Zimbabwe’s brilliant female environmental lawyer (and urban farmer) shares her Harare

Boasting a long list of accolades, Takudzwa Mutezo tells us about the best museums, bars and markets to visit in her guide to Harare.
Written by Melanie van Zyl
01 March 2022

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Takudzwa (Taku) is a versatile international and environmental lawyer with expertise is in the international wildlife trafficking arena. She is currently leading the Legal Department in her role as the Head of Legal at Tikki Hywood Foundation. Currently residing in Harare, she shares her favourite city spots in this guide to Zimbabwe’s capital.

Takudzwa’s conservation journey started in Hwange National Park. Her father worked there, which she says birthed an innate desire to protect wildlife and the environment.

Zimbabwe Map

Today, Takudzwa’s experience includes co-authoring a Handbook for Prosecuting Wildlife Crimes and developing the first virtual training on wildlife crime and the law for authorities in Zimbabwe. She has drafted and amended key legislative and policy documents on wildlife at the national, regional, and international levels. Her commitment to conservation and love for Africa led to her appointment as the youngest and only female Board Member of the Nyanga Rhodes Estate in 2021. Here, she takes an advisory role towards the conservation and the development of the prestigious Nyanga National Park and surrounding areas. She was also named a 2022 Women for the Environment fellow.

The Tikki Hywood Foundation is a non-profit, wildlife orientated organisation that has been operating since 1994. It strives to bring recognition, awareness and sustainable conservation action to lesser-known endangered species, such as the highly endangered Pangolin.

 

An African Insider’s City Guide to Harare

Harare is a laid-back metropolis nicknamed The Sunshine City. Taku shares her favourite museums, bars and markets to visit before setting off to explore the rest of Zimbabwe.

Harare City Guide
The city of Harare as seen from the Meikles Hotel. Beautiful residential areas surround this city centre of Harare, the most developed being Borrowdale, Chisipite, Mount Pleasant, and Avondale | Source: Melanie van Zyl

Taku, please express your style in two words so we can suss out your recommendations

Sophisticated and alternative.

Give us your biography in one sentence

A lover of life, nature, animals, and plants, I’m determined to plant seeds literally and figuratively to change the world – i.e., by using the law and farming.

What’s your day job (or jobs!) and how did it bring you to this city?

I am an environmental lawyer, who uses the law to protect wildlife. I am also an urban farmer, committed to using technology to grow food with love from the ground up, for local consumption.

Do you prefer the outdoors or the indoors?

The outdoors.

Dombashawa Hills Zimbabwe
Dombashawa Hills sits a short drive from Harare and is a great spot to enjoy the sunset with a picnic after a short hike | Source: Melanie van Zyl

 

How would you describe Harare in five words? What’s the vibe?

Sunny, bustling, limitless, timeless and authentic.

What brings you joy?

Animals and plants – nature. I love a good hike and fresh air!

Is there a flavour that instantly reminds you of this city?

Ice cold raspberry freezit and maputi (which is Zimbabwe’s own kind of popcorn).

Can you share your favourite brunch spot?

Friends Café, at Chisi Walk.

Friends Cafe Harare Zimbabwe Brunch

 

A favourite place to meet with friends?

Queen of Hearts Cafe and Bakery. It’s set in a two-acre garden in the heart of Highlands along Enterprise Road.

Queen of Hearts Zimbabwe

 

Money is no object. Where’s the first place you take someone?

Victoria 22 restaurant. It’s ranked number one of all Harare eateries on Tripadvisor for its romantic candlelit dinners and fusion foods.

Got anything on your own city bucket list that you’ve been meaning to check out?

Emagumeni Helensvale seems like a vibey place to hang out with friends.

Favourite hidden gem?

Harare Kopje. It sits above the city and has great views. (Did you know? The name Harare is derived from that of the outcast Chief Neharawe, who, with his people, occupied the kopje at the time the Pioneer Column arrived and seized the land).

Harare Kopje
The Harare Kopje view | Source: Pixabay

 

Be honest. What’s the most overrated stop in your city?

Beach House.

One unmissable museum or gallery that’s worth the queue?

National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe (you can visit on a virtual tour here).

Zimbabwe Harare Art Gallery
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe is dedicated to the presentation and conservation of Zimbabwe’s contemporary art and visual heritage | Source: Melanie van Zyl

 

Complete this sentence. Skip the tourist landmarks and…

Drive down Milton Street heading towards King George in autumn and enjoy the view of the beautiful purple Jacaranda trees. My favourite time of the year is Autumn, right after the winter and as things start to warm up, one can enjoy some amazing walks or hikes outside with the Zimbabwean sun shining and smiling on you.

Jacaranda Trees Harare
Jacaranda is in fact a plant native to Brazil. The story goes that the plant was first introduced to Fort Salisbury – the future Harare – in 1899 by a honeymooning couple who carried home six seedlings from the botanical gardens in Durban, South Africa | Source: Malgorzata Drewniak

 

You have to buy a last-minute gift! Where do you go for something unusual?

Artist and Sculpture corner behind Newlands Shopping centre. Shona sculptures are a key part of Zimbabwe’s artisan scene.

Give us the scoop. What’s the Covid-19 reality check on the ground? Any policies to know about? Industry hardships?

There are some lockdown regulations that may impact the opening and closing times of restaurants, cafés and bars, and limit numbers.

Where do you go to unwind?

Raintree or Ballantyne Park.

One piece of advice you’d give to a family visitor coming for the first time?

Have a destination in mind and a map in hand, so you can navigate your travels easily and be prepared for an adventure.

Also read:  Top 10 things to know when planning your first African safari

What African destination is on your own bucket list?

Morocco.

 

Inspired? Plan your trip to Zimbabwe with all the inside advice. 

Book your next trip with us

South Africa Namibia Morocco Kenya Ethiopia Madagascar Rwanda Mozambique

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