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Bulawayo: Unveiling the Essence of Zimbabwe’s Second-Largest City

Bulawayo: Unveiling the Essence of Zimbabwe’s Second-Largest City post thumbnail image

Bulawayo: Unveiling the Essence of Zimbabwe’s Second-Largest City

Bulawayo, the vibrant and culturally rich city of Zimbabwe, stands as a symbol of the nation’s history, diversity, and resilience. This comprehensive article aims to provide both Zimbabweans and international readers with a detailed overview of Bulawayo, encompassing various aspects from its geographical location to its cultural attractions.

The Weather in Bulawayo

Bulawayo experiences a semi-arid climate, marked by hot summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures, from October to April, range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), while winter temperatures, from May to September, average between 7°C and 23°C (45°F and 73°F). The city’s weather is influenced by its inland location and elevation of approximately 1,350 meters (4,429 feet) above sea level.

Location and GPS Coordinates of Bulawayo

Bulawayo is located in the southwestern part of Zimbabwe, situated between the Umguza and Matsheumhlope rivers. The city’s geographical coordinates are approximately 20.1475° S latitude and 28.5923° E longitude.

History of Bulawayo

Founded by Lobengula, the son of King Mzilikazi born of Matshobana around the 1840s in modern-day Zimbabwe, Bulawayo traces its origins to the Ndebele people’s migration from northern Kwazulu. The name Bulawayo, derived from the Ndebele word “bulala,” translates to “the one to be killed,” possibly signifying a historical civil war during the city’s formation. Lobengula, a prince aspiring to ascend his father’s throne, faced opposition from Mbiko ka Madlenya Masuku, a confidant of King Mzilikazi, who questioned Lobengula’s legitimacy due to his Swazi lineage.

Referred to as Bulawayo UmntwaneNkosi, meaning “a place where they are fighting or rising against the prince,” the city’s name coincidentally shares similarities with the capital of Zulu warrior king Shaka ka Senzangakhona in Kwazulu, the ancestral home of Mzilikazi and the Khumalo clan.

In the 1860s, Bulawayo became a focal point of European interest, with various colonial powers eyeing its strategic location. Cecil Rhodes and the Chartered Company played a significant role on behalf of Britain in securing influence. Lobengula likened Britain to a chameleon and himself to the fly.

During the First Matabele War in 1893, British South Africa Company (BSAC) troops invaded Bulawayo, compelling King Lobengula to evacuate his followers. The town was detonated and set ablaze. Leander Starr Jameson declared Bulawayo a settlement under BSAC rule on November 4, 1893. Cecil Rhodes ordered the new settlement to be established on the ruins of Lobengula’s royal kraal, marking a typical act by a conquering power, where the current State House stands.

In 1897, Bulawayo gained municipality status in the British colonial system, and Lt. Col. Harry White became one of its first mayors. The city’s history reflects a complex interplay of indigenous leadership, colonial influence, and the enduring spirit of its people.

Also Read: Discover Chitungwiza: A Comprehensive Traveler’s Handbook to Zimbabwe’s Hidden Gem

Size & Population of Bulawayo

Covering an area of approximately 1,707 square kilometers (658 square miles), Bulawayo is the second-largest city in Zimbabwe. As of the last census in 2022, the population stood at around 1.2 million people, reflecting the city’s importance in the country’s demographic landscape.

Distance from Bulawayo City Centre to Harare

The distance between Bulawayo and Harare, the capital city, is approximately 441 kilometers (273 miles).

Travel Time from Bulawayo to Harare

The journey from Bulawayo to Harare by road takes approximately 5 to 6 hours, depending on factors such as traffic conditions and the chosen mode of transportation.

Distance from Bulawayo to Mutare

Bulawayo to Mutare, another major city in Zimbabwe, is approximately 564 kilometers (309 miles).

Travel Time from Bulawayo to Mutare

The travel time from Bulawayo to Mutare by road is around 7 to 8 hours.

Bulawayo City Council Contact Details

For information related to the Bulawayo City Council, residents can contact the council offices at the following address:

Adress: Office 13 Municipal Buildings Fife Street Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Phone: +263 (2922) 75011 ext 2352

Email: callcentre@citybyo.co.zw

Website: http://www.citybyo.co.zw/

Bulawayo: Unveiling the Essence of Zimbabwe's Second-Largest City

Bulawayo: Unveiling the Essence of Zimbabwe’s Second-Largest City | image credit @UNESCO

Schools in Bulawayo

Bulawayo boasts a diverse and well-established education sector with numerous primary and secondary schools.

  • Eveline High School
  • Christian Brothers College, and Girls’ College
  • Northlea High School
  • Milton High School
  • St Columba’s High School
  • Green Gables High School
  • Founders High School
  • Milton High School
  • St Columba’s High School
  • Bulawayo Adventist High School
  • Dominican Convent School
  • Msiteli High School
  • Luveve Secondary School
  • Gifford High School

Colleges and Universities in or Near Bulawayo

Several higher education institutions contribute to Bulawayo’s academic landscape. The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Zimbabwe School of Mines are among the key institutions in or near the city.

Lodges in Bulawayo

Bulawayo offers a range of accommodation options, including lodges catering to both business and leisure travelers.

  • Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel
  • Southern Comfort Lodge
  • Holiday Inn Bulawayo
  • Tshulu Tsha Nabe Lodges
  • Breeze Guest House Bulawayo
  • Burkes’ Backpackers Paradise
  • Sethule Lodge
  • Think Rain Boutique Hotel
  • Granite Park Lodges
  • Travellers Guest House
  • Emqameni Lodge
  • Hillside Manor
  • Tshulu Tsha Nabe BB
  • Motsamai Guest Lodge
  • Banff Lodge Hotel
  • Hornung Park Lodge
  • Intundla Lodge
  • Mavuna Guest Lodge
  • Fortunesgate Lodge
  • Tree-Shed Guest Lodge Bulawayo Zimbabwe
  • Grey Oak Holiday House
  • The Promise- A Charming House Close to Everything
  • Tingompela Lodge
  • Lynn’s Guest House
  • Wozani Lodge
  • Matilinda Lodge
  • Serenity Guest Lodge
  • Bulawayo Continental Lodge
  • Bulawayo Central Lodge
  • Burnham Road Suite Guest House
  • Limerick cottages
  • Glen Lodge
  • Stay Afrique

Things to Do in Bulawayo

  1. Matobo National Park: Explore the unique rock formations and ancient cave paintings in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  2. Natural History Museum: Immerse yourself in Zimbabwe’s natural and cultural history through exhibits and displays.
  3. City Hall and Centenary Park: Visit the iconic City Hall and enjoy the greenery of Centenary Park.


Bulawayo is often referred to as the “City of Kings” due to its rich cultural heritage and historical significance.


  1. Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency
  2. Bulawayo City Council
  3. National University of Science and Technology
  4. History of Bulawayo

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