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Journey to Victoria Falls by Private Train 2019/2020

An escorted tour from Pretoria to Victoria Falls aboard the Shongololo Express

  • 31 December 2019
  • 14 April 2020
  • 4 August 2020
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Lion cub

Join us for this spectacular train journey from Pretoria to Victoria Falls which stops along the way to view some remarkable scenery and wonderful locations in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In spite of all its regional difficulties, Africa still captures the imagination like no other continent. The beauty and the colours truly need to be seen to be believed and are brought right to the compartment doors of our comfortable rolling hotel, all while enjoying the excellent service for which Rovos Rail is renowned.

Travelling from Pretoria, our first few days aboard take us east through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Drakensberg Mountains and along the Panorama Route with visits to historic Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window, one of Blyde River Canyon’s most spectacular viewpoints. We continue to Kruger National Park where, for some, the highlight will no doubt be spotting the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino), but for others it may be seeing the remarkable birdlife or the majestic giraffe that stay longest in memory.

From Kruger we travel to bustling Maputo, the attractive capital of Mozambique and explore the intriguing Kingdom of Swaziland where we can witness the lively and colourful local culture as people go about their everyday life. We will enjoy a game drive in the Kapama Game Reserve before crossing the border to Zimbabwe, a country of astounding natural beauty with extraordinary wildlife. Here we will step back in time at the Great Zimbabwe Monument as well as visit Antelope Park, home to a lion conservation programme and Matopos National Park, the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave. Our penultimate stop is Hwange National Park, a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary where animals can be spotted from the train and during our game drive. Finally, a fitting end to our journey is a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and our stay at the legendary Victoria Falls Hotel with dramatic views of the gorges of the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


Shongololo Express

Shongololo Express

The Shongololo Express, as a rolling hotel, offers sleeping compartments in two categories, two air-conditioned dining cars, a bar car and an observation car. The tempting three course dinners are served in a single sitting. The bar car, open around the clock, is ideal for relaxing over a freshly tapped beer or a glass of South African wine and is a popular spot for reading. Complimentary tea and coffee are available on board at all times.

 

View train details

Itinerary

  • Leopard, Hwange National Park
  • Lilac-breasted Roller

Day 1 - London to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 - Pretoria.

Arrive this morning and transfer to the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel for an overnight stay. Enjoy an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 3 - Pretoria and Soweto.

This morning we take a tour of Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa and visit the Union Buildings designed by the famous colonial English architect, Sir Herbert Baker. Completed in 1913, it now houses the offices of the President and Ministers and the buildings overlook the city towards the once fortified hills to the south. A grand bronze statue of “Oom Paul (Kruger)”, the patriarch president of the ZAR or old Transvaal Republic, surrounded by his Boer fighters, dominates Church Square at the centre of the city. Before leaving the capital behind we visit the Voortrekker Monument which commemorates the Great Trek of the 1830s. Our next stop is Soweto which, comprising one million people, was made famous by the laws of Apartheid. We pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere) and also drive past the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Peace Laureates – Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. We also visit the Hector Petersen Memorial, named after the first student to lose his life in the 1976 uprising against the Apartheid government. This afternoon we transfer to Rovos Rail station and board our private train, the Shongololo Express and set off on our journey towards Nelspruit. (B, D)

Day 4 - Panorama Route.

Today we take a full day tour of the Panorama Route. In 1873, gold was discovered in the area around the quaint town of Pilgrim’s Rest, now a living museum and national monument. The find attracted 1,500 diggers and today many of the restored miners’ houses serve as shops. Further along the escarpment we find the great Blyde River Canyon, a gorge 26 kilometres in length and 800 metres deep, carved into the face of the escarpment. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. From the vantage point of Wonder View we gaze across the sweeping landscape of the Lowveld, where subtle fragrances of the lower region rise to merge with the crisp winds of the Highveld. We rejoin our train and depart for Malelane. (B, D)

Day 5 - Kruger Game Drive.

We spend the day in the world-renowned Kruger National Park which offers a wildlife experience second to none. Its two 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: about 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 species of mammals. This evening we return to the train and depart for Mozambique. (B, D)

Day 6 - Maputo, Mozambique.

This morning we tour Maputo, the capital of Mozambique and a city of contrasts and an exciting mix of cultures. The city swings along to a beat like no other in Africa offering true African hospitality. Its architecture is a blend of African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions with old Catholic churches side-by-side with mosques, fortresses, Victorian mansions and other buildings from a bygone era. After border formalities the train heads for Mpaka in Swaziland. (B, L, D)

Day 7 - Kingdom of Swaziland.

