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Shongololo Express FAQs

Shongololo Express Observation Car 
Shongololo Express FAQs

Contents

Shongololo Express FAQs

Shongololo Express FAQs - Questions answered about the Shongololo Express.

UPDATED 5 FEBRUARY 2019

Shongololo Express FAQs Contact

Contact the Club to book or for more information about these Shongololo Express FAQs.


Accounts

Guests will be requested to sign for on-board purchases throughout the trip. This includes signing for drinks, optional extras and purchases of a personal nature etc. All accounts are to be settled on the evening before departure. Please note that drinks purchased on the last night of the trip will be settled on a ‘cash bar’ basis. Accounts may be settled by means of: South African Rand, major foreign currencies or credit cards. Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.

Air Conditioning: Is there Air Con on Shongololo Express?

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

Amenities

We provide a complete amenity bag – available in your en-suite bathroom cupboard – with the following South African products: soap (25g), tissues, shampoo (50ml), conditioner (50ml), bath and shower gel (50ml), hand and body lotion (50ml), hand sanitiser (30ml), vanity kit, small sewing kit and a shower cap.

Pre and Post: Do you need my pre- and post-travel details?

It is very important that we have your arrival and departure details. The train will be located at the following stations at the start or end of trips: Cape Town Station; Rovos Rail Station in Capital Park, Pretoria; Victoria Falls Station; Walvis Bay Station.

Banks / ATMs: Are there banks and ATMs on the Shongololo Express route?

Banks and ATMs can be found in most of the towns we travel through. Should you wish to go into a bank or foreign exchange provider, a nominal transportation fee will be levied.

Bar: When is the Shongololo Express bar open?

The bar is open daily from early in the morning until midnight.

Child Policy: What is child policy on Shongololo Express?

We do accommodate children over 2 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 child-minding facilities or activities available for children on board.

Corkage: Is corkage charged on the Shongololo Express?

Since the Shongololo Express is a licensed establishment, a corkage fee applies: R150 per bottle of wine and spirits and R20 per can/bottle of minerals and water. If you have special requests for liquor, please notify us in advance. The Shongololo Express will aim to provide the requested brand.

Currency: What currency is needed on Shongololo Express?

South Africa – Rands only. We accept all major credit cards on the train.

Outside of South Africa – Rands are accepted in Namibia and Swaziland. US Dollars are accepted in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Cash is highly recommended. Hotels and major dealers accept credit cards.

US Dollars printed before year 2009 or that look worn will not be accepted. Low denominations recommended for shopping/gratuities. Larger denominations recommended for exchanging money to local currency as you get a better rate.

Diets: What about special diets on Shongololo Express?

We will do our best to cater for dietary requirements provided a detailed request has been made at that time of your reservation. If a special request has not been made, the chefs will endeavour to prepare suitable meals with the ingredients available on board. We regret we are unable to prepare meals requiring strict religious observance in the preparation.

Dining: What is on-board dining like on Shongololo Express?

The dining carriages are air-conditioned and non-smoking. The total seating capacity is 72 and dress code for meal times is casual. Meals on board are served in one sitting only in the dining cars. Breakfast: 07:00-09:00 • Lunch: 13:00 • Tea: 16:30 • Dinner: 19:30.

Bar service 07:00-01:00. All meals are served at these times unless otherwise stated in the timetable. A gong heralds lunch and dinner.

Dress Code: What is the dress code on the Shongololo Express?

The atmosphere on board is relaxed so casual clothing is recommended. For off-train excursions we strongly recommend comfortable walking shoes, sun lotion and hats. If required, blankets and rain capes are available. Game drives are on open vehicles so please dress accordingly: mornings can be cool then warm up considerably; afternoons can be warm then cool down considerably. Please see average temperatures as a guide.

Drinking Water: Is tap water safe to drink on Shongololo Express?

We strongly advise against drinking the water in the cabins or bathrooms. Bottled water can be purchased from the bar. Each cabin receives a complimentary 1-litre bottle of water per day.

Electricity: What is the electrical power supply on Shongololo Express?

220V AC 50Hz 3-point round-pronged wall plugs and 110V/220V 2-pin plugs for shavers and chargers. International adaptors available. A generator supplies power. Please be aware that certain breaks in power are necessary when servicing is required.

Expenses: How do I pay for on-board expenses on the Shongololo Express?

