Last year we covered some of the advantages and disadvantages of moving and living in small towns in Zimbabwe. We looked at moving to towns such as Marondera and Bulawayo whilst moving from Harare. The thing though is that moving towns is hard. It is a lot harder than moving from one suburb to another and it can be incredibly stressful. If you do it right, you can limit the amount of strain it takes on you. Today we will look at some of the things you need to consider when moving from one town to another in Zimbabwe.
For the most part, some of the factors you need to look at are a lot similar to the ones you consider when moving from one suburb to another. These include things like:
Can I afford it? Most of the time when you move to a new town it is some sort of upgrade and involves you moving to a nicer area/suburb. This usually comes with cost implications. You need to consider whether you can afford the cost of living in the new town/suburb or not. Do your research on the various suburbs in the new town and see what the rough estimate for each area is before making your decision. There is little point in setting yourself up for disappointment down the line. For example, different neighbourhoods have different rentals, rates, prices in neighbourhood shops and so on. You need to carry out your research to see exactly what it will cost you to live in the new city or town. If you have friends or relatives in the destination town you should pump them for information.
Consider the crime rate. This is a bit harder to do. While there is plenty of information on crime rates in Zimbabwe as a country there is very little data that actually covers specific towns online. You would have to travel to the town you intend to move to in advance, visit police stations in the neighbourhoods you intend to live in and check on the crime rate. You can also get some anecdotal evidence on social media and from online tabloids. You can Google “crime in xxx town” to get a quick list of recent crime stories and try to gauge the frequency of crime in the entire town.
Research on social life and other amenities- it is always prudent to look up the town and its suburbs to try and get an idea of what life is like in the town Look at things like:
Are there good hospitals?
Do they have good schools?
Are there open spots in these schools?
What do people do for entertainment?
Can I get the internet?
What is cell phone coverage like?
What is the transport situation like?
Are the roads good and navigable?
Does the CBD of the town often get plagued by traffic jams during peak hours?
Distance to relatives and friends-people are social animals and you are no different. Moving to a new city or town can be giddy and exciting until you consider the fact that you are basically going to be leaving your family and friends behind as you move to a new town. Thanks to technology you can always easily stay in touch but have you ever noticed how hard talking to your family on WhatsApp is versus chatting them up in person? Moving can be a frustrating and lonely experience. Having the plan to deal with this in place can make it less painful.
The life of the town or city-it is not often apparent but cities do also have a life of their own in terms of their size and general economic welfare. It is not unusual for smaller towns to lose all their people until they literally die off and become abandoned. This often happens with mining towns that sometimes crumble when they lose whatever mining company was propping them up. You need to consider whether the city is on the up or are people living. This is often a problem in smaller towns than it is in big cities like Harare that always seem to be gaining new suburbs and growing all the time.
The cost of moving to the new town-we touched on this in our series on moving to small towns. Transport is a major expense when you move to new towns. You need to do extensive research. Wherever possible consider using the NRZ as it is far cheaper than hiring a moving truck. Most trucking companies will charge you a fortune.
Climate and weather-Where moving to another town is very different to moving suburbs is the weather and climate part. The weather and climate in Bulawayo for example is different from that in Harare which is different to that in Nyanga. You need to know what life is like in the new location or risk freezing or being cooked by searing heat. In some cases weather changes can be life-threatening for example heat waves can kill and so can hypothermia.
Culture and language- it is often difficult for people in Harare and most towns to understand that life can be different out there but it is true. Not everyone speaks Shona, for example in Bulawayo most residents speak Ndebele. In Beitbridge, there is a sizable Venda-speaking population. You need to consider how this will affect your new life. In some cities, Shona is spoken in dialects that might be so radically different from your own that they might as well be different languages, for example the Ndau dialect. Cultures might also differ.
As we conclude, we can agree that moving cities is not as simple as it might sound. There is a lot to consider before making a decision, it is good for one to do their due diligence so as to avoid disappointments upon moving.