Zimbabwean hospitality

by Andy Kozlov

I never considered hotels a viable option. But this time it was different. With my sense of security

The Timberlands I got from a Caritas in Northern Italy. Stolen in Bulawayo.

breached, I wasn’t looking for adventures, while trying to find a one-night accommodation in Harare.

My temporary home in Bulawayo was robbed by some desperate guys, who took away a curious mix of a TV, DVD player, Philibao satellite receiver and a half-empty box of ice-cream on a Saturday morning. Interestingly enough, they left behind an unopened package of Cheeseman mozzarella. But they expropriated my  Timberland boots.

Well, they are not really mine, I keep telling my friends. I picked them up from a Caritas in Ceresara (a small town near Mantua in Italy), when I did not have any footwear appropriate for my first trip to the Alps. So they were not really mine. But they were my only shoes for browsing the avenues of Bulawayo. 1st to 13th, 13th to 1st.Well, maybe it’s about time for me to “go back” to roots and by a pair of South African sneakers by Soviet.

Crowne Plaza in the background of the National Gallery of Art

My friends, with whom I usually stay when  I come to the Zimbabwe’s capital, could not host me that night and so I checked in a hotel. And what an adventure it was.

City Link (citylink.co.zw) and Pathfinder (pathfinderlx.com) are two major luxury coaches operating between Zimbabwe's two biggest cities

My choice was shaped by a number of factors. As I disembarked the Pathfinder bus in the early afternoon last Sunday (July 24), I tried the closest  option by the bus station. But the reception manager was sort of half asleep and only after ten minutes of waiting I found out that they don’t have a discount agreement with Zimbabwe’s red coach. My second inquiry with the Pathfinder  (there they also were having siesta and did not really listen to my question the first time) confirmed that there are two hotels within walkable distance from the station that will accommodate me on a discounted rate as a holder of a Pathfinder ticket.

Since Crowne Plaza Monomotapa was where the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) conference was going to take place the following day, the only con could be the price with the discount, I was calculating.

Map by Willem Janszoon Blaeu showing Monomotapa (Mutapa), dated 1635. (from Wikipedia)

“Monomotapa”, by the way, is the Portuguese rendition of  the Kingdom of Mutapa, sometimes referred to as the Mutapa Empire. It was a Shona kingdom which stretched between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers of southern Africa in the modern states of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Its founders are culturally and politically related to the builders who constructed Great Zimbabwe.

Room service

I was offered their weekend price of 95 USD incl. breakfast (instead of the normal 150 USD without breakfast) and was glad to check-in. I got a spacious room with a gorgeous view of the Harare Gardens and the National Gallery with a snippet vista of the book fair huts. And so I could slowly get ready for the big event, breath in its atmosphere and simply relax after a six-hour trip through Zimbabwe. Read here about the roads in Zimbabwe and Ukraine

Atrium on the ground floor

This was my first stay in a hotel in Harare and it has certainly brought in some fresh angles into my perception of Zimbabwe’s capital.

You can write to Andy Kozlov on a.kozlov@steppesinsync.com

10th floor arcade II
Vista over the Harare Gardens
10th floor arcade I

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