The Elephant Express: Zimbabwe Safari by Train, This excellent itinerary takes you through Zimbabwe’s most exciting attractions – Hwange National Park, Victoria Falls, and Zambezi National Park – with Imvelo Safari Lodges. The real kicker is the added fun of a transfer on the brand new Elephant Express, one of the more unique ways to travel while on safari, turning a simple transfer into an entertaining and rousing activity. This great value-for-money itinerary includes:
– A great cultural experience and a famous “pump run” at Ngamo Village while at Camelthorn Lodge
– 2-hour train ride on the Elephant Express between Camelthorn and Nehimba Lodge
– Tour of the Victoria Falls and canoeing on the Zambezi River from Zambezi Sands
3 nights Camelthorn Lodge – Hwange National Park
3 nights Nehimba Lodge – Hwange National Park
3 nights Zambezi Sands – Zambezi National Park
Days 1-4: Camelthorn Lodge, Hwange National Park
After arriving at Victoria Falls Airport, you will take a 1-hour scheduled flight over Hwange to Camelthorn Lodge situated in the South Eastern corner of Hwange National Park.
Camelthorn Lodge is located in a private concession with excellent game viewing. Small waterholes and birdfeeders attract woodland creatures and colorful birdlife to the camp site and big game can be observed at close quarters from a hide at Stoffie’s Pan, less than a mile away. The 8 Forest Villas are built out of concrete and stone with large glass windows, log fireplaces, ceiling fans and en-suite bathroom with bath, and a treehouse-like feeling private patio. An ancient camelthorn tree is the central feature of the lodge with living and dining areas surrounding this massive tree. There is no shortage of space as the dining area with three open natural stone fireplaces is simply huge. A bar, teak lounge, deck, and splash pool complete the picture.
In addition to traditional game drives, Camelthorn provides an amazing opportunity for an authentic exchange with the people of the Ngamo Village for which Camelthorn is very involved. The visit culminates in a tour of the school and a singing performance by some of the children followed by a class interaction where children have an opportunity to meet guests and vice versa. You can also participate in one of Imvelo’s trademark pump runs that combine game viewing in remote areas of the park with practical hands-on conservation. Guests can assist their guide with the supply and maintenance of the wells and pump attendants that are the heartbeat of Hwange and its wildlife.
Days 4-7: Nehimba Lodge, Hwange National Park
From Camelthorn, you will do a short road transfer to the Ngamo Siding of the railway that runs along the eastern border of Hwange. Here you’ll board the Elephant Express, a new dual-engine single-car tram, that you’ll enjoy for a leisurely 2-hour ride north until you reach the Impofu Siding. While on the Elephant Express, you can sit back, relax, and watch the world go by. Or you can pose in the driver’s seat wearing a conductor’s hat, have a drink or two, enjoy a snack or packed lunch, and feel free to stop at any point to take watch and take photos of the wildlife roaming around the border of the park. It’s a really casual and fun activity – much more than your standard transfer! From Impofu Siding, you will game drive to Nehimba Lodge in northwest Hwange.
Nehimba Lodge is located in the remote northern region of Hwange National Park in a private concession. The main guest area and 7 spacious guest accommodations are thatched tents built on teak decks, overlooking the magnificent lodge pan – a favored spot frequented by a variety of wildlife and large numbers of elephants, particularly in the dry season.
Nehimba sits firmly on the edge of the mopane woodlands associated with the north of the park and the Kalahari sandveld of the south and west. No two days are the same at Nehimba and game viewing experiences are tailor-made to our guest’s preferences, including game drives, walking safaris and night game drives in their private concession in search of nocturnal species of wildlife. We recommend tracking a herd of elephant on foot with your highly trained guide at dawn!
Days 7-10: Zambezi Sands, Zambezi National Park
A 5-hour road transfer will take you straight to Zambezi Sands inside Zambezi National Park. Although it’s a long drive, the majority is within Hwange and is a great way to squeeze in one last game-drive in the park. The remainder of the drive is on a pleasant tar road.
Zambezi Sands sits ashore the Zambezi River where the Siansimba Rapids provide the soundtrack during your stay. The main lodge and 8 luxury Bedouin tents are built on raised platforms with river views and private sun decks. Rooms come equiped with a lounge area, mini-bar, ensuite bathroom, outdoor shower, and private splash pool. It’s a beautiful property that offers convenient day-trips with Victoria Falls while being removed enough to enjoy a bit more privacy and serenity.
Just an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls, your stay will include a day trip to the Falls where you can spend the day as you please! Enjoy a guided tour of the Falls, a river cruise, white water rafting, fishing, bungee jumping, microlighting, or do your souvenir shopping. After you explore Victoria Falls, you’ll have the opportunity for some really fun canoeing, walking, fishing, and game drives from Zambezi Sands.
The price for this program starts at $4,000 per person and includes 3 free nights!
At additional cost, you can take a chartered flight from Victoria Falls Airport to Camelthorn Lodge.
Here is another example of a Zimbabwe safari itinerary that also includes the Elephant Express.