Bulawayo is Zimbabwe’s second-largest city and the nation's original capital. Its quiet streets don't have quite the same draw as Victoria Falls, but this once-industrial city is still worth a visit—particularly for those who want to experience Zimbabwe’s rich history and culture. The area's National Art Gallery houses a wide-range of local crafts such as baskets and clay sculptures, while its extensive collection of ethnographic artwork, like masks and headdresses once used in religious ceremonies, is one of the largest in the country. The slightly more dated Natural History Museum opened in 1964 and offers a detailed look at Zimbabwe’s pre- and post-colonial history, local culture and traditional customs.
Visitors to Bulawayo can also enjoy the cool shade of towering trees in Centenary Park and Central Park, or take a refreshing dip in the city’s only public pool. The Tshabala Wildlife Sanctuary, about eight kilometers outside city limits, is a popular stop for animal lovers, who can view giraffes, zebras and warthogs in the expansive savanna by foot or on horseback.
A train runs from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo once a day. Like most big cities, it’s safest to wander the streets during daylight. Be sure to visit local markets where brightly colored traditional cloth can be bought on the cheap. Taxis around town are inexpensive but can require a bit of bargaining. It’s best to have money in US dollars or Rand.