An 18-Day “Dune Express” train journey, includes a 3-night in Pretoria/Johannesburg before embarking your train for a 12-day journey through South Africa and Namibia. A spectacular odyssey starting in Pretoria and winding its way to the coast of Namibia, a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine and seemingly endless horizons. First stop is Kimberley to visit the Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum village before continuing across the Karoo to Upington for a walking tour and wine tasting. After crossing the border, visit the Fish River Canyon, second in size to the Grand Canyon, followed by tours of historical towns Lüderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop. Enjoy a night at a Sossusvlei lodge surrounded by the dramatic dunes of the Namib-Naukluft Park with visits to the natural Sesriem Canyon and the 170m-high star dune “45”. Leave the vast 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. Our train journey will conclude in Walvis Bay where you will tour this unique town before a short drive to Swakopmund, Namibia, a unique colonial, Bavarian style town where we enjoy this unique costal town with a 2-night hotel stay and tours.
Depart CANADA for SOUTH AFRICA
Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA Hotel Stay
Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA Hotel Stay
Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA Board the Train
Kimberley, SOUTH AFRICA Train Journey
Upington, SOUTH AFRICA Train Journey
Fish River Canyon, NAMIBIA Train Journey
Kolmanskop & Luderitz, NAMIBIA Train Journey
Keetmanshoop, NAMIBIA Train Journey
Sossusvlei, NAMIBIA Game Lodge Stay
Dune 45 & Namib, NAMIBIA Train Journey
Windhoek, NAMIBIA Train Journey
Etosha National Park, NAMIBIA Game Lodge Stay
Etosha National Park, NAMIBIA Train Journey
Walvis Bay, NAMIBIA Disembark
Swakopmund, NAMIBIA Hotel Stay
Swakopmund, NAMIBIA Hotel Stay
Depart NAMIBIA for CANADA
DAY 1 – MONDAY / MAY 10, 2021 DEPART CANADA
Evening departure for South Africa with KLM via Amsterdam. (In-flight Meals)
DAY 2 – TUESDAY / MAY 11 JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Welcome to Johannesburg! On arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The hotel is set across from Nelson Mandela Square with its high end range of shops, restaurants and entertainment options and is within walking distance of the Sandton Shopping Centre, one of the most popular in the Southern Hemisphere. Garden Court Sandton is chic and contemporary in its design and decoration and has an oval swimming pool in a verdant garden setting for time spent away from the hustle and bustle of the City of Gold. GARDEN COURT SANDTON CITY or similar – 2 nights.
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY / MAY 12 JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will have a full day tour to Soweto and visit the Apartheid Museum. Hector Peterson Memorial – On the 16th of June 1976, Hector Pieterson was shot by the police during a protest by schoolchildren about Afrikaans being imposed as the medium of instruction. The Soweto uprising, as it has come to be known, saw 20 children shot by police during what started out as a peaceful protest. One of the pivotal moments in the anti-Apartheid struggle, 12-year old Hector has come to symbolise those that stood against the tyrannical regime. Today, the 16th of June is celebrated in South Africa as National Youth Day in remembrance of those who lost their lives during the protest. The site where Hector was shot is not far from the memorial and close to the Hector Peterson Museum. Mandela House – Mandela House in Orlando West, Soweto is a national monument dedicated to offering insights into the life of Nelson Mandela and the families that he lived with from 1946 through to the 1990s. Managed by the Soweto Heritage Trust, the house has been fully renovated and hosts a visitor centre as well as excellent multi-media and audio-visual displays outlining the history of the Mandela family. A meaningful experience, visitors are exposed to Mandela’s personal life on this visit. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Apartheid Museum – The prestigious and must-visit Apartheid Museum is located in Johannesburg’s Ormondo suburb. The museum, opened in 2001, covers the full history of the Apartheid era in South Africa. The exhibitions span the beginnings of segregation in the country, the implementation of the Apartheid system and all of the factors that have shaped its 20th century history including the discovery of gold that spurred on the migration of thousands of foreigners to the country, the rise of black consciousness and the first democratic elections. The political groups (both for and against the Apartheid system) are represented and the exhibitions combine news articles, photographs and artefacts to create a riveting story of this era.