Today we tour the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland which covers only 17,000 square kilometres making it the second smallest country in Africa. Travel to Manzini enjoying amazing views of the Ezulwini Valley and the Komati River en route. This excursion into Swaziland will introduce you to everyday life in Africa’s smallest kingdom. We visit Swazi Candles and Mantenga Cultural Village. With the traditional artifacts on display, the village illustrates many facets of the ancient Swazi way of life; social, economic and religious. (B, D)

Day 8 - Kapama Game Reserve, South Africa.

This morning we take a game drive in Kapama Game Reserve which is situated in South Africa’s northernmost province of Limpopo and renowned for its prolific and diverse wildlife. Kapama Private Game Reserve is home to over 40 different mammal species, including the Big Five and approximately 350 bird species and a myriad smaller species can also be seen here in their natural environment. We then visit the Wild Dog and Cheetah Project – the centre was established in South Africa in 1971 with a mission to ensure the long-term survival of the cheetah, African Wild Dog and other wild animals in general. We return to the train for lunch and depart for Tzaneen and our overnight stop at Louis Trichardt. (B, L, D)

Day 9 - Day On Board.

Relax on board today as we travel to Rutenga in Zimbabwe. We clear customs and immigration at Beitbridge. (B, L, D)

Day 10 - Great Zimbabwe Monument, Zimbabwe.

Today we tour the Great Zimbabwe Monument, a hugely impressive monument situated on the south-eastern edge of the central plateau. It is the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids and is a celebrated achievement of the African people. Magical fables such as the story of King Solomon’s Mines find their origins here amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people. Discover how these ancient people lived and mined gold and silver which were ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders. Following our tour we travel through attractive granite hill country to Rutenga and rejoin the train in Bannockburn. (B, L, D)

Day 11 - Antelope Park.

Set in over 3,000 acres of open savannah grassland, Antelope Park is a unique game reserve and the Park is also home to ALERT’s Lion Conservation Programme. Included will be a unique ‘Lion Feeding’ experience and, standing just metres from the fence line, we can watch in awe as several fullygrown male lions charge towards their meal and tussle for the prime pieces. An adrenaline-filled activity, the lion feeds not only give a once-ina- lifetime experience but also constitute a vital part of the research into the lions’ characters and dominance behaviour. Other optional activities include canoeing, game drives, horseback game viewing, elephant-back riding and a bird-watching cruise. Alternatively, you may wish to relax by the swimming pool overlooking the lake. In the late afternoon we return to the train and depart for Bulawayo. (B, D)

Day 12 - Matopos National Park.

This morning we embark on a full day tour of Matopos National Park. “Matopos” means ‘bald headed ones’ and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. A highlight will be the visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave Zimbabwe its previous name of Rhodesia. Afterwards, we will visit one of the more accessible bushman caves, of which there are many hidden amongst the hills. We return to the train and depart for Kennedy. (B, L, D)

Day 13 - Hwange Game Reserve.

Covering 1,462,000 hectares, Hwange is roughly the same size as Belgium and we spend a full day game viewing in the reserve with a picnic stop for lunch. Situated in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the nation’s largest wildlife area and contains a variety of animals and bird species but is most well-known for its prolific lion population. We return to the train in the evening and depart for Thompson’s Junction. (B, L, D)

Day 14 - Victoria Falls.

This morning we arrive at Victoria Falls Station and walk across to the luxurious Victoria Falls Hotel, popularly known as ‘the grand old lady of the falls’ and a splendid base for our overnight stay. From here we take a walking tour of the town and Victoria Falls. Forming the largest single curtain of falling water on earth (on average the curtain is 92 metres deep), the Victoria Falls’ 500 metre plume of spray can be seen from as far as 70 kilometres away. The sound of the water can also be heard from kilometres away and up close this muted ‘thunder’ becomes a roar. In full flood, over 550 million litres of water per minute cascade over the brink. The vast width of the Falls, extending 1708 metres, allow for many safe vantage points from where you will be able to get different views of the roiling water as it crashes into the gorge and whose constant spray maintains the rain forest. The forest is an attraction on its own with many of the trees marked to help identification. These include fig, mahogany, date palm, milkwood and ebony. The bird life is prolific and species that may be seen include the colourful sunbird and large trumpeter hornbill. Late this afternoon we take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. (B)

Day 15 - Victoria Falls to London.

Transfer to Victoria Falls airport for our indirect flight to London.

Day 16 - London.

