By Ngoni Shumba
THERE is just not enough credit to how much Zimbabwe owes some of its finest mountain road passes to Italian road engineering geniuses.
But the most difficult terrains were a preserve of these Europeans.
From the scenic Christmas Pass in Mutare to the majestic skyline road in Chimanimani and Boterekwa Pass in Shurugwi their virtuoso abounds.
At Boterekwa – aptly named after how the road meanders the mountain ridge, they created some of the region’s finest scenic vantage points.
And there is a beautifully curved lay-bye after every kilometre to allow motorists to pull over and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
This makes this cliff-hugging road not just an access route connecting Shurugwi and Gweru but a key manmade attraction in itself.
Previously known as the Wolfshal Pass, the eight-kilometre road gives a clue to the beauty of this region. The rolling mountain ridge on which this pass is curved belly other treasures.
At the heart of Boterekwa is a 100m trail to a beautiful water fall – Dunraven Falls. It has however been largely claimed by religious tourists who conduct their rituals on it.
The only blemish to the stunning Boterekwa Valley – which was famous for its freshwater streams and diverse plant and bird species and even used to attract tourists from across the country, are illegal artisanal gold miners.
But these are not on this great escarpment which beckons for all those who appreciate this great gift from Italian engineers that now offers spell-binding scenic views of one of the country’s finest natural endowments.