ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Settlements: The city of Mutare
- Mutare is the eastern gateway into Zimbabwe.
- It has a male population of 34 648 and a female population of 31 534.
- This bring the total population to 28 068 according to the 2012 census.
- It is the administrative capital of Manicaland as well as a gap town.
- A gap town refers to a town located at a gap between hills or mountains, providing a good defensive site and route centre that led to a trade and market function.
- Mutare was formerly established at old Mutare, near the present site of Africa University.
- It was over-looking the Penhalonga valley which is a rich gold mining area, in 1891.
This made it inaccessible hence its relocation to its present site near Christmas Pass, after 1895.
- The town grew at the old kraal of chief Mutasa, establishing a management board in 1895.
- The railway line from Beira reached the new town in 1898
- The town then hosted a hospital, post office, bakery, butchery, church, four hotels, two banks, a Meikles brothers shop, cemetery, library and a hand written newspaper.
- Mutare was granted municipality in 1914 and became a city in 1971
- Mutare lies in a rich agricultural area, hence has developed into an important commercial and industrial centre.
- An important advantage that the city has is its accessibility to the Indian Ocean.
- Its industries include paper and timber processing, furniture making, tea and coffee processing, food processing for example fruit and vegetable canning, engineering, brewing and fuel distribution.
- One of the two car assemblies in Zimbabwe is found there.
- Manicaland is one of the most scenic regions of the country, hence the importance of Mutare as a tourist destination.
- Attractions and activities found around the city are scenery, mountain climbing, fishing and wildlife, Vumba, Chimanimani and Inyanga mountains, Pungwe valley, waterfalls, rapids, Chirinda forests, Hot springs, Birchenough bridge and trout hatcheries.