Arrive this morning.

  • Kingdom of Swaziland
  • Voortrekker monument, Pretoria

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
31 December 2019 to 15 January 2020 • 14 to 29 April 2020 • 4 to 19 August 2020
Category Price
Gold Cabin £6995
Emerald Cabin £8795
Gold Cabin for sole use £9995

Tour Reference Code: LAVICTORIA20

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • Overnight accommodation at the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel in a Classic Room • 11 nights aboard the Shongololo Express • Overnight at the Victoria Falls Hotel in a Standard Room • Meals as listed (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) • Excursions • Entrance fees • Local guides • Onboard train manager • Transfers • Airport taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas, gratuities, meals not listed, drinks, optional activities at Antelope Park.

Please note that any delays to the train schedule may affect the timing and running of excursions.

Shongololo Express

The Shongololo Express, as a rolling hotel, offers sleeping compartments in two categories, two air-conditioned dining cars, a bar car and an observation car. The tempting three course dinners are served in a single sitting. The bar car, open around the clock, is ideal for relaxing over a freshly tapped beer or a glass of South African wine and is a popular spot for reading. Complimentary tea and coffee are available on board at all times.

 

 
  • Shongololo Express
    Shongololo Express
  • Shongololo Express
    Shongololo Express
  • Emerald Cross Double
    Emerald Cross Double
  • Gold Twin
    Gold Twin
  • Gold Double
    Gold Double
  • Dining car
    Dining car
  • Shongololo Express
    Shongololo Express
  • Sleeping Compartments

    Sleeping Compartments

    All of the sleeping compartments offer a private shower and toilet, adjustable air conditioning, 220/230 V sockets, a small safe, towels and clothes hangers. The beds are made up daily by your train attendants. 

    There is no formal dress code on your private train during the day. Dinner on board is smart casual. A laundry service is available during the entire trip (at cost). Large pieces of luggage can be stowed beneath the berths or on the upper luggage racks. However, since space on board is limited, we do recommend taking soft-sided luggage rather than hard-side cases. 

  • Gold Cabins

    Gold Cabins

    The compartments (approximately 7 square metres) are equipped with two individual berths next to each other, or a double berth and a compact wardrobe.  A hairdryer and small toiletries are also provided. Still water is provided daily in your compartment. There are a total of twenty four Gold cabins.

  • Emerald Cabins

    Emerald Cabins

    The Emerald sleeping compartments (approximately 10 square metres) are equipped with two single berths or a double berth and a compact wardrobe. Each compartment in this category also has a small seating area. A hairdryer and small toiletries are also provided. Still water is provided daily in your compartment. There are a total of 14 Emerald Cabins.

     

  • Train Directory

    Train Directory

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    Please find below further details pertaining to the train or click on the booklet to download. 

    Since its establishment in 1989, Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences and we are delighted to offer their latest acquisition, the Shongololo Express train for your African adventure.

    There are two accommodation categories consisting of 24 Gold Cabins and 14 Emerald Cabins and during the journey you will be accommodated on board in your comfortable sleeping compartment. The public areas include two air-conditioned dining cars, where the tempting three course dinners are served in a single sitting, a bar car and an observation car. The bar car, open around the clock, is ideal for relaxing over a freshly tapped beer or a glass of South African wine and is a popular spot for reading.

    Step aboard and recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era when privileged travellers experienced the magic and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and elegant fashion as some of the most varied scenery imaginable unfolds beyond the windows. 

    ACCOMMODATION

    All of the sleeping compartments offer a private shower and toilet, individually controlled air conditioning, 220/230 volt sockets, a small safe, towels and clothes hangers. The beds are made up daily by your train attendants.

    Gold Cabins: The Gold sleeping compartments (approx. 7 m²) are equipped with two individual berths next to each other or a double berth and a compact wardrobe. Still water (replenished daily), a hairdryer and a small selection of toiletries are also provided. There are a total of 24 Gold Cabins.

    Emerald Cabins: The Emerald sleeping compartments (approx. 10 m²) are equipped with two single berths or a double berth. Each compartment in this category also has a compact wardrobe and a small seating area. Still water (replenished daily), a hairdryer and a small selection of toiletries are also provided. There are a total of 14 Emerald Cabins.

    ADAPTORS

    A limited number of international adaptors are available on board.