DAY 4 – THURSDAY / MAY 13 PRETORIA – EMBARK THE TRAIN (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check out. Enjoy a half day guided tour of the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. Lunch will be at a local restaurant, followed by transfer to the Rovos Rail train station where you will board the train. DINING – The two dining carriages are air-conditioned and non-smoking. The total seating capacity is 72 and dress code for meal times is casual. Please note breakfast and dinner are included each day on the train. Lunches are included while on the train, but are at your own account when you are off the train, except when otherwise stated in your daily program. Meal times depend on the activities planned for the day, but are generally served at the following times: Breakfast 7:00 am – 9:00 am, Lunch 1:00 pm and Dinner 7:30 pm.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY / MAY 14 KIMBERLEY, SOUTH AFRICA (B/L/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 9:45 AM a shallow lake appears on the right-hand side of the train where, on most occasions, there are spectacular flocks of Lesser Flamingos (approximately 23,000). Arrive Kimberley and disembark for a tour at 10 AM, a visit to the Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum in Kimberley. 12:30 PM return to the train in Kimberley and depart for Upington. Enjoy lunch on board. Kimberley Capital of the Northern Cape, is well known for the discovery of diamonds which led to its establishment in 1893.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY / MAY 15 UPINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA (B/L/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 10 AM, morning tour of Upington and wine tasting at Belazel Brandy & Wine Cellar. At noon, the train departs Upington for Nakop for border formalities with Namibia. Enjoy lunch on board. Upington tour includes a visit to the historical sights of Upington beginning with a drive past the Donkey Memorial, which honours the life of the working donkey, and the railway on the Orange River. Arrive at the Bezalel Wine & Brandy Cellar for a tour and tasting after which we return to the train.
DAY 7 – SUNDAY / MAY 16 FISH RIVER CANYON, NAMIBIA (B/L/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 9 AM, morning visit to the Fish River Canyon, the largest in the southern hemisphere. 12:30 PM return to the train and depart for Aus for overnight. Enjoy lunch on board. Fish River Canyon as the Fish River rises in the centre of the country, before flowing south into the Orange River, on Namibia’s border with South Africa. In between, it has formed the great Fish River Canyon – the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and probably only second to the Grand Canyon in Arizona in terms of size. The vast rocky landscape breaks up into a series of spectacular cliffs, formed by the Fish River as it meanders between boulders over half a kilometre below. Its size is impressive: 161 kilometres long, up to 27 kilometres m wide and almost 550 metres at its deepest.
DAY 8 – MONDAY / MAY 17 KOLMANSKOP & LÜDERITZ, NAMIBIA (B/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 9 AM, depart for a full-day tour of the ghost town Kolmanskop and Lüderitz, well known for its colonial architecture and wildlife. 6 PM, the train departs for Keetmanshoop for overnight. Lüderitz and Kolmanskop. Lüderitz lies at the end of the currently decommissioned railway line to Keetmanshoop. En route we might see the legendary horses that are rumoured to roam the Namib Desert as we visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Lunch is on your own account. Lüderitz is known for its museum, colonial architecture and for wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos and ostriches.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY / MAY 18 KEETMANSHOOP & GARAS PARK, NAMIBA (B/L/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 9 AM, morning tour of Keetmanshoop. See the Giant’s Playground with its 20km-long dolerite dykes as well as Quiver Tree Forest, home to 300 species of the Aloe dichotomy. 1 PM, return to the train and depart for Mariental. Enjoy lunch on board. In Keetmanshoop, visit Giant’s Playground where dolerite dykes of between three to five metres in width and 20 kilometres in length can be explored. Visit Quiver Tree Forest, which is home to roughly 300 specimens of the Aloe dichotomy. Between three to five metres tall, these prehistoric trees have forked branches that reach skywards. This visit makes for wonderful photographic opportunities.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY / MAY 19 SOSSUSVLEI, NAMIBIA (B/L/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 8 AM transfer to a Sossusvlei lodge in the Namib-Naukluft park. Visit the Sesriem Canyon, shaped over millions of years by the Tsauchab River. Sesriem Canyon, the Tsauchab River has shaped the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years and it is one of the few places in that 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. Please have overnight bag ready for departure. Tog bags have been placed in your cabin for your convenience. OVERNIGHT STAY AT THE GAME LODGE – 1 night.
