An Afrosocialite's Guide to Lusaka

Mazuba Kapambwe @afrosocialite - Image Crafted Media

Mazuba Kapambwe- Image Crafted Media 

We've recently been meeting more and more Zambians on our SBA sojourns and while that's exciting, it's also getting pretty awkward answering their questions as to our lack of Zambian content thus far. But that's all about to change as we have called upon our good friend Mazuba Kapambwe, aka @afrosocialite, to let us all in on Lusaka's best gems. Mazuba grew up between Zambia, USA, Germany and Ethiopia before moving back to Lusaka in 2012 to co-found social media management company 'C1rca 1964'. She's now the co-host of the new travel reality-docu 'The Fest Gurus' which is how we met her, shooting the first episode at HIFA 2013 with our good friends Lorraine Charlotte and Crafted Media. Firmly embedded in the local 'ZedCreatives' scene and selected as one of just ten World Economic Forum Lusaka Global Shapers, we trust she knows what's what in Lusaka. Here are her must visit places to check out in Zambia's capital city for a great night out, a quick drink after work, hanging out with Lusaka's movers and shakers, or simply a little R&R. 

In the mood for...A Night To Remember: NEWS CAFE 

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"By day, this South African import is a restaurant but it's the weekends when it really comes alive as the place to be for Lusaka’s crowd to let loose. Guests can have dinner, drinks and hookah while listening to DJ's playing the latest zedbeats, Kwaito and Nigerian music, or whatever takes the fancy of one of the hosted South African DJ’s who come to town like Oskido. Dress to be seen as chances are you’ll run into someone you know or a former Big Brother housemate or two.  Once guests tire of News, the next happening club is Room 101 just a three minute walk away in Arcades mall." 

Top tip: Fridays are the best nights, and make sure to get there before 10pm for any chance of getting a table. News Cafe 2276 Thabo Mbeki Rd Lusaka

In the mood for...A Light Lunch: MINT LOUNGE

mint lounge lusaka zambia eating best restaurants healthy lunch

"Health nuts, this one's for you. Known for using organic local produce, Mint Lounge is a popular spot in the Arcades shopping mall. It helps that it's beautiful too, tastefully decorated in greens, whites and turquoise. Their Malawi shandy is top notch, as is their prawn risotto and their brilliant but elusive red velvet cupcakes which sell out fast. You'll also have to get in there quick to ensure getting a seat at weekends so it's worth making a reservation. It'll be worth it though as this is also a good spot to run into local celebs- I've met both Pompi and former Chipolopolo (Zambia’s National Soccer Team) coach Herve Renard here. If you’re there for dinner and feel the need to party, turn the corner and you’ll find yourself at News Café."  

Top tip: be prepared to wait a while for your meal so a little snack beforehand won't go amiss. Mint Lounge, Acacia Park, Arcades. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm/Sat-Sun:9am -11pm

In the mood for....A Cheeky Midweek Cocktail: PORTICO 

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"An Italian restaurant located in the showgrounds where the annual Agricultural and Commercial show is held, Portico is the perfect mid week after-work spot. Unwind with the best cocktails in Lusaka while you watch the occasional polo match sometimes held at the nearby Polo Grill, or enjoy the live band that plays on weekends and select Wednesdays."   

Plot 2374 Nangwenya Road, Lusaka Showgrounds. (A short walk/drive from Polo Grill) +260 211 250111, Closed Mondays. 

In the mood for...A Daycation: LILAYI LODGE 

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"Escape the bustle of Lusaka without venturing out of the city in the sanctuary of Lilayi Lodge. Recently tastefully renovated, Lilayi is just a thirty minute drive away from the city. There an exciting list of activities awaits including game drives, bush walks and horseback safaris where you can expect to see zebra, antelope, giraffe and wilderbeest. A visit to Lilayi would not be complete without a stop at the elephant nursery - the onsite orphanage for elephant calves. After you've expended all that energy, refuel in the Lilayi restaurant which serves up what it describes as "a marriage of African fusion and contemporary cuisine" using game from their farm and vegetables from their garden. How’s that for a daycation?"

