Honde Valley charms  Jeremy Clarkson and crew

Liberty Dube, Mutare Bureau

THE intrepid trio of the Grand Tour, consisting of the renowned Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, embarked on a journey this week to Zimbabwe’s hidden gem – the enchanting Honde Valley in the Manicaland Province. Their mission: to capture the essence of the awe-inspiring destination for an upcoming episode of their iconic motoring show.

For those familiar with the trio’s legendary exploits from their days on the acclaimed British motoring magazine and television programme, Top Gear, a viral photograph has recently surfaced, revealing the three adventurers sheltered beneath the sprawling canopy of the Flamboyant Tree.

The singular image confirmed that they had indeed discovered the well-guarded secret of Zimbabwe’s tourism scene – the Honde Valley, affectionately known as “Pamufirimboyi.”

The Flamboyant Tree, perched atop a hill, serves as a symbolic beacon and a testament to the unique charm of this destination. The unique tree is a beloved attraction among tourists, drawing visitors from around the world. Its distinctive umbrella-shaped canopy provides a therapeutic vista, and in the backdrop of this photograph, one can spot two majestic mountains.

The distant one, painted in serene shades of blue and veiled in a white-like mist, is the renowned Nyanga Mountain. Closer to the observer is Milimani, a mountain where the prized macadamia nuts flourish. The trio stood facing a tea factory and the scenic Mapokana Hills, creating a captivating tableau of Zimbabwe’s natural beauty.

Since Clarkson shared this photograph on Instagram, it has set the digital world abuzz, making rounds on social media platforms such as X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and Facebook. The fervour is a testament to the enchantment of Manicaland’s tourism sites, particularly the hidden treasure that is Honde Valley.

Honde valley

Sources from Honde Valley have confirmed that the trio, accompanied by others, graced this picturesque region with their presence on a Wednesday. Their exploration extended to the scenic Troutbeck area in Nyanga before they ventured onward to Kariba, another captivating tourism hotspot.

In contrast to their previous episodes filmed in neighbouring countries like Namibia and South Africa, this daring expedition has prompted reflection. Many in the virtual world now question whether Manicaland, and Honde Valley in particular, are receiving the global recognition they deserve as premier tourist destinations within the country.

Clarkson and his team were spotted with a collection of vintage cars sporting foreign number plates, adding an extra layer of intrigue to their visit.

Prosper Kuwa, representing Shambazuva Tourism, the custodians of Honde Valley Sightings, a Destination Management Company (DMC), confirmed the visit of Clarkson and his intrepid team to Honde Valley. Their journey, it seems, has awakened a new-found curiosity in the world to explore the wonders of this hidden African gem.

“The Flamboyant Tree is famous among tourists, especially international ones. The tree has majestically stood there for years and it can be seen from various angles as it is situated on top of a hill. Our post on Twitter appreciating Clarkson and team’s presence generated interests for obvious reasons.

Honde Valley is best described as one of the best kept tourism secrets because even if people know there is place called Honde Valley, they are not aware of the tourism assets the area possesses.

The assets include rivers, magnificent mountains, thick forests and waterfalls,” he said.

“That’s the tree that caught global attention today!” Posted Honde Valley Sightings on their X page.

“Wooow”, posted former football star and celebrity, Alois Bunjira, on his Facebook page. Bunjira, hails from Honde Valley.

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