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Shongololo Express - CAPE TOWN to PRETORIA (v.v) - 15 Day Good Hope 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

Days 1 CAPE TOWN TOUR AND TRAIN DEPARTURE

08h30 Check out of hotel. Luggage collected by Shongololo staff. Full-day tour of Cape Town.
14h30 Transfer to the train at Cape Town Station.
16h00 Train departs Cape Town for Worcester.

Cape Town
Our city tour commences with a walk through the Company Gardens, followed by a visit to the Bo-Kaap Museum. The first Malays arrived in the Cape as political refugees and slaves during the 17th century. Nearly two centuries after emancipation, these Islamic people moved into the area known today as the Bo-Kaap, building mosques with picturesque minarets and their own Georgian-style houses with Dutch influence. One of the oldest Cape Town buildings houses the museum which is furnished as a Muslim house of the 19th century and documents the history of the Cape Malays.
On our way to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, we will stop at Diamond Works, where you will follow a tour of the diamond cutting studio, a jewellery manufacturing workshop, a jewellery design studio as well as a gemmological laboratory.
Our lunch stop will be at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a development that has brought new life to the old harbour of the Dutch East India Company in Table Bay. The complex offers shops, craft markets, restaurants, taverns, cinemas, theatres as well as great views over the harbour.
In the afternoon we will drive through District Six, named the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town in 1867. Originally established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants, District Six was a vibrant centre with close links to the city and the port. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, the process of removals and marginalisation had begun. The first to be forced out were Black South Africans who were displaced from the District in 1901. As the more prosperous moved away to the suburbs, the area became a neglected ward of the city. On 11 February 1966 it was declared a white area under the Group Areas Act of 1950, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. More than 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers. The District Six Museum, established in December 1994, works with the memories of the District Six experience and with that of forced removals more generally.
We end our city tour with a visit to the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving building in South Africa. This pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 as a maritime replenishment station for the ships of the Dutch East India Company. The stone walls between the bastions are 150m long and 12m high. Distance travelled: ±90km
Included Meals: D

Day 2 HERMANUS

09h00 Drive the scenic route to Hermanus (120km).
15h00 Return to train at Worcester and depart for Voorbaai for the overnight stop.

Optional: Golfers can play at Arabella (100km).
www.arabellacountryestate.co.za

Hermanus
We travel over the Rooihoogte and Floorshoogte passes via the Overberg towns of Villiersdorp and Botrivier to Hermanus, once a renowned fish market and whaling station. The whale hunts were stopped by international treaty in 1935. The WWF includes Hermanus in its list of 12 best whale-viewing sites in the world, but it tops the list when it comes to land-based whale watching from the town’s natural cliffs and in season (normally between July and November) whales can be seen from as close as 5 metres away.
Included Meals: BD

Day 3 KNYSNA

09h00 Transfer to Knysna with a lagoon ferry ride to Featherbed Nature Reserve OR enjoy shopping.
18h30 Dinner at Fancourt Golf Estate. Overnight George.

GOLFERS
09h00 Transfer to Ernie Els Oubaai Golf Club for tee off. Return to train in the late afternoon.
18h30 Dinner at Fancourt Golf Estate. Overnight George.
www.oubaaigolfestate.co.za

George and Knysna
Drive along the coast from George, situated in the heart of the Garden Route. The town itself sits on a 10km plateau between the majestic Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south. We drive along the scenic Old Passes Route to Knysna, winding through the primeval forest of the Homtini, lying between lush forests and a peaceful lagoon. The Knysna Heads – two sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon connecting the estuary with the sea – is a dramatic viewpoint. Enjoy a lagoon ferry ride to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Optional shopping at leisure. Distance travelled: ±180km
Included Meals: BD

Day 4 CANGO CAVES / OSTRICH FARM / FANCOURT GOLF ESTATE

09h00 Drive the Outeniqua Pass to visit the Cango Caves. Afternoon visit to an ostrich farm.
15h30 Board train in Oudtshoorn. Depart for Graaff Reinet.