DAY 11 – THURSDAY / MAY 20 SUNRISE FROM DUNE 45 & NAMIB-NAUKLUFT PARK (B/L/D)
6 AM breakfast at the lodge followed by check out. Enjoy sunrise from Dune 45 followed by brunch at the lodge. Take a scenic drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park. 6 PM, the train departs for Rehoboth for overnight. The dunes of the Namib Desert were created by sand carried by the wind from the coast of Namibia. The sand here is 5 million years old and is red in colour due to its iron-oxide content. As the lighting changes with the time of 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, which means that the type of the dunes hear are known as “star dunes”. This is because the winds cause the sand to form a star shape with multiple arms.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY / MAY 21 WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA (B/L/D)
7 AM beakfast onboard the train. 9 AM, city tour of Windhoek. See the Trans-Namib Transport Museum, the Alte Feste (Old Fortress), the Evangelical Lutheran Church – a striking landmark – and the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building. Noon, return to the train and depart for Otjiwarongo. Enjoy lunch on board. Windhoek Situated in Namibia’s central highlands, is an attractive city surrounded by clusters of hills and the impressive Auas and Eros Mountains. The city tour of Windhoek starts with a visit to the TransNamib Transport Museum. The museum is situated in the Windhoek Railway Station and was built from 1912 to 1913. In front of the building is the narrow-gauge locomotive (vintage 1900), which used to operate between Swakopmund and Windhoek. The museum at the Alte Feste Castle offers a range of displays, including the Social History Gallery and the Independence Display. Both give an insight into Namibia’s complex history. At the top of Robert Mugabe Avenue is the Christuskirche or Evangelical Lutheran Church. This is one of the city’s most striking landmarks and was built from local sandstone and completed in 1910. Romanesque, neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau styles influenced its design and Kaiser Wilhelm II donated its stained- glass windows. Our last visit is the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building.
DAY 13 – SATURDAY / MAY 22 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK, NAMIBIA (B/L/D)
7 AM breakfast onboard the train. 10 AM, transfer to a lodge in Etosha National Park with lunch upon arrival. Enjoy game-viewing activities. Overnight at lodge. Etosha National Park offers excellent game viewing in one of Africa’s most accessible venues. Zebra and springbok are scattered across the endless horizon while the many waterholes attract endangered black rhino, lion, elephant, and large numbers of antelope. Etosha National Park (22,270 square kilometers), offers great game viewing. It gets its name from the Etosha pan (4,760 square kilometers), a large salt pan forming part of the Kalahari Basin. Etosha means ‘Great White Place’. OVERNIGHT STAY AT THE GAME LODGE – 1 night.
DAY 14 – SUNDAY / MAY 23 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK, NAMIBIA (B/L/D)
6 AM breakfast at the lodge followed by check out. Enjoy a morning game drive before returning to the train for lunch and depart for Kranzberg for overnight.
DAY 15 – MONDAY / MAY 24 WALVIS BAY – SWAKOPMUND, NAMIBIA (B/L/D)
Breakfast onboard the train. 11:30 AM, arrive at Walvis Bay Station where your train journey ends and check out of the train. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, before you begin your tour of Walvis Bay. The town of Walvis Bay is sandwiched between the dunes of the Namib Desert, the ocean and an extensive lagoon. Walvis Bay is Namibia’s major port, the centre of the country’s fishing industry and a rapidly developing tourist destination. The Walvis Bay lagoon takes pride of place as regard to scenic attractions in the Walvis Bay area. It is a tranquil stretch of water with a natural beauty accentuated by thousands of flamingos gathering at the rich feeding grounds. We will explore this area as well as a city tour before travelling 30 kilometers along the Atlantic coast to Swakopmund where your will check-in to your hotel. Dinner will be at the hotel. SWAKOPMUND HOTEL or similar – 2 nights.
DAY 16 – TUESDAY / MAY 25 SWAKOPMUND, NAMIBIA (B/D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a half day tour of this quaint town. Swakopmund, Namibia’s seaside resort on the west coast, is a place of singular charm. It resembles a small Bavarian village nestling between the desert and the sea and enjoys a restful and relaxing atmosphere. The source of Swakopmund’s continental vibe is the graceful Art Nouveau buildings dating back to the turn of the previous century. Swakopmund is better known as Namibia’s playground, this idyllic town is wedged between the sweltering Namib Desert and cold Atlantic Ocean. This desert town is a rhapsody of adventure, fun, exploration and relaxation. Graced with many beautiful, old buildings in a colonial, Bavarian style, the best way to experience this small town is on foot. You can embrace the relaxed pace of this idyllic coastal town whilst enjoying coffee and freshly baked pastries in one of the many street café’s or bakeries. In the afternoon, you may wish to just relax around the swimming pool of the hotel. Tonight dinner will be served at the hotel.
DAY 17 – WEDNESDAY / MAY 26 SWAKOPMUND – JOHANNESBURG – AMSTERDAM (B)
After breakfast at the hotel followed by check out. Transfer to the airport in Walvis Bay for short flight to Johannesburg, where you will connect for your KLM flight bound for Amsterdam. (In-flight Meals)
DAY 18 – THURSDAY / MAY 27 AMSTERDAM – CANADA
Upon arrival in Amsterdam you will connect with another flight bound for Canada. We arrive back in Canada in early afternoon. (In-flight Meals)
$200 Early booking bonus per person + $100 savings for new clients to Expo Cruises & Tours!
