Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe, and some know it by its former name – Salisbury.
Home to some two million people, it was once a city of modern building, numerous parks and gardens, but it was largely damaged by Zimbabwe’s economic crash and now looks rather unappealing.
There have recently been a few signs of improvement ever since the country decided to adopt the US dollar which facilitated many investments.
Despite the economic crash, Harare is still a beautiful city if you stick to its outskirts and its beautiful scenery and nature.
Though you can always find some fancy expensive restaurants, eating out in Harare is not expensive, especially not for a tourist coming from the West. A good meal in a restaurant costs about 10$-15$ which is about half of what it costs in the USA. You can always eat street food and that will cost you even less than a decent meal in an inexpensive restaurant (which is somewhere around 6$).
Anything made locally is inexpensive, while everything imported is relatively expensive compared to South Africa. As a frame of reference, cans of Coca-cola typically cost 1$. Shops are well stocked and you will generally find everything you need but the prices are high. Consider that most quality goods are imported and are literally double the price that they are in Europe/USA.
Harare is very spread out which is why the best option to get around is by car: this is much easier now that dollar is the main currency which put a stop to fuel shortages. Public transportation is normally in the form of minibus taxis or buses, or you can take a taxi. Rides around town should cost about 5$ for the entire cab at night, typically $2 or $3 during the day, unless you are going to the suburbs.
Taking into consideration basic monthly utilities like electricity, water, heating and cooling, it all amounts to around 70$ a month, which is affordable for a normal-sized apartment of about 85m2. The internet access is good but very expensive. You may need 15$ per month for Whatsapp only (if you use it intensely).
SPORTS & LEISURE
If you want to spend some quality time having fun in Harare or indulging in sports activities, you’ll need to pay up. Namely, these activities are more expensive here, especially renting out a tennis court per hour. Tickets for cinema, however, are less expensive than in many other countries, for instance, costing around 8$.
CLOTHING & SHOES
If you’re interested in going shopping the way that it is traditionally done in Africa, your best bet is to walk around at the open flea market at Mbare. If you want to go shopping for clothing of your favorite brands, you should know they costs about the same as in the USA. One pair of jeans costs around 40$, while quality sneakers are around 80$.
RENT PER MONTH
Renting out an apartment in Harare isn’t cheap, whether it’s in the suburbs or the city center. Of course, you can pay less if you rent an apartment in a city that isn’t large or a tourist destination, but altogether it’s not a small investment. An apartment for one, or possibly two people can cost around 350$ while a bigger apartment for a family can cost twice as much.
Cost of Living Averages Table for Harare
|Average Restaurant Prices|
|Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)||$6.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)||$1.50|
|Water (0.33 Liter)||$0.91||Average Market Prices|
|Milk (1 Liter)||$1.42|
|Loaf Bread (500g)||$1.02|
|Eggs (12)||$2.59||Average Transport Prices|
|One Way Ticket||$0.50|
|Gasoline||$1.39||Average Utilities Prices|
|Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)||$75.50|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local||$0.15|
|Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||$135.60||Average Leisure Prices|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||$63.12|
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)||$16.25|
|Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release||$8.00||Average Clothing Prices|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)||$37.78|
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)||$38.50|
|1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)||$81.88||Average Rent Prices|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center||$357.50|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center||$278.57|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center||$768.75|
How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Harare?
Generally the cost of living is very high in Harare and the people rely heavily on imports so most businesses take advantage of this and charge exorbitant prices – this is why the biggest expense in Harare is food, with almost 40% of all income being spent on it.
Citizens of Harare don’t spend nearly as much money on the rent as they do on the food – only 18% of all income gets spent on rent.
People also spend a lot of money on restaurants, which means there are still enough means for some people to sometimes go out and have a nice meal.
Transportation is the next on the pie chart of necessities for the people of Harare, because even though it’s inexpensive, it’s necessary.
Harare: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages
The standard of life in Harare depends largely on who you are.
For instance, if you’re on minimum wage it’s one of the most difficult cities in the world to live in.
However, the entrepreneurs and those owning their businesses are not affected by Harare’s levels of unemployment and difficult way of life.
The problem of the city is that the salaries paid do not add up to the cost of living – minimum wage is only around 245$.
And even though people are very optimistic as most believe in a better life here, there’s a very high rate of unemployment and even those with an average monthly salary of 450$ have a hard time making ends meet.
Cost of Living by City in Zimbabwe
*Click the name of the city for more information.
|City||Cost of Living Index|