Lilayi Lodge Follow the Kafue Road for 15kms. Turn left at the Lilayi sign onto Lilayi Road and continue for 5kms until a T-junction is reached. Follow the signs to the game reserve entrance. Lilayi lays 5km from the entrance. +260 211840435/6, reservations@lilayi.com 

In the mood for...Geek Chic: BONGO HIVE

"From the outside you could easily mistake Bongo Hive for just any another house in it's residential neighbourhood, but don't overlook what is actually Lusaka's first tech hub. Home to tech lovers and creatives alike, Bongo Hive is where likeminds come to work together on innovative technology that could leapfrog development in Zambia. There’s always something going here be it a film screening, unveiling of a new app, an industry event, swap shop or talks by inspiring people such as Zambian entrepreneur Monica Musonda, so it's worth checking out their facebook page to see what's going on. There’s also cool art on the walls by a local Zambian artist and if you’re in the mood for some history, a few minutes walk from Bongo Hive is a national heritage site which once housed the village of the headman Lusaka and the Soli tribe who are the original inhabitants of the capital city."

Bongo Hive 25 Mpulungu Road, Olympia

In the mood for...Family Fun: SUGAR BUSH FARM

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"Sugar Bush is one of those magical places that everyone raves about but actually manages to live up to its hype. Just on the outskirts of Lusaka, this farm hosts The Design House- a thatched Cape Dutch barn that doubles as a store for locally made leather handbags, belts and more by Jackal and Hide brand, as well as a café where you can have brunch. They also host the Sugar Bush Fair a few weeks before Christmas where you can purchase art, souvenirs and cool things to spruce up your living space. I’d also recommend Sugar Bush for families with little ones as there’s a playground on the premises. Or if you’re young at heart, you can give the tyre swing a go. Before you leave, be sure to pick up some organic strawberries for dessert!"        

The Design House Café open Tuesday-Saturday from 08:30 – 17:00 hours and on Sundays from 09:00 to 16:00 hours. The café is closed on Mondays.To find The Design House café, take the Leopards Hill road from Crossroads, Kabulonga. Go past Pilatus and the American International School, and through the neighbourhood watch boom. Sugarbush Farm is clearly marked on the right at the top of the next hill.


Author: Mazuba Kapambwe is Co-Host of @TheFestGurus, Afro-Entertainment Guru for @RadioAFRO, a @LskGlobalShaper and term coiner of #zedcreatives. Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog afrosocialiting.wordpress.com

Know better spots in Lusaka? Let us all know in the comments below! 

6 Things You Can't Leave Cape Town Without Doing

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1. Wander Woodstock

Woodstock is to Cape Town what Shoreditch is to London and Brooklyn to NYC. Basically if Solange was in Cape Town, this is where she would hang out and take achingly cool pictures to post later on Instagram. What used to be an industrial neighbourhood has slowly been inflitrated with hipster coffee shops and quirky boutiques. Unlike the cookie cutter malls in other parts of the city, Woodstock is where you'll discover some of South Africa's most talented artists and designers. I recommend starting off at The Old Biscuit Mill, followed by a hearty face stuffing at the Neighbourgoods Market if it is a Saturday. On other days of the week satisfy your foodie pangs at The Test Kitchen or confusingly, down the road at The Kitchen  where Michelle Obama lunched while she was in town. While you're in The Mill (I'd like to think that's what Cape Tonians call it), the Kat Van Duinen boutique is another favourite where Kat's commitment to South African workmanship is to be admired, in the form of handmade leather bags and slinky silk dresses. 

Once stuffed and laden with shopping bags, explore yonder into Woodstock by strolling down Albert Road which is heaving with art galleries (What If The World is a good'un), foodie hotspots and the hipster kind of graffiti that comes with gentrification. Woodstock is one of Cape Towns oldest neighbourhoods- even my Grandmother was born here- and is one of the most interesting parts of the city so don't miss it! 

Abode Design Old Biscuit Mill Woodstock Cape Town

Spotted: The most amazing map of Africa we've ever seen- plus bonus points for being made out of old books. Found in the Abode store, Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock 

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2. Brunch in Bo Kaap 

If I ever lived in Cape Town, Bo Kaap is where you would find me. Who wouldn't want to live on streets where you can paint your house whatever colour you like and the neighbors won't care? A short walk out of the bustle of the city centre, this quiet neighbourhood on the slope of Lion's Rump hill is one of the most colourful places in the world according to the Huffington Post. Another one of Cape Town's historically rich areas,  home to CT's first ever mosque, it's lower streets are filled with artist's studios and gallery-cum-coffee houses while the upper streets remain the main residential area of Cape Town's muslim community. 

