Shongololo Express - The Livingstone Tour
Follow in the footsteps of Dr Livingstone as you explore Africa aboard the Shongololo Express on this 15-day train tour.
Dr David Livingstone was a famous missionary and explorer. Follow his path of discovery as you travel through Africa aboard the Shongololo Express. Stand in the spot where Livingstone first saw the beautiful Victoria Falls. Visit the town of Livingstone, named after the Scottish visionary. Travel to the Livingstone Memorial. Additional highlights include visits to Chone National Park, the city of Lusaka, Kundalila Falls, the Selous Game Reserve, Dar es Salaam and more.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Accommodations aboard the Shongololo Express for 12 nights
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Accommodations at the Chaminuka Lodge for 2 nights
- Visit the historic elements of South Africa in Johannesburg
- See the spectacular falls and enjoy all the town of Victoria Falls has to offer
- Enjoy a view like no other as the train journeys down the escarpment and into the Selous Game Reserve.
- Shop and explore in the cities of Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo—both are rich in history and culture
- Arrival and departure transfers between airport and train
Day 1 - Johannesburg / On the rails to Beit Bridge Zimbabwe
Spend the day relaxing on the train as it travels through the countryside of Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces. We cross the border into Zimbabwe at Beit Bridge mid-morning the following day and head to Rutenga Station where guests depart for the tour of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. A light lunch will be served on the train and our guides will host informative talks in the lounges. Overnight train. (L, D)
Day 2 - Great Zimbabwe
We travel from Rutenga through attractive granite hill country to Great Zimbabwe, a hugely impressive monument situated on the south-eastern edge of the central plateau and the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids. A celebrated achievement of the African people and a place where magical fables such as the story of King Solomon's Mines find their origins amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people. Discover how these ancient people lived and mined gold and silver, which were ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders. The tour is followed by lunch on your own at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel before rejoining the train. Guests rejoin the train at Burnocburn- Zvishavane and travel to Bulawayo overnight. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 3 - Bulawayo and Matobo National Park
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 the country its previous name of Rhodesia. Afterwards, we will go and visit one of the more accessible bushman caves, of which there are many hidden amongst the hills. There will be time for lunch on your own 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. The train departs Bulawayo at 4:00 pm for Victoria Falls. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 4 - Chobe National Park - Botswana
A 70-kilometre road trip brings us to the Botswana border, where we cross into the famous Chobe National Park. There is a great array of wildlife and the Chobe elephants are well respected, as are the many hippos which can be seen in large numbers basking in the river. Highlights include a game drive in 4x4 vehicles and a river cruise on the Chobe River. Lunch on your own will be taken at a waterfront lodge where there is a swimming pool. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 5 - Victoria Falls Zimbabwe and Zambian side
Forming the largest single “curtain” of falling water on earth, Victoria Falls' 500m plume of spray can be seen from as far as 70 km away. The vast width of the Falls allows for many safe vantage points from where you will be able to get different views of the rolling water as it crashes into the gorge and whose constant spray maintains the Rain Forest. The forest is an attraction on its own with many of the trees marked to help identification. These 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. Craft and curio shops abound with enough variety for everyone to find something to take home as a souvenir. Guests will have an early lunch on the Zimbabwean side and depart after lunch to the Falls on the Zambian side.
We will cross the Zambezi River over the famous Railroad Bridge. We will first stop 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 a desire to open Africa to the world. The existence of the Falls had of course been known to local tribes people. Livingstone, upon hearing stories about “Mosi oa Tunya” (the smoke that thunders), arranged to be taken there by dugout canoe. 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.
Guests will meet the train back in Livingstone from where it will depart to Lusaka in the late evening. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Aboard Shongololo
Today will be spent on the rails through the south of Zambia towards its capital, Lusaka. You'll be able to see rural Africa as it passes by - miles and miles of flat landscape dotted with green Mopani trees. The exciting prospect of deeper, darker Africa looming Lunch on your own is served on board. After arrival, the train will remain stationary in Lusaka overnight. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Lusaka-Chaminuka Lodge
After breakfast, embark on vehicles for a city tour of Lusaka on route to Chaminuka lodge where we will overnight. The visit to the City provides a comprehensive view of the way of life in Lusaka, a typical African Capital City with a lot of history behind it, Includng historical buildings, cultural sites and the main markets. Before heading to the lodge guests pass by the Kasisi Children's Home.
