Bulawayo is situated in the province of Matabeleland and is the province’s capital, administrative centre and regional hub for tourism, mining, commerce and industry. The city is built on a vast, flat plateau on the central watershed between the Zambezi River in the north and the Limpopo River to the south.
Spacious and Laid-Back
The city has a relaxed and more sedate lifestyle than the nation’s capital, Harare, and it is famous for its wide streets. Planned in the grid pattern by Cecil Rhodes, it is a commonly held belief that the streets in the central business district are wide enough to accommodate the turning circle of a full span of 16 oxen. An additional explanation is that Rhodes wished to avoid the traffic congestion he had experienced in the South African city of Johannesburg. However, ox wagons were used in the streets of Bulawayo by pioneers and settlers before the turn of the 20th century. Today, these streets give Bulawayo a sense of space and a laid-back atmosphere.
The history of Bulawayo is evident in many fine old buildings dating back to the early days. Many streets in the city are still lined with handsome old buildings. These include the colonial-style Bulawayo Club, the High Court with its classic, imposing dome, the Victorian-style Bulawayo Drill Hall, the National Art Gallery and many government buildings including those of several schools built in the first half of the 20th century. There are also many Cape Dutch buildings with their curved, white gables dotted around the city and its suburbs.
Gracious Street Trees
Most of the streets, sidewalks and pavements of Bulawayo are shaded by graceful trees. In summer the flame red blossoms of flamboyants, the mauve and white flowers of bauhinias and the subtle purple of jacaranda blooms are a delight to the eye in the middle of town and in the residential areas.
The Friendly People
As with any modern city personal security can never be guaranteed. In any city in the world it is always advisable to be vigilant. But, in Bulawayo you are guaranteed one thing – the people of this congenial city are probably the friendliest you will ever meet.