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14 nights
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Namibia by Private Train

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

  • 5 September 2020
  • 14 April 2021
  • 1 September 2021
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Quiver Trees, Garas Park

We are delighted to have once again chartered the Shongololo Express Private Train for this spectacular journey through Namibia. The beauty and the colours of Africa 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. Discover the amazing landscapes and rugged grandeur of Namibia, a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine and seemingly endless space. Travelling from Walvis Bay, our train journeys through the desert and mountainous landscapes of Namibia, stopping along the way to appreciate the remarkable scenery and view some stunning and diverse wildlife, before it winds its way to Pretoria in South Africa. In addition to our time on board, we will also spend a night in the Namib Desert and at Etosha National Park in stylish lodges from where we can enjoy adventurous game drives.

Highlights of our journey are numerous and include Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest canyon, the rugged Atlantic coast, Swakopmund which is located on the Skeleton Coast and an excellent example of German colonial architecture, and the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, one of Southern Africa’s finest and most important game reserves. 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

  • Quiver Trees, Garas Park
  • Fish River Canyon

Day 1 London to Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Fly by scheduled indirect flight.

Day 2 Walvis Bay to Swakopmund.

Arrive in Walvis Bay in the early afternoon and transfer to our hotel, the Hotel Swakopmund. Swakopmund, Namibia’s seaside resort on the west coast, is a place of singular charm. It resembles a small Bavarian village nestling between the desert and the sea and enjoys a restful and relaxing atmosphere. The source of Swakopmund’s continental vibe is the graceful Art Nouveau buildings dating back to the turn of the previous century. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure and meet this evening for our welcome dinner.

Accommodation & Dining: Swakopmund Hotel. Built in and around the old German Station Building, this modern hotel features an outdoor pool and health club. The rooms are bright and spacious and feature a bathroom with bath and shower, individual Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria The Itinerary air-conditioning, television, complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-bar and tea/coffee making facilities. (D)

Day 3 Embark Shongololo Express, Walvis Bay to Otjiwarongo.

After breakfast we transfer to Walvis Bay Station to embark the Shongololo Express for a mid-morning departure for Otjiwarongo, our overnight stop. Settle into your cabin and enjoy lunch and dinner on board.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Etosha National Park.

This morning we transfer to Mokuti Etosha Lodge, close to the border of the Etosha National Park. 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. Enjoy game viewing activities in the park and overnight at the lodge.

Accommodation & Dining: Mokuti Etosha Lodge offers restaurants, two outdoor pools, a spa and gym. All 106 spacious rooms have a private bathroom and mosquito door and are decorated with Namibian crafts and rich fabrics. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Etosha National Park to Kranzberg.

An early morning game drive gives us another chance to observe wild animals close up. We return to our train which departs for Kranzberg.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Windhoek.

Today we arrive in Windhoek situated in Namibia’s central highlands, an attractive city surrounded by clusters of hills and the impressive Auas and Eros Mountains. Our city tour 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. The Independence Memorial Museum at the Alte Feste Castle offers a range of displays, including the Social History Gallery and the Independence Display. Both give an insight into Namibia’s complex history. At the top of Robert Mugabe Avenue is the Christuskirche or Evangelical Lutheran Church. 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 stained- glass windows. Our last visit is the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building. The train departs for Mariental in the afternoon.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, D)

Day 7 Sossusvlei & Sesriem Canyon.

This morning we transfer to the Namib-Naukluft Park. 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.

Accommodation & Dining: Sossusvlei Lodge. Overlooking the red sand dunes of the Namib Desert the lodge offers an outdoor pool and a dining terrace overlooking a floodlit waterhole frequently visited by springbok and hyena. The 45 tented rooms have their own bathroom and feature a private patio area. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Sossusvlei & Namib-Naukluft Park.

This morning we visit Dune 45 and Deadvlei. 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. We will have lunch at a lodge followed by a scenic drive through the Namib- Naukluft Park. The train departs for Keetmanshoop in the late afternoon.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Keetmanshoop, Garas Park & Quiver Tree Forest.

This morning we take a tour of Keetmanshoop, the capital of southern Namibia. We visit Garas Park where we will see the unique quiver trees and the interesting rock formations. The prehistoric 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; this visit makes for wonderful photographic opportunities. All aboard for midday when our train departs for Aus.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Kolmanskop & Luderitz.

Our full day tour begins with a stop at the ghost town of Kolmanskop where the first diamonds were Lion The ‘Big Hole’, Kimberley Elephants, Etosha National Park Colonial church, Luderitz Sesriem canyon found in Namibia in 1908. From here we visit the harbour town of Luderitz which lies at the end of the currently decommissioned railway line to Keetmanshoop. Luderitz is known for its museum, colonial architecture and wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos and ostriches. We depart in the evening for Holoog.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, D)

Day 11 Fish River Canyon.

This morning we visit the Fish River Canyon. The Fish River rises in the centre of the country, before flowing south into the Orange River, on Namibia’s border with South Africa. In between, it has formed the great Fish River Canyon - the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and only second to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in terms of size. The vast rocky landscape breaks up into a series of spectacular cliffs, formed by the Fish River as it meanders between boulders over half a kilometre below. Its size is impressive: 161 kilometres long, up to 27 kilometres wide and almost 550 metres at its deepest. Our train departs at midday for Ariamsvlei and Nakop for border formalities.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Upington, South Africa.

