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12 DAY SOUTHERN CROSS JOURNEY – Luxury Train Journey

Lowveld, Maputo, eSwatini, Hoedspruit, Zimbabwe, Bulawayo and Hwange National Park
Not Rated

Duration

12 Days / 11 Nights

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

Unlimited

Languages

English

Overview

Half Board Plus – Dinner, Bed, Breakfast and Activities

LOWVELD

Sandwiched between Mozambique and the Mpumalanga area of the Drakensberg, the Lowveld is renowned for it subtropical climate, abundant wildlife, and ancient history. This area encompasses a number of spectacular game reserves including the world-famous Kruger National Park, vast farmlands, and the popular Panorama Route. This area serves as an excellent base from which to explore the Kruger. Visitors can explore the old gold rush town of Barberton, enjoy the city lights of Nelspruit and stay at a variety of comfortable country lodges.

MAPUTO

Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, is known for its well-preserved Portuguese colonial architecture. With its beautiful art deco architecture and its amazing setting on a hill overlooking the glittering Maputo Bay, the city of Maputo was once the Riviera of Southern Africa. Previously called Lourenco Marques, Maputo is Mozambique’s largest city and home to the country’s most prominent harbour. It is well-equipped with a wide selection of hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, a vibrant cultural scene and open-air sidewalk cafes lining the streets. Visitors can stroll down the jacaranda-lined streets of the Baixa neighbourhood in the Old Town, explore the Praca da Independencia square, discover the neoclassical City Hall and view the unique bronze-domed Maputo Railway Station. Other popular activities include: visiting the beautiful beaches of Catembe and Ponta d’Oura, and snorkelling and scuba diving in the warm Mozambican waters.

ESWATINI

Officially known as the ‘Kingdom of eSwatini’ and still referred to as Swaziland, this tiny landlocked nation boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage and is Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy. Swaziland encompasses a diverse array of ecosystems featuring towering mountains and low-lying savannah, tangled rainforests and lush river valleys. Highlights of this laid-back land include the mesmerizingly beautiful ‘Valley of Heaven’, the handicraft haven of the Malkerns Valley and the Hlane Royal National Park, famed for its white rhinos, antelopes and lions. Visitors can look forward to excellent wildlife watching, rafting, mountain biking, and hiking along a network of scenic trails which traverse spectacular mountainous landscapes.

HOEDSPRUIT

Resting at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg, in the beautiful Limpopo Province, the town of Hoedspruit is surrounded by the largest privately owned conservation area in the world. It is sandwiched between the world famous Kruger National Park and the breathtaking Blyde River Canyon. Hoedspruit serves as a great base from which to explore the surrounding game reserves and natural attractions. This spectacular landscape features towering cliffs shadowing over enormous stretches of bushveld that give way to marula, acacia and mopane woodlands. Within this wilderness paradise, some of Africa’s most captivating wildlife can be spotted. Visitors can enjoy a number of activities including: Big 5 game drives, whitewater rafting, horse riding safaris, visiting the Khamai Reptile Park as well as the Daktari Wildlife Orphanage.

ZIMBABWE

A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.

BULAWAYO

Situated in the heart of Matabeleland in southwestern Zimbabwe, Bulawayo is the country’s second-largest city. It is named after the royal kraal of Mizilikazi – founder of the Matabele Nation. This historic city features wide tree-lined avenues bordered by colonial-style buildings. It serves as a gateway to the nearby Matobo National Park – a highlight of the area- home to abundant wildlife and plant life. Visitors can look forward to a variety of museums including the country’s main museum, the natural history museum; as well as exploring the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and discover the ancient Kame Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is one of southern Africa’s magnificent Late Iron Age ruins.

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

Situated in western Zimbabwe, the Hwange National Park is the country’s biggest reserve, home to a profusion of wildlife, including giraffe, lion, zebra and approximately 40 000 elephants. It provides a sanctuary for all the country’s endangered species, including a population of wild dogs thought to be among the most sizeable surviving groups on the continent. The park’s magnificent terrain ranges from desert dunes, savannah lands and mopane woodlands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests. Visitors can look forward to game drives, guided walks or horse riding safaris. Other highlights include: the Bumbusi National Monument and the Nyamandhlovu Pan.

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS - The Shongololo Express, based at Rovos Rail’s station in Pretoria, began operations in 1995 to provide a very special touring experience for visitors to Southern Africa. The three journeys of between 12 to 15 days offer tours that traverse South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The journeys offer a variety of off-train excursions that are undertaken in our air-conditioned vehicles. On occasion, we will employ the expertise of local service providers who are better positioned to arrange our transport requirements. Come and join us on one of our captivating tours and allow us to provide the friendly and efficient service for which we are renowned.

Itinerary

Expand All
DAYS 1 - 3 : LOWVELD
DAYS 1 - 3 : LOWVELD

DAY 1 – PRETORIA & SOWETO (D)

08:00 - Check-in at Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria. Luggage will be stored at the station.

09:00 - Full-day tour of Pretoria and Soweto.

16:00 - Transfer to Rovos Rail Station. The train departs for Waterval Boven.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.



DAY 2 – PANORAMA ROUTE (B,D)

07:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

09:15 - 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).

18:45 - Return to the train in Nelspruit (140km). Depart for Malelane.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.



DAY 3 – KRUGER NATIONAL PARK (B,D)

05:30 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

07:00 - Full-day game viewing in the Kruger Park.

18:00 - Return to the train. Depart for Mozambique.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.

DAYS 4 - 5 : ESWATINI
DAYS 4 - 5 : ESWATINI

DAY 4 – MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE (B,L,D)

07:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

09:00 - City tour of Maputo, Mozambique, with lunch.

16:00 - Return to the train.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

18:00 - After border formalities the train travels to Mpaka in Swaziland.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.



DAY 5 – SWAZILAND (B,D)

07:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

08:30 - Disembark at Mpaka. Transfer (90 minutes) to Swazi Candles and visit Mantenga Cultural Village.

13:45 - Return to the train (75 minutes). Depart for Hoedspruit.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.

DAYS 6 - 7 : SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS
DAYS 6 - 7 : SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS

DAY 6 – KAPAMA RESERVE & HOEDSPRUIT ENDANGERED SPECIES CENTRE (B,L,D)

05:00 - Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars until 05:30.

05:30 - Game drive in Kapama Game Reserve followed by visit to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.

12:00 - Return to the train for lunch. Depart for Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.



DAY 7 – LIMPOPO PROVINCE (B,L,D)

07:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:00. Day on board the train travelling to Oreti in Zimbabwe. Clear customs and immigration at Beitbridge.

13:00 - Lunch is served in the dining cars.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.

DAYS 8 - 9 : ZIMBABWE
DAYS 8 - 9 : ZIMBABWE

DAY 8 – GREAT ZIMBABWE MONUMENT (B,L,D)

06:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

08:00 - Transfer to the Great Zimbabwe Monument for a tour with lunch.

17:00 - Return to the train at Oreti Siding. Depart for Somabhula.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.



DAY 9 – ANTELOPE PARK (B,D)

06:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

08:00 - Depart for a full day at Antelope Park. Optional extras include canoeing, game drives, horseback game viewing, elephant interaction, bird-watching cruises and so on (see price list).

16:00 - Return to the train. Depart for Bulawayo.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.

DAYS 10 - 11 : HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
DAYS 10 - 11 : HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

DAY 10 – MATOPOS NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)

07:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

09:00 - Full-day tour of Matopos National Park with lunch. Visit the grave of Cecil John Rhodes as well as bushmen caves.

16:00 - Return to the train. Depart for Dete.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.



DAY 11 – HWANGE NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)

05:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.

06:30 - Full-day game viewing in Hwange National Park with a packed lunch (provided).

16:00 - Return to the train.

16:30 - Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.

19:00 - Depart for Thompson’s Junction.

19:30 - Dinner is served in the dining cars.

DAY 12 : END OF ITINERARY
DAY 12 : END OF ITINERARY

DAY 12 – VICTORIA FALLS (B)

07:00 - Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:00.

10:00 - Arrive Victoria Falls Station. Check out of train and walk across to Victoria Falls Hotel (luggage can be stored on the train).

11:00 - Meet for a walking tour of the village and the falls.

16:00 - Meet at the hotel for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.

18:30 - Transfer back to Victoria Falls Hotel. Tour ends

Included/Excluded

  • 11 Night's Accommodation
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • Lunch (where stated)
  • Excursions with a qualified tour guide (where applicable).
  • Entrance fees as per itinerary.
  • Return transfers to golf courses (Good Hope only).
  • Tea, coffee, and bottled water onboard.
  • Government tax
  • INCLUDED in off-train
  • Accommodation
  • Meals as per itinerary.
  • Lunch off the train (where stated).
  • All beverages
  • Laundry
  • Gratuities
  • Personal expenses
  • Green fees (Good Hope only; fees payable in advance).
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Pre- and post-tour transfers, accommodation and flights.
  • EXCLUDED from off-train accommodation:
  • All beverages
  • Meals at unspecified venues.
  • Laundry
  • Personal expenses

Durations

Multi day

Tour's Location

Lowveld, Maputo, eSwatini, Hoedspruit, Zimbabwe, Bulawayo and Hwange National Park

FAQs

NOTES
The train runs on scheduled departure dates.
Journey available in reverse departing Victoria Falls and ending Pretoria. Please request scheduled departure dates.
Single supplement and children rates available on request.
Child policies are applicable.
The above rates valid for 2021 only. Please request rates for 2022.
Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
The onus is upon the client to ensure passports and visas, as may be required, are valid prior to departure for Africa.
On various journeys, we travel to South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, DRC, and Angola. Some nationalities are eligible to purchase port-of-entry visas.
Immigration forms will be available onboard.
Please ensure you have a minimum of US$200 in cash with you. Angolan and DRC visas must be obtained prior to travel.
We request that Tanzanian visas are obtained prior to travel when possible.
Passports must have at least five blank VISA pages and must be valid for at least six months from your return-home date.
We wish to bring to your attention that Rovos Rail is solely reliant on the traction and railway services provided by the countries through which we travel.
Our hands are regrettably tied when these services fail, be they due to locomotives, signals, overhead power-cable damage and/or theft, vandalism, electricity outages, railway tracks or issues with drivers, etc. Delays can occur due to our reliance on these national organizations.
Rovos Rail is not responsible and cannot be held liable for any delays or changes in tour arrangements that may be caused by natural or other factors beyond our control.
Rovos Rail reserves the right to cancel or amend our routing, any excursions, and the tour departure dates provided we can offer clients alternative excursions or departure dates.
Rovos Rail and Shongololo Express do accommodate children but we kindly ask parents to be sensitive to the adult nature and atmosphere of the train by keeping them respectful and quiet. Long journeys are not recommended for under 13s.
Children between 0-2 years old are not permitted to travel. There are no childminding facilities or activities available for children on board.
We allow a maximum of two guests sharing per suite/cabin.
Should there be a child under the age of five, he/she will be allowed to share with two adults (in a Deluxe, Royal or Emerald category only).
However, should there be a child over the age of five, he/she should have his/her own suite/cabin (conditional).
Should parents not feel comfortable with this option, one of the parents could then share with the child.
**T’s & C’s apply. Deposits & Cancellations Policies are contingent on THOSE provided by suppliers (i.e. lodges, transfer companies, airlines etc.) and are subject to change without prior notice.**
DEPOSITS
10% Non-refundable deposit required to secure booking.
Balance of deposits are dependent on THOSE required by suppliers and advised to client upon enquiry.
CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICY
55-49 days: 50% refund of payment EXCLUDING non-refundable deposit.
48-42 days: 25% refund of payment EXCLUDING non-refundable deposit.
41 days or less: 0% refund of payment EXCLUDING non-refundable deposit.
In case of NO SHOW on the date of tour departure, the client forfeits 100% of the total payment.
Covid cancellation policies will be advised upon enquiry.

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from $6,064.00

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