As the train travels the length and breadth of the country, guests can enjoy the great variety of landscapes, shorelines, cultures and lifestyles that the “Rainbow Nation” has to offer.
Shongololo Express began operations in 1995 to provide a very special touring experience for visitors to Southern Africa. Shongololo tours traverse seven countries on the southern African continent: South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.
Each train carries a fleet of air-conditioned Mercedes Benz touring vehicles with professional guides on board (English, German, Dutch or French speaking) who are ready to take guests on inclusive scheduled tours to experience the unique sights of the area. For the more adventurous there are also tour add-ons from ballooning, to elephant riding to scuba diving available at many locations.
The chefs offer South African menus that include Cape Dutch and Malay recipes as well as authentic African dishes. Meals are complemented by a selection of delightful and distinguished South African wines. It is the aim and the pleasure of every staff member on board to provide you with friendly and efficient service.
Johannesburg pre-day: (pre-day is recommended at additional cost)
You will be met upon arrival at Johannesburg International Airport and transferred to the train. Having a pre-day means that one is able to acclimatise and unpack prior to the first day of touring. Specialised activities that could be undertaken, are depended on your arrival time at the train & if vehicles are available to take you on an excursion.
1. The Cradle of Humankind: Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves NB: This Tour departs the train at 09:30 (MIN 4 PAX). The Cradle of Humankind developments (the Maropeng Visitor Centre and Sterkfontein Caves) are a Blue IQ initiative. Our visit will start at Maropeng (Setswana for “returning to the place of origin”), the visitor centre at the Cradle of Humankind. An exciting 4-billion-years journey through the elemental forces - water and ice, air, fire and earth - is simulated on an underground lake. One emerges at the beginning of the world after dipping through waterfalls and icebergs, into the eye of a storm, past erupting volcanoes and through the depths of the earth. The journey continues through an experience that highlights the history of our world and humankind as a species. Real fossils are also on display. We continue on for a visit to the Sterkfontein Caves, 10 km away, most famous for the two world-renowned hominid finds, namely Mrs Ples in 1947 and Little Foot in 1997. Since excavations at the site first began, hundreds of hominid fossils as well as stone tools have been found here. The excavation of Little Foot and other fossils is an ongoing process at this still active fossil dig. The scientific exhibition here includes lifelike models of hominids as well as specific finds such as Mrs Ples, the Taung Child and Little Foot.
2. Lesedi Cultural Village: NB: This Tour departs the train at 09:30 (MIN 4 PAX). We visit this multi-cultural African Village set among pristine Bushveld and rocky hills. Experience the culture of five of South Africa’s major indigenous tribes: the Xhosa, Zulu, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele. Lunch will be included.
3. Apartheid Museum & The World of Beer: NB: This Tour departs the train at 11:00 (MIN 4 PAX). Start the day by visiting the Apartheid Museum exhibiting a variety of photos, videos and other media dating back to the political regime in South Africa until 1994. The World of Beer situated in the heart of central Johannesburg & makes a great lunch stop with a guided tour & beer tasting. The tour offers you a walk through time & how important Beer as a staple diet is to the African continent. Lunch is for guests’ own account. The option includes the transfer, the entrance fee to the Apartheid Museum & the World of Beer guided tour with a tasting
4. East Rand Mall or Emperors Palace: NB: This shuttle departs the train on every hour on the hour & returns on every half hour, departing from the train at 12:00 & the last bus departs the centre at 15:30 back to the train. A modern shopping centre where you will be able to do your FOREX exchange at one of the many banks & draw cash from an ATM. Last minute buying of supplies at a supermarket, pharmacy, stationery store, etc. The centre has a good selection of restaurants for your lunch opportunity. Emperors Palace is a mini Las Vegas experience here in Africa, also with a lot of restaurant opportunities. A pre-night on board will include dinner, bed & breakfast.
The train stays overnight at Germiston Reef Steamers Yard - Johannesburg.
