Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Observation Car, Shongololo Express
Elephant, Hwange National Park
Blyde Canyon, South Africa
Barman, Shongololo Express
Emerald Cabin, Shongololo Express
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Zambezi River, Zambia

Shongololo Express - Southern Cross

12 day Escorted Rail Holiday - from £6115

With flights from £6767

An unforgettable 12 day rail holiday travelling on the fabulous Shongololo Express through awe inspiring African landscapes from Pretoria to Victoria Falls.


  • Take a scenic drive along the spectacular Panorama Route
  • Spot the ‘Big Five’ on game drives in Kruger and Hwange National Parks
  • Visit the Great Zimbabwe Monument and explore the kingdom of eSwatini
  • Enjoy a tour of Victoria Falls and a sunset Zambezi cruise

Life Onboard

Shongololo Express is a unique escorted rail holiday experience, capturing the elegance of a bygone era with its classic wood panelled coaches and discreet but friendly service. At each stop, an off-train excursion by coach will introduce you to the remarkable places in each region.

The observation car is located at the end of the train and offers a relaxing place to enjoy the views from its enlarged windows and unique open-air balcony. In the lounge, chesterfield sofas and wingback chairs offer a comfortable place to catch up with fellow guests over a drink.

Dining takes place in one sitting with a focus on fresh local produce served up by the enthusiastic chefs. The atmosphere on board Shongololo Express is relaxed and informal with a dress code to match.

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Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Pretoria & Soweto

After check-in at the Rovos Rail Lounge, head off on a tour of Pretoria and Soweto. Delve into South Africa’s Apartheid history with visits to Vilakazi Street where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu used to live, followed by the Hector Petersen Memorial, named after one of the first students to be killed in the 1976 uprising.

This afternoon head to Pretoria to visit the impressive Union Building which houses the offices of the President, before leaving the capital behind to visit the Voortrekker Monument commemorating the Great Trek of the 1830’s. Later board the Shongololo Express where tea is served in the lounge as your journey on rails commences.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 

Day 2 - Panorama Route

After breakfast disembark at Nelspruit for a day tour along the historic and scenic Panorama Route. At Graskop, you can take the lift 51m down the face of the gorge to wander along the walkways though the indigenous forest.

Learn about the 1870’s gold rush at Pilgrim’s Rest, observe the curious deep cylindrical formations in the river bed at Bourke’s Luck Potholes and enjoy spectacular viewpoints of the  Blyde River Canyon. Later return to the train and enjoy dinner in the dining car as the train heads for Malelane.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast and dinner

Day 3 - Kruger National Park

Today enjoy a full day of game viewing in the world famous Kruger National Park. Covering two million hectares of bush, the Park offers an unrivalled diversity and number of species including all of the Big 5. In the early evening, return to the train and enjoy dinner as you head into Mozambique.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast and dinner

Day 4 - Maputo, Mozambique

This morning disembark for a tour of Maputo. Mozambique’s capital is a city of contrasts with its exciting mix of cultures and blend of African and Portuguese architecture. Back on the train, enjoy afternoon tea as your journey continues towards eSwatini.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5 - eSwatini (Swaziland)

This morning the Shongololo Express travels into eSwatini. Previously known as Swaziland, this tiny Kingdom is the second smallest country in Africa and has a proud and vibrant culture. At Mpaka, disembark the train for a tour to Swazi Candles’ which showcases the creative talent of its workers. Then drive through the picturesque Ezulwini Valley to a cultural village where you can learn about the country’s fascinating traditions and culture. This afternoon the train heads back into South Africa for its journey towards Hoedspruit.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast and dinner

Day 6 - Kapama Reserve

This morning rise early for an exciting game drive in the Kapama Game Reserve in the Kruger region. Here is another chance to look out for the Big 5 as well as a host of other creatures great and small. Afterwards, head to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre where you can learn about the efforts to breed, rescue and rehabilitate a range of wildlife including cheetah and rhino. Enjoy lunch back on the train as the journey continues north via the towns of Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7 - Limpopo Province & Zimbabwe

