ACCOUNTS: Guests will be requested to sign for on-board purchases throughout the trip. This includes signing for drinks, additional excursions, 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 by way of a “cash bar” basis. Accounts may be settled by means of:South African Rand, major foreign currencies, traveller’s cheques or credit cards. Regrettably debit cards are not accepted.Kindly note that all credit card payments are converted into ZAR.
AIR-CONDITIONING: Air-conditioning (where available) will be operational while the generator is running. The generator runs for 24 hour except when there is a major break down. ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DETAILS It is very important that Shongololo Express has the guest’s arrival and departure details so that transfers may be organised and the train manager is aware of the times the guest will arrive and depart at the beginning and end of each trip. Should a guest be delayed in any way kindly contact the Train Manager, their contact details are set out below under ‘Telephone’.
BANKING: A minimal cash advance facility can be made available while on board and debited to your account. The amount advanced will carry a 10% surcharge. Banks and ATMs can be found in most of the towns we travel through. Therefore, should you prefer to go into a bank or foreign exchange provider a nominal transportation fee will be levied.
BAR: The bar will be open daily from early in the morning until late at night.
CHILDREN: Shongololo Express cannot accommodate children under 8 years old and children 13 years old and above are regarded as adults. Children may not be in a cabin on their own and will have to share with an adult.
CORKAGE: As Shongololo Express is a licensed establishment, a corkage fee of ZAR150.00 per bottle for wine and spirits, and ZAR20.00 per can/bottle for minerals and water, will apply accordingly. Guests who have special requests with regard to liquor are requested to notify their reservations agent or Shongololo Express in advance. If notified timeously, Shongololo Express will make every effort to obtain the requested brand.
CURRENCY: We suggest that guests bring Rands, US Dollars (in small denomination) or Euros (bank notes). In South Africa only Rands may be used. In Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana it is possible to use Rands and US Dollars. However, please note that Rand is the main currency in Southern Africa. Euros are not recommended.
DINING CARRIAGE: The total seating capacity is 38. This means that there will be two to three meal sittings each day depending on the number of guests booked on the trip. Meal times largely depend on the activities planned for the day, but meals are generally served at the following times:
Breakfast from 06h00 to 08h00
Dinner from 18h00 to 21h30
Cuisine on board includes traditional Cape Malay, Central -, West – and Southern African specialities. Breakfast offers both a traditional English and Continental breakfast selection. Dining carriage is air-conditioned The dress code for meal times is casual The dining car is a non-smoking areas Please inform your reservations agent or Shongololo Express directly of any special dietary requirements.
DRESS CODE: As a relaxed atmosphere prevails on board, comfortable clothing is recommended. Winter in Southern Africa can be very cold and it is therefore advisable to bring along warm clothing for early mornings and evenings.
DRINKING WATER: We strongly advise against drinking the water in the cabins or bathrooms. Bottled water can be purchased from the bar.
ELECTRICITY: The electric current on board is 220 volt. Each compartment is fitted with a round 3-pin socket (South African style). Adapter plugs are available from the Assistant Train Manager. Please treat sockets as live at all times. A generator supplies power. Please be aware that certain breaks in power are necessary.
GAME DRIVES: Game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles can be arranged as an optional excursion in certain areas. As the early mornings and evenings can become rather chilly, when one is sitting in an open vehicle, we recommend that warm clothing be brought along. Some game drive vehicles do not have a shade cover so a hat and sun block is essential.
GROUP BOOKING: Our Group Policy affords a “free of charge” for one traveller for every 20 full paying guests.
GUESTS RESPONSIBILITY: All guests shall be solely responsible for ensuring that they are physically and mentally capable of undertaking the journey and participating in the activities.
GUIDES: Guides and vehicles will be rotated on a daily basis. Language groups will be considered with guides generally speaking French, German, Afrikaans and English. Please feel free to discuss questions or queries with your Guide or Train Manager at any time.
HAIRDRYERS: Hairdryers are supplied to the Emerald Double and Twin cabins on the Heritage Train only. Guests in other accommodation are please to bring their own. HEATING The Lounge and Dining room are heated via the air-conditioning unit.
INCLUSIVE OPTIONS: Daily excursions will be written on the white board, which is located in the smoking lounge. Please indicate your choice of activity in the space provided. The Train Manager will add a vehicle number next to your name for easy reference for the next days touring. Daily departure times depend on the nature of the activity. Most activities depart at 08h30, while others may depart earlier. Please check the information board to confirm. In the event that various inclusive options are offered and only a small number of passengers choose a specific tour, that particular activity may have to be cancelled at the Train Manager’s discretion. Alternative options will be given.
INTERNET: There are no Internet facilities on the train. Internet cafes are available in most towns we travel through. KEYS Cabin and safe keys will be handed to you by the Train Manager upon checking in. In the event that your keys are lost, or not handed back, a replacement fee of ZAR500.00 will be charged. Please ensure that all keys are handed back to the Train Manager at the end of the tour.
LAUNDRY: A laundry service is offered on board. A laundry bag is provided in your cabin with laundry costing between R3 and R15 an item, depending on the item. Clean laundry will be returned within 24 to 48 hours – the return time is dependent on weather conditions and travelling time of the train. Please refer to the laundry list provided in your ‘Welcome pack’.
