The Shongololo Express isn’t for those just after a relaxing rail journey, but those seeking the scenic splendour and cultural and wildlife experiences that only Southern Africa can provide.
At Freedom Destinations, we offer the two most popular Shongololo Express itineraries, Southern Cross and Good Hope, as part of our handpicked selection of the great rail journeys of the world.
Both are complete rail holidays in their own right, including fascinating off train excursions and game drives in some of Africa’s best National Parks, as well as the unique experience of life on board.
Southern Cross – 12 Days
Southern Cross travels 2,500 km from Pretoria in northern South Africa to the mighty Victoria Falls, which spans the Zimbabwe and Zambia border.
En route, you’ll enjoy nine off train excursions, including:
- Day tour of Pretoria and Soweto
- Scenic drive along the stunning Panorama Route, stopping at Blyde Canyon
- Game drive in Hwange National Park, home to the ‘Big Five’
- Cultural tour in the kingdom of eSwanti (formerly Swaziland)
- Visit to the Great Zimbabwe Monument, capital of the Queen of Sheba
- Guided tour of Victoria Falls and sunset cruise on the Zambezi River
Southern Cross also runs operates in reverse, from Victoria Falls to Pretoria. With FREEDOM, you can add extra nights in either location, or an Indian Ocean beach stay after your rail adventure. Our experienced team can provide options.
Good Hope – 15 Days
Over 15 unforgettable days, Good Hope winds through ever changing scenery from Cape Town to Pretoria, stopping at just about every one of South Africa’s highlights, as well as some of its hidden gems.
The off train experiences include:
- City tours of Pretoria, Soweto, Cape Town and Durban
- Train travel through the Winelands and a scenic drive on the Garden Route
- Visit to the Kimberley Mine Museum and the surreal Big Hole
- An excursion to the forested sand dunes of iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Full day’s game viewing in Kruger National Park, seeking out the ‘Big Five’
- Guided tour of the infamous Ladysmith Battlefields
This Shonogolo Express route is also available in reverse, from Pretoria to Cape Town, where many travellers like to add extra nights to visit Robben Island or the Cape of Good Hope or to ride the Table Mountain cable car.
Life on Board the Shongololo Express
The Shongololo Express has two comfortable Lounge Cars and an Observation Car where you can meet your fellow travellers. The Observation Car has large windows and a wonderful open air balcony, to soak in the African scenery.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining car. The evening menu is centred around fresh, local ingredients and accompanied by fine South African wine.
There is a casual code on board, matching the relaxed atmosphere. Make sure to take some warm clothes, for early morning game drives or watching the sunset from the Observation Car balcony as you traverse the Drakensburg Mountains.
There is no WiFi on the train and guests are asked to only use mobile phones or laptops in their own cabins, so not to lessen the experience for other passengers.
Your Shongololo Express fare includes breakfast and dinner each day, high tea if you are on the train mid afternoon, some lunches, hot drinks and bottled water.
Emerald & Gold Cabins
The wooden panelled, double bed and twin bed cabins on the Shongololo Express have been elegantly designed, in keeping with the style of the train.
Both Gold Cabins and Emerald Cabins have air conditioning, an en suite shower room, a hair dryer, electrical sockets, cupboards and shelves for storage and a secure safe. Emerald Cabins offer slightly more space, with a small lounge area between the beds and the shower room.
Shongololo Express 2022 & 2023 Timetable
The Shongololo Express departs on just a few select dates per year. The 2022 and 2023 timetable has now been released and it is recommended that you book as early as possible to make sure that you are part of the adventure!
With FREEDOM, you can book your Shongololo train journey, flights and any extra nights in one place, as a tailor made package with full ATOL protection.
Just get in touch with our friendly team of Africa Experts who can check availability, then arrange everything for you.
Get In Touch