30 min drive
$4 per adult
Going north, Domboshava is a rock dome close to Harare. It has been a favourite destination for day trippers for many years. Domboshava, literally translated as ‘The Red Rock’, is a big granite hill. It is an easy 15-minute walk to the top – and not too strenuous that you can’t take a picnic basket with you. If you would prefer to make an afternoon of it, start from the orientation centre that documents rock painting in the area through a series of simple graphic displays explaining the significance of the elements of art. From there you follow the hand painted arrows on the rocks to get to the rock paintings and caves. Then meander slowly to the top and take in the view, most spectacular as the sun goes down. Although it’s not too steep, the rock can be slippery so walking shoes are a must.
The site has been subject to some developments in recent years, with the addition of a restaurant at the base. This can, however, make the descent more pleasurable with the promise of a beer at its end.
45 min drive
$4 per adult
For the more adventurous, Ngomakurira (The Mountain of Drums) provides an exciting experience. Dubbed Domboshawa’s big brother, you’ll find this site a little further out of town. Give yourself about an hour to walk up, depending on which route you take. It’s much more scenic. There’s a small lake at the top and a mini-forest growing out of the rock. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring rock face on which a herd of elephants can faintly be seen, painted many moons ago.
Mbizi Game Park
30 minutes drive
$10 per adult / $3 per car
Taking an southern route out of town, 10km from Harare International Airport and a mere 20km from the city centre is the Mbizi Game Park. This park covers 1,000 acres along the banks of the serene Ruwa and Manyame Rivers. The park offers activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, canoeing, game walks and drives, fishing and cruises down the Ruwa and Manyame Rivers. Like the Chivero National Park, this park is home to a wide variety of birds and indigenous flora. It’s not quite the same as going to a national park or game reserve – but it does offer a pleasant break from the bustle of the city.
Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens
30 min drive
$3 per adult
This wonderful, if a little dilapidated, botanical gardens is well worth exploring. It has a great collection of aloes, best seen between May and September, but still interesting at this time of year. The cycads are another highlight. It’s also a bird-watcher’s paradise. Take the Enterprise Road, passing Newlands and Chisipite, until the Shamva and Mutoko Road junction. There turn left, signposted Shamva Road. Drive until you see Christian Road, with the Ewanrigg sign. It’s then a 4km drive along a dirt track.
10 min drive
$4 per adult, $3 per child
One of the most pleasant ways of seeing the African bush is a ride on the back of a horse. If you’re partial to a bit of horse riding, Mukuvisi Woodlands, about 7km from the centre of town, is a great destination point for locals and visitors alike to get close to nature. Well-trained horses make it easy to navigate the bushes, both comfortable for beginners and a routine pleasure for the seasoned rider. Horse rides cost $12 per adult or $10 per child. Walks on a sign posted route around the park take place on the last Sunday of the month. Mukuvisi Woodlands offers all sorts of activities, take a look at their website and plan your day accordingly.