LIBRARY: A small library is located in the smoking lounge. Guests are free to make use of the books, but kindly return them before the end of the trip. The guidebooks are also for use by the guests but these must be returned at the end of each day.
LOUNGE / BAR CARRIAGE: The lounge / bar carriage accommodates approximately forty guests and is fully licensed and Air-conditioned. It is also smoke free. The dress code is casual.
MAIL: Mail can be sent by using a post box, which is located in the lounge area. Items to be mailed can also be handed to the Assistant Train Manager. Wherever possible, mail is posted every day, except when in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. If guests do not have stamps they only need to put their cabin number where the stamp will be affixed and this will be charged to your cabin.
MAINTENANCE: 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 / replaced as soon as possible. MALARIA It is strongly recommended that clients on the Good Hope, Southern Cross and the Dune Express trips take Malaria prophylactics.
MEALS: If you have any special dietary requirements, kindly advise your reservations agent or Shongololo Express before the start of the trip. This notification would enable the Train Manager to provide for your request. Lunch will be for each guest’s own account, except when otherwise stated.
MEDICAL: First-aid boxes are carried onboard the trains. Although first-aid equipment is carried on board, limited medical facilities are available in some areas. We therefore request that the Train Manager be immediately advised of any possible medical requirements, should you require medical assistance. The Train Manager also has a list of emergency numbers.
SHONGOLOLO PACKAGE: The Package includes: Arrival & departure transfers from airport to train and train to airport; Accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis; A choice of available Land Excursions on a daily basis over the 16 days.
PASSPORTS & VISAS: Guests require valid passports for entry into South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana. Some visas are obtainable at the border post. Please check with your reservations agent or Shongololo Express prior to the trip which visas are required. Visas are for guest’s own account. The cost of visas obtained at the border will be added to your onboard account. Guests should ensure that there are a minimum of 2 free pages in their passports.
PRE-NIGHT: Pre-night includes dinner, bed and breakfast. Rates for pre-nights differ depending on the type of cabin booked.
RAILWAYS: Shongololo Express uses the railway tracks of the National Railways of Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. 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 don’t accept responsibility – and cannot refund – since its out of our control and therefore unavoidable.
SAFE: There is a small safe located in each cabin. The key will be handed to you by the Train Manager, together with the key to your cabin. Replacement of keys and the opening of the safe will be charged for, as determined by the locksmith.
SHEETS, TOWELS & PILLOWS: Sheets are changed every third day and towels are changed every second day. Extra pillows and blankets are available on request.
SHOWERS and TOILETS: 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 en-route. Please assist us by using water responsibly.
SMOKING: In accordance with the Southern African smoking act, designated smoking areas are provided. The train has a smoking lounge, which can only be used when the train is moving. When the train is stationary you may only smoke outside on the platform. Smoking is not permitted in the dining car, bathrooms, your cabin, passageways, touring vehicle and any hotels/venues on any tour. Smoking of pipes/cigars is not permitted in the designated smoking area.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS: Tour Add Ons are offered during the trip. The cost of these activities are over and above the Land Excursions and are not included in the Packages. As many specialised off-rail activities are subcontracted to Tour Operators, certain options may not be available from time to time and are subject to availability and price adjustments. Kindly advise the Train Manager timeously if you would like to book any of the specialised off-rail activities available on a particular day. It is only possible to book these activities once on board. Optional Extras will be charged to guest’s onboard account.
START AND END STATIONS: The train will be located in the following stations at the start and end of trips: Cape Town – Cape Town Station Johannesburg – Boksburg East Station Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls Station
START TIME: Guests are requested to be at the train by 08h00 on Day 1 should they wish to participate in the day’s excursions. Please note that this does NOT apply to all the scheduled the Good Hope Southbound departures.
STORAGE OF SUITCASES: It is possible to store suitcases in your cabin under the bed or above the door, depending on the category of accommodation you are in.
TELEPHONE: There is no telephone service on board.
TIPPING – GRATUITIES: This is entirely at the guest’s discretion. Tips will be divided equally between members of staff. Our recommended gratuity for the full trip is between R700.00 and R800.00 per guest. Gratuities may be added to the final account or can be handed to the Train Manager. Please do not tip staff members individually.
TOILETRIES: Please feel free to ask the Train Manager for assistance with regards to items that may have been forgotten.
TRANSFERS: Only transfers to and from local airports, and hotels close to the airports, to the train are included in the price. There will be a charge for all other transfers. Please note that transfers to and from Livingstone Airport to the train in Victoria Falls will carry a charge of ZAR 300.00 per person.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: All guests must provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance including but not limited to medical cost, emergency evacuation & repatriation, cancellation or curtailment, loss of baggage, personal possessions or money. Guests not able to provide proof of insurance will have to buy insurance before they are allowed to depart on the trains
UPGRADES: Your Train Manager will gladly discuss upgrading to more spacious accommodation, provided that it is available. The cost for the upgrade is payable directly to the Train Manager. Payment must be done before the upgrade is granted.
VEHICLES: Vehicles are carried on board the train, which makes Shongololo Express a unique concept worldwide. A change in these vehicles may be necessary to accommodate the excursion for the particular day. The Mercedes Sprinters (10 seaters) are fitted with air-conditioning and a public address systeml