Day 1: Pretoria/Johannesburg/Soweto
Gauteng is the economic powerhouse of the Southern African region and home to some of Africa’s greatest cities. The name of the province derives from the Sotho word meaning “Place of Gold”, which is very suitable since much of the wealth of Gauteng has come from this precious metal.
1. Pretoria and Soweto: We will spend the morning in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. We visit the Union Buildings, housing the offices of the President and Ministers designed by the famous colonial English architect, Sir Herbert Baker, and completed in 1913. The buildings overlook the city towards the once fortified hills to the south. A grand bronze statue of “Oom Paul (Kruger)”, the patriarch president of the ZAR or old Transvaal Republic, surrounded by his Boer fighters, dominates Church Square, central point of the city. Before leaving the capital behind, we visit the Voortrekker Monument that commemorates the “Great Trek” of the 1830s. In the afternoon we travel to Soweto to visit the Hector Petersen Memorial, named after one of the first students to be killed in the 1976 uprising against the Apartheid government.
2. Johannesburg and Soweto: Our day starts at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein in the centre of Johannesburg. This is the new home of the Constitutional Court and the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex, where many of South Africa’s leading political activists were detained. We then head onto the Newtown precinct to visit Museum Africa previously known as the market of Johannesburg. This is all part of the history of the “City of Gold”. This is followed by a lunch break (guests’ own account) in the suburb of Rosebank, where you can experience the multi-cultural “Rainbow Nation” in a modern, yet ethnocentric setting. Rosebank shows you the mix of first and third world cultures and showcases arts and crafts from all over the African continent. In the afternoon, we travel to Soweto to experience the heartbeat of this township, comprising one million people and made famous by the Apartheid laws. We pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere) and also drive past the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Peace Laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. We visit the Hector Petersen Memorial, named after one of the first students to be killed in the 1976 uprising against the Apartheid government.
The train travels overnight to Ngodwana.
Day 2: Panorama Route
Visit the village of Pilgrim’s Rest & Blyde River Canyon or Kruger NP. The world-renowned Panorama Route is situated in the province of Mpumalanga, which means “Land of the Rising Sun”. It is a province of extraordinary natural beauty.
1. Panorama Route: WWe visit the village of Pilgrim’s Rest, a living museum and declared National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873, attracting 1500 prospectors. Today, many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops. Further along the escarpment we find the great Blyde River Canyon, a gorge of 26 km long and 800 m deep, carved from the face of the escarpment. The Three Rondavels present an unforgettable view of three huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon, looking like African huts. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. From the vantage point of God’s Window we gaze across sweeps of the Lowveld, where subtle fragrances of the lower region rise to merge with the crisp winds of the Highveld.(Full day; distance travelled: approx370 km)
2. Kruger National Park: TThe world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that equals the best anywhere. Its 2 million hectares are unrivalled in diversity of life forms and the park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The 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, including the Big 5. Game drives will be conducted in our Shongololo busses. (Full day; departure time depends on the season, as gates open and close with sunrise and sunset; distance travelled: approx220 km)
1. Open Vehicle Safari: Game drives are conducted in open safari vehicles, specifically designed to ensure safety as well as optimum game viewing. Guides have intimate knowledge of the fauna and flora. Lunch (guests’ own account) will be at one of the camps in the park. Game viewing continues for the remainder of the afternoon.
2. Protea Kruger Gate Lodge: You will be taken by your Shongololo Guide to the Lodge situated on the boundary of the Kruger National Park on the banks of the Sabie River. Check in & relax. Your Safaris Direct guide will meet you and take you on an open vehicle game drive, returning at sunset, just before the gates close. This package includes an afternoon game drive, dinner & overnight at The Lodge, an early morning game drive followed by breakfast. After breakfast, check out & continue on your game drive through the Kruger National Park, rejoining the train at approximately 16h30 (Bookings subject to availability)
3. Private Game Reserve: You will join the rest of the group for a morning game drive (in our air-conditioned vehicle) through the south of the Kruger National Park. Late morning (at around 11h00) you will be transferred to the luxury lodge, situated in a private game reserve, where a lunch will await you. After a siesta, followed by coffee and cake, you will depart on a sunset safari, in search of the Big Five. Encounters with all spheres of the eco-system, from the smallest insect to the mighty African elephant, are possible. After sundowner drinks in the bush you will return to the lodge, where a delightful dinner awaits you. Early the next morning (just before sunrise) you will be woken to depart on an open vehicle game drive to experience the African fauna at its most active. A mouth-watering breakfast will round off your experience, after which you will be taken back to the train. (Bookings subject to availability).