GOLFERS
09h00 Tee off at Fancourt Golf Estate.
14h00 Drive the Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn.
15h30 Board train in Oudtshoorn. Depart for Graaff Reinet.
www.fancourt.com

Oudtshoorn And Cango Caves
Surrounded by the natural beauty of this semi-desert region, Oudtshoorn is situated at the foot of the majestic Swartberg Mountain Range. Many rivers, streams and falls have their origins in the Swartberg, Outeniqua and Kammanassie mountains that surround the town. Oudtshoorn is regarded as the centre of the Klein Karoo and is world-renowned for its Cango Caves and the breeding of ostriches. The great natural wonder of the Cango Caves has a series of colourful underground chambers with breathtaking limestone formations. Oudtshoorn is famous for feathering the world in the time of the boa and grand hats. The ostrich boom of the early 20th century turned out many millionaires who, in turn, created elaborate lifestyles in this remote part of Africa.
Included Meals: BD

Day 5 GRAAFF REINET WALKING TOUR

09h00 Enjoy a guided walking tour of Graaff Reinet.
11h00 Return to train and depart for Kimberley.

Graaff Reinet
Tucked into the bend of the Sundays River, the Karoo town of Graaff Reinet was established in 1786 and is the fourth oldest settlement in South Africa. It’s a stylish town with at least 200 historical buildings, restored pre-Victorian homes in almost every street and a collection of museums and galleries celebrating its past.
Included Meals: BD

Day 6 KIMBERLEY TOUR / KIMBERLEY GOLF CLUB

9h00 Visit to the Big Hole and Diamond Museum.
Afternoon visit to the William Humphreys Art Gallery and McGregor Museum.
17h00 Return to train and depart for Bloemfontein.

GOLFERS
09h00 Tee off at Kimberley Golf Club.
17h00 Return to train and depart for Bloemfontein for the overnight stop.

Kimberley
Capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley 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, followed by a lunch break at one of the restaurants in the city. After lunch we visit the William Humphreys Art Gallery and the McGregor House Museum. Distance travelled: ±162km
Included Meals: BD

Day 7 BLOEMFONTEIN TOUR

09h00 Full-day tour of Bloemfontein including the Women’s Memorial, Anglo Boer Museum and Oliewenhuis Art Museum.
17h00 Return to train and depart for Ladysmith.

Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is the seat of the South African judicial system. At the end of the 19th century it was also the capital of the old Boer Republic of The Orange Free State. Visit the Women’s Memorial at the Anglo Boer War Museum. This monument is a reminder of life in the concentration camps and commemorates the 27 000 women and children who died in these camps. The Museum itself is a graphic depiction of the hardship endured by all during the war and relates the history of South Africa from 1652.

We then take an orientation drive through Bloemfontein, capital of the Free State Province and also known as the Rose City. Our lunch stop is at the Loch Logan Waterfront, next to the city’s newly renovated stadium, one of the venues during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. In the afternoon we drive up to Naval Hill which presents several beautiful panoramic views of the city. We end the day at the former State President’s residence “Olivenhuis”, which now houses an extensive collection of South African art. The gardens offer a relaxing atmosphere to round off the day before returning to the train. Distance travelled: ±50km.
Included Meals: BD

Day 8 BATTLEFIELDS TOUR / CHAMPAGNE SPORTS RESORT

09h00 Full-day battlefields tour taking in the Siege Museum, Wagon Hill and Spionkop.
17h00 Return to train and depart for Durban.

