The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls main-line runs almost dead straight along the northern boundary of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. At Impofu Siding, in the shade of ancient Zambezi teak trees 8km from the Hwange main camp, tourists board the newly-tested Elephant Express rail-car for a two-hour, 70km rail safari to Ngamo Siding, for transfer to the Bomani or Camelthorn Lodges. The rail-car features individual coach seating for 22, a chemical toilet, teak tables, generous space for luggage and a wide aisle, permitting unrestricted movement and game viewing. The vehicle may be driven from either end.
Intermediate sidings at intervals of approximately 10km allow crossings with freight or passenger trains. Guides from Imvelo Safari Lodges accompany each journey, the railcar being driven by former locomotive drivers with 30 years’ experience on the line. They are in constant communication with any trains in the vicinity as well as the traffic controllers. Visibility up and down the line is excellent throughout the route.
The rail-car transfer option is to be free of charge between the Impofu and Ngamo Sidings during 2015. Drop-off and collection from Impofu will be either by bus or game-viewing vehicle, depending on guests’ itineraries. From Ngamo Siding, game-viewing vehicles convey guests for the 10 to 15 minute trip to either Bomani or Camelthorn Lodge. The Elephant Express makes daily return trips as needed between Ngamo and Impofu. Times may change daily due to train scheduling.