4. Mountain Lodge: Guests will be transferred to the Mountain lodge in the late morning by the Shongololo Express Guides. This area is well known for the Rhino, Elephant, Leopard and Buffalo that populate the area. This package also includes an afternoon game drive, dinner and an overnight at the lodge, an early morning game drive followed by breakfast. After breakfast, check out & continue on your drive through the Kruger National Park, rejoining the train and the rest of the group.
Guests return to the train in Kaapmuiden to overnight.
Day 3: Kruger National Park
The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that equals the best anywhere. Its 2 million hectares are unrivalled in diversity of life forms and the park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The 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 Including the big 5. Game drives will be conducted in our air-conditioned vehicles. (Full day; departure time depends on the season, as gates open and close with sunrise and sunset; distance travelled: approx220 km)
Open Vehicle Safari Game drives Game drives are conducted in open safari vehicles, specifically designed to ensure safety as well as optimum game viewing. Guides have intimate knowledge of the fauna and flora. Lunch (guests’ own account) will be at one of the rest camps in the park. Game viewing continues for the remainder of the afternoon.
Guests rejoin the train in Kaapmuiden. The train remains stable in Kaapmuiden.
Day 4: Swaziland
Discover Africa’s smallest kingdom and its villages. The tiny Kingdom of Swaziland covers only 17 000 square kilometres, making it the second smallest country in Africa.
1. Swaziland NB: YOU WILL NEED YOUR PASSPORT FOR THIS DAY’S TOUR. This day in Swaziland will introduce you to everyday life in Africa’s smallest kingdom. The days drive will commence from Kaapmuiden to the Jeppes Reef border post. After the passport formalities, continue the tour through the Komati River Valley with its panoramic views to the famous glassworks of Ngwenya. The drive now takes us through the capital city Mbabane to the Swazi National Museum with the exhibits of the King Sobhuza. The lunch stop is followed at Mantenga Lodge (guest’s own account). In the afternoon a drive through the Ezulwini Valley passing the Ludzidzini Royal residence to the colourful candle craft market Swazi Candles. Heading east the road takes us to Manzini where guests will experience the Swazi market. The Swazi Market is a hive of activity and displays a wide variety of skillfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazis are renowned. We then rejoin the train the train at Mpaka station is. Before boarding the train we need to present ourselves to the Immigration officials to stamp out of the Kingdom. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 280 km)
Rejoin the train in Mpaka. The train travels overnight to Golela.
Day 5:Northern Zululand
Explore Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve once the Royal Hunting grounds of King Shaka.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park: An early departure to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve will get us into the park to experience wildlife magic. The park lies in the heart of Zululand where ancient trails lead through the thorn veld and along the mighty rivers of Africa’s oldest established wilderness area. Once the exclusive royal hunting ground of King Shaka, it is a tapestry of natural and cultural history. The park is a treasure store of species including Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu, Bushbuck, Cheetah, Hyena and many others. Over 300 bird species have been recorded. Game drives will be conducted in our vehicles. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 250 km)
Guests rejoin the train in Empangeni. The train remains stationery for the night.
