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Living in Harare, Zimbabwe:
Tips for Moving and Visiting

73 local experts

If you've been wondering what it's like to live in or visit Harare, the Crowdsourced Explorer community can help. We asked 73 people living in Harare what someone who is considering moving to or visiting there should know. Here are their pros and cons, tips, and advice:

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73 comments on “Harare”

Coming to Harare? Choose areas in the North or West – safer, cleaner, and amenities are within reach – including the best restaurants, pubs, bars and grills. Though Zim is using multi-currencies, the USD gets you anything and everything!

Harare is modern and on the surface doesn’t look like a country that is saddled with sanctions and an economy that is failing but don’t let the semi-normal outside fool you, power is temperamental so a solar power backup is advised and water can be unreliable so a borehole is desirable.

Harare offers a diverse culinary scene with restaurants and cafes serving a variety of cuisines, including local Zimbabwean dishes. Exploring the city’s vibrant nightlife, visiting cultural centers, and attending live music performances are other activities that people moving to Harare can enjoy.

Emiliah, says: 2023

Harare has changed over the years, the glittering is no more there, most of the infrastructure is run down.

DANIEL, says: 2023

Harare meaning “they never sleep” stays true to its name. It is a very busy city. Most of the industries, shops and nice buildings are found here. It is densely populated as most people have flocked here to seek or create jobs. The high density surburbs are mostly found in the southern part of Harare, the biggest one being Mbare. Mbare is popular for the largest rank in the city and the biggest fresh food market, the densely populated Matapi flats and the high crime rate. A must visit in is the Sam Levy’s mall. So much to do in the city, you’ll hardly sleep exploring it!

Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe. Public transport is quite a challenge. Driving into town in the morning around 8am and leaving town in the peak hours is a nightmare. The people are super friendly and always helpful to outsiders. Be wary of pickpockets and criminals. Banks do not always offer services for foreigners so check with your bank in your country before leaving. Avoid street money deals, they are illegal. Car hire is reasonable and fuel is readily available at most places. Buy water if you can for drinking. Parking in the city is expensive but pay to avoid being clamped or towed away. A lovely and generally safe city to live in as there are lots of fun places to go to, nice coffee shops and restaurants.

Harare, also known as the sunshine city, is a place buzzing with people and character. It is active both day and night and there are numerous places to visit and have a beautiful time.

Unathi, says: 2023

If you are moving to Harare you need to be able to speak English. The local language mainly spoken in Harare is Shona. Zimbabweans are generally accommodating of other cultures or foreigners.

Lavinia, says: 2023

Good: weather, friendly people
Not so good: electricity cuts, potholes, unemployment

Sometimes the traffic jam is a nightmare, especially on Fridays late afternoon.

Sandra, says: 2022

– How to work the currency system as this country uses multiple currencies.
– the tap water is not safe for drinking. The best thing to do is rent a house or an apartment that comes with a borehole.
– the public transport system is difficult to navigate.
– if you choose to rent/ buy a car, you will need to grapple with the problem of finding fuel and joining long queues for it.

Tendai, says: 2020

Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe. It was formerly known as Salisbury before 1980 and has earned the nickname sunshine city due to its favorable hot weather. It has an estimated population of about two million people. The largest building in the city is called the Reserve Bank which is the home of the Zimbabwe Central Bank.

Gloria, says: 2020

Anyone considering moving to Harare should know that it is an overpopulated city, with a lot of street vendors and solicitors on the streets. However, Harare also has its highlights. For example, the people are generally welcoming and helpful, and evening entertainment is abundant and easy to find according to one’s fancy.

Harare our staple food is maize and a well known dish known as sadza. Most people in Harare speak English and Shona. We have the Lion and Cheetah Park. We have a museum and art gallery. There is also Lake Chivero with fantastic scenery. Also have the National Heroes Acre, where our liberation heroes were laid to rest.

Marlene, says: 2020

One needs to be understanding of daily fluctuations in the exchange rates as this affects their buying and selling. They are to be emotionally and psychologically since being in my city does not require a degree to be successful but requires one to think outside the box to make ends meet. If one is planning on just visiting then I am disappointed to say that there is not much to see. Overall it’s filled with intelligent, kind and prayerful people.

