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A 2 minute history of Harare

Hello and welcome to Harare!

This is Zimbabwe’s capital city, where an estimated 2.2 million people reside including the greater Harare areas, within the main city there are over 1 million. Zimbabwe itself has an estimated 14 million people at last census.

Harare is in the Mashonaland province, and is also the capital city of the province. Most people in Harare speak 1 dialect or other of Shona, in particular Zezuru. So what’s there to see in Harare? Well, first, we will take you through a brief history to better explain the capital city.

In brief: Harare is a version of the name Neharawa, a pre-colonial chief who ruled where present day Seke is, South East of present day Harare. As we know it, the greater Harare area was ruled over by quite a number of chiefs, who lived in peace amongst each other, Zimbabweans are still very peaceful people in general. As African history tells us, the colonisation process began and due to this, many changes occurred. Obviously. So Fort Salisbury was formed in 1890 where present day Zimbabwe has developed. Fort Salisbury was upgraded to a municipality in 1897, and then a city in 1935, the capital city of what was then known as Southern Rhodesia. Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980 and on the 2nd anniversary of this independence in 1982, the capital city name was changed to Harare, which locals will tell you means ‘He does not sleep’.

So! What does this boil down to in modern times? Here is the brief rundown. Harare is the largest city in Zimbabwe, it is also the administrative and commercial center of the country with most head offices located there. Majority of the visitors to the country will inevitably start in Harare and make their way to the surrounding areas, cities and towns.  Most flights fly directly to Harare, and from here you can drive, fly, bus or be more adventurous and take a train to your next destination.

Now that we know a little history, we can move into some specific things to do here.

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