Day 6: Zululand
iSimangaliso Wetland Park - St Lucia & Zulu Cultural Experience: In the morning guests will depart to visit the St Lucia Wetlands, declared a World Heritage Site, here we will take a cruise on the St Lucia Estuary, looking for hippos, crocodiles, and a large variety of water birds. After lunch we’ll drive to Bushlands & Dumazulu to undergo a guided tour of a Zulu Cultural Village. (Full day; Distance travelled: approx 180 km)
1. St Lucia Boat Based Whale Tours: Every year from about June to December these large mammals visit our coastal waters. This is a great opportunity not to be missed. From just 50 metres from the boat you can feel the wind rushing out of the huge lungs of Southern Right and Humpback Whales as they spray a fine vapour of salt water into the air. (Please note that the ski boat is launched from the beach so this activity is not recommended for the elderly guests). (Afternoon activity from St Lucia)
Guests return to the train at Empangeni. The train travels overnight to Durban.
Day 7: Durban
We recommend that you opt for an excursion today, as the train will go into the yard for inspection & service. A city tour of Durban or get in touch with your spiritual side or visit Umgeni Bird Park and visit the famous surf beaches of Durban.
1. Durban City Tour: Durban is the third largest city of South Africa and enjoys great importance due to its industry and its very large port. Thanks to the subtropical climate and the long stretches of beautiful beaches large numbers of “inlanders” retreat to Durban in winter. An orientation tour of the city will allow you to see a very good mix of old and new, East and West with a touch of Africa. We will drive along the “Golden Mile” promenade where numerous hotels and restaurants are situated. A visit to the Victoria Market will also be included. At the end of the morning we will drop you at either the botanical gardens or at uShaka Marine World, Africa’s largest marine theme park, where you can have lunch and spend your afternoon (all entrances and lunch for your own account). You will be picked up again at an arranged time later in the afternoon. (Morning; distance travelled: approx 50 km)
2. Durban Spiritual Tour: Guests depart for Mariannhill to visit the monastery for a guided tour and to spend time in this beautiful, tranquil setting. This is followed by a short visit to the Hari Krishna “Temple of Understanding”, before returning to the city for lunch (guests’ own account). We visit Phoenix, the spiritual settlement created by Mahatma Gandhi, before returning to Durban, the centre of Indian culture in South Africa, with its vast array of Hindu, Sufi and Muslim temples. You will see the Juma Musjid, the largest mosque in South Africa, whose twin minarets are a striking city feature, as well as the most opulent Hindu structure in the Southern Hemisphere - the Kendra Hindu Temple and Community Centre.(Full day; distance travelled: approx 150 km)
3. Umhlanga Rocks Beach Day: Spend a day on the beach, or if you choose, we could take you shopping in the late afternoon at the nearby Gateway Shopping Centre, before returning to pick up the beach-goers and return to the train after a laid-back day in the sun.
Guests return to the train in Durban and overnight.
Day 8: Midlands/Southern Drakensberg
Guests now head towards the eastern jagged peaks called the Drakensberg, follow the waterways as they drop and cascade down mountain clefts, and through hidden valleys and the tumbling luscious hills that extend through the Midlands.