Koshesayi, says: 2020

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. it is in the south of Africa. it is scenic with very friendly people who are mostly conversant in English. It has a number of hotels rated three-star and above such as Crown Plaza, Cresta, Jameson, and Holiday Inn among others. Harare has two international airports that are well routed by major airlines such as Emirates, Kenya and Ethiopian airways.

Anyone moving to Harare should know that it is a place full of complexity. It is a living, breathing being that cannot be contained. Inasmuch as it is constantly changing and adapting, it is impossible to put into words how such a move could be life-changing. it is an honour to live and work in one of the most diverse, creative and adaptive places in the world.

Nyasha, says: 2020

Harare is the largest metropolitan city in Zimbabwe. It is the hub to most commercial activities that go on in Zimbabwe. Harare is endowed with friendly people who are very welcoming to any foreigners. The city of Harare is where the parliament of the country is located since it is the capital of Zimbabwe.

Gloria, says: 2020

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe with breathtaking sites all over. Public transport, however, is hard to get by. The city is quite crowded during peak hours and one should be cautious of con artists and thieves during travel. Harare is a relatively small city compared to its neighboring country’s capital city.

Bongani, says: 2020

Generally, Harare can be classified as a fast-paced city if comparing it to other third world country cities. One ought to have their wits about them, being alert and vigilant. The cost of living is quite decent.

Isheanesu, says: 2020

My city is not particularly large. Only 1.5 million people reside therein, however the people are very friendly and welcoming. The buildings are quite old and the roads sometimes are unswept and full of potholes, especially in the high-density suburbs. The current socio-political climate in the country has not left Harare unscathed.

Kumbirayi, says: 2020

Harare, which translates to, “one that never sleeps”, lives up to its name. It is a beautiful, vibrant and loud city with people from different backgrounds with the aim to do business. It is known as sunshine city and is congested with friendly people. From every corner of the busy streets, one ma identify street vendors selling anything imaginable. However, some of the roads have no street lights and traffic lights are not in a working conditions. Surprisingly, the city is not accident prone as you might think.

Isabel, says: 2020

Be aware of the daily interbank and parallel market rates of the local currency. The ability to hold a conversation with a random stranger is something to be anticipated and even enjoyed by anyone seriously moving to Harare. always be ready to become a politics major, unofficially of course.

Tendai, says: 2020

Harare is the Sunshine City. It is clean and has many malls, shops, and friendly people. Harare is where most people work and sell their products. In the event that you want to eat a decent lunch, Chop Chop would be the best place to go. Their service is top-notch and their burgers and chips are the best in town.

Nicole, says: 2020

Harare is a beautiful city, with very friendly and helpful people. There are lot of activities, for example, fishing, site seeing, visiting the museum and a lot more. Restaurants offer traditional food that are delicious and worth trying. Transport is not an issue as there are a lot of taxis at a reasonable price.

Nicholas, says: 2020

The is a perennial cholera outbreak and running water shortages are the norm. However, people are very hospitable and understanding. The city is fairly new. There is a great shortage of public transport, no clinic, electricity, and public lighting at night. As a result, criminal cases of people being robbed at night are high.

Harare is a beautiful city filled with people trying to make ends meet by making money through selling and investing in a number of businesses. It has a Central Business District for businesses, it has a number of clubs for leisure and other departments also fit in depending on what you find interesting.

Rumbidzai, says: 2020

There are difficulties getting essentials such as electricity and water as well as network problems. This is due to higher levels of corruption in Zimbabwe. Prices of basic commodities are high and hence poverty is everywhere. It is not the safest city. There is less land for agriculture and loved activities.

Gloria, says: 2020

Life is hard, money is very scarce and a very high unemployment rate. The uptown is quiet and clean, however downtown life is very dirty and fast. Most residential places do not have running water and power cuts are immense. There is potential to run small, but critical business such as a grocery store. The majority of the population in living on hand to mouth.