GOLFERS
07h00 One-hour transfer from Ladysmith Station to Champagne Sports Resort for tee off.
17h00 Return to train and depart for Durban.
www.champagnesportsresort.com

Battlefields
Trace the course of the Anglo Boer Wars at the Siege Museum in Ladysmith. Wagon Hill is where both the South Africans and British suffered heavy losses and was subsequently declared a National Monument in 1938. Visit Spionkop and walk in the footsteps of three great leaders, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and General Louis Botha. A story on which the sun never sets. Britain marched into the South African war in the spring of 1899, confident that it “would all be over by Christmas!” The war lasted three years and was to become the most costly Britain had ever fought. Distance travelled: ±180km.
Included Meals: BD

Day 9 DURBAN TOUR / DURBAN GOLF COURSE

09h00 Full-day city tour of Durban including Victoria Market and uShaka Marine World OR spiritual tour to Mariannhill Monastery, Hare Krishna Temple and the Mahatma Gandhi Settlement.
17h00 Return to train and depart for Empangeni.

GOLFERS
09h00 Tee off at Durban Country Club.
16h30 Return to train. Depart from Durban for Empangeni for the overnight stop.
www.dcclub.co.za

Durban City Tour
Durban is the third largest city of South Africa and enjoys great importance due to its industry and its very large port. Thanks to the subtropical climate and the long stretches of beautiful beaches, large numbers of inlanders retreat to Durban in winter. An orientation tour of the city will allow you to see a very good mix of old and new, East and West with a touch of Africa. We drive along the Golden Mile promenade where numerous hotels and restaurants are situated with a visit to the Victoria Market. Enjoy the botanical gardens or uShaka Marine World, Africa’s largest marine theme park, where you can have lunch and spend your afternoon. Distance travelled: ±50km

Durban Spiritual Tour
Visit Mariannhill Monastery for a tour in this beautiful, tranquil setting followed by a short visit to the Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding. Visit Phoenix, the spiritual settlement created by Mahatma Gandhi, before returning to Durban, the centre of Indian culture in South Africa, with its vast array of Hindu, Sufi and Muslim temples. You will see the Juma Musjid, the largest mosque in South Africa, whose twin minarets are a striking city feature, as well as the most opulent Hindu structure in the Southern Hemisphere, the Kendra Hindu Temple and Community Centre. Distance travelled: ±150km
Included Meals: BD

Day 10 ST LUCIA WETLAND PARK / DUMAZULA VILLAGE

09h00 Tour of the world-heritage site, St Lucia (iSimangaliso) Wetland Park.
Afternoon visit to Dumazulu Cultural Village.
18h00 Board train and depart for Hluhluwe.

Optional: Golfers can play at Zimbali (128km).

St Lucia (Isimangaliso) Wetland Park
iSimangaliso Wetland Park covers over 600 000 acres from St Lucia in the south to the Mozambique border in the north and has spectacular diversity. Declared a World Heritage site in 1999, the park covers a mosaic of landforms that have created a vast array of biomes to support a wide variety of animals, plants and birds. The park boasts the highest bird count in all of Africa, the southern-most breeding spots for turtles in Africa, Africa’s tallest forested dunes, the largest remaining stands of sand forest and the biggest peat beds in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dumazula Cultural Village
Visit Bushlands and DumaZulu Cultural Village situated in the heart of Zululand, near Hluhluwe. “Thundering Zulu”, the direct translation of DumaZulu, is an appropriate name for a place rich in African culture.
Included Meals: BD

Day 11 HLUHLUWE GAME DRIVE

06h30 Game drives in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.
15h00 Board train and depart for Mpaka, Swaziland, where border formalities take place.

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park
As the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, Hluhluwe consists 960km² (96 000ha) of hilly topography 280km north of Durban in central Zululand and is known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts. The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal where all the Big Five game animals occur. Due to conservation efforts, the park now has the largest population of white rhino in the world. It is also one of the world’s top spots for viewing Nyala and is a prime birding destination for 340 species. Distance travelled: ±250km
Included Meals: BD

Day 12 SWAZILAND / NKONYENI GOLF ESTATE

09h00 Depart in vehicles from Mpaka, Swaziland. Visit Ngwenya Glass, Mbabane and Manzini.
16h00 Rejoin the train at Mpaka and depart for Malelane.

