Africa & the Middle East Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report All Aboard! Southern Cross Journey on the Shongololo Express.

Jump to last reply

After going on a river cruise in Asia (the Irrawaddy), I enjoyed it so much that I decided to look for more tours that met the requirements of fewer than 100 passengers and involved unpacking only once. Several train journeys were on my list, including those in Africa and across central Asia/Russia. When the US Dollar reached a high against the South African Rand that I had not seen in years, I decided to go with the Shongololo Express train journey.

I sent a couple of emails to Shongololo but received no response. Then I emailed Tanya of Go2Africa, my travel agent from an earlier South African safari. She said that although her company had no relationship with Shongololo, she would look into it, and eventually I was able to complete the booking through her.

There used to be three different train journeys offered by Shongololo, all lasting 16 nights. The Namibian journey was eliminated this year, leaving the ‘Good Hope’ which travels through South Africa, and the ‘Southern Cross’ which travels through six countries in southern Africa; South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Both the Good Hope and Southern Cross use the same train.

I chose the Southern Cross journey that starts in the south (Johannesburg) and travels north, ending in Victoria Falls. My main reason for choosing this direction was to end the trip with the most impressive sights rather than vice-versa, and this worked out quite well.

I booked 2 additional nights in Joburg prior to the start of the trip and one night at the end as well as a pre-trip night on the train. Experience has taught me to leave room for changes/cancellations at both ends of a trip, and I was able to accommodate changes to my schedule with minimal stress.

I booked a roundtrip ticket using miles on Singapore Airlines LAX-SIN-JNB. The refueling stop in Narita took longer than anticipated, and because of this I missed my connection to JNB from Singapore. The Singapore Airlines staff were very efficient, and were waiting for me at the gate. I was told that I had missed the flight and arrangements had been made for me on the next flight, which was not available until the next day. I was given vouchers for The Gallery Hotel, taxi transfers, all meals and a telephone call to anywhere in the world. Considering the circumstances, service could not have been better.

93 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcements:
  • Writers Needed for Georgia Coast
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Rwanda and Uganda
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:11 PM
View all Africa & the Middle East activity »
  1. 1 Trip Report Trip report/blog - South Africa honeymoon
  2. 2 Trip report about self-driving in Northern Namibia for 2 weeks in May 2014
  3. 3 To go to Israel or not?
  4. 4 Israel/Jordan -- other trip options to bypass Israel?
  5. 5 Lamu or Zanzibar?
  6. 6 Eastern Cape Lodges
  7. 7 Questions about Chobe
  8. 8 FOREX Nairobi airport
  9. 9 Best Month for Experiencing The Great Migration
  10. 10 Dubai > Oman?
  11. 11 Dubai > Seychelles hop
  12. 12 Botswana Green Season 2014/15 Camp discounted pricing
  13. 13 Trip Report trip report s africa, victoria falls & Botswana Zambezi Queen
  14. 14 Morocco Tour: Marrakech Fes Merzouga Camel Trek in Sahara
  15. 15 Trip Report Tanzania (Selous): Trip Report for Lake Manze Camp
  16. 16 Trip Report Tanzania (Selous): Trip Report for Selous Impala Camp
  17. 17 Tanzania (Ruaha): Trip Report for Mwagusi Camp
  18. 18 Masai Mara Epic Big Five and Wildbeast Migration
  19. 19 Trip Report MAGICAL, MEZMERIZING MOROCCO (Revised)
  20. 20 Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) seen in Samburu Kenya
  21. 21 Awesome trip and still not done
  22. 22 South Africa
  23. 23 Some Cape Town hotel - day tour suggestions?
  24. 24 Trip Report 2 weeks in Oman - Our experience
  25. 25 Private Conservancy Recommendations
View next 25 » Back to the top