The breakfast and coffee at the Haas Collective on Rose Street is simple yet stunning, with a wonderful little store and design gallery filled with eclectic locally made pieces. They even have an advertising agency across the road, adding to their creative power house. Origin at 28 Hudson Street is another place that serves up a flawless brunch in a deconstructed warehouse type setup where they take their coffee and tea making very seriously. This isn't just a cafe apparently, so don't show up in last nights clothes hoping for a greasy breakfast, but a 'tasting room' for their artisan roastery and barista school upstairs. Luckily their food and coffee are as delicious as they are slightly pretentious, and will leave you feeling ready to conquer Cape Town. In a touristy, completely non-colonial way of course. 

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3. Buy Proudly ZA   

For God's sake, don't make like most tourists in Cape Town and head straight for the Waterfront to do your shopping. I really don't see the point in travelling all the way to South Africa only to go shopping in Topshop, so head to Long Street for some unique pieces that you won't find anywhere else. My favourite is Merchants on Long, and not just because their staff are ridiculously good looking. (S/O to the hot Congolese guy on the till). Merchants on Long is a treasure trove of African design, stocking the who's who of African fashion from Nigeria's Jewel By Lisa to Cote d'Ivoire's Laurence Airline. Housed in an historical and beautiful building, Merchants on Long are our kindred 'Made in Africa' spirits that we can't help but champion. Especially since they've recently opened a shebeen across the road serving 'Sowetan' Old Fashioned cocktails and Ostrich egg cinnamon mojitos! I picked up some incredible knitwear from one of our favourite South African brands MaXhosa by Laduma from there, which has been the perfect armour against London's bitter winter elements. The brand was born out of Laduma's desire to provide something that genuinely depicted his Xhosa cultural aesthetics for his initiation ceremony. Yes I know its menswear, but I'll just pretend I borrowed it from my 'boyfriend'. 

4. Have a 'lekker jol' up Long Street

Long Street is Cape Town's party central, and it has yet to let me down. Start off with good intentions at Mama Africa which will line your stomach with ostrich steak, creamed spinach and an energetic marimba band. Once suitably prepared, bar hop your way down the street (and back again if you can handle it) for a heady mix of locals, tourists, students and South African house music. On the day I dropped by Mos Def was dong a meet & greet with local hip hop heads at Boaston Society, I discovered a great fabric store with cloth all the way from Mali, and reminisced on all my nights hopscotching Long Street as a wannabe UCT student, so be up for anything. 

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5. Catch some V&A Waterfront breeze

Although a tourist trap, if you are in Cape Town it is worth checking out the V&A Waterfront. Mainly because it's one of the best and easiest places to get a good snap of you and Table Mountain to show off to your friends on Facebook. The Waterfront is a perfectly picturesque and pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Cape Town- plus there is something about having cocktails on a sunny day overlooking some water that really makes you feel like you're living the life. 

6. Get Creative at City Hall 

Cape Town's City Hall is an iconic gem built in the style of the Italian Renaissance. It was from one of it's balconies that Nelson Mandela addressed a crowd of over 100 000 people when he was released from prison in 1990. And where I fell in love in the middle of an electro house rave at a Design Indaba 2012 party, but that's a story for another day. It does shabby chic very well, and has recently been repurposed into a cultural and music space hosting creative events such as City Hall Sessions and Music Exchange, so check out what's on while you're in town. Although I promised never to go out for NYE ever again, I couldn't resist a street party basking in its glow to launch Cape Town as the World Design Capital for 2014. 

Cape Town is such a gorgeous city with so much to discover- a few days in town and you'll be cheesing like this too! 

Know some better things to do in Cape Town? Let everyone know in the comments below. 

Author: Kiran Yoliswa is the Co-Founder of Styled By Africa.  

