What is the Capital City of Zimbabwe?

Harare, formerly known as Salisbury, is the capital and largest city of Zimbabwe. It serves as the political, economic, and cultural center of the country, boasting a rich history, diverse population, and vibrant urban landscape.

  • Area: Harare covers an area of approximately 960 square kilometers, making it one of the largest cities in Zimbabwe.
  • Population: The city is home to over 2 million residents, representing a mix of indigenous Zimbabweans, expatriates, and migrants from across Africa and beyond.
  • Time Zone: Harare operates on Central Africa Time (CAT), UTC+2, aligning with the standard time for much of Southern Africa.
  • Highest Mountain: Zimbabwe’s highest peak, Mount Nyangani, is located in the eastern part of the country, near the border with Mozambique. While not within the city limits, it stands as the tallest mountain in Zimbabwe, reaching an elevation of 2,592 meters (8,504 feet).
  • Longest River: The Zambezi River, Africa’s fourth-longest river, forms part of Zimbabwe’s northern border with Zambia. While not flowing directly through Harare, it is the longest river in Zimbabwe and a vital source of water, transportation, and hydroelectric power.


Harare is situated on a plateau at an elevation of approximately 1,483 meters (4,865 feet) above sea level, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The city’s terrain is characterized by rolling hills, open savannas, and lush vegetation, creating a picturesque backdrop for urban life. Harare is located in the northeastern part of Zimbabwe, surrounded by agricultural land and natural reserves.

Major Landmarks:

Harare boasts several landmarks that reflect its history, culture, and development:

  1. Harare Gardens: This expansive public park, located in the heart of the city, is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Harare Gardens features manicured lawns, shady trees, and colorful flower beds, providing a tranquil oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life. The park also hosts events, concerts, and festivals throughout the year, making it a vibrant center of community life.
  2. National Gallery of Zimbabwe: Situated in Harare’s central business district, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is a leading cultural institution showcasing the country’s artistic heritage. The gallery features a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, reflecting Zimbabwe’s cultural diversity and social dynamics. Visitors can explore rotating exhibitions, attend art workshops, and engage with local artists, enriching their understanding of Zimbabwean art and culture.
  3. Parliament Building: This iconic landmark, located on Nelson Mandela Avenue, is the seat of Zimbabwe’s legislative assembly and government. Designed in a neoclassical style, the Parliament Building features a grand facade, marble columns, and a central dome, symbolizing the country’s democratic ideals and institutional legacy. Visitors can tour the chambers, galleries, and gardens, gaining insights into Zimbabwe’s political history and governance structure.
  4. Mbare Musika Market: As one of the largest open-air markets in Zimbabwe, Mbare Musika Market is a bustling hub of commerce, culture, and community. Located in Harare’s southwestern suburbs, the market offers a wide range of goods, including fresh produce, clothing, crafts, and household items. Visitors can explore the maze of stalls, interact with vendors, and sample local delicacies, immersing themselves in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Zimbabwean street life.
  5. Chapungu Sculpture Park: Nestled in the suburb of Msasa, Chapungu Sculpture Park is a unique outdoor gallery showcasing Zimbabwe’s rich tradition of stone carving. The park features a collection of contemporary sculptures crafted by local artists, depicting themes of nature, culture, and spirituality. Visitors can wander through the landscaped gardens, admire the artworks, and learn about the techniques and traditions of Zimbabwean sculptors, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Climate Overview:

Harare experiences a subtropical highland climate, characterized by warm summers, mild winters, and distinct wet and dry seasons. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the average temperature, precipitation, and sunny days for each month:

Month Average Temperature (°C) Precipitation (mm) Sunny Days
January 22°C 200mm 8
February 22°C 180mm 8
March 22°C 150mm 8
April 21°C 40mm 7
May 20°C 10mm 6
June 18°C 1mm 6
July 18°C 0mm 7
August 20°C 0mm 8
September 22°C 1mm 8
October 24°C 10mm 8
November 24°C 40mm 8
December 23°C 150mm 8

Harare’s climate is characterized by hot, rainy summers from November to March and cool, dry winters from May to August. The transitional months of April and September offer pleasant weather, making them ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Other Capital Cities in Zimbabwe’s History:

Throughout Zimbabwe’s history, several cities have served as the capital at different times. Let’s explore each of these cities and their significance:

Bulawayo (1894-1935):

Bulawayo, located in the southwestern part of Zimbabwe, served as the capital of Southern Rhodesia during the colonial era. Founded in the late 19th century, Bulawayo became a major center of trade, industry, and administration, attracting settlers from across the British Empire. The city’s name derives from the Ndebele word “bulala,” meaning “kill,” in reference to the conflicts between Ndebele warriors and British forces during the colonization of Zimbabwe. Despite its colonial legacy, Bulawayo is known for its cultural diversity, historic architecture, and vibrant arts scene.

Gweru (1935-1953):

Gweru, formerly known as Gwelo, briefly served as the capital of Southern Rhodesia during the mid-20th century. Located in the central part of Zimbabwe, Gweru was established as a railway town and administrative center, linking the mining regions of the Midlands with the port city of Beira in Mozambique. The city’s name derives from the Shona word “gwere,” meaning “spear,” reflecting its strategic location and military significance. Gweru is known for its wide streets, colonial-era buildings, and picturesque setting amidst rolling hills and open savannas.

Salisbury (1953-1980):

Salisbury, renamed Harare after independence, served as the capital of Southern Rhodesia and later Zimbabwe during the latter half of the 20th century. Founded in the late 19th century, Salisbury became a thriving metropolis and industrial hub, attracting settlers, entrepreneurs, and migrants from around the world. The city’s name honors the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, who played a key role in the colonization of Zimbabwe. Despite its colonial past, Harare is known for its vibrant culture, cosmopolitan atmosphere, and progressive outlook, reflecting the aspirations of modern Zimbabweans.

Country Facts:

Zimbabwe, located in southern Africa according to CountriesZipper, is a landlocked country known for its rich history, diverse landscapes, and cultural heritage. Here are some key facts about Zimbabwe:

  • Geography: Zimbabwe covers an area of approximately 390,757 square kilometers, making it one of the largest countries in Africa. It is bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Botswana. The country’s geography includes the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Population: Zimbabwe is home to over 14 million people, comprising a mix of ethnic groups, including the Shona, Ndebele, Tonga, and Chewa. The population is predominantly rural, with significant urban centers such as Harare, Bulawayo, and Mutare.
  • Economy: Zimbabwe’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, mining, and tourism. The country is known for its rich deposits of minerals such as gold, platinum, and diamonds, as well as its fertile soils and diverse wildlife. Zimbabwe faces challenges such as economic instability, unemployment, and poverty, despite its natural resource wealth.
  • History: Zimbabwe has a rich history dating back to ancient times, with indigenous kingdoms such as Great Zimbabwe shaping the region’s cultural and architectural heritage. The area was colonized by the British in the late 19th century and became independent as Zimbabwe in 1980. The country’s history is marked by struggles for independence, political upheaval, and economic development.
  • Culture: Zimbabwe’s culture is diverse and vibrant, reflecting the traditions of its various ethnic groups and influences from neighboring countries. Music and dance play a central role in Zimbabwean culture, with genres such as mbira, sungura, and chimurenga gaining popularity. Traditional ceremonies, such as the Bira of the Shona people, celebrate the country’s cultural heritage and spiritual beliefs.
  • Environment: Zimbabwe is known for its diverse landscapes, including national parks, game reserves, and mountain ranges. The country is home to iconic species such as elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, and giraffes, as well as a variety of birds and plants. Conservation efforts, such as community-based natural resource management and ecotourism initiatives, aim to protect Zimbabwe’s natural heritage for future generations.

Harare stands as a vibrant symbol of Zimbabwe’s resilience, diversity, and aspirations for the future. From its historic landmarks to its vibrant culture and bustling markets, Harare captivates visitors with its blend of tradition and modernity, offering a glimpse into the soul of this remarkable country. As the capital city, Harare serves as a gateway to Zimbabwe’s treasures, welcoming travelers from around the world to explore its natural wonders, cultural riches, and warm hospitality.

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