By train and bike through South Africa and Kingdom of Eswatini/Swaziland | 18 Days

  • Tour Overview

    Tour Highlights:

    • Comfortable and stylish travel on the Shongololo train through South Africa and Eswatini
    • Overnight stay in a stylish lodge near Johannesburg
    • The capital Pretoria and the township Soweto
    • The historic gold mining town of Pilgrims Rest
    • Cycling along the Panorama Route to God’s Window, to Bourkes Luck Potholes and the Blyde River Canyon
    • Big 5 Safari in open safari vehicles in Kruger National Park
    • Safari on bike amongst zebras and antelopes in Mlilwane Nature Reserve
    • Visit of the candle factory in Eswatini
    • Safari in the iMfolozi/Hluhluwe Game Reserve
    • Bike trip to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage iSimagaliso Greater Wetland Park
    • Durban: Swimming in the Indian Ocean and cycling the lively promenade
    • On the bike through the foothills of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage uKhahlhamba Drakensberg
    • Visit of the Cango Caves and an ostrich farm
    • On the bike over the historic Montagu Pass to the coast
    • Cycling the historic Cape Road through indigenous forest to Wilderness beach
    • Cycling through the Cape wine region in the Breede River valley
    • The coastal town of Hermanus with the possibility of whale watching
    • Visit of the penguin colony in Betty’s Bay
    • Cycling along Clarens Drive to Gordon’s Bay
    • City tour on foot through Cape Town
    • Visit of the Kirstenbosch botanical garden
    • Experience Township Life at the Noluthando Kindergarten in Khayelitsha
    • Cycle tour and picnic at the Cape of Good Hope
    • Cycle along the beautiful Chapmans Peak Drive
  • Itinerary

    Group Size: 8 – 20 participants

    km – kilometer & am =  altitude meter

     

    Day 1              Arrival in Johannesburg

    Welcome to South Africa! Your tour guide will meet you at the airport and accompany you on your transfer to your beautiful lodge outside Johannesburg where you can recover from the long flight. (D)

    Askari Game Lodge

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 2              Johannesburg-Lowveld

    After breakfast, a transfer will take you to Rovos Rail’s private train station in Pretoria where you will be checked into your rolling hotel. Afterwards you will venture on a half day trip through the capital Pretoria and the famous township of Soweto, which you will visit by bike. In the afternoon you will be welcomed on board the Shongololo Express. After you have made yourself comfortable in your cabin, you will enjoy dinner on board the train, while marveling at the outside scenery of the highveld. A breath-taking descent takes us to the lowveld, where the train will be parked overnight in Nelspruit. (B,L,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Driving time by bus 2 h

     

    Day 3              The Panorama Route

    After breakfast on board, a transfer takes you to the gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest. From Graskop you cycle along the edge of the Drakensberg Mountains and visit the Pinnacle, an impressive stone pillar, and God’s Window, a lookout point with great views as far as Kruger National Park and Mozambique. A short hike takes you through a beautiful rainforest. You visit Bourke’s Luck Potholes, an impressive system of whirlpools where the Blyde River makes its way into the Blyde Canyon. Afterwards the cycling route takes you along a picturesque route to a lookout point with fantastic views of the Blyde Canyon and the typical mountain formations of the so-called “3 Rondavels”. A transfer takes you back to the train to Nelspruit, where you will have dinner on board. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 30 km, 200 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 2.5 h

     

    Day 4              Into the Kruger National Park

    After breakfast you will leave the train in Malelane and go on a full day safari on open safari vehicles in the famous Kruger National Park. The park is known for its abundance of wildlife: lions, elephants, zebras, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, buffalos, antelopes, wild dogs but also a colorful bird life and a diverse vegetation. After an eventful day you will be back on the train in time for dinner, while the train is moving towards Eswatini. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Duration Safari 8 h

     

    Day 5              The Kingdom of Eswatini

    The kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is only 17,000 square kilometers in size and offers a variety of landscapes. The heartiness of its people can be felt everywhere. After a short bus transfer on a quiet country road from Mpaka, you will cycle past numerous kraals to a craft workshop where the beautiful Swazi candles are being made to the sound of lively music. You continue on to the Mlilwane Nature Reserve. In this game reserve there are no dangerous animals except crocodiles and hippos, so you go on a safari by bike – an unforgettable experience! A transfer takes you back to Mpaka train station, where the Shongololo Express continues into South Africa after the border formalities. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 25-30 km, 100 am, tar/dirt road