Mozambique: Vibing in Vilanculos

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On a recent trip back to Harare from London where I'm currently working as an interior architect, my family decided the best way to welcome me after an eleven hour flight from London was to drive 14 hours to Vilanculos, Mozambique. After giving me a second to unpack, take a breath and re-pack, we hit the road at 3am allowing us to drive through Mozambique during the day, arriving before dark. We left Zimbabwe through the Eastern Highlands just beyond Mutare where the roads were much smoother than we expected. 

Driving down through Chimoio, Mozambique’s fifth largest city, and other smaller cities along the way was intriguing. The thick forests and mountainous terrain are a stark contrast to the drive through Zimbabwe's open flat plains and tall grasses.  Being my first time in Mozambique, the majority of the stories I had heard about it were from people who had fought in the Zimbabwean liberation struggle and of lives in exile or training in Mozambique. Looking out at the dense trees, it was easy to imagine the guerillas running through them during the war where visibility would easily have been just a few metres in the thickest parts.

Perhaps because of this shared history, I've never felt more connected to the land and the people of a foreign country than I did in Mozambique. I was surprised to find that people all the way down the drive spoke Shona, the Bantu language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Places and people had familiar Shona names- from the police patrol to the kids selling catfish on the roadside. In some places I was really taken aback to hear people speak in Portuguese, switch to English and then break out into straight up Shona! #gaya (imagine!) The people themselves were as mixed as their words, diverse and colourful with clear Portuguese influences in green eyes and wavy obsidian hair.  

1700km later we arrived just before sundown in Vilanculos at the Casa Chibububo Lodge, where we checked into one of their self-catering seaview beach chalets. If you're flying rather than driving, the lodge is just 5 minutes from Vilanculos International Airport which has daily flights from Johannesburg and Maputo.  

chibububo lodge mozambique vilanculos tapiwa chasi
mozambique chibububo lodge vilanculos

In the mornings we were woken up by fishermen repairing what looked like abandoned dhows, and the water receded almost as far as the eye could see leaving a sandy uneven wet desert like terrain. Local women harvested crabs brought in by the water, gathering in their colourful wraps like many wives of the ocean, with buckets sorting the crabs by sizes and releasing the little ones. They seemed to have a curious relationship with the water, like the many wives of the ocean coming down to collect gifts for their children. Like a ritual, the water turned and disappeared into the horizon, the women almost wishing the water good luck like a prayer before the hunter leaves the homestead. I wondered who these women were and how they met, and what a distant husband this water was. 

vilanculos mozambique
vilanculos mozambique
vilanculos mozambique

Vilanculos is serenely beautiful, colourful, hot, and perfect for contemplation. Nothing like the greyness of London which I had left in a cold wet spring, with 2 degree highs. Fresh prawns and Portuguese grilled chicken were my food for thought, while reading up on design magazines and international trends. It was just what I needed, time away to get back to me, and a time to let myself just BE. Games and belly laughs filled our days and the unconditional love of the family was soothing, clarity giving. It could only be onwards and upwards from there. 

Author: Tapiwa Chasi is a creative entrepreneur from Zimbabwe interested in architecture, design and cultural pondering. All images courtesy of Tapiwa Chasi. Follow him on twitter @Chase_Wacho

  

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South Africa: A Weekend in Cape Town

As a business journalist a luxury of my job is the chance to travel. I’ve visited countries that I’ve heard so much about, and often find that there is a disconnect between the stereotype image and the truth. Just like watching a film that everyone around you has over hyped, that when you finally watch it your sky-high expectations are inevitably shattered. So I was little nervous about finally making it to Cape Town after hearing many rave reviews, but thankfully this time I was not disappointed. 

The stereotype that Cape Town is ‘Africa light’ is a fitting one. The city’s European-style buildings, ensconced in stunning mountainous terrain, are a short walk from its palm-fringed beaches which are lined by trendy boutiques and western restaurants. Cape Town’s leisurely pace is a sharp contrast to Johannesburg’s high-octane tempo, and this has made it a haunt for sandal-wearing backpackers in search of the good life.

The view across Cape Town from inside the cable. 

The view across Cape Town from inside the cable. 

