Travel to Zimbabwe Through These Artists’ Works

April 30, 2024 by

Barry Lungu painting of spring in Zimbabwe. Artist Barry Lungu’s painting of Jacarand trees in bloom in Zimbabwe. Image courtesy of

Art and beauty live in physical landmarks and museums and also in the expressions of natural wonders, culture, history, and creativity that local artists bring to life.  Join us on a virtual visit to Zimbabwe, where we will experience the destination through some of the country’s most important locally-created art. 

Jacarand trees on Montague Avenue in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe, a southern African nation north of South Africa, is home to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Although viewing Zimbabwe’s diverse wildlife on safari is one of its biggest draws, the country is also home to dramatic natural landscapes and some extraordinary gardens.

Discovering Zimbabwe’s Urban Landscapes and Gardens
A country rich in cultural heritage and natural beauty, each of Zimbabwe’s towns and cities has its unique charm and history. Harare, the capital city, is a bustling metropolis with a vibrant arts scene and a rich history. Bulawayo, known as the ‘City of Kings, ‘is a cultural hub with a wealth of historical sites and museums. Beitbridge, Chirundu, and Chipinga are must-visit destinations, each offering a unique blend of urban adventures and natural escapades.

Harari is the cultural heartbeat of Zimbabwe. Visitors to this capital city marvel at the verdant Harare Gardens and the National Gallery that houses Zimbabwe’s iconic Shona sculptures.

Harari Botanical Gardens at sunset.Harari Botanical Gardens at sunset. Photo, Michelle Craig, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

Harari Botanical Gardens
Just on the outskirts of Harari in the suburb of Alexandra Park, the Harari Botanical Gardens, which also houses the National Herbarium of Zimbabwe, offers visitors a glimpse of most of the country’s 750 species of woodland plants. Other areas contain plants typical of the African continent, including rare and endangered species and exotics from South America, India, Australia, and the Far East.

Vumba Botanical Gardens, Zimbabwe.Photo, Jon Evan, Flickr, Creative Commons license.

Vumba Botanical Gardens
About an hour’s drive south of Harari, the Vumba Botanical Gardens are a haven for garden and botany enthusiasts. Picture a network of footpaths guiding you through a landscape where indigenous flora and fauna, including many types of orchids and ferns, thrive. The garden is a perfect weekend getaway, surrounded by tall mountains, lush green forests, and crystal-clear flowing rivers. The sight of upland rivers cascading down into deep ravines is a testament to the raw beauty of Zimbabwe’s natural landscapes.

Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens, Zimbabwe. Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens, Zimbabwe. Photo, Michelle Craig, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens
Located less than an hour from Harare, the Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens is renowned for its classic collection of aloes and cycads, which flourish within a habitat of indigenous Miombo and Brachystegia woodlands. Planted in a natural style, they sprout among small two to three-billion-year-old granite rock outcrops called ‘kopjes,’ the African word for ‘little head’ because they resemble sculptured heads. 

Local Zimbabwean Artists Depict the Country’s Tapestry of People, Culture and Landscapes.
Allow these local artists’ paintbrushes to guide you in experiencing the country’s riches through its people, culture, and landscapes. Each painting is not just a stroke of color but a story waiting to be told. Whether it’s a tale rooted in folklore, a reflection of the stunning landscapes of Zimbabwe, or a piece of social or political commentary, each artwork invites you to connect with the local culture on a deeper level.

Video courtesy of

Keith Zenda: Stories of Culture, Tradition, and the Human Spirit
Keith Zenda offers a new perspective on Zimbabwean life and its rich heritage. He captures the essence of his homeland through vibrant works of art that tell stories of culture, tradition, and the human spirit. 

“I was naturally inspired to become an artist,” says Zenda, whose art portrays Zimbabwean culture, with its myriad of holiday traditions and customs. Working in oil, acrylic paints, and mixed media, he finds particular inspiration during Zimbabwe’s holiday periods, such as Independence Day and the Harare International Arts Festival, when he observes people at bus stops and train stations ready to travel, as well as various tribes and cultures in their traditional attire. 

Keith Zenda-Zimbabwe-artist-maskArtist Keith Zenda’s Ama 2000, Young Generation mixed media from recycled plastic bottles and a bicycle rim. Image courtesy of

Tonderai Mujuru: The Deep Connection Between People and Animals
Tonderai Mujuru’s MujuArt celebrates the rich cultural heritage of his homeland’s people and its vast landscapes of diverse fauna and flora. From the regal lions of Hwange National Park to the wild dogs of Mana Pools and the elephants of Gonarezhou National Park, Mujuru aims to preserve the beauty of nature and the deep connection between humans and animals.

Artist Tonderai Mujuru’s pet paintings are known throughout Zimbabwe. Image courtesy of

Barry Lungu: Vivid Depictions of  Zimbabwean Life
A Shona artist based in Harare, Zimbabwe, Lungu captures the many aspects of Zimbabwean life, from the bustling cities like Harare, Mbare, and Bulawayo to the serene countryside, depicting people in their day-to-day lives such as a street vendor selling fresh produce or children playing in the fields. His paintings of famous avenues lined with Jacaranda trees evoke a sense of tranquility and nostalgia, while his portrayal of the coal-fired electricity station and various markets present the unique fusion of Zimbabwean modernity with tradition.

Barry Lungu painting of Zimbabwean people waiting for the bus.Artist Barry Lungu’s painting of Zimbabwean people waiting for the bus. Image courtesy of

Shona Sculptures Influence on Picasso’s Art
Picasso drew inspiration from Zimbabwe’s ancient Shona stone sculptures, a unique abstract art form dating back to the 10th century. In the early 1900s, Picasso began collecting African and Oceanic art. He was particularly drawn to African masks and sculptures’ geometric forms and expressive qualities. Picasso’s work, especially in the angular, fragmented forms of the figures in “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” resembles the Shona sculptures characterized by their abstract shapes and the depiction of a single figure from multiple perspectives.

Zimbabwe elephant.Photo: Vince O’Sullivan, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

Tonderai Mujuru painting of elephant.Artist Tonderai Mujuru’s painting of an elephant. Image courtesy of

Zimbabwean Wildlife Conservation Efforts
Zimbabwe is home to diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, rhinos, and buffalo, which are essential to Zimbabwe’s ecosystem and culture. Wildlife tourism is a significant source of revenue for Zimbabwe that helps support conservation efforts and create jobs for local people. However, poaching, habitat loss, and climate change threaten the country’s wildlife. Learn about Zimbabwean conservation efforts.

Explore Zim Holiday and Art’s 15-day itinerary to Zimbabwe. Check with your local government’s safety and health advisories if you plan to travel to Zimbabwe.

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