Guests will be requested to sign for on-board purchases throughout the trip. This includes signing for drinks, additional excursions, optional extras, purchases of a personal nature etc. All accounts are to be settled on the evening before departure. Please note that drinks purchased on the last night of the trip will be settled on a ‘cash bar’ basis. Accounts may be settled by means of: South African Rand, major foreign currencies or credit cards. Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.

Game Drives: What about the game drives on the Shongololo Express?

Game drives are carried out in open 4x4 safari vehicles. We recommend warm clothing as the early mornings and evenings can become rather chilly. Some safari vehicles do not have a shade cover so a hat and sun block is essential.

Shongololo Express FAQs Contact

Contact the Club to book or for more information about these Shongololo Express FAQs.

Gift Shop / Administration

There is a small gift shop on the train and at Rovos Rail Station. Due to the varying exchange rates, credit cards are preferred. The host/ess on duty has a basic First Aid kit and personal essentials (toothbrushes, razors, earplugs etc.). He/she will also fulfil any administrative requirements and check your onward arrangements.

Gratuities / Tipping

Gratuities for the staff are at your discretion. If you wish to show your appreciation in this manner, there will be a suitably marked envelope in your cabin that you can hand directly to the Train Manager who will distribute any amounts on a pro-rata basis (share) among the staff on board. An amount between ZAR100-200 (±US$10-20) per person per night is suggested, depending on the length of your journey.

Guest Fitness: How fit should I be for the Shongololo Express?

All guests are solely responsible for ensuring they are physically and mentally capable of undertaking the tour and activities.

Hairdryers: Are there hairdryers on the Shongololo Express?

Hairdryers are supplied in each cabin.

Heating: Is there heating on the Shongololo Express?

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

Internet: Is there internet on the Shongololo Express?

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

Laundry: is there a laundry service on the Shongololo Express?

There is a LIMITED laundry service on board comprising household washers, dryers and steam irons. The turnaround is 48 hours so we are not able to handle a week’s worth of laundry. There are no dry-cleaning facilities en route or on board the train. Items start at R10.00.

Library: is there a library on the Shongololo Express?

A small library is in the smoking lounge. Guests are free to make use of the books and guidebooks, but kindly return them before the end of the trip.

Linen & Towels: When is linen changed on the Shongololo Express?

Bed linen is changed every third day and towels are changed every second day. Extra pillows and blankets are available on request.

Locomotion

Use of steam has become increasingly difficult over the years as more and more water and coaling facilities have been scrapped. Diesel or electric locomotives are used while steam is used in and around the area of Rovos Rail Station only.

Luggage: What luggage space is available on the Shongololo Express?

It is possible to store luggage in your cabin under the bed or above the door, depending on the category of accommodation you are in. It is not recommended to bring excess luggage as space is limited.

Observation & Bar Cars: Details of the Observation & Bar Cars of the Shongololo Express?

Accommodating approximately 40 guests each, the observation and bar carriages have the following features: Air-conditioned, non-smoking, casual dress code.

Mail: Is there a mail service on the Shongololo Express?

Mail can be sent via the post box in the lounge area or handed to the Assistant Train Manager. Wherever possible, mail is posted daily except when in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. If you do not have stamps, please put your cabin number where the stamp will be affixed and this will be charged to your cabin.

Magazines, Maps and Games

There are board games, playing cards, a card table (dependent), books and magazines available for your use in the lounge and observation cars while on board. In your cabin is a map, itinerary and the Journeys magazine featuring articles of interest related to the route. If the map supplied is not comprehensive enough you may purchase a more detailed map from the Gift Shop.

Shongololo Express FAQs Contact

Contact the Club to book or for more information about these Shongololo Express FAQs.

Maintenance: Who is the on-train help for the Shongololo Express?

Should you discover that something in your carriage or cabin does not work, please advise the Train Manager in order for it to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Medical Assistance and Precautions: How do I get medical help on the Shongololo Express?

First-aid boxes are carried on board as well as first-aid equipment, although limited medical facilities are available in some areas. We therefore request that the Train Manager be immediately advised of any possible medical requirements in order to assist effectively.

All guests are solely responsible for ensuring they are capable of undertaking the tours and activities. Please inform us at the time of your reservation if you have any medical conditions, physical disabilities or allergies.

Anti-malarial precautions are recommended. Malaria areas: Swaziland, Kruger Park, Northern Botswana, Zimbabwe and Etosha. Recommended immunisations (not required): Hepatitis A + B, Polio, Tetanus, Cholera (low risk).

