The Road To Mukumbura (Part 4)

July 30, 2013

Let me be clear.

I was never unlucky enough to be ambushed traveling through Ambush Alley in the Mavuradonhas, but I know quite a few people who were. These encounters ranged from ineffectual pot-shots being taken at Rhodesian Security Force convoys to intense firefights, sometimes in the hours of darkness.  We had people killed and injured going through the mountains.  It was a main personnel and logistic route to the North-East Border with Mozambique.  The issue with traversing Ambush Alley was the steeply angled incline of the road and this resulted in straining engines and overheating vehicles.  Stopping in an ambush killing-ground is a dodgy business indeed and not for the faint-hearted. To help vehicles get up to the summit of the pass, concrete had been laid on the road surface to help during the heavy rains that could hit the area. Additionally one side of the road was a sheer drop and the other went straight up and so close to the vehicles in some places you could touch the trees. Perfect ambush terrein and the gooks could not be faulted for choosing it as a killing-ground. The photo below will give you a good idea what the terrein and contours were like although it does not do the challenges on the ground justice. The road is clearly visible:

Mavuradonha Mountains

Here is a map which shows the roads we traveled to get through the mountains.  As you can see any route you chose to Mukumbura had to go through the mountains called Mavuradonha:

Mavuradonha

Ambush Alley was still a long way down the road though.  Before we got there we would be in for a treat at a place called Mount Darwin.  Something to look forward to.

I settled back in my seat, tightening the straps on my harness, and counted the little white distance markers next to the road to keep my mind active.

5 Responses to “The Road To Mukumbura (Part 4)”

  1. Norman Pilossof said

    Good old Mukumbura by the sea. I had the honour of our vehicle hitting a landmine there on ceasefire day while we were escorting a British Major from the peace keeping force on a sight seeing tour of the Mine Field

    • fatfox9 said

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Norman. I am sure the good good Major was well awake after that. What type of vehicle were you in? I also had an episode in the minefield with a very senior Royal Engineer officer in the late 70’s which I will relate in an upcoming entry. Don’t miss it.

  2. Mark, did you ever come across the surveyers when you were there. I remember their escourts whinging like anything because they were so fit , cant remember how many mile they did up hill down hill ,very fit. D. Munroe.

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