    AIR CONDITIONING

    All public cars are fitted with gas-filled air conditioning systems. Each cabin/suite has an individual air conditioner with individual temperature controls (this can also be set to heat mode). Fresh air can be obtained by opening a window, however windows should be kept closed while operating the air conditioning unit. Air conditioning in private cabins and public areas is operational at all times, except when the generator requires servicing.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Pre-departure announcements will be made prior to boarding the train by the Train Manager. Any further important information will be personally announced by your onboard hostess.

    BAR

    The bar is open daily from early in the morning until midnight.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. There is an internal telephone system in all cabins/ suites. The use of mobile phones, laptops and anything else that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your cabin/ suite and please note that the reception can be poor while the train is moving. It is advised to contact your service provider to ensure the correct settings for network services are activated before you travel as there are no Internet facilities on the train. Guests are also welcome to use their own tablets and hand held devices in areas being toured which offer free Wi-Fi services. The train can be contacted by email at reservations@rovos.co.za. Please indicate the passenger name and departure date as the subject. 

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    A day to day itinerary is placed in all cabins and suites detailing the arrangements and this will be available for you when you board the train. Any updates will be communicated as necessary.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

    If you have any dietary requirements such as vegetarian, low salt, gluten free or low cholesterol, please notify the Reservations Department at Noble Caledonia. We regret that these, and any other special dietary needs, cannot be guaranteed. If you have any specific or special foods that you require we recommend that you take some with you although the onboard staff will endeavour to accommodate your needs. Once on board, please speak with the chef at dinner on your first evening to reconfirm your needs.

    DINING AND DRINKING

    An enthusiastic team of chefs are responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every needs are catered for. There is an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty. Every morning there is a full breakfast with dishes cooked to order and a buffet selection of fresh fruits and yoghurts. The dining carriages are air conditioned and non-smoking. The total seating capacity is 72 and dress code for meal times is casual. Meal times depend on the activities planned for the day, but are generally at the following times: Breakfast 07h00-08h30; Lunch 13h00; Dinner 19h30.

    DISABLED FACILITIES

    The train is able to accommodate passengers with walking difficulties although it is recommended that an able-bodied passenger accompanies them. We regret that the train is not suitable for wheelchair dependent passengers as wheelchairs, even collapsible ones, cannot manoeuvre along the train or between some carriages where there are 90 degree turns. Any mobility impairments should be notified at the time of booking.

    DISEMBARKATION

    Guests should wait in public areas or in their cabin/suite until an announcement is made with instructions for disembarking.

    DRESS CODE

    There is no formal dress code during the day and dinner on board is smart casual. Winter in Southern Africa can be very cold and it is therefore advisable to bring along warm clothing for early mornings and evenings.

    DRINKING WATER

    We strongly advise against drinking the water in the cabins or bathrooms. Bottled water is provided free of charge.

    ELECTRICITY

    The electric current on board is 220V. Each cabin/suite is fitted with a round 3-pin socket (South African). Adapter plugs are available from the Assistant Train Manager. Please treat sockets as live at all times. A generator supplies power. Please be aware that certain breaks in power are necessary when servicing is required.

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

    In the unlikely event that this should occur during your journey, we ask that you remain calm and follow the instructions of the train staff. There are large extinguishers at the end of each carriage for staff application. The train will be brought to a halt for the required action. Do not jump from a moving train.

    GAME DRIVES

    Game drives are carried out in open 4x4 safari vehicles. We recommend warm clothing as the early mornings and evenings can become rather chilly. Some safari vehicles do not have a shade cover so a hat and sun block is essential.

    GIFT SHOP

    There is a small gift shop on board which is located in the central lounge and is open between meal times. The host/ess on duty here has a basic first aid kit and a limited supply of personal essentials.

    HAIRDRYERS

    Hairdryers are supplied in each cabin/suite.

    HEALTH MATTERS

    Please ensure you have indicated any medical conditions, physical disabilities or allergies you might have at the time of booking. There is a basic first aid kit on board the train.

    INTERNET

    There are no Internet facilities on board the train. Guests are welcome to use their own tablets and hand held devices in areas being toured which offer free Wi-Fi services. 

    LAUNDRY SERVICE

    A laundry service is offered on board. A laundry bag is provided in your cabin/suite as well as a laundry list. Items cost between ZAR10 and ZAR35. Clean laundry is returned within 24 to 48 hours, dependent on weather conditions and the travelling time of the train. Rovos Rail and Noble Caledonia cannot be held responsible for items that may be damaged or lost in the process. There are no dry cleaning facilities en-route or on board the train.

    LUGGAGE STORAGE

    Large pieces of luggage can be stowed beneath the berths or on the upper luggage racks in your cabin/suite. However, since onboard space is limited, we do recommend taking soft-sided luggage rather than hard-side cases.

