Harare, Zimbabwe Geography

Harare, the capital and largest city of Zimbabwe, is situated in the northern part of the country, on a plateau surrounded by low-lying hills. The geography of Harare is characterized by its central location within Zimbabwe, the influence of the Manyame River, and the city’s topography, with its unique combination of flat plains and surrounding hills. In this comprehensive exploration of Harare’s geography, we will delve into its natural features, the role of the Manyame River, the city’s topography, and the nearby mountains.

Location and Overview:

According to wholevehicles.com, Harare is located at approximately 17.8292 degrees south latitude and 31.0521 degrees east longitude. It serves as the political, economic, and cultural hub of Zimbabwe, making it a pivotal city in the region. The city’s strategic central location within the country contributes to its significance and accessibility.

Highveld Plateau:

Harare is situated on the Highveld Plateau, a geological and geographical feature that has a significant impact on the city’s climate and topography:

  1. Elevation: The Highveld Plateau is characterized by its elevated position, with Harare itself situated at an elevation of approximately 1,490 meters (4,888 feet) above sea level. This elevated position influences the city’s climate, contributing to its temperate conditions.
  2. Climate Influence: The plateau’s elevation results in a more temperate climate compared to the low-lying regions of Zimbabwe. Harare enjoys mild temperatures and is known for its comfortable and moderate climate.
  3. Agriculture: The fertile soil of the Highveld Plateau supports agriculture, with the cultivation of crops such as maize, tobacco, and wheat being common. The plateau’s agricultural activity is crucial for the city’s food supply and economy.
  4. Urban Development: The flat terrain of the plateau provides a suitable foundation for urban development and infrastructure, making it easier to construct and maintain roads, buildings, and utilities.

Manyame River:

The Manyame River, also known as the Mupfure River, is one of the most prominent geographical features in the vicinity of Harare:

  1. River Source: The Manyame River originates in the northwestern part of Zimbabwe and flows southeastward, passing through the city of Harare. It eventually joins the Sebakwe River to form the Sanyati River, which is part of the Zambezi River basin.
  2. Water Source: The Manyame River serves as a significant water source for Harare and the surrounding region. It provides freshwater for drinking, agriculture, and industrial use.
  3. Biodiversity: The river and its surrounding wetlands are known for their biodiversity, with various plant and animal species being supported by the watercourse.
  4. Recreational Opportunities: The Manyame River offers recreational opportunities for residents and tourists, including activities like boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing.


Harare’s topography is characterized by its location on the Highveld Plateau, the presence of flat plains, and the surrounding hills:

  1. Elevated Plateau: The city is situated on the Highveld Plateau, providing a flat and habitable surface, ideal for urban development and infrastructure. This plateau stands in contrast to the surrounding low-lying regions.
  2. Surrounding Hills: Harare is encircled by low-lying hills and rocky outcrops, which add to the city’s scenic beauty and unique topographical features. These hills are known for their distinctive rock formations and views of the city.
  3. Valleys and Gorges: The terrain around Harare includes valleys and gorges formed by rivers and streams. These natural features are incorporated into the city’s layout, with roads and bridges connecting different parts of the city.

Climate and Weather:

Harare experiences a subtropical highland climate, characterized by distinct seasons and moderate temperature variations:

  1. Summers: Summers in Harare, from October to April, are warm and wet. The city experiences average high temperatures ranging from 22°C to 28°C (72°F to 82°F). The rainy season from November to March brings the majority of the city’s annual rainfall.
  2. Winters: Winters, from May to September, are cooler and drier, with average high temperatures ranging from 14°C to 21°C (57°F to 70°F). July is the coldest month.
  3. Rainfall: The rainy season in Harare is characterized by heavy and frequent rainfall, with occasional thunderstorms. The dry season is marked by lower precipitation and more stable weather.
  4. Climate Comfort: Harare’s elevation on the plateau provides a comfortable and moderate climate, making it a preferred place for habitation.

Urban Development and Infrastructure:

Harare’s geography has significantly influenced its urban development and infrastructure:

  1. Flat Terrain: The relatively flat terrain of the Highveld Plateau has facilitated urban expansion and the development of infrastructure, making it easier to build and maintain roads, buildings, and utilities.
  2. Agriculture: The fertile soil of the plateau supports agriculture in the city’s outskirts, contributing to the local food supply and the economy.
  3. Water Management: The Manyame River and its tributaries are essential for the city’s water supply, and efforts to manage and conserve this resource are crucial for sustainable development.
  4. Recreation: Harare has parks, green spaces, and recreational areas that make use of the city’s natural beauty and provide residents with opportunities for leisure and outdoor activities.
  5. Transportation: The city’s transportation infrastructure, including roads and bridges, has been developed to connect different parts of the city, taking into account the surrounding topography.

In summary, Harare’s geography is defined by its location on the Highveld Plateau, its elevation, and the influence of the Manyame River. The plateau’s elevation and climate provide a more temperate and pleasant environment than other parts of Zimbabwe. Agriculture, supported by the fertile soil, contributes to the city’s food supply and economy. The Manyame River serves as a vital water source and offers recreational opportunities. The city’s flat terrain and surrounding hills facilitate urban development and infrastructure, including transportation and water management. Harare’s climate features distinct seasons with warm, wet summers and cooler, drier winters. Urban development takes advantage of the city’s geography, emphasizing green spaces, agriculture, and water resource management.