21 January 2017
The luxurious Shongololo Express began operations in 1995 and offers a very special touring experience around Southern Africa. And on this stunning journey from Jonannesburg to the Victoria Falls you will sleep in comfortable en-suite cabins, enjoy sumptuous meals in historic dining cars and watch wildlife from an observation car with open-air balcony. The train carries a fleet of touring vehicles with professional guides on board to take you on the off-rail activities, including safaris.
Your adventure begins with a morning tour of Pretoria or Johannesburg and Soweto. On the Johannesburg tour you start at Constitution hill in Braamfontein then on to the Newtown precinct to visit Museum Africa previously known as the market of Johannesburg. Then have lunch in the artistic suburb of Rosebank. On the Pretoria trip you visit the Union buildings as well as the Voortrekker monument that commemorates the Great Trek of the 1830s and then visit the township of Soweto. The train departs in the evening to Nelspruit.
Enjoy a full-day panorama tour of Pilgrim's Rest, Bourke's Luck Potholes and God's Window. In 1873, gold was discovered in the area around the quaint town of Pilgrim's Rest, now a living museum and national monument. Further along the escarpment is the great Blyde River Canyon, a gorge 20 miles long where you see the Three Rondavels, huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon that resemble African huts. Rejoin the train in Nelspruit and depart for Malelane.
One of the highlights of the tour today when you are taken on a full-day game drive in the Kruger National Park. The world-renowned park offers a wildlife experience second to none. Its two million hectares are unrivalled in diversity of life forms and the park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The Kruger is home to an impressive number of species including 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 species of mammals. Then return to the train for the journey to Mozambique.
Today you have a city tour of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. This is a city of contrasts and offers an exciting mix of cultures. The city swings along to a beat like no other in Africa offering true hospitality. Its architecture is a blend of African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions with old Catholic churches side-by-side with mosques, fortresses, and Victorian mansions. Along the colourful beachfront there are many cafés and restaurants. Return to the train for afternoon tea before heading for Mpaka in Swaziland.
Depart in vehicles from Mpaka for a tour around Swaziland visiting Ngwenya Glass, Mbabane and Manzini. This excursion into Swaziland will introduce you to everyday life in Africa's smallest kingdom. The Swazi Market is a bustling hive of activity and displays a wide variety of skilfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazis are renowned. After border formalities at Mpaka, depart for Klaserie near Hoedspruit in Limpopo.
An early start today for a pre-breakfast safari in the Kapama Game Reserve with a chance of seeing some or all of the Big Five - lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant - followed by a visit to the Wild Dog and Cheetah Project. After an exciting morning on the reserve return to the Shongololo Express for lunch. Then relax in your cabin or the observation car as the train leaves the game reserve and heads for Tzaneen with an overnight stop at Louis Trichardt.
A full day on board the train travelling to Rutenge in Zimbabwe where you clear customs and immigration at Beitbridge. The Shongololo Express can accommodate 72 guests in comfortable en-suite cabins with double or twin beds. The two lovely dining cars set the scene for meals which are taken in one sitting. Modern and local cuisine is on offer with a selection of distinquished South African wines available. Guests can also relax in the bar car.
Today you are taken to see the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This impressive monument situated on the south-eastern edge of the central plateau is the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids. Magical fables such as the story of King Solomon's Mines find their origins here among the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people. The tour is followed by lunch at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel after which you travel through attractive granite hill country to Rutenga.
An exciting day today at Antelope Park where there are lots of activities to choose from. You can go canoeing, take a game drive in an open top vehicle or on horseback, go elephant-back riding, take a bird-watching cruise, and there's even a memorable walk with lions. After a wonderful day at Antelope Park return to the Shongololo Express and enjoy dinner in the historic dining cars as the train heads for Bulawayo.
A full-day tour of Matobas National Park with a visit to the grave of Cecil Rhodes as well as bushmen caves. Matobo means 'bald headed ones' and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. Highlights include a visit to the burial place of Rhodes, who gave Zimbabwe its previous name of Rhodesia. Afterwards, you will go and visit one of the more accessible bushman caves, of which there are many hidden among the hills. Return to the train and depart for Dete.
Another exciting day today with a game drive in Hwange Game Reserve. Situated in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the nation's largest wildlife area and contains a variety of animals and bird species, but is most well known for its prolific lion population. Covering 1,462,000 hectares, Hwange is roughly the same size as Belgium and offers a great wildlife experience. After a day on safari return to the train and leave for Thompson's Junction.
This wonderful train journey ends in style when you arrive at Victoria Falls. Check out of the train and transfer to your hotel before taking a walking tour of the village and Victoria Falls. Then enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Forming the largest single curtain of falling water on earth, the Victoria Falls' plume of spray can be seen from 50 miles away. The vast width of the Falls allow for many safe vantage points from where you will be able to get different views of the boiling water as it crashes into the gorge.
Gold Cabin fr £3432pp
Emerald Cabin fr £4289pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated