Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe, is situated in Matabeleland. Also popularly known as Bulliesberg, the City of Kings, Skies, Bluez or “KoNthuthu ziyathunga” (place of smoky fires), Bulawayo is a melting pot of cultures, with most residents being able to speak three local languages. The city of Bulawayo is situated on a plain near the watershed between the Limpopo and Zambezi drainage basins and is the closest city to the well-known Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Matopo National Park.
The famous Kame Ruins, a Unesco World Heritage site, is just 22 km west of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. These ruins date from the Late Iron Age, and is now part of the Mazwi Nature Reserve. Other attractions near Bulawayo include the Chipangali wildlife orphanage, where sick or orphaned animals are sheltered. At Chipangali near Bulawayo you can see black rhino, leopard, cheetah, lion, various antelope as well as many birds. The Mzilikmzi Art and Craft Centre provides tourists with the opportunity of buying local art and crafts from the artists, while the Bulawayo Art Gallery, the natural history museum, railway museum, as well as Zimbabwe’ main museum are all housed in Bulawayo.
The legacy of Cecil John Rhodes, the famous British imperialist and businessman, is very obvious in Bulawayo. Although Bulawayo was founded in 1840 by the Ndebele king uMzilikazi kaMatshobana, the British under Leander Starr Jameson wrestled control of the city in 1893. Lobengula, the Ndebele king at that stage, fled and Rhodes built Bulawayo on the ruins of the old Ndebele city. Today you will still find names such as the British South African Company, Bulawayo Scouts, Frederick Selous and Frederick Russell Burnham in the history of the city.
The Cresta Churchill Hotel and the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo accommodation of a very high standard. The unique Tudor architecture of the Cresta Churchill Hotel is reminiscent of years gone by, while the Rainbow Hotel is the largest hotel in Bulawayo.