The accident between the two long-distance buses occurred near Rusape, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of the capital, Harare, on Wednesday evening, said police spokesman Paul Nyathi.
One of the buses was trying to get around two trucks on a stretch of road where passing is prohibited, said Ellen Gwaradzimba, the minister for Manicaland province, in an interview with Zimbabwe's state broadcaster.
The buses, both of which were speeding, swerved but still sideswiped each other and crashed, police told the broadcaster.
The number of dead overwhelmed Rusape's small morgue, which can only hold up to 16 bodies, the state-run Herald newspaper reported.
Bus accidents are frequent in this southern African country, where bus drivers often exceed the speed limit in order to make as many trips as possible per day.
The road where the accident occurred was recently resurfaced as part of government attempts to improve infrastructure.
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