Immerse yourself in Zimbabwe: experience city life and rural life, participate in service projects, performance marimba with friends and teachers, and witness the beauty of the Zimbabwean people and country. We are based in Avondale, a township outside of Harare’s city center, taking day trips to learn, perform, volunteer, and sightsee. The tour also features overnight trips into the rural countryside for traditional culture immersion. Group lessons will be offered with Zimbabwean teachers, as well as performance opportunities for tour participants.
“I’d recommend this trip to anyone interested in Zimbabwean culture, music, and meeting local people. It was wonderful to have Zimbabwean friends guide us and welcome us into their homes, rural villages, and world. What a treat for us to sit back knowing all was handled! Amy was always there to answer questions and at no stage did I feel uncomfortable…all signs of good leadership!” – Pam C., Canberra, Australia
2022 Trip Cost & Dates
The tour package includes lodging, group meals, local transportation, music – culture – language immersion, group music instruction, entry fees into parks and nature preserves, a week-long collaborative performance tour with our Zimbabwean friends and teachers, and culminates in a Victoria Falls trip that includes all the tourist components, including an overnight safari in Botswana. The trip package does not include airfare, although trip participants may choose to book travel together. The cost is commensurate with other tours of the same nature, quality, and length.
The 2022 Tour takes place in July.
“The 2018 Zimbabwe Tour was inspirational and life changing! We were pretty nervous about traveling to Africa but Amy melted away all our concerns, provided excellent logistics while still allowing for lots of spontaneous events, and provided opportunities for participating in Zimbabwean culture and music. This was the best tour I could ever imagine!” – Jim L, Homer, AK
Arrive and Orient
Depart Denver and arrive at It’s a Small World Backpacker’s Lodge outside of Harare. Settle in and enjoy a group dinner and orientation together. In the morning, participate in a guided trip to Avondale Shopping Centre. Stop for an espresso at Cafe Nush, and then browse the traditional African Market next door. In the afternoon, depart for kumusha, the rural area.
Part 1a: Rural Life (5 days)
Submerge yourself into rural life! Stay in a traditional sleeping hut and eat your meals in a traditional kitchen hut with fresh, local food. Perform for the Nhimbe preschoolers and the Humwe Marimba/Mbira Club, and meet the villagers including Cosmas Magaya’s huge extended family. Study mbira with Cosmas Magaya’s son, Mudavanhu Magaya, each day. Participate in a mini bira, the Shona people’s traditional ceremony, and honor the 2nd anniversary of Cosmas Magaya’s death (July 10, 2020) with a visit to his grave.
Learn how to sweep the yard with a traditional broom, do laundry without running water, chop wood, make a fire for cooking, brew a traditional 3-day ceremonial beer, and cook sadza over an open flame. Take a guided tour of the rural area with a special eye on agriculture, and consult with a local spirit medium (if desired).
Part 1b: City Life (3 days)
Spend the first morning back from the rural area in downtown Harare, enjoying the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the Harare Gardens, and the National Botanic Gardens in a guided visit to Harare City Centre. Take a guided afternoon trip to Mbare Musika, the oldest market in the city of Harare. Shop for a deze, mbira, hosho, Zimbabwean art, cultural souvenirs, and more. Finish the day with an evening out to see some live music with our Zimbabwean guides.
On day two, travel to the nearby, high density township of Dvizaresekwa. Teach and learn in a workshop exchange with Tsoro Arts Center students, see a Tsoro Arts performance, and share a traditional meal of sadza with friends and neighbors.
Spend our third day in the nearby, low density township of Borrowdale with our friends at Winad in a joint rehearsal. Participants in the 2019 Summer Winad US Tour will remember the thrill of learning the choreography, the arrangements, and the songs in order to participate with them in their shows. This time, we will bring our own set to add to theirs, and stitch them together with shared material finalized on-site in Zimbabwe.
Non-performers may choose to accompany the group to Winad, or choose a final guided day trip to 1) the Balancing Rocks National Monument in Epworth on the outskirts of Harare, or 2) a mini walking “safari” at the nearby Mukuvisi Woodlands.