Enjoy the day relaxing in the elegant surroundings of your home-on-rails as it travels through Limpopo Province and over the border at Beitbridge into Zimbabwe.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8 - Great Zimbabwe

Today’s off-train excursion is visiting the Great Zimbabwe Monument, a UNESCO heritage site and one of the largest pre-colonial monuments south of the Egyptian pyramids. A testimony to the Bantu civilisation, the city was renowned as an important trading centre from the Middle Ages and according to legend, where King Solomon’s mines have their origins. Head back to the train in the late afternoon and depart for Somabhula.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 - Antelope Park

This morning depart for a full day at Antelope Park which is set in 3,000 acres of savannah grassland. This game reserve is home to the world famous African lion and Environment Research Trust whose work includes the re-introduction of captive-bred lions back into the wild. There will be a range of activities which you can take part in (extra cost) including game drives and elephant interaction.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast and dinner

Day 10 - Matopos National Park

This morning embark on a full day tour to the Matopos National park, another of Zimbabwe’s UNESCO sites. The dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area form some of the country’s most iconic scenery and as well as containing the grave site of Cecil John Rhodes and a number of bushman caves that can be explored. This afternoon, the train continues its journey to Dete whilst guests enjoy tea in the observation lounge.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11 - Hwange National Park

Wake up early this morning for a full day game drive in one of Africa’s premier national parks. Hwange is the country’s largest wildlife area and renowned for its elephant herds, lion population and one of the largest surviving populations of African wild dog on the continent. Later this afternoon, return to the train and head to Thompson’s Junction.

Overnight: Shongololo Express 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 12 - Victoria Falls

This morning the Shongololo Express draws into Victoria Falls and journey’s end. Take the short walk from the station to the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel to join a walking tour of the village and magnificent Falls. Observe one of nature’s greatest spectacles as huge volumes of water plunge over the edge into the gorge below.

This afternoon, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi where you can look out for wildlife including hippos, whilst enjoying one of those often spectacular African sunsets. Later, transfer back to the hotel where the tour ends. You may like to add a few nights stay at Victoria Falls Hotel, one of Africa’s great historic hotels.

Meals: Breakfast

12 day Escorted Rail Holiday - from £6115

With flights from £6767


The Shongololo Express offers two elegantly style cabin types, both with air conditioning, a safe and an en suite shower, toilet and basin.

Gold Cabin:

  • 7 square metres in size
  • Your choice of twin beds or a double bed

Emerald Cabin:

  • 10 square metres in size
  • Your choice of twin beds or a double bed
  • A small lounge area with a writing desk
  • Robe, slippers and in-cabin tea facilities

Upgrade to an Emerald Cabin from £2492

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All prices are per person, based on 2 sharing a twin or double room. Seasonal variations may apply, please call Freedom Destinations for more information and availability. Ask your Africa Expert about Shongololo Express’ other journey the Dune Express from Pretoria to Swakopmund. Flights not included. Discounted flights available from most UK airports.

Shongololo Express Southern Cross Map


With excursions to Southern Africa’s ‘must-see’ attractions included, a journey on the Shongololo Express offers a complete rail holiday.

Your rail experience includes:

  • 11 nights on board the fabulous Shongololo Express including:
    – your choice of Gold or Emerald Cabin
    – use of the Lounge Car and Observation Car, with open air balcony
    – tea, coffee and bottled water on board
  • 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 11 dinners
  • 9 off train excursions and game drives, as detailed in the itinerary

All Shongololo Express routes can be booked as they are or enjoyed as part of a longer South Africa holiday.


Departures Dates

Pretoria  to Victoria Falls

14 April 2022
05 August 2022
16 September 2022

05 January 2023
02 March 2023
13 April 2023
08 June 2023
07 September 2023
03 November 2023

Victoria Falls to Pretoria

28 April 2022
19 January 2023
27 April 2023
16 November 2023

See more South Africa rail journeys…

See all South Africa holidays…

For advice or to start planning your holiday

talk to an Africa Expert on 0333 234 3667