All prices are in Canadian dollars, per person and include:
Return airfare from TORONTO with KLM, including all flights within Africa.
2 Nights first class hotel stay in Johannesburg. Most meals aboard the train and bottled water.
2 Nights first class hotel stay in Swakopmund. Fully guided sightseeing as per our itinerary.
2 Nights first class game lodges accommodation. Guided excursions and game drives off the train.
9 Nights first class accommodation onboard the train. Tipping for local guides and onboard staff.
Full buffet breakfast each morning. All departure taxes and fees.
Most meals while on our land tour portion. Hosted by Expo Cruises & Tours.
EMERALD Category Double Occupancy $14,995
GOL D Catego rySingle Occupancy $20,495
Measuring 110 square feet are equipped with double or twin beds for the evening. They also have an en-suite bathroom with shower.
Deposit of $1,500 per person is required to secure your space at time of booking.
Second deposit of $1,500 is due May 6th, 2020.
Please note a cancellation penalty of $1,000 per person will apply prior to your final payment which is due on JANUARY 26th, 2021.
No entry visas are required for this adventure at this time.
PLEASE NOTE: Excursions may be changed according to schedule achieved. As the Shongololo Express uses the national railway facilities of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, the possibility exists that trains could be delayed, stopped, or rerouted at any time. Daily activities could therefore be shortened, altered, or cancelled. The Shongololo Express does not accept any responsibility for any changes to the daily programme. However, the company will always endeavour to complete the programmes to the best of its ability. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your tour ends and you must have at least 4 blank pages in your passport before applying for any visas. At this time, no Yellow Fever is required (subject to change at anytime), malaria pills are recommended, please consult your physician. All up to date information in regards to any visas (if required) and vaccinations will be provided to everyone after the final payments are made. Expo Cruises & Tours reserves the right to change hotels and/or lodges when necessary. Your final train itinerary will be provided in your room aboard the train. Air and hotel travel documents will be sent out to everyone about 2-3 weeks prior to your departure from Canada.
DIRECTORY OF SERVICES aboard the SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS
ACCOUNTS – 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 – Air-conditioning (where available) is operational at all times, except when the generator requires servicing.
BAR – The bar is open daily from early in the morning until midnight.
CURRENCY – 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 Southern Africa. Euros are not recommended.
DIETARY REQUIREMENTS – Please inform your reservations agent or Shongololo Express directly of any special dietary requirements.
DINING – The two dining carriages are air-conditioned and non-smoking. The total seating capacity is 72 and dress code for meal times is casual. Lunches are for guest’s own account when are off the train, except when otherwise stated. Meal times depend on the activities planned for the day, but are generally served at the following times:
DRESS CODE – 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.
DRINKING WATER – 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-liter of water per day.
ELECTRICITY – 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 always. A generator supplies power.
GAME DRIVES – Game drives are carried out in an open 4×4 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.
GUESTS RESPONSIBILITY – All guests are solely responsible for ensuring they are physically and mentally capable of undertaking the tour and activities.
GUIDES – Guides and vehicles are rotated daily. Language groups are considered with guides French, German, Afrikaans and English. Please feel free to discuss any queries with your guides or the Train Manager.
HAIRDRYERS – Hairdryers are supplied on request.
INCLUSIVE EXCURSIONS – The Train Manager will add a vehicle number next to your name for easy reference for the next day’s touring and advise guests accordingly. Daily departure times depend on the nature of the activity. Most activities depart at 9:00 am, while others may depart earlier. Please check the information board to confirm.
INTERNET – There are no Internet facilities on the train. Internet cafes are available in most towns we travel through.
LAUNDRY – 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 R25.00. Clean laundry is returned within 24 to 48 hours, dependent on weather and the travelling time of the train.
LIBRARY – 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 PILLOWS – Bed linen is changed every third day and towels are changed every second day. Extra pillows and blankets are available on request.
LUGGAGE – It is possible to store luggage in your cabin under the bed or above the door.
OBSERVATION & BAR CARRIAGES – Accommodating approximately 40 guests, the observation and bar carriages have the following features: • Fully licensed • Air-conditioned • Non-smoking • Casual dress code
MAINTENANCE – Should you discover that something in your carriage or cabin does not work, please advise the Train Manager 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.
PASSPORT & 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.
SAFE – 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.
SAFETY – To avoid accidents, we request that guests adhere to the following:
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.
SMOKING – 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.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS – 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.
TELEPHONE – There is no telephone service on board. Should you however need to contact your Train Manager urgently while on tour, please call their mobile number.
TOILETRIES – While on board, please feel free to ask the Train Manager for assistance with regards to amenity items you may need.
TRAVEL INSURANCE – 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.