Harare is always a busy city, especially The CBD area. There are numerous jobs especially when you are a very learned person. The city also contains multiple peaceful areas; for example the Harare gardens where people can enjoy themselves quietly. we have multiple four and five star hotels for visitors.

Rumbidzai, says: 2020

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It is the Sunshine City because it is warm, and we experience approximately twelve hours of sunshine throughout the year. The city is quiet, with a reasonably low crime rate. The people in Harare are very welcoming and friendly.

Charles, says: 2020

Harare is a sunshine city whose residents are welcoming and very friendly to visitors. One of the most outstanding features in Harare is the official residence of the Head of state which is called state house. There are banks in Harare. Commerce and trade thrive in Harare. There are also schools for higher learning in Harare.

Harare is quite a large city and that’s precisely where people interact with each other more often. The roads are usually busy most of the times due to many people commuting almost all the time. It is the largest city of Zimbabwe and it has a huge population. pickpockets operate in the city and there are many theft cases that are recorded yearly in the city.

Tendai, says: 2020

The city is called Harare and it is quite large. Know pickpockets in the city. It is the largest city in the country of Zimbabwe and there is massive traffic on the roads so, one should also pay particular attention when crossing roads in the city.

Charlene, says: 2020

Harare’s city center is really crowded and this can be a bit overwhelming for the first time visitor. Care should also be noted when crossing the road because the public transport operators are very reckless. Extra care should also be noted when moving with valuables because the is a tendency to be pickpockets around.

Kudzai, says: 2020

Living in my city requires patience and a long-suffering mentality. If you are adaptable you may be able to cope, because our economy is not favorable to foreigners. Most do not understand how our currency works. Employment is impossible, regardless of your education and the earning potential is very low.

Nyasha, says: 2020

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe, also known as the Sunshine city. The city is clean but of late, visitors face challenges on the roads because of potholes and experience power cuts and water rationing in some residential areas. Generally, the people are friendly to visitors and most people are comfortable using the English language.

Siwema, says: 2020

our City is still on an upward trajectory, which can be considered a positive for one who is interested in investing. My city is filled with fun loving people which means you could be part of one big happy family. The most important part is that we respect all ethnicities and we strongly shan all forms of racism.

Harare rentals are a bit expensive. You might also be frustrated by the condition of the roads, however, the citizens are friendly and the general atmosphere everywhere is warm. In terms of weather, winters are not very cold but you will experience temperatures up to 32 degrees Celsius in summer, so you will need a lot of sunscreen.

Isheanesu, says: 2020

The shopping mall is far so you will need a car to get there. You have access to good schools nearby. The area has many people selling vegetables so will be able to get some very easily. There is also need for you to invest in good tyres for your car as the dirt roads are in bad shape.

Tariro, says: 2020

Living in Harare is a struggle for many. The cost of living is very high, there are always power shortages, a lot of political unrest and there is always a lot of crime being committed. However, the majority of people are friendly and try to help wherever they can. They are also very educated and welcome strangers into our community.

Kumbirayi, says: 2020

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It contains the grand National Stadium, National Heroes Acre and other big monument that define Zimbabwe. It is the main city that everyone in the other provinces wishes to live in. It is a tourism city and it has the best settlements.

Vimbai, says: 2020

Moving to Harare would be a totally different experience, especially for someone coming from the northern hemisphere. Harare is a sunshine city, with summer temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius and winter temperatures that go a low as four (4) degrees Celsius. It hardly goes to zero. The Harare people are a jovial lot, who are very welcoming to foreigners. They have fully accepted diversity and cultural tolerance, hence the belief that we are all equal and that every life matters. There is freedom of speech and of association.

Harare is a busy city. There is a lot of traffic during the morning and around five o’clock in the evening. If you get bored by getting into a traffic jam, you should avoid getting to the Central Business District around those times. Whilst in Harare one must be careful about drinking tap water because it is usually dirty.

Brenda, says: 2020

We have many outdoor activities which include site seeing, hiking, museums etc. Harare is always live and active. We have vibrant people from different cultures and races and it would be a great learning experience when learning the different cultures in our country.

