Bulawayo profile

Bulawayo Summary

Name of local authority: City of Bulawayo

Date established: Bulawayo attained town status on 1st June 1894 and had the first Municipal Council of 9 elected members in November 1897.  By 1943 Bulawayo had attained city status.

Status: City

Number of wards: 29

Population: 655 675 (2012 Preliminary Results) Males-304 446, Females- 351 229

Province: Bulawayo Metropolitan

Geographical location: Natural region: Region IV – cattle country and mining region

  Council Government Private
Clinics 19 1 24
Hospitals 1 3 4
Primary Schools 21 91 42
Secondary Schools 1 40 14
Tertiary Institutions 15 7


Water sources and their storage capacities and total capacity



(million m3)
1 Insiza (1976) 173,49
2 Inyankuni (1965)  80,78
3 Lower Ncema (1943) 18,23
4 Umzingwane (1958) 44,66
5 Upper Ncema (1974) 45,45
6 Mtshabezi (2013) 51.99
Total 414,60


  • Tyre Manufacturing
  • Footwear, plastics and rubber industries
  • Manufacture of confectionery
  • Manufacture of asbestos and related products including piping
  • Food processing including stock feeds
  • Heavy metal foundries
  • Manufacture of steel products both domestic and industrial
  • Textiles and Clothing manufacture
  • Manufacture of beverages
  • Wood industries
  • Construction Industry
  • Manufacture of bedding and mattresses
  • Metal fabrication


  • Manufacture of doors and window frames, scotch carts, pots, furniture, leather products
  • Manufacture of artifacts, curios and pottery
  • Orderly informal trading on fruits and vegetables, farm produce, odds and ends, from designated sites
  • Deregulated informal activities from residential properties – hair salons, small scale repairs, surgeries, unlicensed restaurants;
Transport and Communications
  • Bulawayo is the transport hub of the SADC bloc with road and rail links to South Africa in the south;  Botswana and Namibia in the west;  Zambia and beyond to the north; Mozambique and Malawi to the east and north east.
  • The National Railways of Zimbabwe are headquartered in the city.
  • The city is serviced by a daily shuttle by air to Johannesburg, the industrial and commercial capital of South Africa and the capital Harare for international connections.
  • A reliable fixed and mobile telephone service complemented by internet services provide excellent communication facilities
Tourism and heritage

The City of Bulawayo, named after a settlement of a similar name in Kwa Zulu –Natal, Republic of South Africa, was originally the home of Lobengula, the last of the Ndebele Kings after King Mzilikazi who braved the wilds on a long journey from South Africa to eventually settle in this area. Before then, the Rozvi Dynasty reigned supreme hence Bulawayo is fondly known as the City of Kings. The original inhabitants built a stone city at a site that used to be the capital of the Torwa State in the 17th and 18th centuries. The structure  now known as the Khame Ruins still stands and has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Bulawayo hosts a number of tourist attractions, from its Baroque architecture and wide tree-lined streets to several other places of interest::

  • The serene gardens that surround the majestic City Hall with its clock and chimes, the historic well that is a reminder of the Matebele Rebellion, as well as the several plaques that adorn the building
  • The Natural History Museum where over 75 000 specimens are displayed, it is the home of the largest mounted elephant in the world and is surrounded by the lush Centenary and Central Parks
  • The Railways Museum where old steam locomotives are displayed for enthusiasts
  • The Amakhosi Cultural Centre which is the country’s capital of arts and culture
  • The Mzilikazi Pottery where hand crafted pottery is produced
  • The Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre
  • The Umguza Nature Reserve


Not far from the city, a mere 30km on wide tar is the 43 000hectares Matopos National Park where the white rhinocerous and a variety of game roam.


  • Other major features of the park are the fantastic rock formations and balancing rocks cut out of solid granite through millions of years of erosion and weathering ; the grave of King Mzilikazi and that of Cecil John Rhodes; the World’s View that has a uniquely seeming endless horizon.

San (Bushmen) painted their delicate pictures in the caves of the Matopos.

In addition to these attractions is the Old Bulawayo which is a  re-constructed typical King’s kraal, the Tshabalala Game Sanctuary, the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage all within a 30k radius.

Investment prospects
  • Developments of designated sites for the hospitality industry – hotels, motels, conference facilities, leisure centres and related activities; Opportunities for Joint Ventures  (JVs) available
  • Housing delivery – servicing and construction of residential accommodation including cluster housing – flats, town houses
  • Huge potential for easy entry into business through JVs due to readily available accommodation as a result of de-industrialisation
  • Developments of shopping malls and local commercial centres
  • Investing in community facilities – clinics, halls, social centres, orphanages, educational facilities and other public amenities
  • Infrastructure rehabilitation
  • Investment in renewable energy and power generation projects
  • A conducive investment climate developed with the assistance and cooperation of the local business community


  • Financial incapacity to undertake new capital projects and infrastructure rehabilitation
  • Manpower shortages
  • Shortage of facilities for science education
  • De-industrialisation – relocation of companies to other centres in the country