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Living in Harare
A comprehensive guide about living well in Harare
Harare is blessed with a pleasant subtropical highland climate and plenty of greenery. It is a relatively safe and laid-back city with an impressive modern skyline. It is also the cultural and economic heart of Zimbabwe. Find out more about the city, healthcare, and transportation in this article.
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Life in Harare
Culture and Leisure
Life in Harare is complemented by fine dining, museums, craft markets and hip bars. The National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences offer cultural indoor options within the city, but much more impressive are the short trips out of town. Safari is a day trip option from the capital, and Lake Chivero, only an hour’s drive away, has a variety of birds and animals, such as giraffes and zebras. F
or expats who want sporting activities, there are a number of boat clubs and marinas located along the lake’s shoreline which rent jet skis or motorboats. There is also good fishing and horse riding.
Back in the city, Harare is home to Zimbabwe’s famous cricket team, and soccer is also very popular. Close to the Central Business District are the Mukuvisi woodlands, which have natural savannah, a tea garden, game and a variety of bird species.
Locals in Harare and Zimbabwe as a whole are famously welcoming to foreigners.
Healthcare in Harare
The standard of healthcare in Zimbabwe is low, although the best of it can be found in Harare. The country has suffered from an exodus of healthcare professionals looking for better conditions elsewhere, while HIV/AIDS is a major concern for the local population.
Hospitals and clinics in Harare are of a reasonable standard compared to the rest of the country. Foreigners will likely be expected to pay for treatment upfront and then claim it back on their insurance later. It is best to arrange insurance privately, probably outside of Zimbabwe, as the government healthcare system is poor. By far the largest medical center in the country is Harare’s Parirenyatwa Hospital, but the best option for foreigners seeking medical treatment is often a private facility, which can be very expensive, though.
For minor treatment and appointments, the Zimbabas site has a list of doctors in Harare, listed by area of expertise. The general emergency number for Zimbabwe is 999, and 994 can also be used for medical emergencies.
Transportation in Harare
Harare is very spread out, although the downtown area is quite compact. The best option to get around is by car, but bear in mind that most service stations close early. Also be prepared for frequent police roadblocks, at which the police will often solicit an on-the-spot fine for something they manage to find wrong with the vehicle.
By taxi, rides around town should cost about 5 USD at night and typically 2 USD or 3 USD during the day, unless traveling out to the suburbs. Make sure to negotiate the price before getting into the car. Minibus taxis also offer frequent services between downtown and all suburbs.
There are laws against drink and driving in Zimbabwe but they are poorly enforced. Drivers in Zimbabwe drive on the left. Foreign visitors to Zimbabwe are permitted to drive in the country using their foreign licenses for 12 months, during which time they should apply for an international driving license from the Automobile Association of Zimbabwe (AAZ) if they intend to stay beyond the first 12 months.
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