The Shongololo Express: The Good Hope
The Shongololo Express provides a high quality, yet affordable, rail safari experience for visitors to Southern Africa. The 15 day Good Hope journey traverses a total of 3900km from Pretoria-Cape Town or vice versa in reverse. A grand adventure offering amazing insight into well-known destinations across South Africa. Starting in Pretoria, travel across the imposing Drakensberg Mountains to visit the historical Panorama Route.
Travel by road over scenic mountain passes to Hermanus, once a renowned whaling station, before arriving on the final day in Cape Town for a tour of the Mother City. Optional Golf Itinerary available.
Highlights Include: • Enjoy a game drive at the world-famous Kruger Park • Explore the Kingdom of Swaziland • Hluhluwe wildlife reserve • iSimangaliso Wetland Park • Durban's botanical gardens • Bloemfontein (the city of roses) • Kimberley's Diamond Mine Museum • Traverse the Outeniqua Mountains to the natural paradise of Knysna
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 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 small cupboards with hangers and shelves.
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. 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 and luggage will be taken care of before enjoying a full day tour of Pretoria and Soweto. Soweto comprises one-million people and was made famous by the Apartheid laws. Pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere) and drive past the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Peace laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. Visit the Hector Petersen Memorial, named after one of the first students to be killed in the 1976 uprising against the Apartheid government. 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 visit the Voortrekker Monument that commemorates the 'Great Trek' of the 1830s. Return to Rovos Rail Station and depart for Waterval Boven.
Day 2: Panorama Route Breakfast is served in the dining cars before departing on a full day tour of historical areas Pilgrim's Rest, Bourke's Luck Potholes and Graskop. The Graskop viewing lift takes visitors 51m down the face of the gorge into the forest below where wooden walkways and suspension bridges meander along a 600m trail through the indigenous forest with an interactive exhibit (lift for own account). Pilgrim's Rest is a living museum and declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered here in 1873 attracting 1500 prospectors. Today many of the restored miner's houses serve as shops and restaurants. Bourke's Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. Blyde River Canyon has astonishing views over South Africa's Lowveld (so-named because it is much lower than the high escarpment along which the Panorama runs). Return to the train in Nelspruit and Depart for Malelane where dinner is served in the dining cars.
Day 3: Kruger National Park After breakfast enjoy a full day safari in Kruger National Park. The world-renowned Kruger Park has 2-million hectares of an unrivalled diversity in 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.
Day 4: Swazliland Breakfast served in the dining cars before disembarking for Mantenga Cultural Village. This tiny kingdom covers only 17 000m2 making it the second smallest country in Africa. Experience Swazi Candles: a hive of activity displaying decorative candles, skillfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazis are renowned. Continue through the Ezulwini Valley passing the Ludzidzini Royal residence en route to Mantenga Cultural Village, a living museum of old traditions representing a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1850s. Return to the train and depart for border formalities in Golela.
Day 5: Hluhluwe Game drives in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in Zululand, known for its rich wildlife and conservation efforts with the largest population of white rhino in the world. As the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa, Hluhluwe consists 960sq km 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 with all the Big Five game animals. 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.
Day 6: iSimangaliso Wetland Park Visit the World Heritage site, St Lucia (iSimangaliso) Wetland Park and enjoy a two hour boat cruise. The park covers over 2400 sq km 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. Return to the train and depart for Durban.
Day 7: Durban Disembark for a Durban city tour including botanical gardens and uShaka Marine World. Durban is the third largest city in South Africa and enjoys great importance due to its industry and very large port. Drive along the 'Golden Mile' promenade where numerous hotels and restaurants are situated. Visit the botanical gardens and uShaka Marine World - Africa's largest marine theme park. Return to the train and depart for Ladysmith.
Day 8: Ladysmith Battlefields Transfer (45 minutes) to Spionkop Lodge for a battlefields tour and light refreshments before moving to Spionkop hill to finish this historic story. 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!" It lasted three years and was to become the costliest Britain had ever fought. After lunch enjoy an afternoon game drive or relax at the lodge. Return to the train and depart for Kroonstad.
Day 9: Bloemfontien Tour of Bloemfontein including the Women's Memorial, Anglo Boer Museum, Oliewenhuis Art Museum and Naval Hill. 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. Bloemfontein is capital of the Free State Province and also known as the Rose City. Loch Logan Waterfront, next to the city's newly renovated stadium, was one of the venues during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The Women's Memorial at the Anglo Boer War Museum 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. Return to the train and depart for Kimberly.
Day 10: Kimberley Visit to the Big Hole, Noord-Kaap Mall, Diamond Mine Museum, Art Gallery and McGregor House Museum. Capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley is well known for the discovery of diamonds that led to its establishment in 1871. Return to the train for tea in the lounge and observation car and depart for Noupoort.
Day 11: On board Enjoy a day at leisure on board as the train travels to Willowmore. All meals enjoyed on board
Day 12: Cango Caves and Ostrich Farm Transfer to the Cango Caves and an ostrich farm. This semi-desert region is situated at the foot of the majestic Swartberg mountain range where many rivers, streams and falls have their origins. Oudtshoorn is regarded as the centre of the Klein Karoo and 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. The great natural wonder of the Cango Caves has colourful underground chambers with breathtaking limestone formations. Transfer to Fancourt Estate for dinner before continuing to Knysna.
Day 13: Garden Route After breakfast transfer to Knysna lagoon for a ferry ride. 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. The Knysna Heads - two sandstone cliffs guarding the mouth of the lagoon connecting the estuary with the sea "“ is a dramatic viewpoint. Return to the train for lunch and departing for Voorbaai.
Day 14: Hermanus After breakfast drive the scenic route to Hermanus for a visit before transferring to a wine estate in Worcester for a tasting. Travel over the Rooihoogte and Floorshoogte passes via the Overberg 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 whaleviewing sites in the world but it tops the list when it comes to land-based whale-watching from the town's natural cliffs. In season (normally between July and November) whales can be seen from as close as 5m away. Return to the train at Worcester and depart for Cape Town.
Day 15: Cape Town Arrive at Cape Town Station, and enjoy a full day tour of the city including the Diamond Works jewellery studio. The tour ends at the station this afternoon
*Itinerary operates in reverse
• Accommodation • Breakfast, lunch (where stated) and dinner • Excursions accompanied by a qualified tour guide • Entrance fees as per itinerary • Return transfers to golf courses • Tea, coffee and bottled water on board • Government tax.
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Pretoria to Cape Town
2022 Cape Town to Pretoria 29 Aug
Pretoria to Cape Town
Booking conditions • Itinerary operates in reverse
• *Optional Golf Itinerary: Leopard Creek/White River/Nelspruit, Nkonyeni, Zimbali, Durban Country Club/Beachwood/Zimbali, Champagne Sports Resort, Kimberley Golf Club, Fancourt, Ernie Els Oubaai/Pezula and Arabella (additional)
• 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 • *Optional Golf Itinerary: Leopard Creek/White River/Nelspruit, Nkonyeni, Zimbali, Durban Country Club/Beachwood/Zimbali, Champagne Sports Resort, Kimberley Golf Club, Fancourt, Ernie Els Oubaai/Pezula and Arabella (additional) • 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.