Taking the train is, in my opinion, the only way to get to Victoria Falls. Why fly when you miss out on all the Vintage fun of trains or worse still take a stuffy horrible bus journey. This is my guide on how to take the train to Victoria Falls.
How do I catch the train?
The best place to catch the train is from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city. See my 7 day itinerary on Zimbabwe here. It is an overnight train that leaves Bulawayo at 19:30 everyday and reaches Victoria Fall stations at around 9:30am the next day.
The reverse train leaves Victoria Falls at 19:00 and arrives in Bulawayo around 08:30am the next day.
What are the trains like?
Two words – Stunning and vintage. These old carriages will take you back to a bygone era.
How much does it cost?
A first class ticket for a sleeper carriage – 2 berth known as coupe or 4 berth are easily available and costs $12 for each person excluding bedding. Bedding costs an extra $4 each.
Insider tip: You can only buy bedding once on the train from the “elusive bedding guy”. He is not actually that easy to find and if you close your carriage door he will assume you don’t want it. Make sure you go and find him and buy bedding because it can get very cold at night, as we found out the hard way.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets can only be bought at the departure station. We bought it on the day and I was told you can buy it early but I wouldn’t count on it. You should be fine and be able to get a ticket if you book it early in the day of travel. The ticket offices open everyday at 8am except for Saturdays and Sundays which open at 4pm.
Once at the ticket station find the ticket office and ask for the first class sleeper to Victoria Falls. The rest is really self explanatory.
Insider tip: If you buy a first class ticket then you gain access to the terminal lounge. Make sure you ask to sit in it though. Definitely worth a visit in special colonial era room. Again you will most likely have this room to yourself. You will also find British electrical plugs where you can charge your phones.
Is it safe?
Like any good traveler you should always be vigilant and try not stick out as “rich westerner” but taking all normal precautions we thought it was a safe way to travel. The private cabins/berths are lockable via a chain inside making it very private.
Can you buy food and beverages on the train?
No and there is not much around Bulawayo station so make sure you come prepared with snacks and drinks for the train journey
Watch out for the cool vintage adverts:
Check out our ultimate guide to Victoria falls or our Zimbabwe section for all things travel in Zimbabwe