Of Travel Misadventures From Harare Showgrounds

Guest Post by Luke

I got a Zupco to the Harare Show Grounds to catch lifts to Gweru as I was returning to Midlands State University and then guess what… when I dropped off by the bus stop there were thieves.

Showgrounds Harare

They crowded me, asking me to hand over my gadgets. I asked them what gadgets? They said they wanted my phone, laptop and money. They demanded for these as they tried to grab my bags. As a varsity student, these things are life and I held on for dear life as I struggled to wrench free.

Martnac Tours

Thankfully, a guardian angel came to my rescue me and the guys retreated. My rescuer then ushered me into a nearby bus. He was telling me how it was unsafe to hitchhike and to use reliable transportation such as the bus he had guided me into. When I was aboard the bus, I saw the guys who had tried to rob me outside and I took pictures.

Harare Showgrounds bus touts

Later as I chatted with some of my fellow passengers I found out several of them had gone through an experience similar to mine, including having their rescuer directing them to seek refuge inside the very same bus. Connecting the dots, points to a situation where if the Bus Company was not in cohorts with the thieves outside or using it as a tactic to lure passengers into bus, then they had some sort of understanding.

inside a bus

Meanwhile, the bus which seemed like it was about to go and only needed a few more people so it could depart was not going anywhere. You realised a lot of the fellow passengers weren’t passengers at all but just seat-fillers occupying seats and then getting off as passengers got on. They make you pay for your ticket as soon as you board so now you cant leave or risk forfeiting your busfare or worse another episode with the unsavoury characters outside.

The conductor was very rude and uncouth but because you were reminded that they had saved you from people who were going to steal from you, you ended up remaining silent. From inside the bus we observed a couple of people who had not gotten into the bus and it looked like they lost their belongings. But what could we do?

I called my uncle who said we should report these guys as they are dangerous but there was no police nearby. I am sharing this in the hope that fellow travellers can take care and responsible people look into the matters such as these.

I boarded the bus at 9 in the morning and arrived in Gweru at 19:15 more than half of that time was spent in Harare waiting for the bus to leave.  

Travel safe out there.

Luke is an MSU student currently studying Computer Systems Engineering.


  1. I also went through a similar experience boarding a bus to Mutare some year back in the preCovid era, I do wish the responsible authorities could do something about once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was this pana fourth?

      Using public transport becomes such a scary thing.

      Unfortunately the responsible authority solution usually means banning something they’ll say we banned you from undesignated areas 😅 but even at Mbare terminus you’ll encounter such



    1. Being outnumbered kinda makes the odds against you, I don’t think they are the gun totting kind though but there are some knife wielding hooligans.
      Things could be even out if onlookers banded together but alas at present settings you could call out for help and…..

      Yeah we need to do better.


      Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone would have to be very lucky to not have run with these characters..
      I think I saw the story of one who died in the newspaper and for a while after that there was heavy police presence at fourth and went on blitz to arrest touts…
      Looks like we have forgotten again



  2. Once boarded a Zupco bus in 2013 in Zvishavane for Harare. We got to Gweru the bus went straight to the Depo and parked. We remained in the bus for over an hour and I then asked when we were going to proceed to Harare only to be told that the bus was no longer going but that anothet bus coming soon from Byo will take us to Harare. Anothet hr later the Byo bus arrived only to be told that it was only going up to Kwe Kwe. Shocked I demanded my money back but was told that they did not do refunds. In anger I collected my bag and headed off to the Makaranga bus terminus. The moment I reached the railway line a group of touts grabbed my bag and ran towards a stationary bus. I had to run after them and lost a shoe heel in the process. I then got into the bus thinking it was half full and only realised later that it was full of place holders.
    We stayed there for over three hours. I then asked for a refund again and was flatly told that they don’t fetch water with a tin full of holes. I was free to leave without a refund. By then my money was finished so had no option but to stay put in the bus. We eventually got to Harare at 10pm. I am still traumatized by the whole experience. Therefore, I will never board a Zupco bus again.


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