SOUTHERN CROSS


 

PRETORIA - VICTORIA FALLS (2500 km)
12 DAGAR

DAY 1 – PRETORIA & SOWETO
08:00  Check-in at Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria. 
09:00  Full-day tour of Pretoria and Soweto.
16:00   Transfer to Rovos Rail Station. The train departs for Waterval Boven.
16:30   Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:30   Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Soweto comprises one-million people and was made famous by the Apartheid laws. Pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere) and the only street in Africa that once housed two Nobel Peace laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. 

DAY 2 – PANORAMA ROUTE
07:00   Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
09:15   Full-day tour of historical areas Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Graskop. The Graskop viewing lift takes visitors 51m down the face of the gorge into the forest below where wooden walkways and suspension bridges meander along a 600m trail through the indigenous forest with an interactive exhibit (lift for own account).
18:45   Return to the train in Nelspruit (140km). Depart for Malelane.
19:30   Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Pilgrim’s Rest is a living museum and declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873 attracting 1500 prospectors. Today many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops and restaurants. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve has the most spectacular viewpoints overlooking South Africa’s Lowveld, so-named because it is much lower than the high escarpment along which the
Panorama Route runs.

DAY 3 – KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
05:30  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
07:00  Full-day game viewing in the Kruger Park.
18:00   Return to the train. Depart for Mozambique.
19:30   Dinner is served in the dining cars.

The famous Kruger Park has 2-million hectares of an unrivalled diversity of life forms. It is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and home to an impressive number of species, e.g. 336 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 species of amphibians, 114 species of reptiles, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals including the Big Five.

DAY 4 – MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE
07:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
09:00  City tour of Maputo, Mozambique, with lunch.
16:00   Return to the train.
16:30   Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
18:00   After border formalities the train travels to Mpaka in Swaziland.
19:30   Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Capital of Mozambique, Maputo is a city of contrasts offering an exciting mix of cultures. Its architecture is a blend of African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions with old Catholic churches side-by-side with mosques, fortresses, Victorian mansions and other buildings from a bygone era.

DAY 5 – SWAZILAND
06:30  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
08:30  Disembark at Mpaka. Transfer (90 minutes) to Swazi Candles, Mantenga Cultural Village and Mantenga Lodge.
13:45  Return to the train (75 minutes). Depart for Hoedspruit.
16:30  Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:30  Dinner is served in the dining cars.

The tiny kingdom of Swaziland covers only 17 000m2 making it the second smallest country in Africa. Experience the vibrant Swazi Candles’ creative handmade product range. Continue through the Ezulwini Valley to Mantenga Cultural Village, a living museum of old traditions representing a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1800s. With the traditional artifacts on display, the village illustrates many facets of the ancient Swazi way of life: social, economic and religious.

DAY 6 – KAPAMA RESERVE & HOEDSPRUIT ENDANGERED SPECIES CENTRE 
05:00  Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars
05:30  Game drive in Kapama Game Reserve followed by visit to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
12:00  Return to the train for lunch. Depart for Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt.
16:30  Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:30  Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Situated in South Africa’s northernmost province of Limpopo, renowned for its prolific and diverse wildlife, Kapama Private Game Reserve is home to over 40 different mammal species including the Big Five, approximately 350 bird species and a myriad smaller species. The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is a unique African wildlife facility focusing on conservation and the sustainability of rare, vulnerable and threatened species. Founded on passion, the centre has adopted a holistic approach to its conservation activities such as the educating of surrounding communities, tourism, breeding, rehabilitation and anti-poaching, to name a few.

DAY 7 – LIMPOPO PROVINCE 
07:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00. Day on board the train travelling to Oreti in Zimbabwe. Clear customs and immigration at Beitbridge.
13:00  Lunch is served in the dining cars.
16:30  Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:30  Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Limpopo Province is located in the far north of South Africa and shares borders with three neighbouring countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Limpopo is the only province in South Africa with more than two cultural groups staying together in their original habitat in harmony. Other ethnic groups include English and Afrikaans people.

DAY 8 – GREAT ZIMBABWE MONUMENT 
06:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
08:00  Transfer to the Great Zimbabwe Monument for a tour with lunch.
17:00   Return to the train at Oreti Siding. Depart for Somabhula.
19:30   Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Travel through attractive granite hill country to the Great Zimbabwe Monument, a hugely impressive monument situated on the southeastern edge of the central plateau and the largest precolonial 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.

DAY 9 – ANTELOPE PARK
06:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
08:00  Depart for a full day at Antelope Park. Optional extras include canoeing, game drives, horseback game viewing, elephant interaction, bird-watching cruises and so on (see price list).
16:00  Return to the train. Depart for Bulawayo.
16:30  Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:30  Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Set in over 3000 acres of open savannah grassland, Antelope Park is a unique game reserve and a haven of tranquillity welcoming guests and volunteer eco-tourists alike. It is home to the world-famous African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) lion rehabilitation programme, which is a multiphase lion conservation initiative. It is Africa’s first genuine
programme working to ethically re-introduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild.

DAY 10 – MATOPOS NATIONAL PARK
07:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
09:00  Full-day tour of Matopos National Park with lunch. Visit the grave of Cecil John Rhodes as well as bushmen caves.
16:00  Return to the train. Depart for Dete.
16:30  Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:30  Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Matopos, meaning ‘bald heads’, was the name chosen for the area by the Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Matopos hills just a short distance from the park. It is an apt description of the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. The park is also the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave at the summit of Malindidzimu – ‘hill of benevolent spirits’. He referred to this hill as having a view of the world. His grave is carved out of solid granite and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of boulders. A
visit can be made to one of the more accessible bushman caves, of which there are many hidden amongst the hills.

DAY 11 – HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
05:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
06:30  Full-day game viewing in Hwange National Park with a packed lunch 
16:00   Return to the train.
16:30   Tea is served in the lounge and observation car.
19:00   Depart for Thompson’s Junction.
19:30   Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Situated in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park covers 1 462 000 hectares making it the nation’s largest wildlife area. It contains a variety of animals and bird species but is well-known for its prolific lion population.

DAY 12 – VICTORIA FALLS
07:00  Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:30.
10:00  Arrive Victoria Falls Station. Check out of train and walk across to Victoria Falls Hotel (luggage can be stored on the train).
11:00   Meet for a walking tour of the village and the falls.
16:00  Meet at the hotel for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.
18:30   Transfer back to Victoria Falls Hotel. Tour ends.

The little station of Victoria Falls was first reached by railway in June 1904. Old colonial buildings, bougainvillea and palm trees against the backdrop of the Victoria Falls Hotel form a charming oasis of soft sweetness after the rugged dryness of the landscape. The Victoria Falls is one of nature’s great revelations on a par with the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest and an erupting volcano.

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