Shongololo Express - South AfricaShongololo Express (operated by Rovos Rail)Welcome to the Shongololo Express (operated by Rovos Rail)When indigenous people observed the first trains in Africa, the lines of rolling stock passing on the distant horizons recalled the profile and sinuous movement of a creature they called Shongololo – the millipede.
The Shongololo Express, based at Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria, began operations in 1995 to provide a very special touring experience for visitors to Southern Africa. The 12- to 15-day tours traverse South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
72 guests are accommodated in comfortable en-suite cabins with double or twin beds. Two historically appointed dining cars set the scene for meals, which are taken in one sitting. Modern and traditional local cuisine is on offer with a selection of distinguished South African wines available. Guests can also relax in the bar car, small smoking lounge or the observation car with an open-air balcony situated at the back of the train.
The train carries a fleet of air-conditioned touring vehicles with professional guides on board who are ready to take guests on inclusive scheduled off-rail activities to experience the sights of the area. For the more adventurous, there are also specialized activities available at many locations from elephant-back riding to scuba diving.
It is the aim and the pleasure of every staff member on board the Shongololo Express to provide you with friendly and efficient service. Shongololo Express Questions and Answers
Guests will be requested to sign for on-board purchases throughout the trip. This includes signing for drinks, additional excursions, optional extras, purchases of a personal nature etc.
All accounts are to be settled on the evening before departure.
Please note that drinks purchased on the last night of the trip will be settled on a ‘cash bar’ basis.
Accounts may be settled by means of: South African Rand, major foreign currencies or credit cards.
Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.
Air-conditioning (where available) is operational at all times, except when the generator requires servicing.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE:
It is very important that we have your arrival and departure details.
Should you be delayed in any way, kindly contact the Train Manager using the details under ‘Telephone’.
The train will be located at the following stations at the start or end of trips:
Cape Town Station;
Rovos Rail Station in Capital Park, Pretoria;
Victoria Falls Station; Walvis Bay Station.
Banks and ATMs can be found in most of the towns we travel through. Should you wish to go into a bank or foreign exchange provider, a nominal transportation fee will be levied.
The bar is open daily from early in the morning until midnight.
Shongololo Express cannot accommodate children under the age of 10 years old.
Children over 10 pay the full rate.
As Shongololo Express is a licensed establishment, a corkage fee applies: R150 per bottle of wine and spirits and R20 per can/bottle of minerals and water. If you have special requests with regard to liquor, please notify your reservations agent or Shongololo Express in advance. If notified timeously, we will make every effort to obtain the requested brand.
We suggest you bring Rands, US Dollars (in small denominations) or Euros (bank notes). In South Africa only Rands may be used. In Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana it is possible to use US Dollars. In Namibia it is possible to use Rands. Euros are not recommended.
Please inform your reservations agent or Shongololo Express directly of any special dietary requirements.
The dining carriages are air-conditioned and non-smoking. The total seating capacity is 72 and dress code for meal times is casual.
Lunch is for guest’s own account except when otherwise stated.
Meal times depend on the activities planned for the day, but are generally served at the following times:
As a relaxed atmosphere prevails on board, comfortable clothing is recommended. Winter in Southern Africa can be very cold and it is therefore advisable to bring along warm clothing for early mornings and evenings.
We strongly advise against drinking the water in the cabins or bathrooms. Bottled water can be purchased from the bar. Each cabin receives a complimentary 1-litre bottle of water per day.
The electric current on board is 220V. Each compartment is fitted with a round 3-pin socket (South African). Adapter plugs are available from the Assistant Train Manager. Please treat sockets as live at all times. A generator supplies power. Please be aware that certain breaks in power are necessary when servicing is required.
Game drives are carried out in open 4×4 safari vehicles.
We recommend warm clothing as the early mornings and evenings can become rather chilly.
Some safari vehicles do not have a shade cover so a hat and sun block is essential.
All guests are solely responsible for ensuring they are physically and mentally capable of undertaking the tour and activities.
Hairdryers are supplied in each cabin.
The lounge and dining room can be heated via the air-conditioning units.
There are no Internet facilities on the train. Internet cafes are available in most towns we travel through.
A laundry service is offered on board. A laundry bag is provided in your cabin as well as a laundry list. Items cost between R10.00 and R35.00. Clean laundry is returned within 24 to 48 hours, dependent on weather conditions and the travelling time of the train.
A small library is located in the smoking lounge. Guests are free to make use of the books and guidebooks, but kindly return them before the end of the trip.