Table Mountain, Cape Town 

Table Mountain, Cape Town 

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a good place to start sightseeing, and to understand more about the country’s former apartheid regime, a tour of Robben Island is essential. You set off from Victoria Waterfront’s shores on a small boat – which takes about an hour to reach a tiny island that’s 9 kilometres west of mainland Cape Town. The Robben Island prison was closed in 1996 – yet most of its buildings and prisons have been preserved. The guided tour of the prisons are conducted by former inmates, so the accounts are very vivid. The contrast between the beauty of the beach and the brutality of the apartheid regime adds a real poignancy to the tour, but it is worth your while. A word of advice: this tour is very popular, so book online, at least a week in advance.

Back on mainland Cape Town – the other must-see is the Table Mountain. You go up the flat-topped mountain in a revolving cable car. The view of Cape Town at the top is phenomenal. True to its name, the mountain ‘peak’ is nice and flat, so it’s easy to walk around and explore. I spotted some wildlife – tiny colourful birds perched on the mountain’s rocks, and few Dassies (which look like over-grown rats) hidden inside the mountain’s crevices. There are also deer, lizards and a few eagles that dot the landscape – but I didn’t see them while I was there.

Victoria Waterfront, Cape Town

Victoria Waterfront, Cape Town

Barbara having a Mufasa moment looking over Cape Town

Barbara having a Mufasa moment looking over Cape Town

By day – the taxis are cheap and easy to flag down. But if you're a woman, the rules change at night. Unless you have a reliable male friend that you trust, do not use any random taxi when night falls. Sexual violence is the ugly underside of gender relations in South Africa, and Cape Town is sadly, no exception. When getting around alone, at night, use a licensed taxi booked by the concierge of your hotel. It’s considerably more expensive but safer. I was lucky as I was always accompanied by a good male friend when I went out at night, which made my life easier.

Long Street, Cape Town

Long Street, Cape Town

If you want to sample the night life – I’ve got two words for you: Long Street. I had a fabulous time, and you can find an array of clubs that cater to all kinds of tastes – from hiphop and r'n’b, to highlife, afro beats, rock and chart music. You will be spoiled for choice when you get to Long Street. My friend and I started at a club called 619.. but after that my memories are a blur. The one thing I did note is that as most clubs have no ID checks – clubs are crowded with teens and minors so if you're after a crowd that has already been through puberty it might be worth doing your homework before you head out. 

In all Cape Town is beautiful – it has a bit of something for everyone, and it certainly lives up to the hype!

 Author: Barbara Njau is the Senior Reporter and Markets Editor of 'Foreign Direct Investment' (fDi) Magazine - A Financial Times publication. She is also the author of Building BRICs: The New Scramble For Africa and can regularly be found on a plane to somewhere fabulous. 

 

 

The 1 Thing You Must Do in Gaborone, Botswana: Kgale Hill

The view from the top. 

The view from the top. 

There was something about the top of Kgale hill that would put my dad into full Mufasa mode.  "Good morning child. We are looking out across the land and life is good", are the kinds of texts he would send to me in London at ungodly hours of Sunday mornings while he was looking out from Gaborone's hilltop.

My parents recently went on a two year adventure from the UK to Gaborone to help set up the medical school at the University of Botswana. So for the past couple of Christmases I've been flying south for the winter to Botswana's capital, Gaborone. As Gaborone isn't the most exciting of Africa's capitals, most people travelling to Botswana head straight for the Okavango Delta further north near Maun, an area famous for its safari's and wildlife. But Gabs does have a few gems worth spending a couple of days enjoying, of which Kgale Hill just on the outskirts of the city (near Game City Mall) is one of them. 

My brother and sister conquering Kgale. 

My brother and sister conquering Kgale. 

While in Gabs Sunday morning hikes to the top of Kgale became a family tradition followed by brunch at our favourite garden cafe Sanitas to replace all the calories that got away on the hillside. It's a great way to see the city, and realise from the top just how small it is, and also a great way to meet local families on the hike who will greet you with a sweaty 'Dumela'. 

The best time to go is early in the morning before it gets too hot (most people head out about 6am) and when there are people around in case you pass out from being over enthusiastic about your exercise.  Once you're on your way, the hike takes about an hour each way. There's an easy beginners route and slightly tougher route which involves actually climbing a bit of rockface- best avoided if you spent Saturday night at one of the two bars worth going to in town.  

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The view at the top is beautiful and would be the perfect place to sit down and have a little meditate if not for the baboons gallavanting around the hill and your sweaty panting family next to you on the rocks. However there is something about standing that high above sea level with your loved ones that makes you feel a bit on top of the world.  

