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Shongololo Express - PRETORIA TO SWAKOPMUND (v.v) - 12 Day Dune Express

ROVOS RAIL PURCHASES THE SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS
Early in January of 2016 Rovos Rail purchased the Shongololo Express train of 19 coaches and agreed to employ all the personnel.
“Operating a three-star train had always been at the back of my mind. When I learned that the Shongololo Express was on offer the timing seemed serendipitous and so an opportunity not to be missed”, says Rohan Vos, owner and CEO of the Rovos Rail Group, of the purchase.
The train has been repainted in green and cream and an additional dining car plus an observation car have been added. The accommodation of six Emerald suites (± 10sqm) and 30 Gold cabins (± 7sqm) will remain as is.
The three itineraries, Southern Cross – Pretoria to Victoria Falls (12 days), Dune Express – Pretoria to Swakopmund (12 days), Good-Hope – Pretoria to Cape Town (15 days); have been rebuilt with more stationary time at night and less road time spent on the excursions.
Golf has been introduced to the Good-Hope trip, renamed Good-Hope Golf, with courses such as the Arabella Golf Estate, Ernie Els Oubaai, Fancourt, Champagne Sports Resort, Durban Country Club, Zimbali, Royal Swazi and Leopard Creek being available to guests.
All journeys are available in reverse and, as before, guests can purchase optional extras that include visits to cultural, historical or heritage sites and overnight stays at safari lodges. The rates do not include most lunches, beverages and laundry.

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Departures

DEPARTURE DATES ARE SPECIFIC. Excursions may be changed according to schedule achieved. As the Shongololo Express uses the national railway facilities of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique, the possibility exists that trains could be delayed, stopped or rerouted at any time. Daily activities could therefore be shortened, altered or cancelled. The Shongololo Express does not accept any responsibility for any changes to the daily programme.


Itinerary

Click on the map to enlarge

Day 1 PRETORIA

Check out of hotel. Luggage collected by Shongololo staff. Transfer to Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria.
14h30: Train departs for Kingswood for our overnight stop.
Included Meals: D

Day 2 KIMBERLEY

10h00 Visit the Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum in Kimberley.
12h30 Return to the train in Kimberley and depart for Upington.

Kimberley
Capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley is well known for the discovery of diamonds which led to its establishment in 1893. Highlights include a visit to the Big Hole Diamond Mine Museum.
Included Meals: BD

Day 3 UPINGTON TOUR AND WINE/BRANDY TASTING

09h00 Morning tour of Upington and wine tasting at Belazel Brandy & Wine Cellar.
12h00 The train departs Upington for Nakop for border formalities with Namibia. Overnight Holoog.

Upington tour
A visit to the historical sights 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. Guests arrive at the Bezalel Wine & Brandy Cellar for a tour and tasting after which we return to the train. Distance travelled: ±80km
(Half day; distance travelled: ± 260 km)
The train departs from Upington and crosses into Namibia late in the evening.
Included Meals: BD

Day 4 FISH RIVER CANYON

09h00 Morning visit to the Fish River Canyon, the largest in the southern hemisphere.
12h30 Return to the train and depart for Aus for overnight.

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 probably 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: 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. Distance travelled: ±180km
(Full day; distance travelled: ± 300 km)
The train journeys from Keetmanshop to Aus over night.
Included Meals: BD

Day 5 KOLMANSKOP AND LÜDERITZ TOUR

09h00 Full-day tour of the ghost town Kolmanskop and Lüderitz, well known for its colonial architecture and wildlife.
18h00 The train departs for Keetmanshoop for overnight.

Lüderitz and Kolmanskop
Lüderitz lies at the end of the currently decommissioned railway line to Keetmanshoop. En route we might see the legendary horses that are rumoured to roam the Namib desert as we visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Lüderitz is known for its museum, colonial architecture and for wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos and ostriches.
Included Meals: BD

Day 6 KEETMANSHOOP TOUR

09h00 Morning tour of Keetmanshoop. See the Giant’s Playground with its 20km-long dolerite dykes as well as Quiver Tree Forest, home to 300 species of the Aloe dichotomy.
13h00 Return to the train and depart for Mariental.

Keetmanshoop
Visit Giant’s Playground where dolerite dykes of between three to five metres in width and 20kms in length can be explored. Visit Quiver Tree Forest, which is home to roughly 300 specimens of the Aloe dichotomy. Between three to five metres tall, these prehistoric trees have forked branches that reach skywards; this visit makes for wonderful photographic opportunities. Distance travelled: ±80km
Included Meals: BD

Day 7 SOSSUSVLEI LODGE AND SESRIEM CANYON

08h00 Transfer to Sossusvlei Lodge in the Namib-Naukluft Park. Visit the Sesriem Canyon, shaped over millions of years by the Tsauchab River. Overnight at lodge.

Sesriem Canyon
The Tsauchab River has shaped the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years and 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.
Included Meals: BD

Day 8 NAMIB-NAUKLUFT PARK

Enjoy sunrise from Dune 45 followed by brunch at the lodge. Take a scenic drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park.
18h00 The train departs for Rehoboth for overnight.

Dunes in the Namib
The dunes of the Namib Desert were created by sand carried by the wind from the coast of Namibia. The sand here is 5 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 hear are known as “star dunes”. This is because the winds cause the sand to form a star shape with multiple arms.
Included Meals: BD

Day 9 WINDHOEK

09h00 City tour of Windhoek. See the Trans-Namib Transport Museum, the Alte Feste (Old Fortress), the Evangelical Lutheran Church – a striking landmark – and the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building.
12h00 Return to the train and depart for Otjiwarongo.

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 narrow-gauge locomotive (vintage 1900), which used to operate between Swakopmund and Windhoek. The 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. Distance travelled: ±50km
Included Meals: BD

Day 10 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

09h30 Transfer to a lodge in Etosha National Park. Enjoy game-viewing activities. Overnight at lodge.

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.
Included Meals: BD

Day 11 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK GAME DRIVE

Enjoy a morning game drive before checking out and returning to the train.
15h00 Rejoin the train in Otjiwarongo and depart for Kranzberg for overnight.
Included Meals: BD

Day 12 SWAKOPMUND

11h30 Arrive at Swakopmund Station where your tour ends. Check out of the train and transfer to 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.
Included Meals: B


Dates & Pricing

Category Per Person Sharing Twin
(from)
Single Room Supplement
(from)
Local Fee

Price varies by season. Contact us with your specific travel date.


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Departures

DEPARTURE DATES ARE SPECIFIC. Excursions may be changed according to schedule achieved. As the Shongololo Express uses the national railway facilities of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique, the possibility exists that trains could be delayed, stopped or rerouted at any time. Daily activities could therefore be shortened, altered or cancelled. The Shongololo Express does not accept any responsibility for any changes to the daily programme.


Accommodations


Ivory Cabin

Gold Cabin

Commodore Cabin

Emerald Cabin

Included

- round-trip airport transfers
- accommodation as described for specific durations, with en-suite facilities
- ground transportation
- sightseeing as indicated inclusive of entrance fees
- meals as described by BLD
- local taxes and service charges
- services of professional English speaking guides.

Not Included

- International airfares and departure taxes
- meals not indicated
- gratuities
- items of a personal nature
- optional tours
- entry visa fees (if applicable)
- travel insurance


Notes

Each train has its own bar, dining and accommodation carriages. As in any hotel, bedding and towels are provided and cabins are serviced daily. Cabins have ample storage space and closets are equipped with both hangers and shelving. Power is 220v AC and European plug adaptors are provided. In addition, there is an onboard laundry service.



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