1. Battlefields: One is able to trace the course of the Anglo Boer War by visiting the Siege Museum as well as sites of famous battles such as Spioenkop. Other highlights include Wagon Hill, where British and Boers suffered heavy losses. The site of the battle was proclaimed a National Monument in 1938. Visitors also gain insight into the early lives of Winston Churchill and Ghandi. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 300 km)
2. Midlands Meander: The famous Midlands Meander in KwaZulu-Natal is a unique mix of more than 160 places to eat, drink, sleep, shop, play and generally have fun. Started many years ago as a voluntary collection of crafters, who wondered if they could attract visitors to leave the beaten track and explore their studios and galleries, the Midlands Meander has grown into an eclectic and fascinating mix of arts and crafts, world-class restaurants and homely comforts. It offers a wide range of sporting, environmental and historical pursuits. Physical, culinary or cerebral, there is no limit to the experiences you will find here. Among your stops will be a visit to the Howick Falls as well as beer tasting (Pickled Pig, Pie Eyed Possum, Whistling Weasel) at the Nottingham Road Brewing Company a micro brewery.(Full day; distance travelled: approx 280 km)
3. Southern Drakensberg Birding Trail: We travel through the Midland’s of KZN and into the foothills of the Drakensberg to Bulwer in the Southern Drakensberg region. We will then do a guided walk in Pursers Bush an indigenous forest dominated by Yellowwood trees. It is the habitat of the rare Cape Parrot (350 of the 800 left in the world live here). Many different bird species, such as the Sakabula, Bald Ibis and Grey Crown Crane could be spotted here. Lunch will be served along the board walk (for guests’ own account) in the company of the unofficial mayor and long time resident of Bulwer. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 300 km)
4. Drakensberg Hiking Trail: The hike takes place in the Cobham region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site, shortly after starting out you will walk through a Mcheche forest the last of the woody plants as you head towards the tree line, en route your guide will point out flowering plants in season, marvel at the Clarence Sandstone Formations and begin to get an understanding of the geology of the area, and keeping an eye out for the wildlife of the area. You make your way along a clear mountain stream to Boundary Rocky, where Captain Allen Gardiner and Wagon Master Dick King had to abandon their mission of finding a direct route through the mountains from Durban to Cape Town. Here you have the opportunity to view Bushman rock art and swim in the pools. On the return journey stop of at the Bushman’s workshop, where the materials where collected and primitive tools where made, a visit to Allan’s Shelter where mysteriously the paints are on the ceiling of the shelter, a short walk and you’re back at the reception area have completed a 8.5 kilometer hike. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 300 km)
Sani Pass / Lesotho: NB: YOUR PASSPORT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS ACTIVITY! Our vehicles will take you to the town of Underberg from where you will board other vehicles that will take you up the magnificent Sani Pass. Starting at 1540 metres above sea level you will follow the deep valley incised by the Mkhomazana River summit at 2873 m - with almost 1000 m climbed in the last 8 km of your trip. This is the only road link between KwaZulu-Natal and the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. After reaching the summit, travel a little way into Lesotho to the village of Skierring, visit one of the family dwellings and sample the traditional bread and beer of these hardy mountain people. After a packed lunch we will turn around for the spectacular descent and return to Underberg. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 350 km)
Guests rejoin the train in Ladysmith, during the night the train travels to Bloemfontein
Day 9: Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is the seat of the South African judicial system. At the end of the 19th century it was also the capital of one of the old Boer republics, namely the Orange Free State. Kimberley is the capital city of the Northern Cape, well known of the Big Hole and the discovery of the diamonds that led to the establishment of the city in 1893.
1. Bloemfontein City Tour & drive to Kimberley: After Breakfast guest embark on Buses and tour Bloemfontein, Guests visit the Women’s Memorial at the Anglo-Boer War Museum. This monument is a reminder of life in the concentration camps and commemorates the 27 000 women and children who died in these camps. The Museum shows graphically the hardship endured by all. An orientation drive follows through Bloemfontein known as the Rose City, and the capital of the Free State province. Our lunch stop is at the Loch Logan Waterfront, Lunch (guests’ own account). After lunch guests take a drive to Kimberly to rejoin the train. (Afternoon; distance travelled: approx 330 km)
2. Drive by road to Kimberley for City TourAfter Breakfast guests embark on buses for a drive to Kimberley. Highlights in Kimberley include a visit to the Big Hole Diamond Mine Museum, followed by a lunch break at one of the restaurants in the city. After lunch we visit the William Humphrey Art Gallery and the Macgregor House Museum. Later in the afternoon we’ll be joining the train at the Kimberley station for the overnight run to Worcester.(Afternoon; distance travelled: approx 330 km)
3.Train ride to Kimberly for Afternoon City TourAfter breakfast guests remain onboard the train as it journeys to Kimberley, On our arrival at Kimberley Station we’ll have a lunch break at one of the restaurants in the city. Thereafter we’ll be visiting The Big Hole Diamond Mine Museum. Thereafter rejoin the train for the overnight run to Worcester. (Afternoon; distance travelled: approx 10 km)
The train travels overnight to Worcester
Day 10: WINELANDS / OVERBERG REGION
The fertile green valleys of the Cape Winelands are surrounded by proud mountain ranges. A Mediterranean climate and winter rainfall create some of the best wines in the world. The rich, fertile soils along the Breede River and the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl areas have become justly famous for their Whites, Reds, Sherries, Ports and Brandies. The Overberg region to the southeast embraces mountains, valleys and coastal areas and annually welcomes the Southern Right Whale to its waters.
