Harare doesn't quite live up to its name, however, despite the high-rises and teeming construction sites of the city centre. Although it is the most urban and westernised of Zimbabwe's varied landscapes, don't expect twenty-four-hour-a-day city life.
However, there is a vibrant African music scene and the Mbare Market is a traditional African market in stereo and Technicolor. Leave all valuables behind and go with a local - for reasons of security, and to get the most out of the experience. Nightlife consists mainly of dining, drinking and discos.
Less noisy pursuits are to be found, however. Harare is a showcase for the distinctive Shona style of sculpture where mythic beasts and rounded women erupt from polished soapstone. The Harare National Gallery is a good place to find out more.
Their outdoor sculpture garden features some of the best examples of the genre. Chapungu Kraal, a few miles from the city centre, offers the chance to meet the sculptors themselves . Along with over three hundred and fifty of the most highly-rated works, there is also traditional music and dance and even a witchdoctor should you need some guidance as to what to take home.
Older examples of indigenous art however lie further afield, in the Chinamora Communal lands some 35km (20 miles) out on the Borrowdale Road. Ancient humans, ancestors to the Bushman or San, once roamed Southern Africa. They left paintings on the rocks and thousands of years later the images remain.
Although there are many paintings at Domboshawa Cave, time and erosion has damaged them. Visit the Information Centre first to make sense of the pictures. Ngomakurira is a second site nearby whose paintings are in much better condition.
Surrounded by game parks, nature reserves and recreational lakes, Harare provides ample alternatives to urban pursuits. There are horseback safaris through the nearby Mukuvisi Woodlands just east of the city or picnic on the viewing platform above the water hole to get a birds-eye view of the small game.