Chaminuka offers a wide range of activities to keep you entertained during your stay at the lodge. You can tour the Chaminuka Art Collection. Morning, afternoon and evening drives in open top safari vehicles, conducted by qualified guides, conversant with the wildlife, birdlife and the trees of Zambia. The Chaminuka Nature Reserve has more than 72 species of wildlife, a combination of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Interpretative Bush Walks, where in addition to the Wildlife and the Birds you can learn about the vegetation and the medicinal values of our plants and trees as they are used locally. The lakes are stocked with four varieties of Bream, Catfish and Nchenga (akin to whitebait). You can fish from the banks or from the floating pontoon. Sunsets are spectacular from the lake. The diversity of the habitat at Chaminuka makes it a premier bird watching Location. More than 300 species of birdlife have been recorded in the area. Overnight Chaminuka Lodge. (B)
Day 8 - Lusaka City and Chiminuka Lodge
A second day is spent at the lodge partaking in the activities offered at the lodge. Later, we take a leisure drive to the train. The train will depart for Serenje tonight. Overnight train. (D)
Day 9 - Serenje/Livingstone Memorial/Kundalila Falls
After breakfast our journey on the tracks of Dr Livingstone continues to the place where he died on May 4, 1873. It's a very pleasant drive from Serenje, passing the Kasanka National Park. Along the way you will see the creatively decorated houses of the Bemba people. The memorial itself is simply a plaque placed on the former site of a ‘mupundu' wild fruit tree under which Dr Livingstone's heart was buried. His body was then wrapped and carried for 1,500 km (over 11 months) to the coast by his dedicated porters Sushi ad Chuma, from where it was shipped back to England. Before returning to the train, we will visit the Kundalila Falls (meaning "Crying Dove"). The Kaombe River falls 70 m here, breaking into thin veils of spray. The train departs in the evening for Kasama. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 10 - Scenic Escarpment Drop
This full day train ride will be a highlight, as it includes a spectacular daylight drop off the escarpment. Lunch is served on board. Please note that we will be crossing the Border at Tunduma toTanzania. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Makambako (Tanzania)
After arrival at Makambako, we will visit the Isimila Stone Age Site near Iringa. East Africa has always been important for the study of human evolution. It has the longest record of fossil hominids, extending back almost 5 million years. It also has a number of sites, which show that the archaeological or cultural record goes back to 2.5 million years ago. About 20 km south of Iringa, on the main road to Mbeya, some of the richest finds of Stone Age tools were discovered in 1951. Many fossilised bones were also found in the area, among them those of a mammal related to the modern giraffe, but having a much shorter neck, as well as an extinct hippopotamus with unusual periscope-like projections. Lunch will be served at one the restaurants in Iringa. The town dates back to 1896, during the colonial era it was a centre for the German and British settlers who took up land and started farming. Today Iringa is a bustling municipality and regional headquarters. After lunch guests visit a thriving market usually well stocked with fruit, vegetables, flour, rice maize etc. Adjacent to the fresh food section, stalls sell locally made baskets, mats, pots, metal utensils, brooms, brushes and touristy "knickknacks". The train departs in the evening for Kisaki Station, close by to Selous Game Reserve, where we will depart for a full day game drive. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - Selous Game Reserve
Selous, covering an area of roughly 50 000 km², is one of the largest game reserve in Africa - 4 times the size of the Serengeti, and almost 6% of Tanzania's land surface. It possesses a diverse landscape, ranging from hot volcanic springs to sporadic lakes, channels from the Great Rhaha and Rufiji Rivers. The reserve consists of 43 hunting blocks and 4 photographic zones for tourists in the north. These photographic zones cover around 2 500 km², roughly the size of Luxembourg. Selous is famous for its Elephant, Hippopotamus and Rhino (although depleted). Africa's largest population of buffalo can also be found here. Other species include Nyasaland and Brindled Gnu, Hartebeest, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, Eland, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Warthog, Zebra, Giraffe and Wildebeest. Predators include Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyena and Hunting Dog. Cheetahs are rare. Over 350 species of bird and reptiles such as crocodiles and various snakes and lizards and 2,000 species of plants are also to be found in this reserve. The train remains at Kisaki Station, while we spend the night in Selous Game Reserve. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 13 - Kisaki/Overnight to Dar es Salaam
