When the indigenous people of the southern continent observed the first trains in Africa, the lines of rolling stock passing on the distant horizons recalled the profile and sinuous movement of a creature they called Shongololo – the millipede.
The Shongololo Express, based at Rovos Rail’s station in Pretoria, began operations in 1995 to provide a very special touring experience for visitors to Southern Africa. The three journeys of between 12 to 15 days offer tours that traverse South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
72 guests are accommodated in two categories of comfortable en-suite cabins with double or twin beds. Two historically appointed dining cars set the scene for meals, which are taken in one sitting. Modern and traditional local cuisine is on offer with a selection of distinguished South African wines available. Guests can also relax in the bar car, small smoking lounge or the observation car with an open-air balcony situated at the back of the train.
The journeys offer a variety of off-train excursions that are undertaken in our air-conditioned vehicles. On occasion we will employ the expertise of local service providers who are better positioned to arrange our transport requirements. Come and join us on one of our captivating tours and allow us to provide the friendly and efficient service for which we are renowned.
Good Hope Golf Tour (15 Days) / Cape Town to Pretoria and reverse
The 15-day Good Hope Golf Tour through South Africa and Swaziland provides a golfing and non-golfing itinerary. Departing from Pretoria, guests are taken through the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains to Nelspruit, the Kruger National Park and the historical town of Pilgrim’s Rest, the Bourke’s Luck Potholes as well as God’s Window. After exploring the scenic Panorama Route, the train continues its journey to the Kingdom of Swaziland, followed by the Hluhluwe Wildlife Reserve and the world-heritage site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
On day seven, the train arrives in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, where guests have the opportunity to visit the local markets followed by a battlefields tour of Spionkop. After a city tour in Bloemfontein, a visit to Kimberley’s Diamond Mine Museum and the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, travellers arrive in Oudtshoorn where they visit an ostrich farm and the not to be missed Cango Caves.
Traversing the beautiful Outeniqua Mountains, the Shongololo Express comes in Knysna, Garden Route, where travellers enjoy a lagoon ferry ride to the Featherbed Nature Reserve which is followed by a spectacular meander along the Garden Route towards Worcester. On day 14, passengers travel by road over the mountain passes to the coastal town of Hermanus before arriving on the final day in Cape Town where a tour of the city awaits.
Southern Cross Tour (12 Days) Pretoria to Victoria Falls and reverse
This 12-day train journey crosses through South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Starting in Pretoria, travellers are taken passed the Drakensberg Mountains to the Kruger National Park. Adventurous game drives with strange wildlife encounter await here. The beautiful sights of the Panorama Route are visited which include Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window.
A city tour through Maputo, which is the capital of Mozambique, takes place on day four before crossing through the Kingdom of Swaziland. Guests may participate in a game drive through the Kapama Game Reserve which is followed by a relaxing day on the train while it heads for the Great Zimbabwe Ruins for a visit. A tour of the Antelope Park and the Matobas National Park, the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave, is scheduled for day nine and ten before continuing to Hwange where game-viewing activities await. The final day of this journey takes train passengers to the magnificent Victoria Falls where traveller have the chance to participate in a tour of the village and the falls with an afternoon sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.
Dune Express Tour (12 Days) Pretoria to Swakopmund and reverse
The Dune Express trip begins in Pretoria and takes 12 days. Guests explore the country of Namibia, which is known for its beauty, wilderness, the sunshine and seemingly endless space. The first stop of the journey is Kimberley where passengers visit the ‘Big Hole’ as well as the charming diamond mine museum village. The tour continues to Upington where a walking tour and wine tasting await.
Once the train crossed the border from South Africa to Namibia, travellers visit the breathtaking Fish River Canyon, which is second in size to the Grand Canyon in the USA. After that, the historical towns of Lüderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop are visited. Day seven of the trip offers an overnight stay at the Sossusvlei Lodge which is surrounded by the incredible dunes of the Namib-Naukluft Park.
A visit to the Sesriem Canyon and the 175m-high star-dune “45” is also included. Then, Shongololo Express leaves the vastness of the Kalahari Desert and head to the city of Windhoek where a city tour is on offer. On day ten, passengers travel to the Etosha National Park with a planned overnight stay complete with exciting game-viewing activities. This memorable train journey through South Africa and Namibia ends in the famous seaside town of Swakopmund.
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