    LIBRARY

    A small library is located in the smoking lounge. Guests are free to make use of the books and guidebooks, but kindly return them before the end of the trip.

    LINEN, TOWELS AND PILLOWS

    Bed linen is changed every third day and towels are changed every second day. Extra pillows and blankets are available on request.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Before you leave the train, please check your cabin/suite carefully to ensure you do not leave anything behind. If you discover you have left any items behind, please contact Noble Caledonia. If we are able to recover your item(s) we will contact you to arrange delivery or collection and any costs incurred will be at your own expense.

    MAIL

    Although your host/ess will be happy to post letters on your behalf, they may not be able to do so straightaway at the stop at which you make such a request. Some postal services are unreliable and many letters or postcards that you ask to be delivered on your behalf may be delayed or even lost en route. Under no circumstances can we be held liable for such occurrences.

    MEDICAL FACILITIES

    There is a basic first aid kit on board the train.

    NEWS

    There are no television sets on board the train and there is no Wi-Fi on board the train.

    ONBOARD ACCOUNT

    Guests will be requested to sign for onboard purchases made during the trip. This includes signing for drinks and purchases of a personal nature. All accounts are to be settled on the evening before departure. Please note that drinks purchased on the last night of the trip will be settled on a ‘cash bar’ basis and that any additional excursions booked also need to be settled in cash. Account payment can be settled by South African Rand, major foreign currencies or credit cards. Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.

    PASSPORTS

    All passports are collected by the Train Manager upon embarkation. Passports are necessary to facilitate immigration formalities between borders. If required, your Train Manager will also provide necessary forms for you to fill out. Passports will be returned to passengers prior to the end of the journey. Costs of any visas required will be borne by the passengers.

    PUBLIC AREAS

    On board there is a non-smoking Observation Car at the rear of the train, while the coach next to it contains a small smoking lounge. A unique feature of the Observation Car is the enlarged windows and open-air balcony. At the centre of the train there is a non-smoking Lounge Car which also houses the Gift Shop. Deep sofas and wingback chairs make for an extremely comfortable car. In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. As with all the service cars the lounges are air conditioned, yet the windows can be opened allowing in the sights, sounds and scents of Africa.

    END OF STAY QUESTIONNAIRE

    Your comments are important to us therefore we ask that you fill in the questionnaire sent with your final documents. We are always looking for ways to improve your holiday and in order to do this we need some feedback from our guests.

    SAFE

    There is a small safe located in each cabin/suite. 

    SECURITY AND SAFETY

    Whilst on board, passengers are encouraged to close shutters (and preferably windows as well) in the cabins/suites and passengers are specifically requested to close windows and shutters when not in the cabin/suite. The train doors in the passages are all locked from the inside. Your cabin/suite door can also lock from the inside. In order to avoid accidents we request that guests adhere to the following:

    • Never open exterior doors while the train is moving. • Never jump off or onto the train while it is moving. • An emergency brake is located halfway down each corridor and is only to be used in the case of an emergency. If used in a non-emergency situation, the culprit will be fined R10 000. • When taking photographs out of the window, always look ahead to see what is coming. • Please ensure that all valuables, documents and cash are kept in a safe place. Management and staff will not accept responsibility for any loss of personal property or cash if it’s not put in the safe. Please be advised that if you leave your cabin/suite you must make certain that your windows are closed. • Do not stray from well-frequented areas after dark. • Change foreign currency at an authorised dealer only.

    SERVICE

    A tag system is available which will alert staff for room service requests.

    SHOWERS AND TOILETS

    The water used on the train is carried in tanks under each coach. These tanks are filled every day but they cannot be topped up while the train is travelling. Please assist us by using water responsibly.

    SMOKING POLICY

    In accordance with the Southern African Smoking Act, designated smoking areas are provided. The train has a smoking lounge, which can only be used when the train is moving. Smoking is not permitted in the dining car, bathrooms, your cabin/suite, passageways or touring vehicles on any tour. Smoking of pipes/cigars is not permitted in the designated smoking area.

    TELEPHONE CALLS

    There is no telephone service on board. Should you however need to contact your Train Manager urgently while on tour, please call mobile number: +27 (0) 82 450 9134.

    TELEVISION

    There are no television sets on board the train.