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 6              Zululand and Rhinos

    In the early morning, the train arrives in Zululand. You will go on a full day safari in Umfolozi/Hluhluwe National Park, world famous for its successful conservation program for white and black rhino. In addition to the Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo) you will also find the lowland Nyala, a species of antelope endemic to the area. (B,A)

    Shongololo Express

    Duration Safari 8 h

     

    Day 7              World Heritage site: iSimangaliso Wetland Park

    After breakfast you will cycle to the World Heritage Site iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The brackish water is home to crocodiles and hippos, but also to the African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron and many other bird species. The hippos sometimes even visit the village! Afterwards you can experience the beautiful coastal jungle on a short hike. In the afternoon you will visit the Cape Vidal part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The hilly landscape with small lakes is charming. Here you may come across elephants, buffalo and other antelopes. Cape Vidal is well protected against the sea current by a reef and ideal for swimming. For dinner you will be back on the train in the early evening. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 30 km, 50 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 1.5 h

     

    Day 8              Durban and Midlands

    After breakfast you leave the train and cycle along the lively beachfront to the beautiful north coast. Afterwards you explore the city center with the Indian spice market. A visit to the uShaka Marine World Aquarium is highly recommended, it is the sixth largest in the world. Sharks and rays are the highlights. Durban’s shark-proof beaches are inviting to swim and surf. In the afternoon you will get back on the train for its departure further north into the Drakensberg mountains. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 25 km, 50 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 9              World heritage site Drakensberge

    Today you leave the train in Ladysmith. A full day bike ride takes you along the foothills of the impressive uKhahlambra Drakensberg mountain range, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Through undulating, fertile farmland and past many Kraals of the Zulu tribe you will cycle to the gigantic backdrop of the so-called “Amphitheater”. From this sheer rock face, the Tugela River plunges down almost 2000 m before beginning its journey to the Indian Ocean. (B,L,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 50 km, 500 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 2 h

     

    Day 10                        The judicial capital Bloemfontein

    After arriving in Bloemfontein, today’s program includes an excursion to the sixth largest city in South Africa. You will visit the women’s monument and the Anglo-Boer museum. Bloemfontein is also the city of the judiciary, the highest courts of appeal in the country are located here. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 11                        The city of diamonds Kimberley

    After breakfast, you depart from Kimberley train station for a bike ride to the so-called “Big Hole”, the largest hole in the world dug by human hands, from which over 14 million carats of diamonds were extracted during the diamond rush at the beginning of the 19th century. It was here that Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato fought over control of diamond mining. You will continue to a beautiful nature reserve, which you will explore by bike. In the afternoon you will return to the train before it continues its journey south. (B,L,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 20 km, 50 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 1.5 h

     

    Day 12                        Crossing the Great Karoo

    Today you will spend a relaxing day on board the train and enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the Great Karoo semi-desert on our way to the Indian Ocean in Port Elizabeth. (B,L,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Driving time by bus 0 h

     

    Day 13                        From the ostrich capital to the coast

    Today the train arrives in the ostrich capital of Oudtshoorn. A short transfer takes you to the impressive Cango Caves. After a guided walk through the fascinating dripstone formations you will cycle past many fruit, ostrich and tobacco farms. A visit at an ostrich farm will show you how these big birds are farmed. After lunch, a short transfer takes you through the dry Little Karoo semi-desert, covered with succulent plants, to the hops-growing area at Montagu Pass (Alt. 745 m). A downhill on a historic dirt road with breath-taking views to the coast and through a wonderful variety of protea and erica species takes you to George, where your train is already waiting. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 30-45 km, 150 am, tar/dirt road

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 14                        The Garden Route

    After breakfast you will cycle from George on the historic Cape Road through beautiful valleys covered with indigenous forest and ancient giant trees. Up on the plateau the green meadows offer ideal conditions for dairy farming. With impressive views of the towering Outeniqua Mountains you continue to the Wilderness, where the beautiful beach invites for a swim in the Indian Ocean. A short transfer takes you back to the train station in George, from where the train takes a breath-taking scenic route along the coast to Mossel Bay. (B,L,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 35 km, 600 am, tar/dirt road

    Driving time by bus 0.25 h

     

