulawayo became the home of Lobengula, king of the Matabele Nation, when he came to power in 1870. The name means “The place of killing”, referring to battles that took place here between Lobengula and Ndebele regiments who refused to accept his rule. The killing was of the spirit of the nation, not the flesh. Mzilikazi, Lobengula’s father, had ruled from a settlement just 12 kilometres south of Bulawayo’s southern boundary. Before him, the area had been inhabited by the Rozwa kings who established themselves at Khami, 14 kilometres west of the city. Before the Rozwa there were the Torwa, and before them, the Bushmen. Bulawayo was occupied by Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company in 1893. It was incorporated as a town in 1894, and has since then grown to become an orderly metropolis.

It is no accident that Bulawayo is home to Zimbabwe’s renowned Natural History museum, as well as boasting some of the most impressive Victorian architecture. If you have an ox wagon, you will have no problem doing a U Turn in the city centre, all of the roads were designed with this in mind. Probably the greatest advantage you will gain from the ultra-wide streets, however, is the ability to park close to just about anywhere. Parks surround the museum and there are a number of natural parklands dotted around the City and its suburbs. Tshabalala Game Sanctuary is run by National Parks. Horse rides can be booked here, and it is permitted to walk through the park that is stocked with a variety of safe game.

Bulawayo Tourism Services

City Tour
Takes in a drive through the wide, laid-back streets, past modern high-rise buildings side-by-side with century-old structures displaying graceful architecture of a by-gone era. At the Natural History Museum, you’ll find fascinating displays of history, fauna and geology.  Mzilikazi Arts and Craft Centre makes and sells distinctive sculpture and pottery and the nearby Bulawayo Home Industries workshop is a haven for collectible textile handicrafts.    

Khami Ruins
An ancient Iron Age complex just 20km outside Bulawayo, understood to be the capital of the Torwa state as Great Zimbabwe was in decline. Its dry stone walling, similar in style to that at Great Zimbabwe dates back to the 15th and 17th century, and artefacts found in this area date  back to the early Stone Age.

Matobo Hills Tour
Malindidzimu - The Place of Benevolent Spirits - was re-named the View of the World by Cecil John Rhodes and the site where he chose to be buried.  This vantage point provides dramatic views over the surrounding stunning granite formations.

Matobo Hills and Rhino Expedition
This follows the Matobo Hills tour route with a picnic lunch stop at Maleme Dam or other scenic spot. Proceed to the Swatugi cave paintings and then track black and white rhino, plains game and search the skies for soaring birds of prey, including the black eagle whose largest populations on the planet are found here