1. Historic Heart of the Winelands: Our day starts with a drive to Franschhoek via Villiersdorp and the Franschhoek Pass, which offers splendid views over vineyards, plantations and rugged peaks. In Franschhoek (literally meaning “French Corner”) we visit the Huguenot Memorial, commemorating the 1688 settlement of the French Huguenots here after fleeing religious persecution in France. We continue our journey over the Hellshoogte Pass through a landscape of fruit farms, Cape Dutch houses and vineyards. In Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in the country, situated in the heart of the Winelands, we enjoy our lunch break (guests’ own account). In the afternoon we drive to Paarl, named after the huge granite dome of rock overlooking the town. One wine tasting is included in this excursion. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 260 km)
2. Scenic Mountain Passes and Hermanus: We travel over scenic mountain passes such as the Rooihoogte and Floorshoogte Passes and via the Overberg towns of Villiersdorp and Botrivier to Hermanus, once a renowned fish market and whaling station. The whale hunts were stopped by international treaty in 1935. During the Whale season (roughly from July to November each year) the natural cliffs allow for Whales to be seen from as close as 5 metres away. The WWF includes Hermanus in its list of 12 best whale-viewing sites in the world, but it tops the list when it comes to land based whale watching. In the afternoon we travel on the coastal road past Betty’s Bay and onto Clarence Drive towards the Mother City to meet the train. One wine tasting is included in this excursion. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 280 km)
Whale Watching Boat Cruise (Hermanus): Every year from about July to November watch the magnificent Southern Right Whales within 50 meters from the boat. (Can be combined with Option 2 above and is weather dependent)
Day 11-12: Cape Town
Cape Town is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world with Table Mountain dominating its skyline.
(Please Note: The activities below are executed depending on the weather, but will be covered in Day 11 and 12).
Cape Point: We will visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which are world-renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora and for the magnificent setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. The estate of 528 hectares supports a diverse fynbos flora and natural forest. This is followed by a visit to Hout Bay, where a large fleet of colourful fishing vessels enhance the bustling ambience of this attractive resort. Fresh seafood is a speciality at Mariner’s Wharf. Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular sea cliff routes in the world. It was built between 1915 and 1922 and recently upgraded. We follow this drive to Simon’s Town. In years gone by, sailing fleets from Europe soon discovered that Table Bay was extremely dangerous during the winter months. While exploring, Governor Simon van der Stel discovered the bay, which could give safe anchor to the visiting sailing ships during winter. Simon’s Town is a charming little coastal town. It became a naval base in 1814 and is home to the SA Navy today. A visit to the Boulder’s Penguin Colony will form part of this option as well. In 1983 a pair of African Penguins was spotted on Foxy Beach at Boulders and in 1985 they began to lay eggs. Since then the colony has grown rapidly, increasing initially at about 60% a year. By 1997 there were 2 350 adult birds. They are remarkably untroubled by people and Boulders is the only place in the world where one can actually swim amongst the penguins. This day will not be complete without a visit to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Sir Francis Drake called it “the fairest cape in the whole circumference of the earth”. Yet many vessels, wrecked by the turbulent seas, have found their resting-place along this rocky coastline. The Nature Reserve is situated at the southern tip of the peninsula. The 7 675 hectare reserve is filled with priceless indigenous flora and fauna, some 2 700 species of indigenous plants and over 250 species of birds as well as troops of baboons and many species of antelope. (Full day; distance travelled:approx180 km)
