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Where to Stay in Harare
Most Harare hotels are located in the relatively compact city center, with the most prestigious properties surrounding the government buildings between Samora Machel Avenue and Robert Mugabe Road. More fine hotels are located to the north and northwest, closer to tourist-friendly destinations like the Harare Gardens Park and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. The blocks north of the government center are smart places to check for cheap hotel deals in Harare. A handful of well-manicured golf courses surround the downtown core, and the Harare Botanical Gardens are located roughly one mile to the north.
Accommodations are much harder to come by outside of this area, though there are a few hotels in the neighborhoods of Haig Park to the west, Greendale to the east and Helensvale to the northeast.
Harare Hotel Tips
Harare does maintain one exorbitant five star luxury hotel, The Meikles Hotel, but several of the runners-up are extremely well-appointed and luxurious in their own right. Except during major political summits, business conferences or sporting events, it’s usually easy to get a room in one of the finer hotels. The luxury hotels’ best accommodations remain relatively expensive, despite the overall affordability of a vacation in Zimbabwe.
Harare’s mid-range hotels are comparable to most economy hotel chains in the U.S., both in terms of in-room features and overall quality. For the least expensive accommodations, you should look into hostels and simple inns that cater to backpackers. Investigate these budget options thoroughly before booking, as some are substantially better than others. It’s usually easy to switch to another inn if you find your room isn’t up to par.
Harare Hotel Recommendations
The Meikles Hotel, the crown jewel of Harare’s lodging, has served Zimbabwe’s most distinguished visitors since 1915. Its most basic rooms, while simple, are filled with fine linens, designer furniture and other thoughtful touches, while its best suites include butler service, gourmet snacks and private balconies. Dining is also a delight, with two upscale restaurants, two elegant bars and a formal tea lounge. A luxurious rooftop swimming pool also has its own cocktail and snack bar.
Somewhat more affordable rooms are available at the Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, a four star hotel with three levels of luxury rooms and one magnificent presidential suite. Keeping pace with the amenities of The Meikles Hotel, the Crowne Plaza Monotapa boasts two restaurants, two bars, 24-hour room service and an outdoor pool with a sundeck.
Family-friendly rooms at Harare’s Holiday Inn are comparable to what you’d find at any of the U.S. locations from this international hotelier, and its low-priced buffet restaurant adds even more value. Similar accommodations and prices are available on the north side of town at the Bronte Garden Hotel; consider this alternative if you’re looking for rooms with a bit more African décor and local character.
Driving in Harare is fairly straightforward, and having your own rental car affords you the greatest amount of freedom to explore the city on your own schedule. If you’re considering renting a vehicle, you may want to reserve a car with one of the rental agencies at Harare International Airport. Just as the availability of flights to Harare can be unpredictable at times, so can the availability of rental cars, so it pays to make arrangements in advance.
If you opt not to rent a car, you can easily navigate the city by taxi. Multiple private taxi companies serve the city and charge affordable rates in U.S. dollars. There is no official rate schedule, however, and taxis are unmetered, so you will need to negotiate the fare before you get inside. There are taxi stands in front of major hotels and at several busy intersections throughout the downtown core, but you’ll need to have someone call you a ride if you want to be picked up in another area.
Harare’s public transportation consists of affordable minibuses that snake through the city center and out to the suburbs, but the availability of these rides is frequently interrupted as a result of city budget complications. It’s best not to rely on them, but if you’re not renting a car during your stay, it’s worth asking your hotel staff if and where the buses are currently running.
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