A Yellow Fever/Medical Exemption Certificate is essential if travelling to/from Tanzania, DRC and Angola. Although all countries travelled through don’t require this, countries guests return to after the trip often require them.

Please consult your clinic or doctor. TRAVEL DOCTOR AFRICA local 0861 300 911 or international +27 (0) 11 214 9030.

Mobile Devices and Internet

In maintaining the spirit of train travel there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your cabins only. The reception is poor while the train is moving. It is advised to contact your service provider to ensure the correct settings for network services are activated. WiFi is available at our lounges in Cape Town and Pretoria and at most off-train accommodation (although not always guaranteed).

Passports and Visas: Do I need a visa for travel on the Shongololo Express?

The onus is upon the client to ensure that passports and visas, as may be required, are valid prior to departure for Africa. On the various journeys we travel through South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. Some nationalities are eligible to purchase port-of-entry visas. Immigration forms are available on board. Please ensure you have a minimum of US$200 in cash with you. Passports must have at least five blank VISA pages and must be valid for at least six months from your return-home date. Please enquire with us or check with the relevant embassies in good time regarding applications. Visas available through visa and booking agents.

Pre- and Post-Tour Trips: How can I arrange pre- and post-tours trips on the Shongololo Express?

Pre- and post-packages are available on request from the Luxury Train Club or the Luxury Safari Club.

Prices: what does the Shongololo Express price include?

Rack rate one way per person sharing includes:

  • -Accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
  • -Excursions accompanied by a qualified tour guide.
  • -Entrance fees as per itinerary
  • -Government tax.
  • -Lunches off the train, all beverages, laundry, gratuities, golf course fees (Good Hope/Golf only), visas, travel insurance.
  • -Accommodation, meals at lodges/hotels/clubs/resorts.
  • -Beverages, laundry, personal expenses. Single supplement: +50%.

Rate excludes:

Included in off-train accommodation:

Excluded in off-train accommodation:

Security: Is there a safe in the Shongololo Express cabin?

An electronic safe is provided in the cupboard in each cabin.

Safety: What safety rules does the Shongololo Express apply?

The Shongololo Express request that guests adhere to the following:

  • -Never open exterior doors while the train is moving.
  • -Never jump off or onto the train while it is moving.
  • -An emergency brake is located halfway down each corridor and is only to be used in the case of an emergency. If used in a non-emergency situation, the culprit will be fined R10 000.00.
  • -When taking photographs out of the window, always look ahead to see what is coming.
  • -Please ensure that all valuables, documents and cash are kept in a safe place. Management and staff will not accept responsibility for any loss of personal property or cash if it’s not put in the safe. Please be advised that if you leave your room you must make certain that your windows are closed.
  • -Do not stray from well-frequented areas after dark.
  • -Change foreign currency at an authorised dealer only.

Smoking

On board the train smoking is allowed in the smoking Club Lounge only. HOWEVER, please be mindful of other non-smoking guests, that the train is generally made up of wood and DO NOT throw flammable items such as cigarette or cigar butts off the train. Bush fires in Africa are a constant and dangerous hazard. Please note at the time of your reservation if you are smoking or non-smoking so that the appropriate room might be requested at the hotels.

Special Occasions

Please note at the time of your booking if you’re celebrating a special occasion as we’d like to share it with you.

Telephone: is there an internal telephone system on the Shongololo Express?

There is no telephone service on board. Should you however need to contact your Train Manager urgently while on tour, please call mobile number: +27 (0) 82 450 9134.

Temperature and Time Zones

All public cars and cabins are fitted with gas-filled air-conditioners with temperature controls that can also be set to heat mode. Windows should be closed while operating the air-conditioning unit. Electric under-blankets are fitted on the bed. See guide…

