Shongololo Rail Adventures: Southern Cross
Affordable train adventure - photo album

DISCLAIMER: RATES, DATES, ADD-ONS, TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. THE FINAL SOURCE - WRITTEN QUOTATION.

SOUTHBOUND

PRE DAY – VICTORIA FALLS
Having a “pre-day” means that one is able to acclimatize and unpack prior to the first day of touring.

SPECIALISED ACTIVITIES
Flight of Angels:
A highlight of any visit to Victoria Falls is a trip in a light aircraft or helicopter over the Falls. Enjoy a bird's eye view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world in all its magical splendour.
White Water River Rafting:
Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its twenty-three whitewater rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs, afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller coaster ride. The rapids are run in large rubber rafts, launched from just below the Falls.
Elephant riding:
Seated comfortably on the back of nature’s true “King of the Beast”, guests can experience an age-old African tradition. Be witness to this mutually enriching and rewarding relationship between man and elephant in a modern day Africa.
Bungie jumping from Livingstone bridge

TRAIN will remain in Victoria Falls station overnight

DAY 01 – VICTORIA FALLS

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. The Victoria Falls
The falls form the largest single “curtain” of falling water on earth measuring 1708 m wide. On average the curtain is .92 m deep. The spray plume can rise to 500 m and can be seen from as far as 70 km away. In full flood, over 550 million litres of water per minute cascade over the brink. Because the falls are so wide, there are numerous safe vantage points provided from where you will be able to get various views of the falls and the roiling water as it crashes into the gorge and the constant plume of spray that maintains the Rain Forest. The forest is an attraction on its own and many of the trees are marked to help identification and include Fig, Mahogany, Date Palm, Milkwood and Ebony. The bird life is also prolific and species that may be seen include the colourful Sunbird and large Trumpeter Hornbill. The sound of the water can be heard from kilometres away and up close this muted ‘thunder’ becomes a roar. Craft and curio shops abound with enough variety for everyone to find something to take home as a souvenir. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 15 km

The afternoon is spent at leisure.

TRAIN Remains at the Victoria Falls station overnight.

DAY 02 – CHOBE NATIONAL PARK (BOTSWANA)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Chobe National Park
A 70 kilometer ride brings us to the Botswana border, where we cross into the famous Chobe Park. There is a great array of wildlife and the Chobe lions are well-respected as are the hippos in the river. Highlights include a game drive in 4x4 vehicles and a river cruise. Lunch (guest’s own account) will be taken at a waterfront lodge with a swimming pool. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 200 km

TRAIN Guests return to the train at the Victoria Falls station for dinner and overnight
Distance travelled: 200 km

TRAIN Train remains in Victoria Falls station overnight.

DAY 03 – LIVINGSTONE (ZAMBIA)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Across the Falls and into Livingstone
Guests will cross the Zambezi River over the famous rail-road bridge. Our first stop is at the Zambian side of Victoria Falls before continuing to the town of Livingstone. Named for David Livingstone the Scottish visionary, who had an insatiable appetite for exploration and an a desire to open Africa to the world. The existence of the Falls had, of course, been known to local tribespeople and Livingstone upon hearing stories about “Mosi oa Tunya” - the smoke that thunders – arranged to be taken by dugout canoe and on November 16, 1855 he came to the northern end of what is now Livingstone island and from there crawled to the edge of the precipice and beheld the spectacle of the waterfall for the first time. We visit the Livingstone Museum, before taking a walk through the Murabama market. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 70 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Lunchtime Boat cruise:
A spectacular lunchtime cruise on the Zambezi including buffet lunch and drinks.

TRAIN departs for Dete this evening

DAY 04 – MLIBIZI AND THE ZAMBEZI RIVER

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Life Styles and a Cruise on the Mlibizi
A local village is visited so that guests may experience the life style of the Ndebele and the Tonga peoples. We proceed to Simbala Primary School in Dete (if a weekday), before continuing to Mlibizi. Mlibizi is a scenic resort on the Zambezi River between Victoria Falls and Kariba. This part of the river is famous for its fighting Tiger Fish, Baobab trees and dramatic scenery. Lunch (guest’s own account) is taken here before embarking on a cruise upriver to Elephant Bay via the mouth of the Mlibizi River. A visit to Hwange Safari Lodge (including a cultural experience) is planned for the evening. Departure time: 08h30
Distance travelled: 180 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Overnight in the Hwange Reserve:
Guests have the opportunity to spend a night at a lodge in the Hwange Game Reserve area. We leave the train after breakfast and are transferred to the lodge. Two game drives (afternoon and morning) are included in the overnight stay. Lunch, dinner and breakfast are also included. Bookings are subject to the availability of rooms Prices to be confirmed at the time of confirmation The transfer back to the train is on the afternoon of Day 12.

TRAIN Remains in Dete station overnight

DAY 05 – HWANGE GAME RESERVE

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Zimbabwe’s premier National Park is known for its Lion population. Situated in the north western corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the nation’s largest wildlife area and contains a variety of animals and birds species. Covering 1 462 000 hectares, Hwange is roughly the same size as Belguim. An early morning game drive in the park is followed by breakfast at the Sikumi Tree Lodge. After a morning of game viewing, lunch (guest’s own account) will be at the Hwange Safari Lodge. There will be an opportunity to relax at the pool for a while before we resume our game viewing later in the afternoon. Departure time will depend on the opening time of the gate Distance travelled: 120 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Walking Safari: A walking safari allows guests to walk through the game reserve in the company of an armed game ranger. These walks take place early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

TRAIN Leaves for Bulawayo this evening.

DAY 06 – BULAWAYO AND MATOBO NATIONAL PARK

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Matobo Hills and an Art Gallery
Matobo means “bald headed ones” and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. Highlights include a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave his name to Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was previously known, and an inspection of a bushman cave. There will be time for lunch (guest’s own account) before joining a tour of the Natural History Museum, which is one of the best of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Lastly, we take a drive through the city and visit an Art Gallery. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 150 km

2. Matobo Hills and a Railway Museum
Matobo means “bald headed ones” and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. Highlights include a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave his name to Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was previously known, and an inspection of a bushman cave. There will be time for lunch (guest’s own account) before joining a tour of the Natural History Museum, which is one of the best of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Lastly, we take a drive through the city and visit the Railway Museum. Departure time: 08h30 distance travelled: 200 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITIES
Chipangali A visit to this famous wildlife orphanage gives insight into the plight of some of the wild animals.

Optional add-on
Chipangali A visit to this famous wildlife orphanage gives insight into the plight of some of the wild animals.

TRAIN Travels to Zvishavane this evening.

DAY 07 – GREAT ZIMBABWE

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Largest Monument in Africa South of the Pyramids
We travel from Rutenga through attractive granite hill country to Great Zimbabwe. Situated on the southeastern edge of the central plateau Great Zimbabwe is an impressive monument. It is the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids - a most celebrated achievement of the African people indeed. One strolls amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people and discover how they lived and how they mined gold and silver that was ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders. Magical fables such as the story of King Solomon’s Mines find their origins here. This tour is followed by lunch at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel (guest’s own account). After lunch, guests meet the train in Zvishavane (Banocburn station). Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 300 km

TRAIN Guests rejoin the train at Rutenga and travel to Beit Bridge where the train crosses into South Africa.

DAY 08 – SOUTPANSBERG AND VENDA
The vast Soutpansberg range of mountains, stretching in a mighty panorama from east to west across the northern reaches of the Limpopo Province, is unique in its splendour and beauty. The myths and legends of the people of the north are interwoven into the mist-shrouded peaks and crags. The trees, the plants, the animals and the ancient ruins of a people long gone, the rock engravings marking the passage of the San hunter-gatherers, create a fascinating insight into the area and its people.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Arts & Crafts of the Area
This area is home to many active artists and crafters. The Pfuxanani Youth Centre is where unemployed youth have established their own paper factory, using recycled paper to produce various items such as notebooks, letterheads, envelopes, book covers and various other items. This is followed by a visit to the Tsonga Textile factory. Here the local women design and screen-print cloth and make items like jackets, linen, tablecloths, curtains and many more. They also sell pottery and woodcarvings. Mashamba Potters, under the watchful eye of Sarah Munyai, have become the leading potters in Limpopo Province. It is fascinating to see how they gather and prepare the clay from which they make beautiful pots. Lunch (guest’s own account) is taken at Clouds End. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 200 km

TRAIN Guests rejoing the train at Louis Trichardt and travel overnight to Hazyview

DAY 09 –PANORAMA ROUTE

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Panorama Route
Sabie is a small country town nestled in the majestic Drakensberg escarpment in Mpumalanga (Land of the Rising Sun) Province. Some of the well-known landmarks of the area are the Lone Creek Falls and the Mac-Mac Falls. A 25 m walk down to a cage brings guests to where they are able to observe the falls. Gold was found at the Mac-Mac falls in 1873 on the farm Geelhoutboom. We travel to the village of Pilgrims Rest a virtual living museum. The entire town has been declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873 and by 1875 there were 1500 diggers and Pilgrims Rest was declared a public diggings area. The Royal Hotel’s bar used to be a chapel in Cape Town and was brought to Pilgrims Rest via Lorenzo Marques (Maputo today). Today many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops. today. Moving along the escarpment to the a well known view site we observe the Blyde River Canyon 800 metres below. This gigantic gorge (26 km long) is carved from the face of the escarpment and is one of the natural wonders of Africa. Next come the Bourke’s Luck Potholes. These strange deep cylindrical cavities were formed by river erosion and the action of floodwater. Lastly, from the vantage of ‘God’s Window’ we can gaze across the vast sweep of the ‘Lowveld’ - where the excarpment drops to the plains that stretch away to the Indian Ocean. The air is delightfully cool and subtle fragrances of the low country rise up to merge with the crisp winds of the Highveld. Departure time: 08h00 Distance travelled: 280 km

TRAIN remains in Hazyview station overnight

DAY 10 – KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

TODAYS OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Kruger National Park The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. This national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The Kruger National Park is 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. Departure time will depend on the season. Distance travelled: 220 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITES
Bush Lodge: Departure from Hazyview is early in the morning and the day is spent travelling through the Kruger National Park. Game viewing is done en route. Guests book into Bongani Mountain Lodge in the late afternoon. Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard and Buffalo populate the area. Bongani is also renowned for sheltering one of the world’s richest sources of San rock art – San artists painted hundreds of rock art friezes throughout the area, and today, in addition to game drives in Big Five wilderness, guest are able to explore this natural gallery, estimated to be 1 500 years old.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Lodge: An overnight at the Sabi Private Game Lodge can be arranged on request however bookings are subject to the availability of rooms. Prices are subject to confirmation at the time of booking,
Open Vehicle Safari: Guests are collected from the station. Game drives are conducted in open safari vehicles, specially designed to ensure safety as well as optimum game viewing. Guides have intimate knowledge of the area as well as the fauna and flora. Breakfast will be enjoyed at one of the many picnic spots in the park. Lunch (guest’s own account) will be at on of the Rest Camps in the park. Game viewing continues for the remainder of the afternoon. This tour departs at 05h30 Breakfast packs will be provided.
Shangana Cultural Village: Midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, the residents of the traditional villages of the Shangaan invite guests to share in their way of life. The picturesque villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland. The Shangana Cultural Village has been created and built by local Shangaan people as a way of preserving a rich heritage and is an example of South Africa's great cultural diversity.
Local Pub in Town: A drink at a local pub (Hippo Hollow) could be an interesting experience. Departure from the train is at 20h00

TRAIN Remains in Hazyview station overnight



DAY 11 – MPUMALANGA

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Kruger National Park The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that equals the best on the continent. This national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The Kruger National Park is 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. Departure time will depend on the season as gates open and close with the sun. Distance travelled: 220 km

2. Nelspruit Nelspruit is considered the gateway to Mpumalanga province. With its sub-tropical climate and abundant sunshine the town forms an ideal base from which to explore. It is also the trading centre for the surrounding fruit growing area. The fertile soil and subtropical climate provide perfect conditions for the production of citrus and tropical fruits (mainly mango, banana, avocado, macadamia and pecan nuts). The Lowveld Botanical Gardens just outside the town has a rare collection of plant species and the first man-made rain forest. The nearby Sudwala caves, dinosaur park and cultural centre will expose your senses to primitive Africa. A short distance away is the gold mining town of Kaapsehoop where the mist filled evenings and a herd of wild horses grazing in the town transfers one to a world of yesterday. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 130 km

TRAIN Guest rejoing the train at Komatipoort before crossing into Mozambique. The train travels to Maputo.


DAY 12 – MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE)
Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, offers an exciting mix of culture and buildings reminiscent of trends set by African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions. The city swings along to a beat that is like no other in Africa. It enables you to experience true African Hospitality. Ancient Catholic churches rest side-by-side with Mosques and Fortresses, Victorian mansions and other places from a bygone era. It’s a city of contrasts and excitement that provides an ideal meeting point for social and business ventures.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. At the Beach
Guests are transferred to the ferry port for a ferry ride to Macaneta. On the beach at Macaneta, one can relax in the sun or go for a swim. Should you take a late afternoon stroll along the beach, you would be able to watch local fisherman net their catches. Lunch (guests own account) will be served at a restaurant specialising in Indian Ocean cuisine with an emphasis on the freshest seafood dishes prepared in traditional African-Portuguese ways. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 20 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Dinner at a seafood restaurant

TRAIN remains in Maputo station overnight

DAY 13 – MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Tour of Maputo
Guests will get a good impression of the character of the city. A visit to the municipal market is followed by a stop at the old “Fortaleza” which dates back to 1769,. Other interesting city sites include the Catholic Cathedral, the City Hall, Louis Trichardt Trek Memorial, Samora Machell Statue, the Jardim Tunduru (Botanical Gardens) and the Iron House (Casa de Ferro). The Polana Hotel, built in the 1920’s. with its striking white exterior and stunning decor is the most well known landmark in the city. From the garden one can see Xefina Island. Next we visit an art gallery where furniture and sculptures are made out of old AK47 weapons. The last stop is at the largest market in the southern hemisphere, which is also on the way to Costa do Sol. At Costa do Sol there is an opportunity to relax while having something cold to drink. One could also take a stroll on the beach. Return to the train in the late afternoon. Lunch (guest’s own account) to be enjoyed at either at the Polana Hotel or at a restaurant in town. Departure time: 09h00 Distance travelled: 60 km

TRAIN crosses the border into Swaziland and remains stationary in Mpaka overnight

DAY 14 – SWAZILAND

The tiny kingdom of Swaziland covers only 17 000 square kilometres, making it the second smallest country in Africa.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Tour through Swaziland:
The drive to Mbabane affords majestic views of the Piggs Peak. Mbabane is a medium-sized town and the capital of Swaziland. Its market is a hive of activity and displays a wide variety of skilfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and the superb basketwork for which the Swazis are renowned. At the Ngwenya Glass Factory, one can watch imaginative, original glass pieces being created by craftsmen and at the Swazi Candle Factory, others make brightly decorated candles in many shapes and sizes. The National Museum is a pictorial and static display of Swazi history, customs, dress and family life. Departure time: 08h00 Distance travelled: 180 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Horse Riding: Mlilwane Game Sanctuary lies about 20 km south of Mbabane on the gentle slopes of the Ezulwini Valley. This tranquil reserve rests in a lush and fertile valley that is fed by no fewer than four rivers. It also supports an impressive variety of game including Hippo, Zebra, Eland, Nyala, Blesbok, Waterbuck, Warthog, Giraffe, and Crocodile. The ride takes place at walking pace and is suitable for inexperienced riders. A guide accompanies guests. This option is offered in the afternoon and therefore guests may miss part of the morning’s touring.

TRAIN Guests rejoin the train at Impala station in South Africa from where it continues to Nasrec Station in Johannesburg

DAY 15 – PRETORIA / JOHANNESBURG / SOWETO
JOHANNESBURG
Gauteng Province is the economic powerhouse of the Southern African region and home to one of Africa’s great cities. The name Gauteng derives from the Sotho word meaning "Place of Gold" as much of the wealth of this province has come from this precious metal.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Pretoria and Soweto
In Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, guests visit the Voortrekker Monument, commemorating the “Great Trek” of the 1830s and is regarded as a shrine by many Afrikaners. We visit the home of Paul Kruger patriarch and president of the old South African Republic. The house has been restored to its original state. On view are various memorabilia including Kruger’s carriage and a Stinkwood trek wagon. Church Square, central point of the city and from which grew to its present size, is dominated by a grand bronze statue of “Oom Paul” surrounded by his boer fighters. Next we visit the Union Buildings where the offices of the President and Ministers are situated. This capitol building of South Africa was designed by the famous English architect, Sir Herbert Baker, and completed in 1913. This magnificent edifice overlooks the city, set in a valley and towards the once fortified hills to the east. We depart from Pretoria at around noon to Soweto where we visit the SOMOHO, a community project. The project undertakes waste recycling, energy efficiency and poverty alleviation in an urban setting. It has several working groups, each with their own unique focus, but all integrating the values of community, culture, environment and education into their programs. Lunch (guest’s own account). The last stop is at the Hector Petersen Square. The square was named after one the first students to be killed in 1976 rebellion - a moment movingly captured by camera. There is a monument in honour of Petersen

2. Soweto
Experience the heartbeat of this township, comprising 3,5 million people and made famous by the "Apartheid" laws. A drive over Bara Bridge affords a general view of Soweto (South Western Townships). We pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital (the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere) on our way to the historic home of Nelson Mandela. This is the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. The next stop is the Hector Petersen Square. The square was named after one the first students to be killed in the 1976 rebellion - a moment movingly captured by camera. There is a monument in honour of Petersen and his friends on the square. We also visit SOMOHO, a community project. The project undertakes waste recycling, energy efficiency and poverty alleviation in an urban setting. It has several working groups, each with their own unique focus, but all integrating the values of community, culture, environment and education into their programs. Lunch (guest’s own account. Departure time: 08h00 Distance travelled: 135 km.

TRAIN remains in Nasrec station overnight

DAY 16 – TRANSFER DAY
If guests are transferring to a hotel, this will be arranged for them between 09h00 and 11h00 am. If guests are flying from Johannesburg International Airport, their flight may only be this evening. In this case optional tours within the Johannesburg area may be taken.

SPECIALISED ACTIVITIES
Gold Reef City and Apartheid Museum
The first is a reconstruction of Johannesburg during the gold rush era, built around a gold mine. The Apartheid Museum opened in 2000 and offers rare insight into the rise and fall of the Apartheid era.
Gold Reef City and Lesedi Cultural Village
The first is a reconstruction of Johannesburg during the gold rush era, built around a gold mine. The latter is a multi-cultural African Village set among pristine bushveld and rocky hills. Experience the culture or four of South Africa’s major indigenous tribes the Xhosa, the Zulu, the Pedi and the Basotho.
Sandton City
This is truly South Africa’s premier shopping mall.
Lion Park, Rhino Park and Sterkfontein Caves
All of these interesting venues are on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Visit a Lion breeding project and see the rare white Timbavati lions, then rhinos in profusion and lastly the area known as the “Cradle of Man”, one of the world’s most important palaeontological sites


NORTHBOUND


PRE DAY – JOHANNESBURG
Having a “pre-day” means that one is able to acclimatize and unpack prior to the first day of touring.

SPECIALISED ACTIVITIES:
Gold Reef City and Apartheid Museum
The first is a reconstruction of Johannesburg during the gold rush era, built around a gold mine. The Apartheid Museum opened in 2000 and offers rare insight into the rise and fall of the Apartheid era.
Gold Reef City and Lesedi Cultural Village
The latter is a multi-cultural African Village set among pristine bushveld and rocky hills. Experience the culture or four of South Africa’s major indigenous tribes the Xhosa, the Zulu, the Pedi and the Basotho.
Sandton City This is truly South Africa’s premier shopping mall.
Lion Park, Rhino Park and Sterkfontein Caves
All of these interesting venues are on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Visit a Lion breeding project and see the rare white Timbavati lions, then rhinos in profusion and lastly the area known as the “Cradle of Man”, one of the world’s most important palaeontological sites

TRAIN - remains in Nasrec station overnight

DAY 01 – PRETORIA / JOHANNESBURG / SOWETO
Gauteng Province is the economic powerhouse of the Southern African region and home to one of Africa’s great cities. The name Gauteng derives from the Sotho word meaning "Place of Gold" as much of the wealth of this province has come from this precious metal.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Pretoria and Soweto
In Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, guests visit the Voortrekker Monument, commemorating the “Great Trek” of the 1830s and is regarded as a shrine by many Afrikaners. We visit the home of Paul Kruger patriarch and president of the old South African Republic. The house has been restored to its original state. On view are various memorabilia including Kruger’s carriage and a Stinkwood trek wagon. Church Square, central point of the city and from which grew to its present size, is dominated by a grand bronze statue of “Oom Paul” surrounded by his boer fighters. Next we visit the Union Buildings where the offices of the President and Ministers are situated. This capitol building of South Africa was designed by the famous English architect, Sir Herbert Baker, and completed in 1913. This magnificent edifice overlooks the city, set in a valley and towards the once fortified hills to the east. We depart from Pretoria at around noon to Soweto where we visit the SOMOHO, a community project. The project undertakes waste recycling, energy efficiency and poverty alleviation in an urban setting. It has several working groups, each with their own unique focus, but all integrating the values of community, culture, environment and education into their programs. Lunch (guest’s own account). The last stop is at the Hector Petersen Square. The square was named after one the first students to be killed in 1976 rebellion - a moment movingly captured by camera. There is a monument in honour of Petersen


2. Soweto
Experience the heartbeat of this township, comprising 3,5 million people and made famous by the "Apartheid" laws. A drive over Bara Bridge affords a general view of Soweto (South Western Townships). We pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital (the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere) on our way to the historic home of Nelson Mandela. This is the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. The next stop is the Hector Petersen Square. The square was named after one the first students to be killed in the 1976 rebellion - a moment movingly captured by camera. There is a monument in honour of Petersen and his friends on the square We also visit SOMOHO, a community project. The project undertakes waste recycling, energy efficiency and poverty alleviation in an urban setting. It has several working groups, each with their own unique focus, but all integrating the values of community, culture, environment and education into their programs. Lunch (guest’s own account). Departure time: 08h00 Distance travelled: 135 km.

TRAIN departs in the evening to Impala.

DAY 02 – SWAZILAND
The tiny kingdom of Swaziland covers only 17 000 square kilometres, making it the second smallest country in Africa.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Tour through Swaziland:
The drive to Mbabane affords majestic views of the Ezulwini Valley. Mbabane is a medium-sized town and the capital of Swaziland. Its market is a hive of activity and displays a wide variety of skilfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and the superb basketwork for which the Swazis are renowned. At the Ngwenya Glass Factory, one can watch imaginative, original glass pieces being created by craftsmen and at the Swazi Candle Factory, others make brightly decorated candles in many shapes and sizes. The National Museum is a pictorial and static display of Swazi history, customs, dress and family life. Departure time: 08h00 Distance travelled: 180 km

TRAIN Guests meet the train at Mpaka, Swaziland and travel to Maputo, Mozambique.

DAY 03 – MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, offers an exciting mix of culture and buildings reminiscent of trends set by African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions. The city swings along to a beat that is like no other in Africa. It enables you to experience true African Hospitality. Ancient Catholic churches rest side-by-side with Mosques and Fortresses, Victorian mansions and other places from a bygone era. It’s a city of contrasts and excitement that provides an ideal meeting point for social and business ventures.

TRAIN remains in Maputo station overnight.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. At the Beach
Guests are transferred to the ferry port for a ferry ride to Macaneta. On the beach at Macaneta, one can relax in the sun or go for a swim. Should you take a late afternoon stroll along the beach, you would be able to watch local fisherman net their catches. Lunch (guests own account) will be served at a restaurant specialising in Indian Ocean cuisine with an emphasis on the freshest seafood dishes prepared in traditional African-Portuguese ways. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 20 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY:
Dinner at a seafood restaurant

TRAIN remains in Maputo station overnight

DAY 04 – MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Tour of Maputo
Guests will get a good impression of the character of the city. A visit to the municipal market is followed by a stop at the old “Fortaleza” which dates back to 1769. Other interesting city sites include the Catholic Cathedral, the City Hall, Louis Trichardt Trek Memorial, Samora Machell Statue, the Jardim Tunduru (Botanical Gardens) and the Iron House (Casa de Ferro). The Polana Hotel, built in the 1920’s with its striking white exterior and stunning decor is the most well known landmark in the city. Lunch (guest’s own account) to be enjoyed at either at the Polana or at a restaurant in town Next we visit an art gallery where furniture and sculptures are made from decommissioned AK47 weapons. On the way to Costa do Sol. we stop at the largest market in the southern hemisphere. At Costa do Sol there is an opportunity to relax or a stroll on the beach. Return to the train in the late afternoon.. Departure time: 09h00 Distance travelled: 60 km

TRAIN departs from Maputo at 15h00 and travels to Komatipoort where it will overnight

DAY 05 – KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Kruger National Park The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that equals the best on the continent. This national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The Kruger National Park is 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. Departure time will depend on the season as gates open and close with the sun. Distance travelled: 220 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITIES
Bush Lodge: Departure from Komatipoort is early in the morning and the day is spent travelling through the Kruger National Park. Game viewing is done en route. Guests book into Bongani Mountain Lodge in the late afternoon. Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard and Buffalo populate the area. Bongani is also renowned for sheltering one of the world’s richest sources of San rock art – San artists painted hundreds of rock art friezes throughout the area, and today, in addition to game drives in Big Five wilderness, guest are able to explore this natural gallery, estimated to be 1 500 years old.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Lodge: An overnight at the Sabi Private Game Lodge can be arranged on request however bookings are subject to the availability of rooms. Prices are subject to confirmation at the time of booking.
Open Vehicle Safari: Guests are collected from the station. Game drives are conducted in open safari vehicles, specially designed to ensure safety as well as optimum game viewing. Guides have intimate knowledge of the area as well as the fauna and flora. Breakfast will be enjoyed at one of the many picnic spots in the park. Lunch (guest’s own account) will be at on of the Rest Camps in the park. Game viewing continues for the remainder of the afternoon. This tour departs at 05h30 Breakfast packs will be provided. Shangana Cultural Village: Midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, the residents of the traditional villages of the Shangaan invite guests to share in their way of life. The picturesque villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland. The Shangana Cultural Village has been created and built by local Shangaan people as a way of preserving a rich heritage and is an example of South Africa's great cultural diversity.
Local Pub in Town: A drink at a local pub (Hippo Hollow) could be an interesting experience. Departure from the train is at 20h00

TRAIN Guests rejoin the train at Hazyview where the train remains overnight.

DAY 06 – MPUMALANGA

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Kruger National Park The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that equals the best on the continent. This national park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The Kruger National Park is 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. Departure time will depend on the season as gates open and close with the sun. Distance travelled: 220 km

2. Nelspruit Nelspruit is considered the gateway to Mpumalanga province. With its sub-tropical climate and abundant sunshine the town forms an ideal base from which to explore. It is also the trading centre for the surrounding fruit growing area. The fertile soil and subtropical climate provide perfect conditions for the production of citrus and tropical fruits (mainly mango, banana, avocado, macadamia and pecan nuts). The Lowveld Botanical Gardens just outside the town has a rare collection of plant species and the first man-made rain forest. The nearby Sudwala caves, dinosaur park and cultural centre will expose your senses to primitive Africa. A short distance away is the gold mining town of Kaapsehoop where the mist filled evenings and a herd of wild horses grazing in the town transfers one to a world of yesterday. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 130 km

TRAIN remains stationary in Hazyview overnight

DAY 07 – PANORAMA ROUTE

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Panorama Route
Sabie is a small country town nestled in the majestic Drakensberg escarpment in Mpumalanga (Land of the Rising Sun) Province. Some of the well-known landmarks of the area are the Lone Creek Falls and the Mac-Mac Falls. A 25 m walk down to a cage brings guests to where they are able to observe the falls. Gold was found at the Mac-Mac falls in 1873 on the farm Geelhoutboom. We travel to the village of Pilgrims Rest a virtual living museum. The entire town has been declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873 and by 1875 there were 1500 diggers and Pilgrims Rest was declared a public diggings area. The Royal Hotel’s bar used to be a chapel in Cape Town and was brought to Pilgrims Rest via Lorenzo Marques (Maputo today). Today many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops. Moving along the escarpment to the a well known view site we observe the Blyde River Canyon 800 metres below. This gigantic gorge (26 km long) is carved from the face of the escarpment and is one of the natural wonders of Africa. Next come the Bourke’s Luck Potholes. These strange deep cylindrical cavities were formed by river erosion and the action of floodwater. Lastly, from the vantage of ‘God’s Window’ we can gaze across the vast sweep of the ‘Lowveld’ - where the excarpment drops to the plains that stretch away to the Indian Ocean. The air is delightfully cool and subtle fragrances of the low country rise up to merge with the crisp winds of the Highveld. Departure time: 08h00 Distance travelled: 280 km

TRAIN Guests rejoin the train at Hazyview for the overnight journey to Louis Trichardt

DAY 08 – SOUTPANSBERG AND VENDA

The vast Soutpansberg range of mountains, stretching in a mighty panorama from east to west across the northern reaches of the Limpopo Province, is unique in its splendour and beauty. The myths and legends of the people of the north are interwoven into the mist-shrouded peaks and crags. The trees, the plants, the animals and the ancient ruins of a people long gone, the rock engravings marking the passage of the San hunter-gatherers, create a fascinating insight into the area and its people.

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Arts & Crafts of the Area
This area is home to many active artists and crafters. The Pfuxanani Youth Centre is where unemployed youth have established their own paper factory, using recycled paper to produce various items such as notebooks, letterheads, envelopes, book covers and various other items. This is followed by a visit to the Tsonga Textile factory. Here the local women design and screen-print cloth and make items like jackets, linen, tablecloths, curtains and many more. They also sell pottery and woodcarvings. Mashamba Potters, under the watchful eye of Sarah Munyai, have become the leading potters in Limpopo Province. It is fascinating to see how they gather and prepare the clay from which they make beautiful pots. Lunch (guest’s own account) is taken at Clouds End. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 200 km

TRAIN train departs for Zimbabwe at 14h00

DAY 09 – GREAT ZIMBABWE

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Largest Monument in Africa South of the Pyramids
We travel from Rutenga through attractive granite hill country to Great Zimbabwe. Situated on the southeastern edge of the central plateau Great Zimbabwe is an impressive monument. It is the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids - a most celebrated achievement of the African people indeed. One strolls amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people and discover how they lived and how they mined gold and silver that was ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders. Magical fables such as the story of King Solomon’s Mines find their origins here. This tour is followed by lunch at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel (guest’s own account). After lunch, guests meet the train in Zvishavane (Banocburn station). Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 300 km

TRAIN travels to Bulawayo overnight

DAY 10 – BULAWAYO AND MATOBO NATIONAL PARK

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITIES
1. Matobo Hills and an Art Gallery
Matobo means “bald headed ones” and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. Highlights include a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave his name to Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was previously known, and an inspection of a bushman cave. There will be time for lunch (guest’s own account) before joining a tour of the Natural History Museum, which is one of the best of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Lastly, we take a drive through the city and visit an Art Gallery. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 150 km

2. Matobo Hills and a Railway Museum
Matobo means “bald headed ones” and aptly describes the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. Highlights include a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, who gave his name to Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was previously known, and an inspection of a bushman cave. There will be time for lunch (guest’s own account) before joining a tour of the Natural History Museum, which is one of the best of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Lastly, we take a drive through the city and visit the Railway Museum. Departure time: 08h30 istance travelled: 200 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Chipangali A visit to this famous wildlife orphanage gives insight into the plight of some of the wild animals.

TRAIN Travels to Dete station overnight

DAY 11 – MLIBIZI AND THE ZAMBEZI RIVER

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Life Styles and a Cruise on the Mlibizi
A local village is visited so that guests may experience the life style of the Ndebele and the Tonga peoples. We proceed to Simbala Primary School in Dete (if a weekday), before continuing to Mlibizi. Mlibizi is a scenic resort on the Zambezi River between Victoria Falls and Kariba. This part of the river is famous for its fighting Tiger Fish, Baobab trees and dramatic scenery. Lunch (guest’s own account) is taken here before embarking on a cruise upriver to Elephant Bay via the mouth of the Mlibizi River. A visit to Hwange Safari Lodge (including a cultural experience) is planned for the evening. Departure time: 08h30
Distance travelled: 180 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Overnight in the Hwange Reserve:
Guests have the opportunity to spend a night at a lodge in the Hwange Game Reserve area. We leave the train after breakfast and are transferred to the lodge. Two game drives (afternoon and morning) are included in the overnight stay. Lunch, dinner and breakfast are also included. Bookings are subject to the availability of rooms. Prices to be confirmed at the time of confirmation The transfer back to the train is on the afternoon of Day 12.

TRAIN remains in Dete station overnight

DAY 12 – HWANGE GAME RESERVE

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Zimbabwe’s premier National Park is known for its Lion population. Situated in the north western corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the nation’s largest wildlife area and contains a variety of animals and birds species. Covering 1 462 000 hectares, Hwange is roughly the same size as Belguim. An early morning game drive in the park is followed by breakfast at the Sikumi Tree Lodge. After a morning of game viewing, lunch (guest’s own account) will be at the Hwange Safari Lodge. There will be an opportunity to relax at the pool for a while before we resume our game viewing later in the afternoon. Departure time will depend on the opening time of the gate Distance travelled: 120 km


SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Walking Safari: A walking safari allows guests to walk through the game reserve in the company of an armed game ranger. These walks take place early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

TRAIN Departs for Victoria Falls this evening

DAY 13 – LIVINGSTONE (ZAMBIA)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Across the Falls and into Livingstone
Guests will cross the Zambezi River over the famous rail-road bridge. Our first stop is at the Zambian side of Victoria Falls before continuing to the town of Livingstone. Named for David Livingstone the Scottish visionary, who had an insatiable appetite for exploration and an a desire to open Africa to the world. The existence of the Falls had, of course, been known to local tribespeople and Livingstone upon hearing stories about “Mosi oa Tunya” - the smoke that thunders – arranged to be taken by dugout canoe and on November 16, 1855 he came to the northern end of what is now Livingstone island and from there crawled to the edge of the precipice and beheld the spectacle of the waterfall for the first time. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 70 km

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
Lunchtime Boat cruise:
A spectacular lunchtime cruise on the Zambezi including buffet lunch and drinks.

TRAIN Remains in Victoria Falls station overnight

DAY 14 – CHOBE NATIONAL PARK (BOTSWANA)

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. Chobe National Park
A 70 kilometer ride brings us to the Botswana border, where we cross into the famous Chobe Park. There is a great array of wildlife and the Chobe lions are well-respected as are the hippos in the river. Highlights include a game drive in 4x4 vehicles and a river cruise. Lunch (guest’s own account) will be taken at a waterfront lodge with a swimming pool. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 200 km

TRAIN Guests return to the train at the Victoria Falls station for dinner and overnight

DAY 15 – VICTORIA FALLS

TODAY’S OFF-RAIL ACTIVITY
1. The Victoria Falls
The falls form the largest single “curtain” of falling water on earth measuring 1708 m wide. On average the curtain is .92 m deep. The spray plume can rise to 500 m and can be seen from as far as 70 km away. In full flood, over 550 million litres of water per minute cascade over the brink. Because the falls are so wide, there are numerous safe vantage points provided from where you will be able to get various views of the falls and the roiling water as it crashes into the gorge and the constant plume of spray that maintains the Rain Forest. The forest is an attraction on its own and many of the trees are marked to help identification and include Fig, Mahogany, Date Palm, Milkwood and Ebony. The bird life is also prolific and species that may be seen include the colourful Sunbird and large Trumpeter Hornbill. The sound of the water can be heard from kilometres away and up close this muted ‘thunder’ becomes a roar. Departure time: 08h30 Distance travelled: 15 km

The afternoon is spent at leisure.

SPECIALISED ACTIVITIES
Flight of Angels:
A highlight of any visit to Victoria Falls is a trip in a light aircraft or helicopter over the Falls. Enjoy a bird's eye view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world in all its magical splendour.
Game viewing by canoe
Cruising the Zambezi for an up close look at the wildlife in the water and on shore.
White Water River Rafting:
Batoka Gorge provides one of the most intense sensory thrills imaginable. Its twenty-three white water rapids and striking scenery deep within the sheer black cliffs, afford the adrenaline junkie a wild roller coaster ride. The rapids are run in large rubber rafts, launched from just below the Falls.
Elephant riding:
Seated comfortably on the back of nature’s true “King of the Beast”, guests can experience an age-old African tradition. Be witness to this mutually enriching and rewarding relationship between man and elephant in a modern day Africa.
Bungie jumping from Livingstone bridge

TRAIN Remains at the Victoria Falls station overnight.

DAY 16 – TRANSFER DAY
If you are transferring to a hotel in the Victoria Falls area, this will be arranged for you between 9:00 - 11:00 am. Guests, who you are flying out of the Victoria Falls Airport, may have time on their hands (depending on flight departure time). In this case the Train Manager will be happy to discuss optional tours within the Victoria Falls area.

SPECIALISED ACTIVITY
As per day 15
as well as
Mercedes Sprinter
The use of a Mercedes Sprinter and guide for the day.

RELATED LINKS: @ Pictures @ Add Ons and information @ Train layouts @ Dates and rates @ Shongololo Good Hope @ Shongololo Dune Express @ Desert Express in Namibia @ Desert Express Northern Namibia tour @ Desert Express Southern Namibia tour @ TransNamib Railway museum and station in Windhoek @ First railway lines in Namibia @ Blue Train South Africa

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