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15 nights
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Namibia by Private Train 2020

An escorted tour from Pretoria to Walvis Bay aboard the Shongololo Express

  • 12 May 2020
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Sossusvlei

We are delighted to have chartered the Shongololo Express Private Train from our associates at Rovos Rail to bring you this spectacular journey exploring the amazing landscapes and rugged grandeur of Namibia, a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine and seemingly endless space. Travelling from Pretoria in South Africa, our train winds its way through stunning vistas to the desert and mountainous landscapes of Namibia, with stops along the way to view some remarkable scenery and diverse wildlife. The beauty and the colours of Namibia truly need to be seen to be believed and are brought right to the compartment doors of our comfortable rolling hotel, while enjoying the excellent service for which Rovos Rail is renowned. Spend nights in the Namib Desert and at Etosha National Park in stylish lodges and enjoy adventurous game drives.

Highlights of our journey are numerous and include Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest canyon, wildlife rich Etosha National Park, one of Southern Africa’s finest and most important game reserves and the rugged Atlantic coast, Swakopmund which is located on the Skeleton Coast and an excellent example of German colonial architecture. However, for many the ultimate highlight will be the sand dunes at Sossusvlei for which Namibia is so renowned. Sossusvlei lies in the heart of the Namib Desert and is home to the world’s tallest sand dunes, some of which tower over 300 metres high. Watching the changing mood and colours at sunrise is a once in a lifetime experience.

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

  • Bee-eater
  • Fish River Canyon

Day 1 - London to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Fly by scheduled flight.

Day 2 - Pretoria.

Arrive into Johannesburg this morning and transfer to the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel for an overnight stay. This afternoon 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. We return to the hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner this evening. Accommodation & Dining: Located opposite the Union Buildings, the five-star Sheraton Pretoria Hotel is elegantly designed and the facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and a health club. The 175 lavish guestrooms all feature cable TV and a marble bathroom with luxury amenities. (D)

Day 3 - Embark Shongololo Express.

Enjoy a morning at leisure. This afternoon we transfer to the Rovos Rail station at Capital Park in Pretoria which, once a bustling hub of steam locomotion in the old Transvaal is now the headquarters for Rovos Rail. We will have the opportunity to tour this gracious, colonial-style railway station and the ever-expanding railway museum. The eyes of rail enthusiasts will be drawn to the vast carriage and locomotive sheds where teams of dedicated personnel keep the rolling stock in perfect order. We embark the Shongololo Express and depart the Gauteng region and pass the Highveld. Enjoy dinner on board and a relaxing evening in the bar-wagon.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, D)

Day 4 - Kimberley.

This morning we will reach the historical train station of Kimberley, the city of diamonds. At the end of the 19th century, the town experienced a real diamond rush, from which the diamond empire of De Beers emerged, led today by the Oppenheimers and founded by Cecil Rhodes. On arrival, view the famous Big Hole, once the largest diamond mine in the world and visit the lovingly restored original buildings of Kimberley’s Belle Epoque.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 5 - Upington.

Morning tour of Upington which the railway reaches by means of a bridge 1067 metres long, the second longest bridge in South Africa. Sir Thomas Upington, attorney general of the Cape, was the man principally responsible for liquidating the business activities of the Orange River pirates and capturing their leader, Klaas Lucas. When the desperadoes were finally chased away in 1884, the town was founded on the banks of the Orange River and named Upington in honour of Sir Thomas. Thanks to the Orange River, the region was predestined for winegrowing and we will enjoy a tasting at Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate. Return to the train at lunch time and continue in the direction of Namibia.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 6 - Fish River Canyon, Namibia.

Arrive in Holoog this morning for our visit to the Fish River Canyon, second only to the Grand Canyon in Arizona in geological importance. Eroded over many millennia, the canyon is the second largest natural gorge in Africa, 161 kilometres long, 549 metres deep and, in some places, 27 kilometres wide. Baboon, rock dassie, ground squirrel and klipspringer are often seen in the canyon, while the presence of leopard and mountain zebra is indicated by tracks left at waterholes. Enjoy the stunning views and the opportunity to take a short walk along the canyon’s edge. We return to the train and depart for Aus.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 7 - Kolmanskop and Luderitz.

Today’s tour begins with a bus ride to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, where the first diamonds were found in Namibia in 1908. From here, the harbour town of Luderitz is a short journey through the Sperrgebiet (the “Restricted Diamond Area”). After crossing the historical Luderitz peninsula, we will reach Diaz Point, set against the backdrop of the dramatic Atlantic waves. Back on board at Aus station, our private train continues on its journey north.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, D)

Day 8 - Keetmanshoop & Quiver Tree Forest.

