African Safaris, Ecotourism & Accommodation in South and Southern Africa
Guided Safaris is Independently Marketed by Far and Wild Safaris cc

Introduction to Southern African Train Tours

Shongololo Express - All routes

The Shongololo Express is based at Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria and is operated by Rovos Rail Tours.
The Shongololo Express provides a special train touring experience for visitors to Southern Africa and has three journeys of between 12 to 15 days that traverse South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – these also include a variety of off-train excursions. There are two cabin types on the train, Emerald Cabins and Gold Cabins. The two types of cabins are refined and spacious offering passenger’s privacy and comfort with double or twin beds and fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. All have en-suite bathrooms with shower, toilet and basin, safes, air conditioning, linen and amenities and are serviced daily. There is adequate storage and small cupboards with hangers and shelves.

With this train journey, one can recapture the romance of a bygone era when travellers experienced the magic and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and elegant fashion. The classic wood-panelled coaches are the epitome of comfort with period features combining with modern technology. The service is discreet and friendly with an enthusiastic team of chefs ensuring guests’ every need is catered for. There is an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes are a specialty. Every morning there is a full breakfast with dishes cooked to order. Meals are served in one sitting only and are complemented by fine South African wines. The dress on board the train is casual. In maintaining the atmosphere there are no radios or television sets on board and the use of technology that can disturb other guests is confined to the privacy of the cabins. Each train has accommodation carriages, dining cars, a lounge car, small gift shop, smoking lounge, and observation car with open-air balcony.

Rovos Rail (and by extension, Far & Wild Safaris) cannot be held liable for any delays due to trains not running to schedule. Off-train excursions cannot be guaranteed and will only be undertaken if time and circumstances permit. Departure and arrival times are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. We reserve the right to alter our routing at any time between departure and arrival points. We caution against same-day air travel on departure or arrival days due to possible delays with flights or the train. We do our best to fulfil our obligations, but it goes without saying that with many locomotive changes as well as other logistical permutations it is not uncommon to be delayed.

Passports and Visas: The onus is upon the client to ensure that passports and visas, as may be required, are valid prior to departure for Africa. On the various journeys we travel through South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. Some nationalities are eligible to purchase port-of-entry visas. Immigration forms are available on board. Please ensure you have a minimum of US$200 in cash with you. Passports must have at least five blank VISA pages and must be valid for at least six months from your return-home date. Please enquire with us or check with the relevant embassies in good time regarding applications.

Guests will be requested to sign for on-board purchases throughout the trip. This includes signing for drinks, optional extras and purchases of a personal nature etc. 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. Accounts may be settled by means of: South African Rand, major foreign currencies or credit cards. Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.

We provide a complete amenity bag –available in your en-suite bathroom cupboard –with the following South African products: soap (25g), tissues, shampoo (50ml), conditioner (50ml), bath and shower gel (50ml), hand and body lotion (50ml), hand sanitiser (30ml), vanity kit, small sewing kit and a shower cap.

We do accommodate children, but we kindly ask parents to be sensitive to the adult nature and atmosphere of the train by keeping them respectful and quiet. Long journeys are not recommended for under 13s. Children between 0-2 years old are not permitted to travel. There are no child-minding facilities or activities available for children on board.

CURRENCY - South Africa – Rands only. We accept all major credit cards on the train. Outside of South Africa –Rands are accepted in Namibia and Swaziland. US Dollars are accepted in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Cash is highly recommended. Hotels and major dealers accept credit cards. US Dollars printed before year 2009 or that look worn will not be accepted. Low denominations recommended for shopping/gratuities. Larger denominations recommended for exchanging money to local currency as you get a better rate.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS: We will do our best to cater for dietary requirements provided a detailed request has been made at that time of your reservation. If a special request has not been made, the chefs will endeavour to prepare suitable meals with the ingredients available on board. We regret we are unable to prepare meals requiring strict religious observance in the preparation.

DINING: Meals on board are served in one sitting only in the dining cars.
Breakfast: 07:00-09:00 • Lunch: 13:00 • Tea: 16:30 • Dinner: 19:30 •Bar service 07:00-01:00. All meals are served at these times unless otherwise stated in the timetable. A gong heralds lunch and dinner.

DRESS: The atmosphere on board is relaxed so casual clothing is recommended. For off-train excursions we strongly recommend comfortable walking shoes, sun lotion and hats. If required, blankets and rain capes are available. Game drives are on open vehicles so please dress accordingly: mornings can be cool then warm up considerably; afternoons can be warm then cool down considerably. Please see average temperatures as a guide.

LAUNDRY: There is a LIMITED laundry service on board comprising household washers, dryers and steam irons. The turnaround is 48 hours, so we are not able to handle a week’s worth of laundry. There are no dry-cleaning facilities en route or on board the train.

LOCOMOTION: Use of steam has become increasingly difficult over the years as more and more water and coaling facilities have been scrapped. Diesel or electric locomotives are used while steam is used in and around the area of Rovos Rail Station only.

LUGGAGE: It is possible to store luggage in your cabin under the bed or above the door, depending on the category of accommodation you are in. It is not recommended to bring excess luggage as space is limited.

THE TRACK: The track over which we travel is inconsistently maintained. If you wake at night imagining the train is travelling at high speed, be assured it is the state of the track below creating that impression. We restrict the train to 60km/h (37mph) and over bad sections reduce speed to as little as 20km/h (12mph). If you find it noisy, earplugs are available.

WATER: 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. Water inside the cabins has been filtered and chlorinated; it is safe for bathing and brushing teeth only. Please use the bottled water provided for drinking.


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