    Day 15                        Into the Cape Winelands

    You will leave the train early this morning in Ashton and cycle through the beautiful Breede Valley wine region to Bonnievale. A transfer takes you to the sea in the coastal town of Hermanus. With a bit of luck and right from the coastline you can observe the Southern Right whales, which come to the South African shores between July and November to give birth. After lunch, the cycle route takes you from Kleinmond at the foot of the massive Kogelberg mountain range to Betty’s Bay, were you can visit a colony of African penguins. The bike route along the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay to Gordon’s Bay offers breath-taking views as far as Table Mountain and Cape of Good Hope. A transfer takes you to Worcester, where the train is already waiting for you. (B,D)

    Shongololo Express

    Distance by bike 60 km, 200 am, tar

    Driving time by bus 2.5 h

     

    Day 16                        Mother City Cape Town

    In the morning, the train arrives at its final destination Cape Town after almost 4000 km through Southern Africa – a great moment. After saying goodbye to your beloved train crew, a transfer takes you to your hotel in the city. During a city tour or a city walk you will get to know the main points of interest in the mother city: Parade, Castle, City Hall, Greenmarket Square, Parliament Gardens, Museum of natural history and of arts, the Malay Quarter, as well as Kirstenbosch Gardens, one of the most famous botanical gardens in the world, which is especially beautiful in springtime in October! Time and weather conditions permitting you can take the cable car up to the city’s landmark Table Mountain. The view onto Cape Town 1000 m below is breath-taking. Tonight, you will have dinner in an African restaurant. (B,D)

    Cape Town Lodge Hotel 4*

    Driving time by bus 1 h

     

    Day 17                        Cape of Good Hope

    On the way to the Cape Peninsula you will get to know the kindergarten project “Noluthando” in the district of Khayelitsha, which is supported by AFRICAN BIKERS TOURS. You will get a comprehensive insight into the social structures and the challenges for a large part of Cape Town’s population. We continue along False Bay to the Cape of Good Hope. A beautiful one-hour panoramic trail takes you on foot to Cape Point. You will cycle back to Cape Town on the western seaboard of the Cape Peninsula. A picnic will be offered right next to the crystal blue waters of Scarborough. The coastal road via Chapman’s Peak and Hout Bay is considered one of the most breath-taking routes in South Africa which is why the popular Cape Town cycle race is held here every year with over 35,000 participants from all over the world. (B,D)

    Cape Town Lodge Hotel 4*

    Distance by bike 70 km, 800 am, /tar

    Driving time by bus 3 h

     

    Day 18                        Departure

    The morning is reserved for shopping, e.g. at the famous V&A Waterfront, where you can also have a look at the now very famous MOCCA Museum of the German art collector Jochen Zeitz with contemporary African art. At noon it’s time to say goodbye to Southern Africa. A transfer will take you to Cape Town Airport, from where the journey home starts. (B)

    Driving time by bus 0.5h

  • Rates & Dates

    Dates Price Status Available Spots
    29.09.2021 - 16.10.2021$11,775.00bookable20 spotsselect

     

    Additional Services: 

    Surcharge per Person Emerald Compartment $3,555.00

    Single Room Surcharge Gold Compartment $3,660.00

    Single Room Surcharge Emerald Compartment $4,660.00

     

  • Services


    Included:

    • All overnight stays in the compartment of the selected category for double use and in lodges/hotels in double rooms
    • All meals as per itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
    • All mentioned activities (game drives) and entrance fees
    • Rental bike on all bike excursions (e-bike or mountain bike)
    • All mentioned transfers / bike trips with backup vehicle and bike transport
    • Permanent English-speaking tour guide, also during the bike trips


    Not Included:

    • All flights
    • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
    • Porter fees
    • Tips
    • Optional activities
    • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Rental Bikes



    E-Bike Trek Powerfly MTB
    Price: $0.00 (included in tour package)



    MTB Hardtail 27/30 Speed
    Price: $0.00 (included in tour package)

    Bottle holder included, on request with luggage carrier and small pannier.

  • Travel Hints

    the routes are good dirt tracks. Because of the back-up, distances can be individually shortened. The climate is as varied as the travel route: During the advertised travel date the climate in the Kruger National Park, in Eswatini and in Zululand is pleasantly warm (25-30 °C), in the afternoon there may be some little rain or thunderstorms. Temperatures in the Little Karoo can climb to over 30 °C in the early afternoon with low humidity, on the coast it is usually cooler with 20-26 °C. At night it can get cooler, especially at higher altitudes.

     

     

    Health advice:

    There is a very low risk of malaria in the Kruger National Park. Should you however consider a prophylaxis, please talk to your doctor.

     


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