AVERAGE TEMPS °C

JAN/FEB

MAR/APR

MAY/JUN

JUL/AUG

SEP/OCT

NOV/DEC

Rainfall

TIME

AREA

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Months

ZONE

Cape Town, South Africa

16

28

13

26

9

21

7

19

9

22

13

27

Apr-Aug

GMT+2

Pretoria, South Africa

18

30

15

27

7

23

4

22

13

28

16

30

Oct-Mar

GMT+2

Durban, South Africa

21

29

19

28

12

25

16

25

16

26

19

28

Oct-Mar

GMT+2

Mbabane, Swaziland

16

28

13

27

5

23

5

23

10

26

14

28

Nov-Feb

GMT+2

Vic Falls, Zimbabwe

15

29

14

29

8

23

7

27

16

28

16

26

Dec-Mar

GMT+2

Maputo, Mozambique

31

23

30

21

27

15

26

15

28

18

30

21

Nov-Mar

GMT+2

Lüderitz, Namibia

24

15

24

15

22

12

20

11

20

12

22

13

Jan-Mar

GMT+2

Walvis Bay, Namibia

22

16

22

15

22

11

20

10

18

11

20

13

March

GMT+2

Etosha Pan, Namibia

31

18

30

17

27

10

27

10

32

15

33

18

Jan-Mar

GMT+2


Toiletries: What if we need more toiletries on the Shongololo Express?

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

Transfers: Can we arrange transfers via the Shongololo Express?

We can arrange transfers at an additional cost.

Travel Insurance: is insurance compulsory on Shongololo Express?

It is compulsory for all guests to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance including but not limited to medical cost, emergency evacuation and repatriation, cancellation or curtailment, loss of baggage, personal possessions or money.

Time-Keeping: Does the Shongololo Express run to time?

Shongololo Express uses the national railways of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland. Therefore the possibility exists that the trains will run late from time to time. Should the train be delayed, land activities may have to be shortened, altered or cancelled for which we do not accept responsibility. No refunds will be offered as it is out of the train’s control and therefore unavoidable.

SCHEDULING TIMES, ROUTES AND EXCURSIONS: NOTE FROM THE TRAIN COMPANY: We cannot be held liable for any delays due to trains not running to schedule. Off-train excursions cannot be guaranteed and will only be undertaken if time and circumstances permit. Departure and arrival times are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. We reserve the right to alter our routing at any time between departure and arrival points. We caution against same-day air travel on departure or arrival days due to possible delays with flights or the train. We do our best to fulfill our obligations but it goes without saying that with many locomotive changes as well as other logistical permutations it is not uncommon to be delayed. It is very important that we have your arrival and departure details. Should you be delayed in any way, kindly contact +27 (0) 12 315 8242.

Track

The track over which we travel is inconsistently maintained. If you wake at night imagining the train is travelling at high speed, be assured it is the state of the track below creating that impression. We restrict the train to 60km/h (37mph) and over bad sections reduce speed to as little as 20km/h (12mph). If you find it noisy, earplugs are available.

Upgrades: Can I upgrade on Shongololo Express?

The Train Manager will gladly discuss upgrading your accommodation, provided that it is available. The cost for the upgrade is payable directly to the Train Manager. Payment must be secured before the upgrade is granted.

Water: what water facilities are there on the Shongololo Express?

The water used on the train is carried in tanks under each coach. These tanks are filled every day but they cannot be topped up while the train is travelling. Water inside the cabins has been filtered and chlorinated; it is safe for bathing and brushing teeth only. Please use the bottled water provided for drinking.

Shongololo Express FAQs Contact

Contact the Club to book or for more information about these Shongololo Express FAQs.

It is very important that we have your arrival and departure details. Should you be delayed in any way, kindly contact +27 (0) 12 315 8242.

ADDRESSES

JOURNEY

CHECK-IN

DEPART

ARRIVE

PRETORIA: Rovos Rail Station, 1 Transnet Ave,

Good Hope Pretoria-Cape Town

08:00 (Tour)

16:00

16:00

Capital Park, Pretoria, South Africa

Good Hope Cape Town-Pretoria

08:00 (Tour)

16:00

18:00

CAPE TOWN: Rovos Rail Lounge, 1 Adderley St,

Southern Cross Pretoria-Victoria Falls

08:00 (Tour)

16:00

18:30 (Hotel)

Paul Sauer Building, Cape Town, South Africa

VICTORIA FALLS: Victoria Falls Hotel/Station,

Southern Cross Victoria Falls-Pretoria

10:30 (Hotel)

17:00

16:00

Mallet Drive, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Dune Express Pretoria-Walvis Bay

14:00

15:00

11:30

WALVIS BAY: Walvis Bay Station, Corner 6th

Street and 11th Road, Walvis Bay, Namibia

Dune Express Walvis Bay-Pretoria

10:00

11:00

12:00


UPDATED 5 FEBRUARY 2019

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