    TOILETRIES

    All cabins/suites are supplied with following complimentary amenities: • Shower gel • Conditioning Shampoo • Body lotion • Soap • Shower caps • Nail file • Shoe polish • Tissues/Cotton buds • Emergency sewing kit

    TRACK

    The track over which the train travels is inconsistently maintained. The train is therefore restricted to 60km/h (37mph) and over bad sections the speed is reduced to as little as 20km/h (12mph). If you find it noisy, earplugs are available.

    WAKE UP CALL

    Wake up calls can be requested via your host/ess. 

    PLEASE NOTE:

    The above information is accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Noble Caledonia accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and none of the facilities or features of the vessel described herein which are not specifically described in our advertisements and on your holiday invoice as being included in your holiday price will be deemed to be included in your holiday package. If you would like further information about the vessel or about any of your holiday arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • View all tours
  • Sleeping Compartments

    Sleeping Compartments

    All of the sleeping compartments offer a private shower and toilet, adjustable air conditioning, 220/230 V sockets, a small safe, towels and clothes hangers. The beds are made up daily by your train attendants. 

    There is no formal dress code on your private train during the day. Dinner on board is smart casual. A laundry service is available during the entire trip (at cost). Large pieces of luggage can be stowed beneath the berths or on the upper luggage racks. However, since space on board is limited, we do recommend taking soft-sided luggage rather than hard-side cases. 

  • Gold Cabins

    Gold Cabins

    The compartments (approximately 7 square metres) are equipped with two individual berths next to each other, or a double berth and a compact wardrobe.  A hairdryer and small toiletries are also provided. Still water is provided daily in your compartment. There are a total of twenty four Gold cabins.

  • Emerald Cabins

    Emerald Cabins

    The Emerald sleeping compartments (approximately 10 square metres) are equipped with two single berths or a double berth and a compact wardrobe. Each compartment in this category also has a small seating area. A hairdryer and small toiletries are also provided. Still water is provided daily in your compartment. There are a total of 14 Emerald Cabins.

     

  • Train Directory

    Train Directory

    {MEDIA GALLERY DEFAULT}

    Please find below further details pertaining to the train or click on the booklet to download. 

    Since its establishment in 1989, Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences and we are delighted to offer their latest acquisition, the Shongololo Express train for your African adventure.

    There are two accommodation categories consisting of 24 Gold Cabins and 14 Emerald Cabins and during the journey you will be accommodated on board in your comfortable sleeping compartment. The public areas include two air-conditioned dining cars, where the tempting three course dinners are served in a single sitting, a bar car and an observation car. The bar car, open around the clock, is ideal for relaxing over a freshly tapped beer or a glass of South African wine and is a popular spot for reading.

    Step aboard and recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era when privileged travellers experienced the magic and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and elegant fashion as some of the most varied scenery imaginable unfolds beyond the windows. 

    ACCOMMODATION

    All of the sleeping compartments offer a private shower and toilet, individually controlled air conditioning, 220/230 volt sockets, a small safe, towels and clothes hangers. The beds are made up daily by your train attendants.

    Gold Cabins: The Gold sleeping compartments (approx. 7 m²) are equipped with two individual berths next to each other or a double berth and a compact wardrobe. Still water (replenished daily), a hairdryer and a small selection of toiletries are also provided. There are a total of 24 Gold Cabins.

    Emerald Cabins: The Emerald sleeping compartments (approx. 10 m²) are equipped with two single berths or a double berth. Each compartment in this category also has a compact wardrobe and a small seating area. Still water (replenished daily), a hairdryer and a small selection of toiletries are also provided. There are a total of 14 Emerald Cabins.

    ADAPTORS

    A limited number of international adaptors are available on board.

    AIR CONDITIONING

    All public cars are fitted with gas-filled air conditioning systems. Each cabin/suite has an individual air conditioner with individual temperature controls (this can also be set to heat mode). Fresh air can be obtained by opening a window, however windows should be kept closed while operating the air conditioning unit. Air conditioning in private cabins and public areas is operational at all times, except when the generator requires servicing.

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Pre-departure announcements will be made prior to boarding the train by the Train Manager. Any further important information will be personally announced by your onboard hostess.

    BAR

    The bar is open daily from early in the morning until midnight.

    COMMUNICATIONS

    In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. There is an internal telephone system in all cabins/ suites. The use of mobile phones, laptops and anything else that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your cabin/ suite and please note that the reception can be poor while the train is moving. It is advised to contact your service provider to ensure the correct settings for network services are activated before you travel as there are no Internet facilities on the train. Guests are also welcome to use their own tablets and hand held devices in areas being toured which offer free Wi-Fi services. The train can be contacted by email at reservations@rovos.co.za. Please indicate the passenger name and departure date as the subject. 

