Southern Cross Train Safari

Overview

Shongololo Express provides a very special touring experience for travellers. From a warm welcome and transfer to the train at the start of the journey, to an exciting and varied program of touring, superb breakfasts and dinners on board, and a lounge full of new friends each evening – all these combine to create an unforgettable holiday. Book your trip on this once in a life time experience. Experience the magic of the Africa of old.

Gallery
Highlights
  • Scheduled train tour of southern Africa
  • Starts in Boksburg and ends in Victoria Falls or vice versa
  • Includes arrival transfers from the airport and selected day tours
  • From ZAR 49,500.00 per person sharing in the Ivory room
Itinerary

Southern Cross Train Safari

Day 1
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Should you only arrive at Johannesburg International Airport today, you will be met upon arrival and transferred to the train. Please note that you should arrive no later than 08:00 at the airport in order to participate in the day’s excursions.

Gauteng is the economic powerhouse of the Southern African region and home to some of Africa’s greatest cities. The name of the province derives from the Sotho word meaning “Place of Gold”, which is very suitable since much of the wealth of Gauteng has come from this precious metal. The train departs in the evening from Johannesburg to Nelspruit.

Activities For The Day

  • Pretoria Day Tour
  • Soweto Day Tour
  • Johannesburg Tour

Day 2
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

After breakfast this morning, depart Nelspruit for a tour of Swaziland. The tiny Kingdom of Swaziland covers only 17 000 square kilometers, making it the second smallest country in Africa. PLEASE NOTE THAT GUESTS WILL NEED THEIR PASSPORT FOR THIS EXCURSION. Guests will enter Swaziland by road from South Africa. The drive will present amazing view of the Ezulwini Valley and the Komati River. This day in Swaziland will introduce you to everyday life in Africa’s smallest kingdom. The Swazi Market is a hive of activity and displays a wide variety of skillfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazi’s are renowned. (Full day; distance traveled: ± 400 km). Guests leave the train in Nelspruit and they will meet the train at Mpaka Station in Swaziland. The train departs in the evening to Maputo.

Day 3
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, offers an exciting mix of culture and buildings reminiscent of trends set by African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions. The city swings along to a beat that is like no other in Africa. It enables you to experience true African hospitality. Old Catholic churches rest side-by-side with Mosques and Fortresses, Victorian Mansions and other buildings from a bygone era. It’s a city of contrasts and excitement that provides an ideal meeting point for social and business ventures. Dinner will be enjoyed at a local seafood restaurant. The train remains stationary at Maputo Station over night.

Day 4
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Guests will get a good impression of the character of the city. A visit to the municipal market is followed by a stop at the old Fortaleza, which dates back to 1769. Other interesting city sites include the Catholic Cathedral, the Civic Centre, Louis Trichardt Trek Memorial, Samora Machel Statue, the Jardim Tunduru (Botanical Gardens) and the Iron House (Casa do Ferro). The Polana Hotel, built in the 1920s, with its striking white exterior and stunning decor, is the best-known landmark in the city. From the garden one can see Xefina Island. Next we visit an art gallery where furniture and sculptures are made out of old AK47 weapons. A drive along the marginal takes us to Costa do Sol. At Costa do Sol there is an opportunity to relax while having a cold drink. Lunch (guests’ own account) will be at Mundos restaurant or in one of the other restaurant or hotels in town. After lunch we head back to the train. An afternoon high tea will be served on board while we rock’n roll through the countryside. (Half day; distance traveled: ± 60 km).

The train departs from Maputo at around 15:00 and travels to Komatipoort where we will over night.

Day 5
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that equals the best anywhere. Its 2 million hectares are unrivalled in diversity of life forms and the park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The park is home to an impressive number of species, e.g. 336 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 species of amphibians, 114 species of reptiles, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals. Game drives will be conducted in our air-conditioned vehicles. (Full day; departure time depends on the season, as gates open and close with sunrise and sunset; distance traveled: ± 220 km). Guests can enjoy an evening in a local pub in the company of local farmers and villagers.

Guests rejoin the train in Komatipoort where it will remain over night.

Activities For The Day

  • Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Day 6
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Mpumalanga means “Land of the Rising Sun”. It is a province of extraordinary natural beauty. Optional activities are available on this day for more game drives into Kruger or a tour of Nelspruit. Guests rejoin the train in Nelspruit and stable for the night.

Activities For The Day

  • Kruger National Park
  • Nelspruit

Day 7
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Guests depart the train this morning from Nelspruit and return in the evening. The train departs this evening for the Zimbabwe Border.

Activities For The Day

  • Panorama Route

Day 8
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

A day on the rails as the train heads north. Guests spend the day relaxing on the train through the countryside of the different provinces – Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo Province. We cross the border into Zimbabwe at Beit Bridge and head onto Rutenga Station where guests spend the night and depart for Great Zimbabwe the next morning. Lunch will be served on the train this day. There will be informative talks held by the guides on the train.

Day 9
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

We travel from Rutenga through attractive granite hill country to Great Zimbabwe. Situated on the south-eastern edge of the central plateau, Great Zimbabwe is an impressive monument. It is the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids – a most celebrated achievement of the African people indeed. One can stroll amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people and discover how they lived and how they mined gold and silver, which were ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders. Magical fables such as the story of King Solomon’s Mines find their origins here. This tour is followed by lunch at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel (guests’ own account), before rejoining the train. (Full day; distance traveled: ± 300 km). Guests rejoin the train at Rutenga and travel to Somabhula over night.