Made it! 

Made it! 

Who runs the world? 

Who runs the world? 

Author: Kiran Yoliswa is Co-Founder of SBA, a graduate student of Development Studies at SOAS University, freelance journo and Kgale Hill climber. 

Zimbabwe: Heading For The Hills

vumba mountains, bvumba mountains, travel zimbabwe, harare zimbabwe, zimbabwe, 

I know I'm getting old because a couple of years ago I vowed never to spend another New Years Eve in a club ever again. NYE is always overrated, over-pressured, and over-priced, and after spending last years on a secluded beach in Goa, I've decided escaping into nature for some annual reflection is the way forward and Zimbabwe's Bvumba mountains were the perfect place to do that this year. 

Even just the spectacular drive up there is worth the trip, and once you get there you can see all the way over to Mozambique. The area is also famous for it's world-class golf course at Leopard Rock Hotel, but unless you're into golf or bird watching there's not much else to do around here besides enjoy the lush scenery, and think about your year ahead. 

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Oh and eat! On our way back to Harare we stumbled across Tony's Coffee Shop thinking we'd discovered a secret hidden spot, but apparently Tony's is already a bit of an afternoon tea institution. As in people pilgrimage to Tony's. As soon as he said the words 'Hot chocolate with a scoop of ginger ice cream' to me, I knew finding this place was no accident.  His menu has literally every type of tea you've heard off, all types of magical sounding cakes, and set in a lovely little house on a hill. It's on the expensive side, about $6 for tea/coffee and each piece of cake will set you back $12 but I can tell you from experience that a piece of his cake will feel better in your belly than $12 will in your pocket. You can see for yourself how the rest of the afternoon went. 

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Tony's Coffee Shop is '28km peg on the Vumba road, 30 minute drive from Mutare tony@zol.co.zw

 

Harare: 9 Must Visit City Hotspots

We recently spent four weeks doing 'December in Zimbabwe', also called silly season as there's something about the heat and the holiday vibes that gets things a little wild. We had an amazing time, so we've put together our favourite places we recommend checking out whether you already live in H or are lucky enough to be planning a trip there soon. Either way, Harare is not known as 'Sunshine City' for nothing, enjoy :-)! 

In the mood for...Shopping: Doon Estate

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Doon Estate design quarter can be found in the Msasa industrial area is the perfect antitode to the cookie cutter mall experience. As any of Harare's tastemakers will tell you, this little shopping village is a must visit  for travelers hunting for good quality souvenirs, the collective of shops selling a range of locally handmade jewelery, furniture, fabric, arts & crafts, and sculpture. Don't miss Ros Byrne's beautiful handmade pottery, Kudhinda's potato printed fabrics, the hot chocolate at Veldemeers chocolate shop, or the vervet monkeys running across the roofs! You can easily spend a whole morning or afternoon exploring the shops and galleries so make sure you either start or end with lunch at The Shop Cafe, Trip Advisor peeps say it's Harare's best restaurant!

1 Harrow Road, turn right off Mutare Road just after the Caltex garage. Farmers market last Saturday of the month where local produce is sold at stalls in the garden. Also check out the Chapungu sculpture garden next door! 

In the mood for....People Watching: Cafe Nush 

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With arguably the best spot in the Avondale shopping centre, Cafe Nush is the place to grab a coffee (they do great coffee) and watch Harare's movers and shakers come and go. A favourite for informal business lunches and catching up with friends, don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting next to music legend Oliver Mutukudzi or the next Strive Masiyiwa. If you're local, the chances of bumping into someone you know are extremely high so keep your hungover-still smelling like vodka-days for another side of town. PS. We recommend their grilled chicken wraps and strawberry lemonades- your welcome. 

In the mood for....City Safaris: Lake Chivero 

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Just 30 minutes out of town, Lake Chivero is the perfect spot for some weekend downtime. It's a favourite for getting family and friends together for lakeside braais, beers and banter, but you can also game drive or fish if you're into it. We managed to spot some zebra, rhino and kudu, but there are also giraffe, crocodile viewing, horseriding, walking safaris and canoeing. If you drink too much beer and want to stay the night, there are a chalets (from $20), lodges (from $60) and campsites. 