Part 2: Performance Tour (7 days)
Together with Winad, the whole team will move around presenting our show at both schools and other performance venues. Our goals are twofold – 1: to fight racism by forging friendships across cultures and colors, and 2: presenting Zimbabweans with the message that Zimbabwean music, culture, and languages are worth preserving and showcasing.
Our Performance Tour kicks off with a Friendship Retreat and Festival: a daylong outdoor gathering of youth marimba bands from both rural and city organizations including Humwe from Mhonodoro, Child Future Africa from Mt. Darwin, Tsoro Arts from Dzivaresekwa, Eaglesvale Private School from Harare, Winad from Borrowdale, and Kutandara from the US. We will mix, mingle, and perform for one another, increasing our opportunities for friendship.
On each of the following days, we will have the opportunity to perform for eager audiences in a variety of locations in and around Harare, as well as a day trip to Marondera to perform for the Peterhouse Schools, and a second day trip to Mt. Darwin to spend the day with Child Future Africa. Our Performance Tour concludes at the locally famous Reps Theater for our grand finale show with Celebrate Africa winners! Non-performers will have guided activities to choose from on several of the days if desired.
Part 3: Victoria Falls (5 days)
Finish your time in Zimbabwe with the ultimate tourist destination: Victoria Falls, home to one of the seven wonders of the world.
Our time in Vic Falls will include a Boma Dinner + Drum Show, a walking tour of the Falls at Victoria Falls National Park followed by a Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Zambezi River, and a guided overnight safari at Chobe National Park in nearby Botswana.
Head back to Harare for one final day of shopping, packing, and saying your goodbyes.
Cost per person*
Part 1: Rural and City Life – $2,400
Part 2: Performance Tour – $2,400
Part 3: Victoria Falls: – $1,800
*Does not include roundtrip airfare DEN to HRE, or HRE to VFA, or travel insurance (recommended). These costs can fluctuate, but currently are $2,000+ and $500+ respectively for flights, and 5-10% of your fees for travel insurance.
Amy Stewart McIntosh
Amy is Kutandara’s Executive Director and Co-Founder. Amy began studying African music in 1994 with master instructors both from Zimbabwe and the United States. Amy is adept at many African instruments, but especially loves marimba and hosho, and plays both with style and grace. Amy’s focus is community, and the richness that comes from deepening our relationships with one another. Amy reminds us that music is not only about notes and rhythms, but about relationships among people working together toward a common goal.
Amy’s specialty in teaching at Kutandara is group marimba classes for children, teens, and adults at introductory – intermediate levels. She also teaches private lessons in mbira, hosho, and singing, and incorporates these themes, along with Shona culture and language, into her group marimba classes. In addition to her teaching at Kutandara, Amy has also taught at the Zimbabwean Music Festival (US), Camp Tumbuka (US), Nhemamusasa North (Canada), Zimba Marimba Camp (Sweden), and Watershed College (Zimbabwe).
Amy visited Zimbabwe in 2001-2002 for six weeks and co-led the 2017 Culture & Music Immersion Tours over the course of four weeks with Dana Moffett of Rubatano Center in Washington. She also led the 2018 tour of Zimbabwe, staying on for the summer afterward. After a personal visit in March 2022, she looks forward to helping the 2022 Zim Tour members gel into a community of learners and performers, and to introducing a new group of westerners to friends, teachers, and artists in Zimbabwe.
We can accommodate up to 15 participants, in addition to trip staff. We are looking for outgoing, curious, kind, easy-going people with whom to experience a hands-on culture and music immersion in Zimbabwe. Participants will meet periodically with trip leaders April – May 2022 for culture and language orientation, to learn and rehearse music for sharing/performance, and to build a spirit of teamwork for our shared experience.
“This experience was super in depth and something that would be hard to create on one’s own. It was definitely worth while! The opportunity to give back in a meaningful way and connect with music, culture, new friends, and nature was amazing.” – Kristin S., Boulder, CO