LINEN, TOWELS AND PILLOW:
Bed linen is changed every third day and towels are changed every second day. Extra pillows and blankets are available on request.
It is possible to store luggage in your cabin under the bed or above the door, depending on the category of accommodation you are in. It is not recommended to bring excess luggage as space is limited.
OBSERVATION & BAR CARRIAGES:
Accommodating approximately 40 guests, the observation and bar carriages have the following features:
Casual dress code
Mail can be sent via our post box in the lounge area or handed to the Assistant Train Manager. Wherever possible, mail is posted daily except when in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. If you do not have stamps, please put your cabin number where the stamp will be affixed and this will be charged to your cabin.
Should you discover that something in your carriage or cabin does not work, please advise the Train Manager in order for it to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
MEDICAL AND PRECAUTIONS:
First-aid boxes are carried on board as well as first-aid equipment, although limited medical facilities are available in some areas. We therefore request that the Train Manager be immediately advised of any possible medical requirements in order to assist effectively.
It is strongly recommended that guests take Malaria prophylactics for all our journeys.
A Yellow Fever/Medical Exemption Certificate is essential if travelling to/from Tanzania.
PASSPORTS & VISAS:
The onus is upon guests to ensure passports and visas, as may be required, are valid prior to departure for Africa. Visas available through booking agents; please check with relevant embassies for requirements. Visitors to South Africa are required to have at least three blank VISA pages in their passports to receive an entry visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the guests’ return-home date.
PRE AND POST TOURS:
Pre and post packages are available on request.
Rack rate one way per person sharing includes: Accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis • Excursions accompanied by a qualified tour guide • Entrance fees as per itinerary • Government tax.
Rate excludes: Lunches off the train • All beverages • Laundry • Gratuities • Golf course fees (Good Hope/Golf only) • Visas • Travel insurance.
Included in off-train accommodation: Accommodation • Meals at lodges/hotels/clubs/resorts.
Excluded in off-train accommodation: Beverages • Laundry • Personal expenses.
Single supplement: +50%.
There is a small safe located in each cabin.
In order to avoid accidents we request that guests adhere to the following:
Never open exterior doors while the train is moving.
Never jump off or onto the train while it is moving.
An emergency brake is located halfway down each corridor and is only to be used in the case of an emergency. If used in a non-emergency situation, the culprit will be fined R10 000.00.
When taking photographs out of the window, always look ahead to see what is coming.
Please ensure that all valuables, documents and cash are kept in a safe place. Management and staff will not accept responsibility for any loss of personal property or cash if it’s not put in the safe. Please be advised that if you leave your room you must make certain that your windows are closed.
Do not stray from well-frequented areas after dark. ''WILD ANIMALS KILL TO EAT''
Change foreign currency at an authorised dealer only.
SCHEDULING TIMES, ROUTES AND EXCURSIONS:
Shongololo Express uses the national railways of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland. Therefore the possibility exists that the trains will run late from time to time. Should the train be delayed, land activities may have to be shortened, altered or cancelled for which we do not accept responsibility. No refunds will be offered as it is out of our control and therefore unavoidable.
SHOWERS and TOILETS:
The water used on the train is carried in tanks under each coach. These tanks are filled every day, but they cannot be topped up while the train is travelling. Please assist us by using water responsibly.
In accordance with the Southern African Smoking Act, designated smoking areas are provided. The train has a smoking lounge, which can only be used when the train is moving. When the train is stationary you may only smoke outside on the platform. Smoking is not permitted in the dining car, bathrooms, your cabin, passageways or touring vehicles on any tour. Smoking of pipes/cigars is not permitted in the designated smoking area.
There is no telephone service on board. Should you however need to contact your Train Manager urgently while on tour, please call mobile number: +27 (0) 82 450 9134.
This is entirely at your own discretion. Tips are divided on a pro-rata basis between members of staff. Our recommended gratuity is between US$5 and US$15 per guest per day. Gratuities may be added to the final account or can be handed to the Train Manager. Please do not tip staff members individually.
While on board, please feel free to ask the Train Manager for assistance with regards to amenity items you may need.
We can arrange transfers at an additional cost.
It is compulsory for all guests to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance including but not limited to medical cost, emergency evacuation and repatriation, cancellation or curtailment, loss of baggage, personal possessions or money.
The Train Manager will gladly discuss upgrading your accommodation, provided that it is available. The cost for the upgrade is payable directly to the Train Manager. Payment must be secured before the upgrade is granted.