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


Air-conditioning (where available) is operational at all times, except when the generator requires servicing.

It is very important that we have your arrival and departure details so transfers may be organised. Should you be delayedin any way, kindly contact the Train Manager using the details under ‘Telephone’. The train will be located at thefollowing stations at the start or end of trips: Cape Town Station; Rovos Rail Station in Capital Park, Pretoria; VictoriaFalls Station; Swakopmund Station.

A minimal cash advance facility can be made available while on board and debited to your account. The amount advanced will carry a 10% surcharge. Banks andATMs can be found in most of the towns we travel through. Therefore, should you prefer 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, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana it is possible to use Rands and US Dollars. However, please note that Rand is the main currency in South Africa. 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 timesis casual. Lunch is for guest’s own account except when otherwise stated. Meal times depend on the activities plannedfor the day, but are generally served at the following times: Breakfast 07h00-09h00; Lunch 13h00; Dinner 19h30.

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 our Shongololo Express air-conditioned vehicles. A game drive in an open 4x4 safari vehicle is an optional extra in certain areas. If chosen, 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.

Guides and vehicles are rotated on a daily basis. Language groups are considered with guides generally speaking French, German, Afrikaans and English. Please feel free to discuss any queries with your guides or the Train Manager.

Hairdryers are supplied on request.

The lounge and dining room can be heated via the air-conditioning units.

The Train Manager will add a vehicle number next to your name for easy reference for the next day’s touring and adviseguests accordingly. Daily departure times depend on the nature of the activity. Most activities depart at 09h00, whileothers may depart earlier. Please check the information board to confirm.

There are no Internet facilities on the train. Internet cafes are available in most towns we travel through.

Upon checking in, the Train Manager will hand you your cabin and safe keys. In the event that your keys are lost, or not handed back, a replacement fee of R500.00 will be charged. Please ensure that all keys are handed back to the Train Manager at the end of the tour.

A laundry service is offered on board. A laundry bag is provided in your cabin as well as a laundry list. 

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.

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.

Accommodating approximately 40 guests, the observation and bar carriages have the following features:
• Fully licensed
• Air-conditioned
• Non-smoking
• Casual dress code

Mail can be sent via our post box in the lounge area or handed to the Assistant Train Manager. Wherever possible, mailis 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.

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.

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 packages are available on request.

There is a small safe located in each cabin. Upon checking in, the Train Manager will hand you your cabin and safe keys. Replacement of safe keys and the opening of the safe will be charged for, as determined by the locksmith.

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.
• Change foreign currency at an authorised dealer only.

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 beshortened, 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.

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 smokinglounge, which can only be used when the train is moving. When the train is stationary you may only smoke outside onthe 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.

Optional extras are offered during the trip and are for guest’s account and will be charged accordingly. As many specialised off-train activities are subcontracted to tour operators, they are subject to availability and price adjustments.Kindly advise the Train Manager timeously if you would like to book anything. It is only possible to book these activities once on board.

There is no telephone service on board. Should you however need to contact your Train Manager urgently while on tour,

While on board, please feel free to ask the Train Manager for assistance with regards to amenity items you may need.

Only transfers to and from local airports, hotels close to the airports and to the train are included in the price. There will be a charge for all other transfers. Please note that transfers to and from Livingstone Airport to the train in Victoria Falls will carry a charge of R350.00 per person due to border formalities.

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.

Our Shongololo Express vehicles are carried on board the train. They are 10-seater Mercedes Sprinters with airconditioning and a public address system.


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