Activities For The Day

  • Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Day 10
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Today there is one highlight:- Walk with Lions in Antelope Park. This activity takes approximately one and a half hours and offers an amazing photo opportunity. The long-term project here aims to reintroduce the offspring of captive bred lions into the wild. The lions accompanying you on walks average between 3 and 15 months of age. No leashes, no collars – the lions roam free with you through the African bush. You may even be fortunate enough to experience a lion stalking some of the wildlife species which abound in Antelope Park. Back to the camp, you will also have the opportunity for about 20 min to view and interact with lion cubs. Guests rejoin the train at Somabhula and depart early evening to Bulawayo.

Activities For The Day

  • Antelope Park
  • Walk with Lions – Antelope Park

Day 11
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Matobo means “bald headed ones” and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. Highlights include a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave his name to Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was previously known, and an inspection of a Bushman cave. There will be time for lunch (guests’ own account) before visiting the Natural History Museum, which is one of the best of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Lastly, we take a drive through the city and visit an Art Gallery. (Full day; distance traveled: ± 150 km). The train travels to Dete Station over night.

Activities For The Day

  • Matobo National Park
  • Grave of Cecil John Rhodes

Day 12
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Zimbabwe’s premier National Park is known for its Lion population. Situated in the north-west corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the nation’s largest wildlife area and contains a variety of animals and bird species. Covering 1 462 000 hectares, Hwange is roughly the same size as Belgium. An early morning game drive in the park is followed by breakfast at the Sable Valley Lodge. After a morning of game viewing, lunch (guests’ own account) will be at the Sikumi Tree Lodge. There will be an opportunity to relax at the pool for a while before we resume our game viewing later in the afternoon. (Full day; distance traveled: ± 120 km). The train departs for Victoria Falls in the evening.

Day 13
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Guests will walk across the Zambezi River over the famous Rail/road Bridge. Our first stop is on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls before continuing to the town of Livingstone, named after David Livingstone, the Scottish visionary, who had an insatiable appetite for exploration and a desire to open Africa to the world. The existence of the Falls had of course been known to local tribes people. Livingstone, upon hearing stories about “Mosi oa Tunya” (the smoke that thunders), arranged to be taken there by dugout canoe. On November 16, 1855 he came to the northern end of what is now Livingstone Island and from there crawled to the edge of the precipice and beheld the spectacle of the waterfall for the first time. We visit the Livingstone Museum before heading to the Waterfront Lodge for lunch. Our last visit in the afternoon will be at the Fifth Gorge for a spectacular view of the Zambezi River. (Full day; distance traveled: ± 70 km). The train remains stationary at Victoria Falls Station over night.

Activities For The Day

  • David Livingstone Museum

Day 14
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

Chobe National Park

A 70-kilometre ride brings us to the Botswana border, where we cross into the famous Chobe National Park. There is a great array of wildlife and the Chobe Elephants are well respected, as are the Hippos in the river. Highlights include a game drive in 4×4 vehicles and a river cruise on the Chobe River. Lunch (guests’ own account) will be taken at a waterfront lodge where there is a swimming pool. (Full day; distance traveled: ± 200 km).

The train remains stationary at Victoria Falls Station over night.

Activities For The Day

  • Chobe National Park Game Viewing

Day 15
Drinks: None
Room: Dinner Bed And Breakfast

The Falls form the largest single “curtain” of falling water on earth measuring 1708 m wide. On average the curtain is 92 m deep. The spray plume can rise to 500 m and can be seen from as far as 70 km away. In full flood, over 550 million litres of water per minute cascade over the brink. Because the Falls are so wide, there are numerous safe vantage points provided, from where you will be able to get various views of the Falls and the roiling water as it crashes into the gorge and the constant plume of spray that maintains the Rain Forest. The forest is an attraction on its own and many of the trees are marked to help identification. They include Fig, Mahogany, Date Palm, Milkwood and Ebony. The bird life is also prolific and species that may be seen include the colourful Sunbird and large Trumpeter Hornbill. The sound of the water can be heard from kilometers away and up close this muted ‘thunder’ becomes a roar. Craft and curio shops abound with enough variety for everyone to find something to take home as a souvenir. (Morning; distance traveled: ± 15 km).

The afternoon is spent at leisure. The train remains stationary at Victoria Falls Station over night.

Activities For The Day

  • Flight of the Angels

Day 16
Drinks: None
Room: None

If guests are transferring to a hotel, this will be arranged for them in the morning. If guests are flying out of Victoria Falls, their flight may only be in the afternoon. In this case optional tours may be undertaken in the morning.

END OF SERVICES

Duration 15 Nights

CAN BE EXTENDED


STARTS FROM BOKSBURG SOUTH AFRICA
ENDS AT VICTORIA FALLS ZIMBABWE

From ZAR 49 500

per person sharing


INCLUDED

  • Arrival transfer: airport – train
  • Departure transfer: train – airport
  • Accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis (as per itinerary)
  • A free choice of available Inclusive Options.

EXCLUDED

  • Airfares (National / International)
  • Lunches
  • Beverages
  • Laundry
  • Gratuities
  • Purchases of a personal nature
  • Optional Extras
  • Pre-night accommodation
  • Visas where applicable
  • Travel insurance
  • Transfers between the train and hotels