The Shongololo Express: The Dune Express
• Fish River Canyon • Kalahari Desert • Sossusvlei • Etosha National Park • Walvis Bay
The Shongololo Express provides a high quality, yet affordable, rail safari experience for visitors to Southern Africa. Starting in Pretoria the train winds its way to the coast of Namibia before stopping in Kimberley to visit the Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum village. Cross the Karoo to Upington for a walking tour and wine tasting. After crossing the border, visit Fish River Canyon, followed by tours of historical towns Luderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop.
Enjoy a night at a Sossusvlei lodge surrounded by the dramatic dunes of the Namib-Naukluft Park with visits to Sesriem Canyon and the 170m-high star dune '45'. Leave the stillness of the Kalahari Desert for a tour of Windhoek and an overnight stay in Etosha with game-viewing activities. Arrive at journey's end in the seaside town of Walvis Bay.
The Train: Each train has accommodation carriages, dining cars, a lounge car, small gift shop, smoking lounge and observation car with open-air balcony. The service is discreet and friendly with an enthusiastic team of chefs ensuring guests' every need is catered for.
The two types of cabins are refined and spacious offering passengers privacy and comfort with double or twin beds and fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. There is adequate storage and all have en-suite bathrooms with shower, toilet and basin, tea-and-coffee facilities (Emeralds only), safes, air conditioning, linen and amenities and are serviced daily.
Day 1: Pretoria Check in at Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. Travel south across the goldfields of the Witwatersrand. Tea is served in the lounge and observation car at the rear of the train followed by dinner in the dining cars as the train travels towards Kimberley.
Day 2: Kimberley Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 9.00am. A shallow lake appears on the right-hand side of the train where, on most occasions, there are spectacular flocks of approximately 23,000 Lesser Flamingos. Arrive in Kimberley and disembark on a city tour, Diamond Mine Museum and the Big Hole. Depart Kimberly and travel through the Karoo.
Day 3: Upington Arrive in Upington and visit historical sites beginning with a drive past the Donkey Memorial - which honours the life of the working donkey and the railway on the Orange River followed by a tour and tasting at Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate. Return to the train and depart for Nakop and Ariumsvlei for border formalities before travelling tonto Holoog.
Day 4: Fish River Canyon After breakfast enjoy a visit to the 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. 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. Its size is impressive: 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. Return to the train and continue onto Aus.
Day 5: Kolmanskop & Luderitz Breakfast is served in the dining cars before visiting the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Arrive in LÃ¼deritz, known for its museum, colonial architecture and wildlife including seals,penguins, flamingos and ostriches. Look out for the legendary horses rumoured to roam the Namib. Return to the train. Depart for Keetmanshoop.
Day 6: Keetmanshoop & Garas Park Visit Keetmanshoop and Garas Park (Quiver Trees), home to roughly 300 specimens of the Aloe dichotomy. The prehistoric trees have forked branches that reach up to 5m making for great photographic opportunities. Depart for Mariental.
Day 7: Sossusvlei Travel 3 1/2 hours to a Sossusvlei lodge in Namib-Naukluft Park for overnight. Enjoy lunch on arrival with the afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 8: Sossusvlei & Namib-Naukluft Park Transfer to Deadvlei and visit Dune 45 and Sesriem Canyon before returning to the lodge for lunch. The dunes of the Namib Desert were created by sand carried by the wind from the coast of Namibia. The sand here is over five million years old and is red in colour due to its iron-oxide content. As the light changes during the 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 causing the sand to form a star shape with multiple arms, hence the name 'star dunes'. The Tsauchab River has shaped the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years. It is one of the few places in this 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. Enjoy a scenic drive across the Great Escarpment which was formed over 80-million years ago. Arrive at Mariental and depart for Rehoboth.
Day 9: Windhoek Enjoy a city tour of Windhoek with visits to the Trans-Namib Transport Museum, the Alte Feste, the Evangelical Lutheran Church (one of the city's most striking landmarks) and the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building. Situated in Namibia's central highlands, Windhoek is an attractive city surrounded by clusters of hills and the impressive Auas and Eros Mountains. The Trans-Namib Transport Museum outlines Namibian transport history, particularly that of the railway. The Alte Feste is a fortress and museum featuring displays that lend insight into Namibia's complex history. Return to the train. Depart for Otjiwarongo.
Day 10: Etosha National Park Transfer to a lodge in Etosha National Park for your overnight stay. Enjoy lunch on arrival followed by a game drive in Etosha National Park. Etosha National Park (22270km2 ) offers great game viewing. It gets its name from the Etosha pan (4760km2) a large salt pan forming part of the Kalahari Basin. Etosha means 'Great White Place'. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 11: Etosha National Park Breakfast at the lodge followed by a morning of game viewing in Etosha National Park. Return to the train with lunch en route before arriving at Otjiwarongo Station. Depart for Kranzberg.
Day 12: Walvis Bay Breakfast is served until 10am, and shortly afterwards arrival at Walvis Bay for disembarkation.
*Itinerary operates in reverse
• Accommodation • Breakfast and dinner • Lunch (where stated) • Excursions accompanied by a qualified tour guide • Entrance fees as per itinerary • Tea, coffee and bottled water on board • Government tax • Off train accommodation; meals at the lodges/hotels.
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Pretoria to Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay to Pretoria 25 Mar
Pretoria to Walvis Bay
Booking conditions • Itinerary operates in reverse
• Shongololo allow children aged 3+ on board, although these journeys are not recommended for children under 13 years. There are no child minding facilities or child's activities available on board.
• Itinerary operates in reverse • Shongololo allow children aged 3+ on board, although these journeys are not recommended for children under 13 years. There are no child minding facilities or child's activities available on board.