This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Stimela Star
Stimela Star
Stimela Star
Stimela Star

Stimela Star: Our full report

The Stimela Star is a private overnight train that travels between Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park.

With classic rolling stock that dates back to the 1950s, two sleeper carriages and a dining car, the Stimela Star provides a truly unique way to arrive on safari.

The Stimela Star, which derives its name from a local word literally meaning train, will be linked on scheduled departures to the longer running Victoria Falls-Bulawayo passenger train, and while the locomotive is a modern diesel engine, the carriages of the Stimela Star are from the post-world war two era, having been lovingly restored. Due to the unique link with Zimbabwe's National Rail Service (NRZ) we have found that departure times can be a little unpredictable.

The Stimela Star’s two sleeping coaches each sleep 12 passengers in twin or single compartments with shared toilet and shower facilities at the end of each coach. The compartments are understandably smaller than most hotel rooms, with the single beds measuring 92x188cm, but they are comfortably furnished with plenty of overhead luggage space, and are more than functional for the night. The Stimela Star is then completed by a kitchen and dining car, and a lounge car including a fully serviced bar. We understand that the sleeper carriages have been lovingly restored and have some really nice old world charm, we have received some reports that the original kitchen and lounge areas are looking rather more dated.

The train runs set date departures with a minimum of 12 people required for the train to run (these can be from different parties). It departs at 19:00 from the Victoria Falls train station, just opposite the historic Victoria Falls Hotel, built to house the workers who built the same railway on which you will be travelling. On boarding the train guests will be shown to the lounge car for welcome drinks and orientation, and then shown their cabins for the night before dinner. Dinner is served in the dining car from 20:00, with coffees and liquors served in the lounge afterwards, where guests will gave the opportunity to learn about the history of the railways in Zimbabwe. Guests can then retire to their cabins for the night as the train meanders its way towards Hwange National Park.

While passengers are sleeping the train will arrive at the historic railway town of Dete, where the Stimela Star stops for the remainder of the night. Breakfast is then served from 07:00 the following morning before guests disembark. The majority of the camps in the park will transfer their guests to camp by game viewing vehicle, but for people staying at Camelthorn or Bomani it’s possible to continue along the railway on the Elephant Express, a modified railcar with open sides that allows for game viewing as you pass along Hwange’s northern border, before arriving at the Ngamo siding close to camp.


Our view

The Stimela Star has been running since May 2018 however Expert Africa has not yet had a chance to experience the train in person. This said we have always enjoyed our experiences at the camps in Victoria Falls and Hwange associated with the Stimela Star so we have high hopes for this train. We think it will be a truly unique and very memorable way to arrive on safari.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris

Country manager: Zimbabwe

Geographics

Location
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Ideal length of stay
The Stimela Star is an overnight train from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park, so only one night stays are available on the train.
Directions
Guests will board the train at the railway station in Victoria Falls, either having stayed in a hotel in the area or having flown in from elsewhere in Africa.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board

Children

Attitude towards children

Communications

Water supply
Transported in

Health & safety

Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Fire safety

Extras

Disabled access

Other lodges in Hwange National Park

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

Overlooking a waterhole in a remote part of Hwange National Park, Camp Hwange offers great guiding in a pristine wilderness at reasonable prices.


97% (75 reviews)
Somalisa Camp

Somalisa Camp

Somalisa is a luxurious, yet remote, safari camp in Hwange National Park, offering walking safaris and game drives.


91% (33 reviews)
The Hide

The Hide

Located in a small, private concession, The Hide is a relaxed and comfortable camp offering submerged hides and great family accommodation.


94% (29 reviews)
Hwange Bush Camp

Hwange Bush Camp

Hwange Bush Camp is a small seasonal camp offering comfortable tents, great food, and superb guiding, and is often used by exclusive groups.


95% (22 reviews)
Little Makalolo Camp

Little Makalolo Camp

Tucked away in Hwange National Park overlooking a waterhole, Little Makalolo Camp combines top guiding with excellent wildlife watching.


99% (18 reviews)
Somalisa Expeditions

Somalisa Expeditions

A simple but stylish camp, Somalisa Expeditions sits in the heart of Hwange National Park, offering walking safaris and game drives.


100% (11 reviews)
Davison's Camp

Davison's Camp

Within the Linkwasha Concession, Davison's Camp offers superb value for money, morning walking safaris and spot-lit drives after dark.


90% (8 reviews)
Nehimba Lodge

Nehimba Lodge

Nehimba is a comfortable, good-value camp in a remote area of Hwange National Park, teeming with wildlife.


97% (7 reviews)
Bomani Tented Lodge

Bomani Tented Lodge

Bomani is a down-to-earth lodge with a range of activities in a remote region of western Zimbabwe, adjacent to Hwange National Park.


94% (7 reviews)
Verney's Camp

Verney's Camp

Verney's Camp is one of the newest offerings in Hwange, located in the wildlife rich, open landscape in the south-eastern section of the park.


85% (4 reviews)
Jozibanini Camp

Jozibanini Camp

Remote and rugged, Jozibanini is one of the most remote camps in Zimabwe's largest National Park. Stay here for a real wilderness experience.


93% (3 reviews)
Khulu Bush Camp

Khulu Bush Camp

Just outside Hwange National Park, Khulu Bush Camp offers excellent value for money and a waterhole popular with wildlife, especially elephants.


100% (3 reviews)
Camelthorn

Camelthorn

Camelthorn is a stylish lodge with a range of activities in a remote region of western Zimbabwe, adjacent to Hwange National Park.


93% (3 reviews)
Somalisa Acacia

Somalisa Acacia

Somalisa Acacia is a family-friendly, yet remote and luxurious safari camp in Hwange National Park.


100% (3 reviews)
Ivory Lodge

Ivory Lodge

Just outside Hwange National Park, the small Ivory Lodge is a great place to see large herds of elephant as well as smaller plains game.


80% (2 reviews)
Deka Camp

Deka Camp

One of the more remote camps in Hwange National Park, Deka Camp sits almost on the border with Botswana.


100% (1 review)
Linkwasha Camp

Linkwasha Camp

In its own private concession within Hwange National Park, Linkwasha offers excellent wildlife sightings and luxurious surroundings.


100% (1 review)
Khulu's Retreat

Khulu's Retreat

Just outside Hwange National Park, Khulu's Retreat is an exclusive private villa and is a great place to spoil yourself on a safari in Zimbabwe.


No reviews yet
Elephant's Eye

Elephant's Eye

In a private concession just outside Hwange National Park, the comfortable Elephant's Eye overlooks a pan and waterholes.


No reviews yet
Deteema Springs Camp

Deteema Springs Camp

Nestled deep in Hwange National Parks rugged northern sector, Deteema Springs Camp promises visitors an authentic bush amp experience.


No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa