I have found that the most important things a city needs are parks. They are awesome places to have your lunch away from your desk, you avoid your micro-managing boss and most importantly, parks are where you can meet your special someone during the day. Harare is blessed to have three parks within the CBD. Here are the three hot spots in the city:
Situated opposite the Police Headquarters, this park is best known for the amusement park for the children – Greenwood Park. Every child that has grown up in Harare knows this establishment. The memories are endless, the kids’ parties are countless and the fun is everlasting. There are multiple rides that are safe for children to go on. And only children! I know there are overly eager adults that want to relive their childhood memories. Though over time, the rides have lost their appeal and occupation has dropped, the establishment still stands. It is definitely the ultimate kids’ experience in the city, and if you have children take them to the Greenwood Park for the afternoon. They will appreciate it more than you can imagine.
For the adults, there is a park where you can lie down and take a nap in the African sun, read a book or picnic with your other half. The beauty of Harare and the location of this particular park is the lack of traffic. You will be able to be in tranquility throughout the time you are there. Have a good conversation, share your lunch or zone into your book. Like all parks, it is a great place to take a walk around or through. Hold hands with someone or walk with your thoughts, Greenwood Park is the definition of tranquility in Harare.
African Unity Square
This park is the smallest of the three but it compensates for that in its beauty. What I consider to be the “lovers’ park”, African Unity Square is watched over by the Meikles Hotel where one can look out from their hotel room and have an aerial view of the park. During spring, the park can be illuminated by the flowers of the jacaranda tree and when the flowers fall, people from Harare can be seen walking on a purple sea.
The reason I consider this park “lovers’ park” is that there are a lot of couples found here. Not only that, there is the infamous flower stand on the one side where one can buy flowers for their spouse whilst they enjoy the day in each other’s company. With Pick n Pay across the road, one can easily dash over, grab items to be romantic and treat the person that they are with. And it does not end there, on the other corner, there is a small store where one can buy a teddy bear or two and put a smile on their partner’s face. And if your phone has a low battery and you cannot capture the moment, there are people capable of capturing the moment for you. Harare’s very own Lovers’ Paradise!
The most popular of the three parks and the largest. Harare Gardens plays host to HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts), one of Zimbabwe’s major events where international artists come to perform and mix it up with local artists as they entertain Harare. There is a restaurant and a bowling club that can be found in the park with a few amphitheatres scattered all around the park. Not to forget a playground for the children and yes, I have memories of this place too because I used to live a stone throw away from the park. So my Sundays were spent making friends, getting my clothes dirty which does not please any mother and most importantly, having a really fun experience.
Not only is this a great place to escape the madness of reality, it is infamous for wedding pictures. At any given weekend, you could possibly photo bomb a wedding picture. The bridal party will not be impressed but to be honest, it is not your fault. The Harare Gardens has a beautiful green canvas all around it, sprinkled with the colours of flowers and people’s clothing. But the feeling of serenity and calm combined with the green canvas is the definition of “heaven on earth”. There is so much to do here and it is the only park that one can jog around or through if you enjoy jogging through parks because of its large are.
Harare is on a quest to be a global city and the parks nestled in the city will boost Harare’s potential. There is something for everybody at every park and the open air is great to refresh the mind especially during one’s lunch break. On weekends, one can have a picnic with their partner, have a meeting with a guitar and good people or take the kids out and let them run around until they cannot run no more. Harare may be all concrete but the green amongst the grey makes for a poetic beauty.