Bulawayo is a city of historical and cultural significance in Zimbabwe and best discovered on a Bulawayo city tour with our experienced guides. The city that builds the gateway to Matobo National Park was originally home to the Lobengula, the last of the Matabele Kings. Its location in the south of Zimbabwe and in proximity to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia is what made it the industrial hub of Zimbabwe. The first train arrived in Bulawayo in 1897. Early colonial settlers using the region’s immense natural wealth turned Bulawayo into a boom town, creating a centre for mining, ranching and industrial activity. Today, being the second largest city in the country, it stands proud in its heritage as is evident in the multitude of art galleries, museums and local markets.
The art galleries and craft centres, proudly displaying the rich Ndebele culture, form part of your Bulawayo city tour. The National Gallery selects and exhibits works of local artists and there are also studios within the gallery where one can witness works in the making. It is housed in a Victorian era building and accommodates a crafts shop, restaurant and several artists’ studios.
The museums in Bulawayo hold a wealth of knowledge and historical significance and are fascinating to explore during your city tour. The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe was built in 1962. With its stunning displays and valuable research collections is the best museum in Southern Africa and rank fourth in size among the museums of Africa. It is an impressive circular building with nine public display galleries, a lecture hall, a cafeteria, and eight research departments with substantial study collections and ongoing research.
Bulawayo Railway Museum
A visit to the incredible Bulawayo Railway Museum also forms part of your tour through the city and comes highly recommended for railway enthusiasts. This unique facility, along with its exhibitions of African Modern Art, provides visitors with an in-depth look at the history of Zimbabwe’s railway system, formerly known as the Rhodesia railway system. Old steam engines, signal lamps, luxury coaches and cargo wagons are on display. The standout examples are Cecil John Rhodes’s carriage as well as the Jack Tar, the first train to cross the Victoria Falls bridge.
Extend your Bulawayo city tour to include a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Khami Ruins. Dating back to the 13th century, the site is of great archaeological interest. Excavations have revealed well-planned buildings as well objects from China and Europe, pointing to Khami as a major trade centre during the time.