30km out of Harare, off the Bulawayo Road

In the mood for...Painting the Town: Red Bar

 

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Red Bar fast became our favourite nightspot for it's relaxed and mature crowd. Socialising in Harare can still be very segregated but Red Bar is one of the only places in town that has a more mixed cosmopolitan vibe. It's also one of the only places in town which seems to have (and pull off!) a design concept, being industrially themed with exposed concrete and steel, minimal fittings, and obviously lots of red. They have regular comedy nights and live music during the week so be sure to check out for some midweek letting down of hair. 

39a Newlands Shopping Centre, Old Enterprise Rd. ZimboJam is useful for nightlife listings. 

In the mood for...That Morning After Brunch: Pistachio

 

Harare restaurants, Pistachio Harare, Eating Out Harare, Harare City Guide 

Pistachio is new to the H-town foodie scene having only been open 6 weeks when we visited, but it's a breath of fresh air to Borrowdale village where it has taken over from Mimi's cafe. However it's already consistently packed thanks to its pleasant pistachio green surroundings and great, great food. Their chai latte was the best we've ever had, and Alae has sampled many across the world, the salads are just as good and filling as the burgers, and the complimentary foccacia bread sticks will fight off your hunger as you watch everyone else's plates of amazing looking food go by. Cordon Bleu trained head chef and owner Teresa Muirhead told us she wanted to create an oasis of fresh & healthy eating in Harare- but don't worry there are also some pretty decadent cakes if like us your 'fresh & healthy' comes with pastries on the side. 

Monday-Saturday, Shop 19 Borrowdale Village 

In the mood for....The local music scene: Book Cafe 

 

Book Cafe Harare Zimbabwe, Cafe Bar Harare, Gochi Harare, Pizza Harare, Bookshop Harare, Live Music Harare. 

Book Cafe is the pulse of the creative scene in Harare and the best place to catch local musicians, poets, and comedians. They have something going on almost every night of the week so its always worth checking out their listings, or just dropping by for some pizza, browsing the local writers in their bookshop, or joining in a public discussion. 

139 Samora Machel, cnr 6th Street.

In the mood for....Date Night: Dinner at Amanzi 

 

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We've only ever heard rave reviews about Amanzi- 'so beautiful you have to visit in the evening and the daylight', 'The Noisettes shot their video there', 'the food is incredible'- so we made sure to check out their infamous Thursday live music night. The food is an adventurous fusion of African and Asian flavours, the chicken groundnut stew and chargrilled kudu wrapped in pancetta were big winners, and is served in the gorgeous setting of their gardens or verandah. After dinner head to the bar for some jazz and cocktails, making Amanzi the place to be seen on a Thursday night, 

158 Enterprise Road, Highlands. (If you still can't get enough, check into one of their twelve lodges nearby, each designed in the theme of an African country.)

In the mood for...Saying smart things about art: National Gallery

National Art Gallery Harare Zimbabwe 

Artwise, the National Gallery is the hub for contemporary African & Zimbabwean art, (there's also Gallery Delta), curated by Raphael Chikukwa who spearheaded Zimbabwe's first presence at the Venice Biennale 2011. As well as browsing the exhibitions, the gallery shop is a great place to pick up artistic souvenirs and the cafe is run by the same people who do the Shop Cafe at Doon Estate so expect more great food. Don't miss their upcoming exhibitions of the legendary Samuel Fosso, and the Venice Bienelle collection. 20 Julius Nyerere Way

In the mood for....Working Out 

Finding good internet access was one of our biggest challenges in Harare, but with the number of meetings we had to do on our visit we had to find out fast where the best places are to get some good coffee and fast WIFI. Our favourite was Vanilla Moon in Avondale- they have a lovely garden to work in, great sandwiches, and you can use their super fast uMAX wifi for $1 p/30 mins which is perfect for checking emails, or get bigger data bundles for serious workouts. We gave out lots of uMAX vouchers at our recent garden party, so if you were lucky enough to pick one up, check out their website for their list of where else you can max about. 

 

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For more pictures of all these places and of our trip check out our facebook 'SBA in Zim' pics. There's so much we didn't get to do and can't wait to be back!

What have we missed out? What are your Harare hotspots?