    DAILY PROGRAMME

    A day to day itinerary is placed in all cabins and suites detailing the arrangements and this will be available for you when you board the train. Any updates will be communicated as necessary.

    DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

    If you have any dietary requirements such as vegetarian, low salt, gluten free or low cholesterol, please notify the Reservations Department at Noble Caledonia. We regret that these, and any other special dietary needs, cannot be guaranteed. If you have any specific or special foods that you require we recommend that you take some with you although the onboard staff will endeavour to accommodate your needs. Once on board, please speak with the chef at dinner on your first evening to reconfirm your needs.

    DINING AND DRINKING

    An enthusiastic team of chefs are responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every needs are catered for. There is an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty. Every morning there is a full breakfast with dishes cooked to order and a buffet selection of fresh fruits and yoghurts. The dining carriages are air conditioned and non-smoking. The total seating capacity is 72 and dress code for meal times is casual. Meal times depend on the activities planned for the day, but are generally at the following times: Breakfast 07h00-08h30; Lunch 13h00; Dinner 19h30.

    DISABLED FACILITIES

    The train is able to accommodate passengers with walking difficulties although it is recommended that an able-bodied passenger accompanies them. We regret that the train is not suitable for wheelchair dependent passengers as wheelchairs, even collapsible ones, cannot manoeuvre along the train or between some carriages where there are 90 degree turns. Any mobility impairments should be notified at the time of booking.

    DISEMBARKATION

    Guests should wait in public areas or in their cabin/suite until an announcement is made with instructions for disembarking.

    DRESS CODE

    There is no formal dress code during the day and dinner on board is smart casual. Winter in Southern Africa can be very cold and it is therefore advisable to bring along warm clothing for early mornings and evenings.

    DRINKING WATER

    We strongly advise against drinking the water in the cabins or bathrooms. Bottled water is provided free of charge.

    ELECTRICITY

    The electric current on board is 220V. Each cabin/suite is fitted with a round 3-pin socket (South African). Adapter plugs are available from the Assistant Train Manager. Please treat sockets as live at all times. A generator supplies power. Please be aware that certain breaks in power are necessary when servicing is required.

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

    In the unlikely event that this should occur during your journey, we ask that you remain calm and follow the instructions of the train staff. There are large extinguishers at the end of each carriage for staff application. The train will be brought to a halt for the required action. Do not jump from a moving train.

    GAME DRIVES

    Game drives are carried out in open 4x4 safari vehicles. We recommend warm clothing as the early mornings and evenings can become rather chilly. Some safari vehicles do not have a shade cover so a hat and sun block is essential.

    GIFT SHOP

    There is a small gift shop on board which is located in the central lounge and is open between meal times. The host/ess on duty here has a basic first aid kit and a limited supply of personal essentials.

    HAIRDRYERS

    Hairdryers are supplied in each cabin/suite.

    HEALTH MATTERS

    Please ensure you have indicated any medical conditions, physical disabilities or allergies you might have at the time of booking. There is a basic first aid kit on board the train.

    INTERNET

    There are no Internet facilities on board the train. Guests are welcome to use their own tablets and hand held devices in areas being toured which offer free Wi-Fi services. 

    LAUNDRY SERVICE

    A laundry service is offered on board. A laundry bag is provided in your cabin/suite as well as a laundry list. Items cost between ZAR10 and ZAR35. Clean laundry is returned within 24 to 48 hours, dependent on weather conditions and the travelling time of the train. Rovos Rail and Noble Caledonia cannot be held responsible for items that may be damaged or lost in the process. There are no dry cleaning facilities en-route or on board the train.

    LUGGAGE STORAGE

    Large pieces of luggage can be stowed beneath the berths or on the upper luggage racks in your cabin/suite. However, since onboard space is limited, we do recommend taking soft-sided luggage rather than hard-side cases.

    LIBRARY

    A small library is located in the smoking lounge. Guests are free to make use of the books and guidebooks, but kindly return them before the end of the trip.

    LINEN, TOWELS AND PILLOWS

    Bed linen is changed every third day and towels are changed every second day. Extra pillows and blankets are available on request.

    LOST PROPERTY

    Before you leave the train, please check your cabin/suite carefully to ensure you do not leave anything behind. If you discover you have left any items behind, please contact Noble Caledonia. If we are able to recover your item(s) we will contact you to arrange delivery or collection and any costs incurred will be at your own expense.