This morning we visit Garas Park where we will see the unique quiver trees and the interesting rock formations. The quiver tree is not really a tree, rather a plant of the genus aloe, as evident from its scientific name, and one of the few species of aloe that reaches tree proportions, it can grow seven to nine metres high. Return to the train and depart for Mariental.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 9 - Sossusvlei & Sesriem Canyon.

This morning we transfer to Sossusvlei Lodge, situated at the entrance gate to the Namib- Naukluft Park. We visit the Sesriem Canyon, shaped over millions of years by the Tsauchab River; it is one of the few places in that area that holds water all year round. The early Afrikaans explorers named the canyon after the fact that they had to use six (ses) leather straps (riem) tied together to create a rope long enough to lower water buckets into the canyon below. Overnight at our lodge.
Accommodation & Dining: Overlooking the red sand dunes of the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei Lodge offers an outdoor pool and a dining terrace overlooking a floodlit waterhole frequently visited by springbok and hyena. The 45 air-conditioned, tented rooms have their own bathroom and feature a private patio area. (B, L, D)

Day 10 - Sossusvlei and Namib-Naukluft Park.

The dunes of the Namib Desert were created by sand carried by the wind from the coast of Namibia. The sand here is five million years old and is red in colour due to its iron-oxide content. As the lighting changes with the time of day, so does the appearance of the dunes’ characteristic colour, allowing for interesting photographs at any time. The wind in the Sossusvlei area blows from all directions which means that the type of the dunes here are known as “star dunes”. This is because the winds cause the sand to form a star shape with multiple arms. Early morning is the best time to see these giant dunes and we take a scenic drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park before we return to our train.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 11 - Windhoek.

Enjoy a morning tour of Windhoek. Situated in Namibia’s central highlands, Windhoek is an attractive city surrounded by clusters of hills and the impressive Auas and Eros Mountains. The city tour of Windhoek starts with a visit to the TransNamib Transport Museum. The museum is situated in the Windhoek Railway Station and was built from 1912 to 1913. In front of the building is the narrowgauge locomotive (vintage 1900), which used to operate between Swakopmund and Windhoek. At the top of Robert Mugabe Avenue is the Christuskirche or Evangelical Lutheran Church which we will drive past, this is one of the city’s most striking landmarks and was built from local sandstone and completed in 1910. Romanesque, neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau styles influenced its design and Kaiser Wilhelm II donated its stainedglass windows. Return to our train and depart for Otjiwarongo.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 12 - Etosha National Park.

After breakfast we transfer to Mokuti Etosha Lodge in Etosha National Park for an overnight stay. The park offers excellent game viewing in one of Africa’s most accessible venues. Zebra and springbok are scattered across the endless horizon while the many waterholes attract endangered black rhino, lion, elephant and large numbers of antelope. The Etosha Pan, an extremely flat salt pan, lies at the heart of the National Park. This shimmering “great white place”, as its name says, is the largest salt pan in Africa and with herds of wild animals passing through is an unforgettable experience. We take an afternoon game drive and return to our lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.
Accommodation & Dining: Mokuti Etosha Lodge offers two outdoor pools, a spa and gym. Tambuti Dining Room and Marula Bar serve a variety of dishes and the open-air Boma Restaurant serves African grill specialities in a magical setting with its thatched roof and chandeliers. There is also a pool bar and an evening bar for drinks and snacks. All 106 spacious rooms have a private bathroom and mosquito door and are decorated with Namibian crafts and rich fabrics. (B, L, D)

Day 13 - Etosha National Park.

This morning we take an early morning game drive followed by breakfast. Afternoon departure for Kranzberg.
Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 14 - Walvis Bay for Swakompund.

We arrive at Walvis Bay and, after breakfast, bid our train farewell and transfer to the Strand Hotel Swakopmund for an overnight stay. This afternoon we will enjoy a tour of the city and, in the evening, we will have a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Accommodation & Dining: Nestled on the beach, Strand Hotel Swakopmund features a spa, rooftop garden, restaurants and bars. All 125 rooms offer free Wi-Fi, minibar, electronic safe and plasma television. (B, D)

Day 15 - Windhoek to London.

After a morning at leisure we transfer to the airport for our return scheduled flight to London.
Dining: (B)

Day 16 - London.

Arrive today.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
12 to 27 May 2020
Category Price
Gold Cabin £6195
Emerald Cabin £7795
Gold Cabin for sole use £8995
Emerald Cabin for sole use £11115

Tour Reference Code: LANAMIBIA20

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel • Overnight accommodation in Pretoria • Nine nights aboard the Shongololo Express • Overnight accommodation in Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park & Swakopmund • Meals as listed (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) • Excursions • Entrance fees • Local guides • Onboard Train Manager • Noble Caledonia Tour Manager • Transfers • Airport taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas, meals other than those indicated, drinks, gratuities.

NB. Itinerary and lodges subject to change.

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