Imvelo Safari Lodges recently launched The Stimela Star, Zimbabwe’s only private overnight sleeper train.
The Stimela Star operates from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park, linking up to the regular Victoria Falls-Bulawayo passenger train, transporting guests on an overnight journey to Hwange.
Imvelo is offering ten scheduled departures for 2018 but additional departures can be arranged for 12 or more guests on request.
The train is powered by a diesel electric locomotive, and the train cars date back to the origins of the national railway in Zimbabwe. The former Premier Class coaches have been upgraded to fit the needs of the modern day traveller.
The train has two sleeper carriages; each can host 12 passengers, totaling 24 guests per trip, in twin or single compartments, with a shared toilet and shower facilities at either end of each carriage.
Compartments are fitted with electric lights and three round-pin power sockets, with enough room for luggage under the beds and in overhead racks.
Meals are served in the kitchen dining car and there is also a lounge car. Both of these cars have overhead fans and electric lighting. On request, Imvelo can hook up the teak-floored dancing coach for a special occasion.
Guests should arrive at Victoria Falls station at 18h00 for embarkation. Luggage is stowed for guests as they are shown to the lounge car where welcome drinks are served during orientation and safety brief.
Guests are then shown to their compartments to freshen up prior to departure, which is scheduled for around 19h00. Pre-dinner drinks and canapés are served in the lounge car and a sit-down dinner from about 20h00.
After dinner, post-meal drinks are served and entertainment is on offer in the lounge. Midnight snacks are available.
Breakfast is served from 07h00 and at around 08h00 guests can disembark for transfers to their respective lodges.
Imvelo guests booked for Camelthorn or Bomani will board the Elephant Express, Imvelo’s signature open-air rail car for the wildlife viewing train journey to Ngamo. Imvelo guests bound for Nehimba will board open Land Rovers for their game drive to camp. Guests leaving for other lodges in Hwange must arrange for their transfer vehicles to collect them at Dete station.