Shongololo Express is a three-star railway that began operations in 1995 and was recently bought by the luxury train company Rovos Rail. The train has a total of 19 coaches and accommodates up to 72 guests, and since being bought by Rovos Rail has been repainted in the signature green and cream, as well as added a dining car and observation car. Guests can also relax in the bar car, small smoking lounge or the observation car with an open-air balcony. Shongololo carries a fleet of touring vehicles, with professional multi-lingual guides on board who take guests on off-rail excursions. The luxury train travels during the night, saving guests time by arriving at a new destination each morning and allowing them the whole day to enjoy the area and activities. From a warm welcome at the start of the journey, to a luxury vacation with an exciting programme of touring and superb dining, Shongololo Express promises an unforgettable holiday.
Why We Love Shongololo
Shongololo is the perfect railway journey for guests on a smaller budget, but who still want to enjoy a luxury train experience. The train is more than half the price of Rovos Rail and promises a more laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, with no specific dress requirements. Unlike the Blue Train, Shongololo Express offers a variety of different routes, from South Africa to Namibia, as well as many exciting off-rail activities including game drives, golf excursions and museum tours. Shongololo really is the ideal journey for guests wanting a unique holiday, complete with great value for money, comfortable accommodation and on-board facilities, and inclusive activities.
The train operates out of Capital Park Station in Pretoria, a private train station for only Shongololo Express and Rovos Rail. Guests can fly in to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and receive a short transfer to the station in Pretoria.
Accommodation and Activities
Aboard the train, you will find luxury accommodation that is quaint, comfortable and well-appointed. Guests have a choice between two different room types, namely the Emerald Suites and Gold Suites. The train also boasts a lounge car where guests can relax with a good book; a dining car where African cuisine is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner; a bar car where guests can enjoy a tasty cocktail or an ice-cold beer; and an observation car with an open balcony where guests can take in the beautiful views.
Emerald Twin/Double: The room is roughly 10 sqm, with an en-suite bathroom and small lounge area. Guests have the choice of either a twin or double bed.
Gold Twin/Double: The room is roughly 7 sqm, with an en-suite bathroom. Guests have the choice of either a twin or double bed.
Each of the different routes includes a fantastic mix of fun activities and thrilling excursions. View wildlife on a safari in Kruger National Park; learn about South African culture and history at Kimberley’s Diamond Museum or the world-heritage site of St Lucia Wetland Park in Durban; visit an ostrich farm and explore the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn; embark on a tour of Maputo in Mozambique; watch the sun go down on a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. Guests can also organise pre-scheduled tours, such as scuba diving, elephant-back riding or a game of golf.
Shongololo Express offers three different routes in Southern Africa, ranging from 12 day to 15 day trips. Each of the routes visits a number of fantastic cities and is fully-inclusive of all meals, select beverages and certain activities. The routes can be done in either direction: starting from the train station in Pretoria and ending at the last destination, or the other way around.
Dune Express Eastbound – From R59 800: This 12 day trip starts in Namibia and winds its way through to Pretoria, South Africa. The train stops at Etosha National Park, Windhoek, Kalahari Desert and Kimberley. Notable activities include a game drive at Etosha, city tour of Windhoek and visit to Kimberley’s Big Hole. Can be done in reverse on the Westbound journey.
Good Hope Southbound – From R75 000: This 15 day trip is the ideal way to see all of South Africa’s gems. It starts in Pretoria and winds its way through Kruger National Park, Swaziland, Durban, Knysna, Oudtshoorn and Hermanus to Cape Town. Notable activities include a tour of Soweto, game drive in Kruger and a lagoon ferry ride in Knysna. Can also be done in reverse on the Northbound journey.
Southern Cross Northbound – From 58 000: This 12 day journey starts in Pretoria, South Africa and makes its way through South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to towards Victoria Falls. Notable activities include game drives in Kruger and Hwange National Park, a tour of Maputo, tour of Victoria Falls, and sunset cruise along Zambezi River. Can also be done in reverse on Southbound journey.