Harare transport links: Routes to other Zim locations

Harare Transport RoutesMany visitors to Zimbabwe will start their journeys in Harare. Being the capital, it’s the major airline hub for the country. Flights from South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Dubai, UK and further afield land at Harare International Airport, which is a short drive from the city. For information on airlines that fly into Harare, please see the Flights to Zimbabwe page. For general information on transport options within the whole of Zimbabwe, including transfer companies, see Transport in Zimbabwe. Harare’s transport links to other areas of the country include air, road and rail. I’ll outline specific route information between Harare and other popular Zimbabwe destinations below.

As always, hotels, lodges and tour operators will often help organize transportation for you if you ask.

Makuti signpost ZimbabweHow to travel between Harare and Bulawayo (430 km)

Air

Fly Harare-Bulawayo with Air Zimbabwe or one of the smaller private air carriers. The direct flight takes 45 minutes. See the link for a list of airlines operating within Zimbabwe.

Road

Take a bus/coach: This is a pleasant journey that I’ve done many times with Pathfinders and City Link. Some buses show films but the screens are rather small and far away, so take a book/tablet/music to have something to do. No wifi! The seats are comfortable and the buses are kept clean and tidy. The buses are much more reliable than Air Zimbabwe for leaving on time, so I would choose this over an Air Zimbabwe flight to Bulawayo any day, despite the longer journey.

The journey by bus takes about 6 hours. The bus stops at a hotel in KweKwe where you can use the (clean) restrooms and buy a drink/snack if you didn’t bring your own.

See more information on the bus journey here: Intercity bus/coach travel in Zimbabwe.

Self-drive: See this post about general driving in Zimbabwe, which also shows car rental companies.

The road is tarred the whole way. Directions are very simple: From Samora Machel Avenue, keep going straight past Lake Chivero, through Kadoma, KweKwe, Gweru to Bulawayo. Signs to Bulawayo are clearly visible throughout – it’s very difficult to get lost! There are 2 toll gates, each costing US $1.

The journey by car takes just under 5 hours. Recommended places to stop are Kadoma Hotel and Golden Mile KweKwe. As always, be vigilant of potholes, animals and large trucks.

To go to Botswana, you will need to go via Bulawayo if you’re driving. To go to South Africa, it’s also a good idea to go via Bulawayo to break the journey into more manageable chunks.

How to travel between Harare and Victoria Falls (768 km)

Air

Fly with Air Zimbabwe or one of the smaller private air carriers.

See this page for airlines operating within Zimbabwe.

Road

Self-drive: See the Driving in Zimbabwe page which contains a list of car rental companies in Zimbabwe.

The best driving option is to go via Bulawayo and break up the journey: Drive to Bulawayo (5 hours) on day one and drive to Victoria Falls on day two. Good places to stop are Kadoma Hotel, Golden Mile KweKwe and Hwange Safari Lodge. An alternative is to drive straight from Harare to Victoria Falls in one day – a long trip via Gokwe. Other modes of transport are not recommended for visitors – the trains are a law unto themselves, and minibuses/ETs require a level of experience and knowledge that I won’t pretend I have!

Bus: The bus journey with Intercape/Pathfinders is about 10 hours long. See more information on the bus journey here: Intercity bus/coach travel in Zimbabwe.

To get to Zambia (Chobe) by road, most people either fly direct or go via Victoria Falls.

Rail

Trains do run between Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls but I wouldn’t recommend them for travellers without a guide as the service isn’t always reliable. However This and That Safaris offer a guided rail tour from Harare to Victoria Falls.

How to travel between Harare and Hwange National Park

Air

Air Zimbabwe doesn’t fly to Hwange, but the other private airlines do. See this page for the list of airlines and destinations. The flight is about 1hr 30 mins.

Road

Self-drive: It’s recommended to go via Bulawayo (see above); it’s another 327 km from there.

Bus: The journey with either Intercape or City Link is about 8 hours long. See more information on the bus journey here: Intercity bus/coach travel in Zimbabwe.

How to travel between Harare and Great Zimbabwe (Masvingo) (322 km)

Air

HAC airlines fly to Great Zimbabwe. See this internal flights page for more details. The flight takes about an hour.

Road

Self-drive: The journey by road takes about 3.5 hours. It is tarred the whole way.

See this page for information about driving in Zimbabwe.

Bus: I’m not aware of a regular, reliable bus service to Masvingo but there are a number of informal buses that would travel there from the city centre, for intrepid travellers. For example, the bus company Zupco has daily buses to Masvingo. See more info on the Great Zimbabwe Monument travel guide page.

How to travel between Harare and Nyanga, Mutare and Vumba

Air

Executive Air flies to Mutare – see more on the internal flights page.

Road

Self-drive: The Eastern Highland towns are a short-ish drive from Harare – about 3 to 4 hours. The roads are good, but when you get into the mountains, be vigilant when overtaking as the roads get very twisty and steep.

Bus: There are currently no reliable buses between Harare and the Eastern Highlands on the two reputable bus companies. However, seasoned travellers could get a cheap Zupco bus which has daily routes to those locations – see their website for more details. See information on reputable Zimbabwe bus routes here: Intercity bus/coach travel in Zimbabwe.

How to get between Harare and Kariba (and the Zambezi Valley) (361 km)

Air

At the moment, only private airlines fly to the north of the country – Air Zimbabwe does not but there is talk of this changing soon. See this page for a list of the private airlines and destinations. The flight is around 1hr 15 mins.

Road

Self-drive: The drive to Kariba is about 5 hours, through Chinhoyi and Makuti.

If you’re going to Mana Pools and Chewore, turn off at Makuti – the journey will take an extra 2 or 3 hours to the Zambezi Valley.

Good places to stop are Chinhoyi Caves if you have your own picnic, or Twinn Rivers Inn at Karoi or Halfway House Motel near Makuti if not. Also Lion’s Den Butchery (on the Kariba side of Chinhoyi) does great hamburgers and offers rest facilities.

Bus: There are currently no reliable buses between Harare and Kariba on the two reputable bus companies. However, seasoned travellers could get a cheap Zupco bus which has daily routes to Kariba and the Zambezi Valley – see their website for more details. See information on reputable Zimbabwe bus routes here: Intercity bus/coach travel in Zimbabwe.

Flights

See the flights page for charters to Kariba, Mana Pools and the Zambezi Valley.

How to travel between Harare and South Africa

Self-drive: I’d recommend going via Bulawayo and breaking up the journey (see the Bulawayo heading)

It is possible to do the journey between Harare and the Beitbridge border in one day. You could stay the night at the holiday in at Messina on the South African side and do the 11-hour journey.

Bus: City Link Coaches travel to Musina and Johannesburg daily. See more information on the bus journey here: Intercity bus/coach travel in Zimbabwe.

How to travel between Harare and Gonarezhou and Chilojo Cliffs (480 km)

Air

Air Zimbabwe does not fly to Gonarezhou but other private airlines do. See Internal flights for more.

Road

It’s a full day’s 7-hr drive, probably best to go via Masvingo.

There aren’t regular scheduled buses to Gonarezhou National Park.

Check out my Zimbabwe travel quick reference guide for more articles.

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