GOLFERS
08h00 One-hour transfer to Nkonyeni Golf Estate for tee off.
16h00 Rejoin the train at Mpaka and depart for Malelane for the overnight stop.
www.nkonyeni.co.za

Swaziland
The tiny Kingdom of Swaziland covers only 17 000 square kilometres, making it the second smallest country in Africa. The day’s tour will commence from Mpaka, driving through the Ezulwini Valley passing the Ludzidzini Royal residence, stopping at Swazi Candles and Manzini where guests experience the Swazi market: a hive of activity displaying a wide variety of skilfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazis are renowned. After a visit to the capital city Mbabane enjoy a lunch stop at Mantenga Lodge with an afternoon visit to the Ngwenya Glass Complex. Distance travelled: ±280km
Included Meals: B

Day 13 KRUGER PARK GAME DRIVE / LEOPARD CREEK, NELSPRUIT OR WHITE RIVER

06h30 Full-day game drive in the Kruger Park.
17h00 Rejoin train in Malelane.
19h00 Depart for Nelspruit.

GOLFERS
09h00 Tee off at Leopard Creek, Nelspruit or White River.
17h00 Rejoin train in Malelane.
19h00 Depart for Nelspruit.
www.leopardcreek.com • www.nelspruitgolfclub.co.za • http://www.whiterivergolf.com

Kruger National Park
The world-renowned Kruger National Park has 2-million hectares of unrivalled in diversity of life forms. It is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and home to an impressive number of species, e.g. 336 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 species of amphibians, 114 species of reptiles, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals including the Big Five. Distance travelled: ±220km
Included Meals: B

Day 14 PANORAMA ROUTE

09h00 Full-day tour of historical areas Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and God’s Window.
17h00 Rejoin train in Nelspruit and depart for Witbank.

GOLFERS
09h00 Tee off at Leopard Creek, Nelspruit or White River.
17h00 Rejoin train in Nelspruit.
19h00 Depart for Witbank for the overnight stop.
www.leopardcreek.com • www.nelspruitgolfclub.co.za • http://www.whiterivergolf.com

Panorama Route
Today we visit the village of Pilgrim’s Rest, a living museum and declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873, attracting 1500 prospectors. Today, many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops and restaurants. After lunch we visit Bourke’s Luck Potholes, which are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. God’s Window is one of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve’s most spectacular viewpoints, with astonishing views over South Africa’s Lowveld (so-named because it is much lower than the high escarpment along which the Panorama Route runs). At God’s Window, majestic cliffs plunge down 700m and, on a clear day, you’ll be able to see over the famous Kruger National Park towards the Lebombo Mountains on South Africa’s border. Distance travelled: ±280km
Included Meals: BD

Day 15 PRETORIA / SOWETO AND PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG

10h00 Arrive at Rovos Rail Station. Check out of train. Luggage delivered to hotel by Shongololo staff.
Full-day tour of Pretoria/Johannesburg and Soweto.
18h00 Return to hotel. Tour ends.

Option A – Soweto and Pretoria
Soweto comprises one-million people and was made famous by the Apartheid laws. We pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere) and also drive past the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Peace laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. We visit the Hector Petersen Memorial, named after one of the first students to be killed in the 1976 uprising against the Apartheid government.

We spend the afternoon in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, visiting the Union Buildings. Designed by the famous colonial English architect, Sir Herbert Baker, and completed in 1913, the Union Buildings house the offices of the President and Ministers. Before leaving the capital behind, we visit the Voortrekker Monument that commemorates the ‘Great Trek’ of the 1830s. Distance travelled: ±265km

Option B – Johannesburg and Soweto
Today we head to Constitution Hill in Braamfontein in the centre of Johannesburg. This is the new home of the Constitutional Court and the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex where many of South Africa’s leading political activists were detained. We continue on to the Newtown precinct to visit Museum Africa, previously known as the market of Johannesburg. In the afternoon, we travel to Soweto to experience the heartbeat of this township. Distance travelled: ±170km
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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