If there’s a more fun way to travel to Imvelo’s Camelthorn Lodge and Bomani Tented Lodge in Hwange National Park, we haven’t seen it yet! The Elephant Express is Imvelo’s one-of-a-kind rail car which travels 80km from the small railway town of Dete to Ngamo siding, just minutes from Camelthorn and Bomani lodges. 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 provides unrestricted game viewing. Imvelo also provides drinks of all kinds and delicious snacks en route!
With all the active waterholes in Hwange, Imvelo installed two water-level photography blinds – at Stophie’s pan near Camelthorn and at Jozibanini pan – allowing for toe and snout level photography of Hwange’s thirsty herds! But these aren’t any ordinary photography blinds. By modifying standard steel shipping containers, including fitting it with a flush loo, and sinking it deep into the Hwange sands, Imvelo has created a cool, secure place from which to watch wildlife coming to drink. The sheer thrill of sitting in the blind in safety and comfort close enough to elephant to count the cracks on their toe nails has surpassed every one of our expectations! And over full moons guests can even spend the evening in the blind watching the wildlife come down to drink with a backdrop of stars in a crystal sky, and if you’re really enjoying yourself why not overnight in the blind – what an incredible experience, not available anywhere else in the National Park!
Hwange National Park has no major rivers and for the past 70 years during Hwange’s dry seasons, wildlife has subsisted here on water originally pumped by windmills, later replaced by diesel engines and now solar power. In the southern sector of the Park, Imvelo Safari Lodges shoulders the responsibility for 15 pumped waterholes. This means Imvelo is looking after approximately 20- 25% of the waterholes that sustain Hwange’s wildlife – a huge commitment of which we are truly proud!
The engines require diesel, oil and monthly services and the pump attendants who operate them require rations and pay. A popular activity is to take an all day trip into the Park visiting the waterholes to drop off fuel and oil for the motors as well as rations and supplies for the pump attendants. A picnic lunch is then enjoyed near one of the waterholes followed by a leisurely game drive back to the lodge in the afternoon. Our Pump run usually ends with sundowners at one of the waterholes close to camp. Please note this activity only happens in the dry season when the water is pumped (usually between June – October). In the green season an all-day game drive can be enjoyed roaming across a huge section of the park stopping for a picnic lunch and siesta under a cool tree near a lily-covered pan.
Imvelo Safari Lodges know how to take it to another level with pop-up spa services on offer! The spa treatments fall in line with Imvelo’s proud tradition of empowering the community through providing jobs, as their beauty therapists have been hand-picked from the surrounding community areas. Travelers can enjoy treatments (head, foot, shoulder & neck massages, as well as mani/pedis) in the most spectacular settings!