Cape Town City Tour: Our city tour will commence with an exhilarating cable car ascent of Table Mountain (weather permitting and at your own cost). It provides breathtaking views over the city and its beaches. The panorama stretches from Table Bay to False Bay and around the mountain to the Hottentots Holland Mountains. The mountain is home to over 1 500 species of plants, many of these are found nowhere else on earth. Our city tour continues with a walk through the Company Gardens, followed by a visit to the Bo-Kaap Museum. The first Malays arrived in the Cape as political refugees and slaves during the 17th century. Nearly two centuries later after emancipation, these Islamic people moved into the area known today as the Bo-Kaap, building mosques with picturesque minarets and their own style Georgian houses with Dutch influence. One of the oldest Cape Town buildings houses the museum. It is furnished as a Muslim house of the 19th century and documents the history of the Cape Malays. On our way to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, we will stop at Diamond Works, where you will follow a tour of the diamond cutting studio, a jewellery manufacturing workshop, a jewellery design studio as well as a gemmological laboratory. Our lunch stop (guests’ own account) will be at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a development that has brought new life to the old harbour of the Dutch East India Company in Table Bay. The complex offers shops, craft markets, restaurants, taverns, cinemas, theatres as well as delightful views over the harbour. In the afternoon we will drive through District 6. By 1900 the largest group of people then referred to as “Malay”, “Mixed and other” or “Coloured” lived in poor conditions here. Yet the area was vibrant and full of colour with busy streets and vivacious lifestyles. Various religions and cultural heritages flourished and mingled. In the 40s the Apartheid government removed the residents and most of the buildings. Today the city still grapples with the problem of what to do with this valuable real estate, but also with how to deal with the strong emotions that still charge the issue. We end our city tour with a visit to the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving building in South Africa. This pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 as a maritime replenishment station for the ships of the Dutch East India Company. The stone walls between the bastions are 150 m long and 12 m high. (Full day; distance travelled: approx 90 km)
OPTIONAL EXTRAS: (The below Specialised Activities can only be done on the day of the Cape Town City Tour excursion)
1. Two Oceans Aquarium: The Aquarium is located at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and offers an exciting insight into the indigenous fresh and seawater creatures of South Africa.
2. Robben Island Tour: For nearly 400 years Robben Island was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. During the Apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known as the place where Nelson Mandela and the other heroes of the struggle were imprisoned.
3. Helicopter Flight: Various helicopter flight options from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and back, starting from only 15 minutes long (including only the city bowl) to half an hour or longer (also including the Cape Peninsula) are offered.
4. Table Mountain: Experience an awesome ride up Table Mountain in a cable car. The view from the top of Table Mountain is spectacular. This activity is weather dependent.
5. Shark Cage Diving - Gansbaai: Participants will be picked up in Cape Town early in the morning and taken to Gansbaai, where their encounter with the “Great White” awaits them. Divers will be briefed about caging procedures before the cage is put down into the water. Once the first shark is spotted, the bait lines are drawn in and everybody has the opportunity to view and admire this magnificent predator of the sea. (Full day, either Cape Town city or the Peninsula tour will not be possible if this option is chosen, weather dependent)
The train remains stationary in Cape Town for two nights. On all evenings while stabled an evening shuttle service will be available to go to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Day 13: Transfer Day
If guests are transferring to a hotel, this will be arranged for them in the morning. If guests are flying from Cape Town International Airport, their flight may only be in the afternoon. In this case a shuttle service into the city will be available to do extra shopping or undertake one of those Specialised Activities that could not be done in the last two days.
Each train has its own bar, dining and accommodation carriages. As in any hotel, bedding and towels are provided and cabins are serviced daily. All cabins have storage space, hand basins with running water, plug points and a room safe.
Ivory Class: twin beds or a single bed (coupe) with fan. Shared bathroom facilities with a shower and two toilets per carriage.
Gold Class: semi bunk style twin beds with private bathroom, air-conditioning.
Commodore Class: twin beds with private bathroom, air-conditioning.
Emerald Class: twin or double beds with private bathroom, small lounge area, air-conditioning and hairdryer.