Luxury rail operator relaunches rail favourite.
By Kim Emmanuel
The Shongololo Express is back and now operated by Rovos Rail.
Rovos Rail has relaunched the Shonogololo Express as a three-star train offering after acquiring the product earlier this year.
Following the relaunch, Rovos is offering three tours on the train, including a 15-day journey from Pretoria to Cape Town, a 12-day journey from Pretoria to Vic Falls, and a 12-day journey from Pretoria to Swakopmund. Children are welcome on the train.
The Pretoria station also hosts an animal sanctuary that includes recused breeds of birds, llamas, cows, donkeys, as well as horses. Brenda Vos, Communications Manager, said the birds were rehabilitated and then released as far as possible, and that guests enjoyed the presence of the animals.
She said although Shongololo differed from Rovos Rail in that it was a three-star product, it offered five-star service on board. Shongololo is also not fully inclusive. Breakfast, dinner, and selected lunches are included.
Shongololo Express will target travellers from the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Scandinavia, and Canada. “We’d like to grow the local market but our main focus will be on the core international markets. We have a large sales team that attend travel shows both in South Africa and abroad and, coupled with our online marketing campaigns, we will be able to create awareness at home and overseas,” added Vos.
The train has undergone a soft refurbishment and comprises en-suite cabins with double or twin beds that are able to accommodate up to 72 guests. Air-conditioners are available in each of the cabins.
The gold twin accommodation consists of twin beds and en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and basin, gold double accommodation offers a double bed and en-suite bathroom, the emerald twin includes twin beds with a small lounge area and en-suite bathroom, and the emerald double accommodation comprises a double bed with a small lounge area and en-suite bathroom.
Modern and traditional local cuisine is offered on board in two of the train’s dining cars. Guests are also able to relax in the bar car, small smoking lounge or in the observation car with an open-air balcony situated at the back of the train. Shongololo Express travels during the night, and offers guests off-rail activities during the day to experience the sights of the area.