This morning we take a tour of Upington beginning with a drive past the Donkey Memorial, which honours the life of the working donkey, and the railway on the Orange River. We arrive at the Bezalel Wine & Brandy Cellar for a tour and tasting after which, we return to the train and continue towards De Aar.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, L, D)

Day 13 Kimberley.

Our tour today takes us to Kimberley, Capital of the Northern Cape, which is well known for the discovery of diamonds which led to its establishment in 1893. Highlights of the day include a visit to the Big Hole Diamond Mine Museum, the William Humphreys Art Gallery and the McGregor House Museum. We depart in the afternoon for Potchefstroom.

Accommodation & Dining: Shongololo Express. (B, D)

Day 14 Pretoria to London.

After breakfast we arrive at Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria where we disembark. We stop for lunch and take a city tour of Pretoria before we transfer to Johannesburg Airport for our return flight to London.

Dining: (B, L)

Day 15 London.

Arrive today.

Please note that for April 2021 departure, lunch is included on Days 6, 10 & 13

  • The ‘Big Hole’, Kimberley
  • Lion

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
5 to 19 September 2020
Category Price
Gold Cabin Fully Booked
Emerald Cabin Fully Booked
Gold Cabin for sole use Fully Booked
14 to 28 April 2021
Category Price
Gold Cabin Fully Booked
Emerald Cabin Fully Booked
Gold Cabin for sole use Fully Booked
1 to 15 September 2021
Category Price
Gold Cabin £6395
Emerald Cabin £7995
Gold Cabin for sole use £9195

Tour Reference Code: LANAMBIAS20

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel • Overnight hotel accommodation in Swakopmund • Nine nights aboard the Shongololo Express on a full board basis including house wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch & dinner • Overnight accommodation in Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park & Swakopmund as described • Meals as listed (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) • Excursions • Entrance fees • Local guides • Noble Caledonia Tour Manager • Gratuities • Onboard Train Manager • Transfers • Airport taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas, lunch on days 2, 6,10 & 13.

Please note that for April 2021 departure, lunch is included on Days 6, 10 & 13

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.

     

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining

    Meals are served in a single sitting in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of South African wines (not included). There is an accent on fresh, local ingredients and traditional dishes.

  • 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 not all dietary requirements can 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

    House wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner for departures from September 2020 onwards.

    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.

    GRATUITIES


    Gratuities have beenincluded in your holiday price.

    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:

    These details should be used as a guideline only. Information is subject to change.

  • 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.

     

  • Your Dining

    Your Dining

    Meals are served in a single sitting in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of South African wines (not included). There is an accent on fresh, local ingredients and traditional dishes.

  • 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 not all dietary requirements can 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

    House wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner for departures from September 2020 onwards.

    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.

    GRATUITIES


    Gratuities have beenincluded in your holiday price.

    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:

    These details should be used as a guideline only. Information is subject to change.

Also of Interest


Tours 1 - 7 of 7
Tours 1 - 7 of 7

The Ultimate African Safari

By Private Jet

Private Jet Captain Choice
Private Jet Captain Choice

Itinerary at a glance

  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Luxor
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Lalibela
  • Serengeti, Tanzania
  • Rwanda
  • Chobe, Botswana
  • Victoria Falls, Zambia
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • Kimberley
  • Cape Town

Africa by Private Train

An epic journey between Cape Town to Dar es Salaam aboard the luxurious Pride of Africa

Africa by Private Train
Africa by Private Train

Itinerary at a glance

  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Matjiesfontein
  • Kimberley
  • Pretoria
  • Zeerust to Madikwe Game Reserve.
  • Madikwe Game Reserve
  • Gaborone, Botswana
  • Victoria Falls
  • Kasama, Zambia
  • Makambako, Tanzania
  • Selous
  • Gwata / Dar es Salaam

Ultimate Botswana

A luxury escorted safari of Botswana & two nights at the spectacular Victoria Falls

Ultimate Botswana
Ultimate Botswana

Itinerary at a glance

  • Maun, Botswana
  • Moremi Game Reserve
  • Okavango Delta
  • Chobe National Park
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Ultimate Uganda

A unique escorted exploration of Uganda’s wildlife & wonders

Ultimate Uganda
Ultimate Uganda

Itinerary at a glance

  • Kampala / Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary / Murchinson Falls National Park / Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve / Kibale Forest National Park / Queen Elizabeth National Park / Lake Mburo National Park

Wonders & Waterways of Southern Africa

A unique escorted tour to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia & Zimbabwe including three nights exploring Lake Kariba aboard the African Dream

African Dream
African Dream

Itinerary at a glance

  • Cape Town / Kirstenbosch / Cape Winelands / Cape Peninsula / Victoria Falls / Chobe National Park / Impalila Island / Kasane / Matusadona National Park / Kariba

The Legendary Silk Road by Private Train

From Ashgabat to Almaty aboard the Orient Silk Road Express

Orient Silk Road Express
Orient Silk Road Express

Itinerary at a glance

  • Ashgabat / Nisa / Merv /Bukhara / Khiva / Samarkand / Shakhrisabz / Tashkent / Turkestan / Almaty

Ethiopia - The Cradle of Civilisation

An escorted tour of the Northern Historical Route

Ethiopia
Ethiopia

Itinerary at a glance

  • Addis Ababa / Bahir Dar / Simien Mountains National Park / Gondar / Lalibela / Axum / Gheralta / Mekelle

Tours 1 - 7 of 7
Tours 1 - 7 of 7

Book with Confidence

Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000