Liberty, says: 2020

When moving to Harare, it is important to check for any security alerts issued, especially from the American embassy website. Harare is the major spot for Zimbabwean politics. Demonstrations and political violence can ensue anytime. However, most of the days it is very welcoming and safe. Harare has a vibrant night-life, its name translate to the city that never sleeps.

Harare is a very busy city since it is the capital of the country. The most amazing thing is that the people are very hospitable and friendly to visitors. Both public and private transport is readily available in the city to take one wherever they want to go. The most convenient thing when one touches down at the airport is that there are taxes readily available to take you wherever you want to go.

It is the Capital City. The most populated city in the country. A few daylight robberies on the downside part of town. Travelling is very easy because we have taxis that take you to your destination. The Capital is also called the Sunshine city as the sun shines most in Harare.

Commence, says: 2020

Someone moving to Harare should consider whether or not the area they want to move to has good roads, shopping malls and schools nearby. They should also consider whether or not the area has roads that are still in good condition. They should preferably choose a yard that has a borehole, for a reliable water source.

Rumbidzai, says: 2020

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe with many high and low density towns. If one prefers quiet and piece then I would urge you to stay in the low density owns but If one likes noise and fun then the high density towns can be the right choice. Harare is the largest and cleanest city in Zimbabwe that why the inhabitants of Harare call it the Sunshine City.

Rumbidzai, says: 2020

Harare is a fast-paced city and home to millions of Zimbabweans. This is to say, overpopulation is no myth here. In spite of this, Hararians are governed the same concepts oh Hunhuism that that resides in the consciousness of every African. one will find the most quaint hotels and restaurants and some more upmarket modern restaurants. in fact it is not uncommon to find that most areas take advantage of the natural beauty of the city and the geography.

Siwema, says: 2020

Harare is full of friendly people willing to help. An annual event called HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) is held here. It’s beautiful and diverse, with cultural acts from all over the world coming to perform and wow the masses. It’s difficult to live in because of the economy, but it’s worth it because of the love you feel and receive daily.

Kudakwashe, says: 2020

Harare is called the Sunshine city and this best describes the welcoming nature of its people. It has tall buildings, beautiful scenery and some of the most amazing weather. If you’re looking to slow down and just have your life moving at a calmer pace, then this is the place for you.

Gloria, says: 2020

Harare has the most welcoming people such that you will not regret moving here. It is, one of the busiest cities with people moving around doing their businesses. Once you move to Harare, you will easily fit in the community. However, the economic situation is scary at the moment as it is characterized by high inflation and price hikes.

The names of the streets in the city are named after African Presidents. For example, Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah. The longest street in the city is Samora Machel Avenue. That is where the Central Business District is located. A variety of Banks are mainly on this street. You can also find a Food Court on every corner of the city.

Moreblessings, says: 2020

Harare is busy and very safe; you do not need a firearm. The people are friendly, you will feel at home and safe. The city water is not safe for drinking hence you must be prepared to purchase mineral water. Our city is a malaria-safe zone however you may want to buy a mosquito repellent or a net.

Harare is a very peaceful city, with kind and polite citizens. They are extremely helpful and jovial at all times. Given that Harare is not completely urbanized, the properties are quite large, and there are even are monkeys and other wild animals in certain parts of my city that contribute to its appeal as an African City.

Natsai, says: 2020

Anyone, moving to Harare should know during summer it can be extremely hot with the temperature reaching up to 30 degrees. I would, therefore, advise anyone moving to this city to be cautious of the weather. Primarily it would be wise to carry more summer clothes than warm ones.

Rumbidzai, says: 2020

Harare is Zimbabwe’s most prominent and significant centre of economic activity. This is where your find the headquarters for most locally based businesses. It us a trade center for tobacco, maize and even cotton among others. Harare is home to about two million people.

Adroit, says: 2020

Someone moving to Harare needs to know we use buses for transportation rather than private vehicles. The city is usually congested in the morning and in the evening, therefore, they must arrive during the mid-day to avoid being caught up in traffic congestion. He/she must also avoid using pirate taxis as these are usually associated with thieves. Finally, they must carry some bit of cash as most banks do not give cash anymore.

