Elephant Express

By Friday July 10th, 2015News

For nearly 20 years a rail transfer option for safari guests to the south east of Hwange National Park has been dreamt of, but in 2014 the Imvelo Safari Lodges team turned that vision into reality and re-invented their safari transfers into a unique activity, using the railway line that runs in an almost completely straight line along Hwange’s northern boundary . During 2014 and early 2015 it has been thoroughly tested and systems have been fine tuned. The ‘Elephant Express’ rail car is now operational and geared to ensure a fabulous experience for our guests visiting our lodges in southern Hwange. 8 km from Hwange Main Camp, at Impofu Siding, set in the shade of ancient Zambezi teak trees, our guests either boarding or alighting the Elephant Express will feel they have been transported back in time to an era when safari by rail was part of the adventure. At this exclusive siding in the forest, our guests can sip cold drinks and enjoy snacks following or prior to their 70 km, two hour trip into or out of Bomani or Camelthorn Lodges near Ngamo Siding. The Elephant Express seats 22 passengers and the finishes are comfortable and elegant. They include individual coach seating, a chemical toilet, teak tables, plenty of space for luggage and a large aisle that allows guests to walk around comfortably and provide unrestricted game viewing. Our railcar has every safety feature too.

The Elephant Express has been deliberately designed to travel either forwards or backwards, with an independent engine and gearbox at either end of the vehicle. There are also sidings every 10 km on the straight route to allow traffic to pass, and our drivers are experienced railways’ engineers each with over 30 years experience on this line. They are in constant communication with other trains and traffic control and have 25 km of visibility in both directions. Imvelo guides are also on board at all times to ensure guest comfort and help them enjoy the wildlife, scenery and vegetation en route. The Elephant Express also provides shorter game viewing trips across the Ngamo Plains to Ingwe Siding or can even be used as an all day activity for guests who want to make the trip to and from Impofu for fun – what a magnificent start or end to a safari in Hwange National Park, gently rattling along in style with a cool drink and enjoying the wildlife and vast wilderness around you.

The rail car transfer option will be free of charge between Impofu and Ngamo Sidings for 2015. Drop off and collection from Impofu will be either by transfer buses or game viewing vehicles depending on guests’ next or previous stop. At Ngamo Siding game viewing vehicles will drive guests for the 10 to 15 minute hop to either Bomani or Camelthorn Lodge. The Elephant Express will make daily return trips as necessary between Ngamo and Impofu. To Impofu in the morning and back to Ngamo in the afternoon. Please note that the Elephant Express runs according to daily scheduling specified by the National Railways of Zimbabwe and as such may be subject to delays and cancellations, which are beyond our control. Times are set daily and communicated to the incoming and outgoing road transfers. Sjaan on reservations@imvelosafarilodges.com is our central controller between lodge and transfer companies to ensure smooth running. We need to exercise great caution when using the Elephant Express to link with regional and international air travel and these guests must arrive or depart by road transfers. However, we will endeavor to ensure that all our guests have the option to
experience the Elephant Express during their stay through either the transfer activity, a day trip or a short game viewing activity. This of course cannot be guaranteed for guests on short stays. Imvelo Safari Lodges are proud and excited to have started this unique experience for our guests to enjoy when visiting our lodges in the south eastern corner of Hwange. For further queries please contact reservations@imvelosafarilodges.com or marketing@imvelosafarilodges.com.