Pathfinder Luxury Coaches is perhaps the best considered inter-city luxury coach in Zimbabwe as of 2013 at least from an aesthetics perspective (user experience might vary – submit your review below). Moreover compared to the next best competitor, the company favors Mercedes-Benz buses compared to Marcopolo buses. Mercedes-Benz is well known and trusted worldwide and that for us makes a significant difference. The bus has its head office in Harare and covers the popular and certainly busy Harare – Bulawayo route also connecting the popular international holiday resort of Victoria Falls in the south-western part of Zimbabwe. It’s competitors include City Link and Bravo Tours both operating from Harare and plying the same routes.
Route & Schedule
As mentioned, Pathfinder Luxury Coaches runs between Zimbabwe’s two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo as well as Victoria Falls; a 1000km (620 mile) trip from Harare via Bulawayo. In Harare the bus’s pick-up point is its head office at 115 Nelson Mandela Ave (corner 5th Street). In Bulawayo the office and pick-up point is at 73A Fife Street ( Corner Leopold Takawira Street opposite Central Police Station). In Victoria Falls, the bus is found at Kingdom Hotel and Elephant Hills Resort.
The coach has morning and afternoon departures from Harare designed to reach Bulawayo by mid afternoon and mid-evening (8pm) respectively. We find Pathfinder to be very busy during certain peak season times e.g international and local holidays ( Christmas, Easter etc) as well as month-end periods not ignoring the opening and closing of major school holidays.This is something to be kept in mind when planning a trip on the bus.
The coach has very competitive fares for both adults and children pegged at USD35 for adults and USD20 for kids for a one-way trip to Bulawayo from Harare and vice versa. The company charges a single fee covering Harare to Bulawayo and anything in-between. The bus will have brief stops in key towns such as Chegutu, Kadoma, Kwekwe and Gweru before its final stop in Bulawayo. Of the four towns en-route, the bus has the longest stop in Kwekwe. On our trip on the bus we stopped here some good 20-30 minutes at Golden Mile Hotel just outside Kwekwe’s CBD along Kwekwe-Gweru highway.
Quality of Service
We believe Pathfinder Luxury Coaches is of reputable service. To confirm our opinion we found several positive experiences on top international travel sites such as this one from a reviewer based in Florida, USA- “Used Pathfinder for Harare to Vic. Falls. Excellent service and surprisingly low cost. Highly recommended – sit upstairs if you can“
In 2012 the company received a service excellence award. It has a relatively good and punctual service routine. Our experience traveling on the bus between Bulawayo and Harare was marked by a 30 minute leeway off schedule. To be fair, this is not always to be blamed on the bus itself but the often numerous traffic police checks along the way as well as the generally below par roads that might demand caution at some sections (this could eventually change as Zimbabwe is currently dualising (creating freeways) all major roads connecting main cities)
Passengers are served with refreshments en-route. In terms of comfort, it is fully air conditioned with (in some cases) on-board entertainment. The bus is also frequently used by international tourists and backpackers.
Image credit:- Pathfinder Luxury Coaches
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