Today we take a tour to the communal lands to experience the life style of the indigenous people of this region the Masai people. This tour will be half day, returning to the train for lunch and an afternoon spent at leisure. The train departs over night for its final destination, Dar es Salaam. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 14 - Dar es Salaam/Bagamoyo
Dar es Salaam (meaning "Haven of Peace"), has Sultan Majid bin Said, the 1860s sultan of Zanzibar, to thank for its existence. He saw its potential as a deepwater port because of its strategic position at the centre of the East African coast. The city is an eclectic mix of Swahili, German, Asian and British architecture, reflecting its colonial past and more recent history. Today it is a hustling and bustling seaport at the crossroads of some of the most important sea routes on the Indian Ocean. A fascinating pastime here is undoubtedly sitting at the water's edge and being witness to the diverse vessels navigating the waters of the port - not least of them being the traditional dhows, going about their business as if there were no huge cruise liners and cargo ships shadowing them.
Apart from having once been a slave and ivory port, this closest mainland town to the island of Zanzibar, was once also the terminus for caravans from the interior. Its name has a twofold meaning, with caravan porters first calling it "bwaga moyo" (Swahili for "Throw off Melancholy"). However, as a terminus for the slave trade the words changed to "baga moyo" ("Throw down your Heart") - despair expressed by those captured as slaves, as they faced a long and uncertain future. Interesting historical sites which can be visited include the Bomani (German Colonial Administration Headquarters), the Bagamoyo Museum (which also houses the small chapel where Dr David Livingstone's remains were laid before taken to Zanzibar to be shipped to England) and the German Graveyard. The first church on the East Coast of Africa also stands here, as well as 15 mosques and many exciting Arabic and Indian buildings - of particular interest those with old Swahili wooden carved doors - once marks of status and wealth, but very scarce and mostly in very bad condition today. The train remains stationary in Dar es Salaam. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 15 - Tour Conclusion
Your Dr Livingston train adventure concludes after breakfast. You can stay on board until it is the time of your airport transfer. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Shongololo Express Accommodation
Ivory cabins include a twin or single bed with a fan, safe, hand basin.
Gold cabins include twin beds with private bathroom, air-conditioning and safe as well as shelf space under bunks for storage.
Commodore cabins feature twin or double beds with private bathroom, air-conditioning and safe as well as mini-wardrobe and drawers for clothing storage.
Emerald cabins feature twin or double beds with a private bathroom, small lounge area, air-conditioning, safe and hair dryer.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|4th August 2015||$5,338||Book Now|
|4th August 2015||$6,500||Book Now|
|4th August 2015||$6,656||Book Now|
|4th August 2015||$7,400||Book Now|
|21st August 2015||$5,338||Book Now|
|21st August 2015||$6,500||Book Now|
|21st August 2015||$6,656||Book Now|
|21st August 2015||$7,400||Book Now|
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Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam - Ivory: Departs 4th August 2015 ($5,338)
Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam - Gold: Departs 4th August 2015 ($6,500)
Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam - Commodore: Departs 4th August 2015 ($6,656)
Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam - Emerald: Departs 4th August 2015 ($7,400)
Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg - Ivory: Departs 21st August 2015 ($5,338)
Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg - Gold: Departs 21st August 2015 ($6,500)
Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg - Commodore: Departs 21st August 2015 ($6,656)
Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg - Emerald: Departs 21st August 2015 ($7,400)