    MAIL

    Although your host/ess will be happy to post letters on your behalf, they may not be able to do so straightaway at the stop at which you make such a request. Some postal services are unreliable and many letters or postcards that you ask to be delivered on your behalf may be delayed or even lost en route. Under no circumstances can we be held liable for such occurrences.

    MEDICAL FACILITIES

    There is a basic first aid kit on board the train.

    NEWS

    There are no television sets on board the train and there is no Wi-Fi on board the train.

    ONBOARD ACCOUNT

    Guests will be requested to sign for onboard purchases made during the trip. This includes signing for drinks and purchases of a personal nature. All accounts are to be settled on the evening before departure. Please note that drinks purchased on the last night of the trip will be settled on a ‘cash bar’ basis and that any additional excursions booked also need to be settled in cash. Account payment can be settled by South African Rand, major foreign currencies or credit cards. Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.

    PASSPORTS

    All passports are collected by the Train Manager upon embarkation. Passports are necessary to facilitate immigration formalities between borders. If required, your Train Manager will also provide necessary forms for you to fill out. Passports will be returned to passengers prior to the end of the journey. Costs of any visas required will be borne by the passengers.

    PUBLIC AREAS

    On board there is a non-smoking Observation Car at the rear of the train, while the coach next to it contains a small smoking lounge. A unique feature of the Observation Car is the enlarged windows and open-air balcony. At the centre of the train there is a non-smoking Lounge Car which also houses the Gift Shop. Deep sofas and wingback chairs make for an extremely comfortable car. In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. As with all the service cars the lounges are air conditioned, yet the windows can be opened allowing in the sights, sounds and scents of Africa.

    END OF STAY QUESTIONNAIRE

    Your comments are important to us therefore we ask that you fill in the questionnaire sent with your final documents. We are always looking for ways to improve your holiday and in order to do this we need some feedback from our guests.

    SAFE

    There is a small safe located in each cabin/suite. 

    SECURITY AND SAFETY

    Whilst on board, passengers are encouraged to close shutters (and preferably windows as well) in the cabins/suites and passengers are specifically requested to close windows and shutters when not in the cabin/suite. The train doors in the passages are all locked from the inside. Your cabin/suite door can also lock from the inside. In order to avoid accidents we request that guests adhere to the following:

    • Never open exterior doors while the train is moving. • Never jump off or onto the train while it is moving. • An emergency brake is located halfway down each corridor and is only to be used in the case of an emergency. If used in a non-emergency situation, the culprit will be fined R10 000. • When taking photographs out of the window, always look ahead to see what is coming. • Please ensure that all valuables, documents and cash are kept in a safe place. Management and staff will not accept responsibility for any loss of personal property or cash if it’s not put in the safe. Please be advised that if you leave your cabin/suite you must make certain that your windows are closed. • Do not stray from well-frequented areas after dark. • Change foreign currency at an authorised dealer only.

    SERVICE

    A tag system is available which will alert staff for room service requests.

    SHOWERS AND TOILETS

    The water used on the train is carried in tanks under each coach. These tanks are filled every day but they cannot be topped up while the train is travelling. Please assist us by using water responsibly.

    SMOKING POLICY

    In accordance with the Southern African Smoking Act, designated smoking areas are provided. The train has a smoking lounge, which can only be used when the train is moving. Smoking is not permitted in the dining car, bathrooms, your cabin/suite, passageways or touring vehicles on any tour. Smoking of pipes/cigars is not permitted in the designated smoking area.

    TELEPHONE CALLS

    There is no telephone service on board. Should you however need to contact your Train Manager urgently while on tour, please call mobile number: +27 (0) 82 450 9134.

    TELEVISION

    There are no television sets on board the train.

    TOILETRIES

    All cabins/suites are supplied with following complimentary amenities: • Shower gel • Conditioning Shampoo • Body lotion • Soap • Shower caps • Nail file • Shoe polish • Tissues/Cotton buds • Emergency sewing kit

    TRACK

    The track over which the train travels is inconsistently maintained. The train is therefore restricted to 60km/h (37mph) and over bad sections the speed is reduced to as little as 20km/h (12mph). If you find it noisy, earplugs are available.

    WAKE UP CALL

    Wake up calls can be requested via your host/ess. 

    PLEASE NOTE:

    The above information is accurate and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Noble Caledonia accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions and none of the facilities or features of the vessel described herein which are not specifically described in our advertisements and on your holiday invoice as being included in your holiday price will be deemed to be included in your holiday package. If you would like further information about the vessel or about any of your holiday arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Book with Confidence

Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000