The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is showcasing its premier class coaches at the virtual Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo which kicks off today and ends tomorrow.
Held virtually for the first time since its inception as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, Sanganai/Hlanganani is a specialised exhibition for the tourism sector, organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
NRZ public relations manager, Nyasha Maravanyika, said the parastatal was seeing the potential of the virtual exhibition to reach a wide market hence the decision to participate in the expo.
“Currently available on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route only, the premier class coaches take travel by rail to a higher level in terms of comfort,” said Maravanyika.
“The coaches feature beds, carpeted compartments and hot and cold shower facilities.”
Maravanyika said the NRZ was also offering charter trains to the public.
“The public can hire a train to host special occasions,” he explained.
“Both diesel and steam trains can be chartered. Train charters are ideal for joy rides, parties, anniversaries, conferences and other conventions. The NRZ’s Rail Leisure unit has unique products with potential to attract both local and foreign tourists and contribute significantly to the country’s tourism sector.”
On display, Maravanyika said, on the NRZ Sanganai/Hlanganani virtual platform are products offered by Rail Leisure, its Strategic Business Unit (SBU) which offers recreational travel by train which include Steam Rail Safaris.
“Steam excursion trains are powered by vintage Garratt steam locomotives which are more than 60 years old,” he said.
“NRZ Garratt locomotives are among the few in the world still in perfect running condition. Also being marketed at this year’s Sanganai/Hlanganani World Tourism Expo is the NRZ Museum. The museum opened in 1972 and its exhibits consist of historical locomotives, coaches and other relics used by the NRZ over the years. The museum’s collection includes steam locomotives, diesel electric locomotives, trolleys and wagons with interesting stories to tell when they were still in service.”
Maravanyika added: “Last year, the NRZ Museum hosted the Sanganai/Hlanganani Buyers and Media welcome reception after NRZ and the ZTA entered into a partnership to market tourism products offered by the railway operator.”