Tadiwa, says: 2020

Consider the climate of Harare, especially if they are coming from a European country where it’s known to be extremely cold. Temperatures can get up to 35 degrees in summer. Secondly, they should consider the shortages of basic necessities, such as water and electricity. Due to the unreliability of the local city councils and struggling economy, they should be prepared to set up alternative sources of energy and water supply.

Vanessa, says: 2020

Harare is a beautiful town, it has a clean city and beautiful view on one of the mountain tops called Kopje. There are tall buildings like Joina City, in the evening you also get a beautiful view from there when lights are switched on. During the weekend the best place to go with children is Greenwood Park and Waterworld. They are a cheap form of entertainment but at the same time bring so much joy to toddlers and the young.

Tendai, says: 2020

Harare is a city that never sleeps. There are a number of great things about Harare such as great public and private schools, recreational areas to visit and great people who are always willing to help. If you ever visit Harare experience the traditional restaurants around, you would love it.

Harare is a beautiful city with so much activity going on during the day and night. The city is calm and quiet with a combination of natural environment and modern infrastructure that makes it interestingly unique. The city is well planned out but poorly maintained, due to economic constraints the past decade. you’re likely to be tired of pot holes every now and then, fallen walls, faded wall paints, etc. But if you’re capable of looking past these, it’s a city which takes you back a few decades to the ‘good times’ before modernity didn’t mean ‘concrete jungles.

Kundayi, says: 2020

Getting to familiarize himself or herself with the people who leave in the city, learning how to speak in local language for easier communication. The person should have working experience in a certain field otherwise it might be difficult for him or her to get employed due to our country’s bad economic situation.

Kumbirayi, says: 2020

Harare is a busy city with many people working in the informal trade. When driving on the roads one should be careful as most drivers do not adhere to the road rules. Other than that the people are friendly and very hard working. It’s hard to do business there as the economy is not good.

Clarence, says: 2020

Harare is the capital city of the country Zimbabwe. It is the heart of business and trade. It has a population of roughly 1.5 million people in it. The citizens of Harare are not only friendly but also responsible and peaceful. The cost of living here is fairly expensive therefore there is need to prepare adequately.

You will find beautiful, sunny weather and friendly faces. However, corruption is rampant, police are only out for money, in the sense you are able to bribe your way out of any situation, and the government does not care about its people. Prices in the shops fluctuate more than salaries, but Zimbabweans are known to “make a plan”.

Clarence, says: 2020

Life in Harare is difficult, as we have many economic and political issues to deal with. However, it is worth the trouble, as Harare is a beautiful, peaceful country, filled with some of the most friendly people you could ever hope to meet. I would highly recommend that one visit Harare themselves, to come to an unbiased opinion.

As Harare is a city in a third world country one should be prepared for several economic hardships. However, this is not to say that nothing good will come out of the move. Each challenge presents an opportunity rarely found in a first world country. An example of this would be that due to the shortage of electricity supply, large commercial industries have ceased to function. This has allowed individuals to control their income potential as many start businesses producing essential products previously produced solely by large industries.

Marlene, says: 2020

Harare inhabits some of the most hospitable and friendliest people ever from around the world. People of different backgrounds and races live and work together as one in the city of sunshine. The weather condition is always very pleasant, even winters have a bit of sunshine. summer is heaven sent, with the warm breeze of clean air flowing in the big city.

My city is in Zimbabwe where is a lot of history attached it. It was once known as Salisbury but after attaining Independence it was changed to Harare meaning the city that never sleeps. It is the capital of Zimbabwe. It boosts the largest population in Zimbabwe and has over the years experienced an influx of people migrating to the city in search of better business and employment opportunities.

If moving to Harare know jobs are not easily available and summers are very hot. There are a lot of restaurants and food courts for you to eat from for example Nandos, chicken inn, pizza inn and a whole lot of other places. You must especially visit lion and cheater park a game drive where you will see lions and many other interesting animals.

Nyasha, says: 2020

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