Imvelo Safari Lodges is launching the Stimela Star, Zimbabwe's only private overnight sleeper train cars in May. The train will take travelers from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park in old-fashioned style.

The Stimela Star will be linked on scheduled departure dates to the overnight passenger train that runs nightly between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. Powered by a diesel electric locomotive, the train cars date back to the 1950s during the heyday of national rail in Zimbabwe. The former Premier Class coaches have been upgraded for today's travelers.

Two sleeper carriages each sleep 12 passengers in twin or single compartments with shared toilet and shower facilities at either end of each carriage, for a total of 10 twin and four single berths. Compartments are snug but roomy enough for two. Each compartment has electric lights, three round-pin power outlets and plenty of luggage room under the beds and in overhead racks.

Imvelo has 10 scheduled departures for the Stimela Star this year. Guests should arrive at Victoria Falls station at 6 p.m. for embarkation, at which time they will be shown to the lounge car to enjoy welcome drinks during an orientation and safety talk while their luggage is being stowed in their cabins. Guests are then shown to their compartments to freshen up before departure, which is scheduled for around 7. Then its predinner drinks and canapes in the bar lounge followed by dinner from about 8 p.m.

Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. onwards, and at around 8 a.m. guests can disembark for transfers to their respective lodges in Hwange.

Departure dates are May 21; June 12 and 25; Aug. 12 and 19; Sept. 3 and 30; Oct. 9 and 22; and Nov. 5.

Rates are $419 per person, double, through Dec. 31 and include accommodation, all meals as stated (dinner and breakfast); soft drinks, beer, wine and local spirits and entertainment.

To book, email Imvelo Safari Lodges reservation offices at [email protected] or [email protected].

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