When indigenous people 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 Station in Pretoria, began operations in 1995 to provide a very special touring experience for visitors to Southern Africa. The 12- to 15-day tours traverse South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
72 guests are accommodated in 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 train carries a fleet of air-conditioned touring vehicles with professional guides on board who are ready to take guests on inclusive scheduled off-rail activities to experience the sights of the area. For the more adventurous, there are also specialized activities available at many locations from elephant-back riding to scuba diving.
It is the aim and the pleasure of every staff member on board the Shongololo Express to provide you with friendly and efficient service.
Three choices of train holidays
PRETORIA to SWAKOPMUND – 12 DAYS
This spectacular 12-day journey starts in Pretoria and winds its way to the coast of Namibia, a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine and seemingly endless space. First stop is Kimberley for a visit to the Big Hole and diamond mine museum village before continuing on to Upington for a walking tour and wine tasting. After crossing the border, guests visit the Fish River Canyon, second in size to the Grand Canyon, followed by tours of historical towns Lüderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop. Day seven sees guests overnighting at a Sossusvlei lodge, surrounded by the dramatic dunes of the Namib-Naukluft Park, with visits to the natural Sesriem Canyon and the 170m-high star-dune “45”. The train then leaves the vast stillness of the Kalahari Desert for a city tour of Windhoek. On day ten guests travel to the Etosha National Park for an overnight stay with game-viewing activities before ending the journey in the quaint seaside town of Swakopmund. Available in reverse.
PRETORIA to VICTORIA FALLS – 12 DAYS
This impressive 12-day journey between Pretoria and Victoria Falls stops at carefully selected locations in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Starting in Pretoria, this magnificent sojourn will spend the first few days taking guests east through the Drakensberg Mountains to the Kruger Park for game viewing and the historical areas of Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window. On day four guests tour Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, before moving on to explore the Kingdom of Swaziland. Enjoy a game drive in the famous wildlife reserve of Kapama followed by a relaxing day on the train as it heads for the Great Zimbabwe Ruins for a visit. On days nine and 10, guests tour Antelope Park and Matobas National Park, site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave, before continuing on to Hwange for game-viewing activities. The final day has the train arriving in Victoria Falls where guests enjoy a walking tour of the village and the falls with an afternoon sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.
PRETORIA to CAPE TOWN – 15 DAYS
This grand 15-day journey offers a golfing and non-golfing itinerary with an amazing insight into virtually every well-known destination in South Africa. Starting in Pretoria, this magnificent sojourn will spend the first few days taking guests through the Drakensberg Mountains to Nelspruit*, the Kruger Park* and the historical areas of Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window. Then it’s on to explore the Kingdom of Swaziland*, Hluhluwe wildlife reserve and the world-heritage site, St Lucia Wetland Park. Day seven sees the train arriving in Durban* where guests can enjoy the markets or spiritual sites followed by a battlefields tour of Spionkop*. After city tours of Bloemfontein, the city of roses, Kimberley’s Diamond Mine Museum*, and the historic town of Graaff Reinet, guests arrive in Oudtshoorn to visit an ostrich farm and the incredible Cango Caves. Traversing the Outeniqua Mountains, the train arrives in the natural paradise of Knysna* where guests enjoy a lagoon ferry ride to Featherbed Nature Reserve followed by a spectacular meander along the Garden Route towards Worcester. On day 14, guests travel by road over scenic mountain passes to Hermanus*, once a renowned whaling station, before arriving on the final day in Cape Town for a tour of the Mother City. *Golf Courses (optional): Nelspruit/Leopard Creek/White River, Nkonyeni Golf, Zimbali, Durban Country Club, Champagne Sports Resort, Kimberley Golf Club, Fancourt, Ernie Els Oubaai, Arabella Golf Estate. Available in reverse.
Email us for prices and dates of travel. With us you pay NO EXTRA for our specialist services for these rail holidays.