The wave of creative youth entrepreneurial dynamism that is sweeping across Africa is not skipping Zimbabwe’s hospitality industry. While most foreign visitors to Zimbabwe come to see the rural parks and natural wonders scattered across the country, many of these also pass through Harare, a vibrant capital city.
Lynette Gonga, a young tourism entrepreneur has in her words, made it her mission to help more travellers and locals enjoy Harare. Her method to accomplish this is a free walking tour of Harare’s Central Business district that aims to put the city’s culture and history on tourist map.
First offered in June 2017, the tour provides a tangible and visual introduction into the culture and history of Zimbabwe’s capital and largest city. The tour is customized based on the interests of the group, but the most popular one focuses on the eastern side of the city, a less dense area offering a more relaxed vibe. This part of town received the bulk of the city’s mid-20th century economic development after very early colonial – era development was concentrated to the west, below the Harare Kopje.
According to Lynette, the tour, “The tour has evolved over the years. It now provides an in – depth and intimate insight of Harare’s main streets, hidden secrets, and historic sites. The experience is an authentic, passionate and rewarding impression of Harare’s people, culture and history, coloured by the guide’s personality.” It is ranked by Trip Advisor as one of the best tours in Harare. Lynette is eager to dispel the notion that a free tour “is by no means the reserve of a strapped backpacker or miserly tourist. It’s something which is truly rewarding to all types of travellers and locals”
Young people across Africa have been at the forefront of revitalizing the continent through interventions in the tourist sector – YouTube travel vlogs and web series have helped to change misunderstandings, challenge stereotypes, and promote local travel. Youth from the hospitality sector have pushed for a more truly pan – African visa regime to facilitate travel within the continent, a drive that has been taken up by the African Development Bank and the Chair of the African Union.
Lynette’s walking tour is positioned to be a prominent input – showcasing to the world that despite economic challenges – Harare’s captivating history and culture remains resilient with much to offer visitors a taste of modern Africa before they head to more rural environs.
By Brooks Marmon