SOUTH AFRICA: Luxury cruise train operator Rovos Rail has completed the purchase of the Shongololo Express, taking over 19 coaches and agreeing to employ all of the staff.

Shongololo Express operates three routes from Pretoria, with the Southern Cross to Victoria Falls and Dune Express to Swakopmund offering a 12-day trip and the Good-Hope to Cape Town taking 15 days.

‘Operating a three-star train had always been at the back of my mind’, said Rovos Rail Group owner and CEO Rohan Vos. ‘When I learned that the Shongololo Express was on offer the timing seemed serendipitous and so an opportunity not to be missed. A three-star product offering will be different for us and I’m sure there will be a few initial teething problems, but we’ve been doing this for 28 years so I think we will be able to manage this exciting new adventure.’

The rolling stock has been repainted in green and cream, and an additional dining car and an observation car added. The 30 Gold cabins and six Emerald suites will remain as they are. The itineraries have been revised to include more stationary time at night and less road time on the excursions, and golf opportunities have been introduced to the Good-Hope trip.