The Shongololo Express

Back in the 1980s, a gentleman named Rohan Vos bought and restored a few vintage train carriages and steam locomotive with the intention to use them as a private hotel on wheels for his family and friends to enjoy holidays in the countryside. However, he soon discovered this was a very expensive way to travel. In the end, he started selling tickets for the train holidays and created the private rail company ‘Rovos Rail’.

Now with 170 staff who can restore wrecked carriages into gleaming 1930s inspired sleeping cars in just a few weeks and a private station in Pretoria to house 60 carriages, Rovos Rail is a company with luxury travel at its heart. The station is also home to the oldest operating steam locomotive in the world, ‘The Tiffany’ No 349 class 6 locomotive, built in 1893.

Clearly passionate about restoring old trains, in January 2016 Rohan Vos purchased the Shongololo Express to add to his collection.

Imagine a glistening express train resting proudly at the platform, carriages polished to perfection ready to whisk you off on a whirlwind adventure across South Africa, this train is the Shongololo Express. It is named after the indigenous people first saw the trains rolling across the landscape and made reference to them looking like the creature known as shongololo, a millipede. It’s a country known as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ due to its diversity and is sure to inspire. So step aboard and prepare to travel in pure luxury onboard a rail experience like no other.

Once on the train, be prepared to be taken back in time to the 1930s. With its highly polished wood, interiors in luscious greens and opulent creams, these reflect not only the era but also the colours of nature and the surroundings.

When you have been escorted to your cabin you will find a luxurious space awaits you full of all the things needed for you to enjoy your time onboard including period features with modern comforts. It truly is a charming and very relaxed atmosphere ready for you to unwind and take in all that South Africa has to offer.

During your time on the train allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience, truly escape the modern world and let yourself escape into the bygone era of the 1930s. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings, familiarise the gentle sounds and rhythms of the train and discover the joy and beauty of conversation, sharing stories with people from all over the world.

Don’t forget to dress up for dinner and while taking in the splendid surroundings of the restaurant carriage and observing the panoramic views cascading all around you, take a moment to immerse yourself in the experience and savour the tantalising African cuisine. With delights from all over the continent and fine South African wines to tempt the palette, you are sure to have a dining experience never to be forgotten.

As the sun sets escape to the end of the train where a panoramic viewing deck allows you breathe taking views of the scenery, capture the moment and treasure the memory like a precious jewel never to be lost.

If you would like more information on this holiday or any of the other adventures Planet Rail has to offer, then give one of our friendly team a ring on 01347 825292.