Flights to Mutare
Mutare is one of the largest cities in Zimbabwe, and it is located along the eastern border with Mozambique. It’s a small but modern city with very good facilities. There are many options for shopping and dining, as well as a few tourist attractions. Though there are things to see within the city, the local nature parks are the bigger draw for most travellers coming to Mutare.
You can get the best flights to Mutare if you arrive at the main Harare International Airport (airport code: HRE) rather than any of the small local airports. Harare is about 200km away from Mutare, and you can get regular buses between the cities. South African Airways and British Airways both have non-stop routes from Johannesburg. For a much longer flight to Mutare, you can get a two-stop flight with Ethiopian Airlines that goes through Addis Ababa and Nairobi.
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The Tourist Attractions of Mutare:
Mutare Museum is one of the national museums of Zimbabwe, and the main one in the city. The historical collections focus on antique equipment used in Mutare’s past, as well as some displays that are more culturally-oriented. You can also see specimens of plant and animal life from around this region of the country.
National Gallery of Zimbabwe
This is not the main gallery of the National Gallery (which is in Harare), but a local branch that is housed in a late 1800s building in Mutare. The artistic collection spans most mediums and includes paintings, textiles, sculpture, pottery and metal-worked art. Special themes are arranged each month, and the exhibits change frequently so there is often something new to see at the gallery. Most pieces are for sale if you are interested in a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Lnyanga National Park
Lnyanga National Park is about an hour away from Mutare to the north, and though it is not a large area, there is much to see. It is very well-developed for tourists, and there are maintained trails and several camp grounds or full-service lodges if you plan on staying for more than one day. The northern parts of the park are hilly and wooded, but the south is more mountainous with several excellent sites with gorges and waterfalls. There are natural lakes and artificial dams as well that offer great spots for fishing. As for the local wildlife, you can expect to see many different types of antelope, leopards, large African otters and tree monkeys. There are rare sightings of lions as well.
Bunga Forest Botanical Reserve
Another natural destination is just south of the city, and closer than the Lnyanga Park. It’s not a wildlife park, but rather a more structured garden area filled with flowers, trees and other native plant life. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, and just a short drive from Mutare.
When Should You Visit?:
Some parts of the year are hot in Mutare but you can arrange your trip for the cooler months and it will be quite comfortable, even for outdoor sightseeing. That would be from the end of May until early August. It’s usually around 21C (70F) during the day in that season. The rainfall is also at its lowest then, so it’s perfect. The hotter weather comes in October and November when daytime highs will easily reach 28C (82F) for those months.