Mutare is the main city in the Eastern Highlands, the capital of Manicaland and is 8 km from the Mozambique border.
It is located 263 km southeast of Harare along the A3. There are also regular buses and an overnight train to Mutare. The first town after Mutare in Mozambique is called Manica. Due to the proximity to the border of Mozambique, Mutare is considered Zimbabwe's gateway to the Indian Ocean. It is about 290 km west of the port of Beira in Mozambique.
Mutare is the town that provides most of the country with timber and is also the largest producer of tea (Tanganda) in the country. The Africa University in Mutare teaches agriculture and theology to students that come from a dozen different African countries. Apart from this, there is very little to see or do in Mutare. It is mostly considered a springboard for the Eastern Highlands.
South of Mutare are the Vumba mountains, where you can visit the Vumba Botanical Reserve, Bunga Forest Botanical Reserve, stay at Leopard Rock Hotel and have coffee and dessert at Tony's Coffee Shop. There are also beautiful hikes in the mountains with spectacular views of the surroundings.
The road from Mutare into the mountains is one of its kind offering beautiful sights of forest patches, farmland, pine plantations and lowlands of Mozambique.
Another highlight is the Chimanimani National Park in the Chimanimani mountain range, that makes up the southern end of the Eastern Highlands. It is around 150 km from Mutare, signposted on the A9. After the turn-off the road is very scenic as it enters into the mountains.
North of Mutare is the beautiful Nyanga National Park, part of the Nyanga mountains that stretch around 300 km on the border with Mozambique and home to the highest peak in Zimbabwe, the Mount Nyangani. The main tarred road branches off the Harare-Mutare road 9 km west of Mutare from the Christmas pass. This climbs to Juliasdale, 81 km from Mutare and and enters the National Park about 9 km from that point.
Mutare is also en-route to Masvingo in the low-veld. It is around 150 km to the Save Valley Conservancy in the southeast lowveld of Zimbabwe that is a part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
The nearest airport to Mutare is the Grand Reef Airport (FVGR). It is about 24 km from the centre of Mutare.