You will be buzzing from the excellent private tours available in Bulawayo, the second largest city of Zimbabwe after Harare.
It is a very spacious town with a mix of colonial and fashionable design. There is a lot of history and cultural sights to be seen in this, one of Zimbabwe's major tourism centres such as the National History Museum of Zimbabwe, the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Statue and the Bulawayo Railway Museum.
Many of the houses in Bulawayo are still of European style from the colonial era and the influence of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. The National Museum also have many exhibits in memory of all the things Cecil Rhode did and received from not only Bulawayo but Zimbabwe.
It is from his city that you are within reach of the Matobo National Park which is home to the unusual and amazing rock formations, fascinating wildlife and unique stone age art. Read More...
Go on a Sightseeing safari Tour to See the Fantastic Sights of Matobo National Park
On your safari tour of the Matobo National Park, you will not just see the wonderful wildlife which includes the endangered White Rhino; you will see the balancing rock formations, caves with rock art or the grave of Cecil Rhodes.
Another great guided tour to take is the Tshabalala Game Sanctuary. A place to see many wild animals while walking through the wilderness.
Also just outside of Bulawayo, there are the ruins of Khami, a 15th-century city, which has Zimbabwe’s second largest monument built of stone.
Top 10 Things to Do in Bulawayo
Matobo National Park
When you visit Matobo National Park on a safari tour, you are given the opportunity to see White and Black Rhinos. White Rhinos are endangered, but here they have been breeding successfully. Other wildlife to see are zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, monkeys and much more. The type of bird you may see include Black, fish and martial eagles, pied arrow and weavers. In the swamplands there are crocodiles!
Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
Take a guided tour of the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe when you are visiting Bulawayo. This museum is ranked the fourth best of African and the best one in South Africa. It has displays showcasing the incredible and valuable collections from all disciplines including Archaeology, Entomology, mammalogy, Archaeology and so much more. It is a very informative and interesting way to learn about Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo Railway Museum
Another excellent guided tour in Bulawayo is to the Railway Museum. Here you learn all about how the trains evolved and how much they contributed to the growth of Zimbabwe and South Africa. There are cargo wagons and luxury coaches that you can board and explore. The Jak Tar, a train used personally by Cecil Rhodes is also here to see. Other things to view are the vintage phones and old signal lamps.
Tshabalala Game Sanctuary
An excellent place to take a sightseeing tour of is the Tshabalala Game Sanctuary. As there are no dangerous animals here, you have more freedom to walk around the park, without guides if you prefer, catching sights of animals such as giraffe, zebra, impala, warthog and plenty of bird species. Take a horse safari and get even closer to the animals as they get less spooked when a horse approaches them.
Apart from the Matobo National Park, there are other things to see on a sightseeing tour of Matobo Hills. First the most popular and obvious are the rock formations and granite hills. The way the rocks balance awkwardly is amazing considering they are formed this way through erosion and weather. Cecil Rhodes is buried here at the top of these hills and it is fro this spot that you witness the most perfect sunsets.
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage
A sightseeing tour that will cheer you up is the one of the Chipangali Wildlife Sanctuary. It is fantastic to see the wildlife that have been injured, abandoned and orphaned, cared for in this sanctuary. Set up by an ex-game ranger and his wife, they try, if possible, to release the animals back into their natural habitat. When this is not feasible, the animals are homed here permanently and become family!
For a view of pre-colonial life in Zimbabwe, take a guided tour to the Khami Ruins which are located approximately 20 kilometres outside of Bulawayo. These ruins are all that remains of the great empires of South Africa from 1450-1650. Although the ruins are not as well preserved, you can see the foundations of the Chiefs home. Artefacts found here included Ming porcelain and Rhineland stoneware.
The Nesbitt Castle
For a little relaxing sightseeing tour, visit the Nesbitt Castle and have afternoon tea in its delightful gardens. Built from the romantic vision of Theodore Holdengarde in the 19th century, it is a Gothic style fortress. There is much to admire in the castle that includes the twisting staircases, granite ramparts and towers that look like they are from medieval times. There are many curious features to see in the castle.
To see all the sights and landmarks of times of old, take the Old Bulawayo guided tour. When you enter old Bulawayo city, it is like you are travelling back in time to when the settlers were around. Old Bulawayo was established in the 1870's, and it was King Lobengula home until 1881. This is a relaxing and inspiring tour and walk through the city where you get an excellent idea of how life was like back then.
National Gallery of Zimbabwe
On a guided tour of the Bulawayo, visit the National Gallery which is located in one of the country’s finest monuments, Douslin House. The architecture of the 100-year-old building is a bonus to all the wonderful art and sculpture you get to view once you enter the interior of the gallery. The way the interior is done, you feel you are looking at somebody’s personal collection hanging up in different living rooms.
Travel Tips for Bulawayo
Best Time To Visit
There is no best time to visit Bulawayo as all year round is good. Due to the city of Bulawayo’s high altitude, it has a climate of wet semi-tropic and for some people, they like to visit during December and January. It may be the rainy season, but it is also when the area is fresh and green thanks to the rain. It never rains all day; it tends to be more short thunderstorms. The temperatures are much better for safari tours
The prices in Bulawayo are slightly cheaper than the prices in the capital city of Harare. Accommodation in a 4 star hotel for 2 people costs on average US$75-US$80. A 3 course meal including wine in a good restaurant for 2 people will cost approximately US25-US30. The price of private safari tours or sightseeing tours will vary from operator and seasons so check around. Remember the most expensive does not necessarily mean the best.
Know Before Visiting
Always research the area you want to travel to before booking anything. When you have decided and want do safaris or guided tours, it is advisable to book these before travelling. Make sure you have the correct documents needed when travelling i.e. valid passports or visas. It is always recommended to be alert in busy areas as there may be pickpockets, so never carry more cash that needed. When it is dark, never walk alone.
Bulawayo has a climate of wet semi-tropical. The summers here are mild, humid and somewhat rainy but short thunderstorms mostly. The temperatures average highs of 27 degrees Celsius. Surprisingly Spring is hotter with temperatures averaging 30 degrees Celsius. The wettest month is January and the driest months are the winter months of June and July with temperatures averaging around 7 degrees Celsius.