Chinhoyi (formerly called Sinoia) is a large provincial town and is the capital of Mashonaland West province in Zimbabwe. Sinoia was established in 1906 as a group settlement scheme by a wealthy Italian called Lieutenant Margherito Guidotti who encouraged 10 Italian families to settle there.
Chinhoyi is located approximately 120km north-west of Harare along the main road from Harare to Kariba and Chirundu. The main river in Chinhoyi is the Hunyani river. Chinhoyi is also the principal town in the Makonde district (formerly Lomagundi district).
Chinhoyi is situated in a farming area. The population of Chinhoyi in the 2002 census was 56,794. Chinhoyi was called Sinoia during the colonial era. The Chinhoyi caves are limestone caves about 8km north of Chinhoyi town on the road to Karoi and these were first described by Frederick Courtney Selous in 1888.
The principal secondary schools in Chinhoyi are Chinhoyi High School (Government), Nemakonde High School (Government), and Lomagundi College (private). The town has 2 universities namely; Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology (CUT) and Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). Chinhoyi houses the biggest and modern referral hospital in Mashonaland West Province. There are two hotels in Chinhoyi. The Orange Grove Motel, about 1km from the town centre on the Karoi road, and the Caves Motel, located 8km from the town beside the Chinhoyi caves. Chinhoyi Hotel in the town centre was destroyed in a fire. It has been rebuilt and was taken over by Mark and Shari Flury and then taken over by young businessman Tian Johnson who subsequently left the country due to victimisation by the ruling party as a result of his support of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
There are a number of small towns which are close to Chinhoyi. Banket 20km south-east of Chinhoyi towards Harare, Alaska, Zimbabwe about 15km north-west, and Lion's Den about 24km north-west of Harare towards Karoi. Air communication is available via the Chinhoyi Aerodrome located about 10 kilometres outside. The aerodrome needs some attention though. Chinhoyi is on a rail branch from Harare, which ends at Lions Den.
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