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Southern Cross

Southern Sky Adventures: Southern Cross

shongo-logo-smThis 16-day journey enables participants to visit six countries. The route is carefully crafted to deliver stunning experiences every day. The train travels leisurely between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls, allowing numerous calls at destinations in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. As the tracks unfurl you will gain rare insight into the cultural and geographical cocktail that makes Southern Africa so vibrant and exciting.

PRE-DAY – JOHANNESBURG

Guests will be met upon arrival at Johannesburg International Airport and transferred to the train. Having a pre-day means that one is able to acclimatize and unpack prior to the first day of touring.

Tour add-ons that could be undertaken, include the following: The Cradle of Humankind, Lesedi Cultural Village, Gold Reef City, The World of Beer, East Rand Mall or Emperor’s Palace.

DAY 1 – PRETORIA / JOHANNESBURG / SOWETO

Should you only arrive at Johannesburg International Airport today, you will be met upon arrival and transferred to the train. Please note that you should arrive no later than 08:00 at the airport in order to participate in the day’s excursions.
Johannesburg is the economic powerhouse of the southern African region and home to South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. This area became the central hub in the early 1800’s when gold was discovered here.

Activities can include the following: Pretoria and Soweto Tours, Johannesburg Tour

DAY 2 – SWAZILAND

The tiny Kingdom of Swaziland covers only 6,500 square miles, making it the second smallest country in Africa.

Activities can include the following: Swaziland Tour

DAY 3 – MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE)

Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, offers an exciting mix of culture and buildings reminiscent of trends set by African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions. The city swings along to a beat that is like no other in Africa. It enables guests to experience true African hospitality. Old Catholic churches rest side-by-side with mosques and fortresses, Victorian mansions and other buildings from a bygone era. It’s a city of contrasts and excitement that provides an ideal meeting point for social and business ventures.

Activities can include the following: Day at the beach

DAY 4 – MAPUTO (MOZAMBIQUE)

Guests will get a good impression of the character of the city. A visit to the municipal market is followed by a stop at the old Fortaleza, which dates back to 1769. Other interesting city sites include the Catholic Cathedral, the Civic Centre, Louis Trichardt Trek Memorial, Samora Machel Statue, the Jardim Tunduru (Botanical Gardens) and the Iron House (Casa do Ferro).

Activities can include the following: Tour of Maputo

DAY 5 & 6 – KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

The Kruger National Park is the most well known of all of southern Africa’s national parks. Home to the Big 5 and almost the size of Massachusetts, Kruger Park will offer an extensive look at the panorama of wildlife on view in this part of the world.

Activities can include the following: Open Vehicle Safari, Protea Kruger Gate Lodge, Private Game Reserve, Mountain Lodge

DAY 7 – PANORAMA ROUTE

Guests visit the village of Pilgrim’s Rest, a living museum and declared National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873, attracting 1,500 diggers. Today, many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops. Further along the escarpment we find the great Blyde River Canyon, a gorge of 16 miles long and 2,500 feet deep, carved from the face of the escarpment. The Three Rondavels present an unforgettable view of three huge rock spirals rising out of the far wall of the canyon, looking like African huts. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. From the vantage point of God’s Window we gaze across sweeps of the Lowveld, where subtle fragrances of the lower region rise to merge with the crisp winds of the Highveld.

Activities can include the following: Sunrise Balloon Experience

DAY 8 – DAY ON THE RAILS TO ZIMBABWE

Guests spend the day relaxing on the train through the countryside of the different provinces – Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo Province. The train crosses the border into Zimbabwe at Beit Bridge and head onto Rutenga Station where guests spend the night and depart for Great Zimbabwe the next morning.

DAY 9 – GREAT ZIMBABWE

The train travels from Rutenga through attractive granite hill country to Great Zimbabwe. Situated on the south-eastern edge of the central plateau, Great Zimbabwe is an impressive monument. It is the largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids – a most celebrated achievement of the African people indeed.

DAY 10 – ANTELOPE PARK, GWERU

Activities can include the following: Antelope Park for a walk with lions and lion cub viewing, Somabhlua Primary School, canoe trip, game drives, Horseback Game Viewing, Elephant Riding, Lion Breeding Project, bird watching boat cruise

DAY 11 – BULAWAYO AND MATOBA NATIONAL PARK

Activities can include the following: Matobo Hills, Railway Museum, Chipanggali Wildlife Orphanage, rhino tracking

DAY 12 – HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

Zimbabwe’s premier national park is known for its lion population. Situated in the north-west corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the nation’s largest wildlife area and contains a variety of animals and bird species. Covering 3.7 million acres, Hwange is roughly the same size as Belgium. An early morning game drive in the park is followed by breakfast at the Sable Valley Lodge. After a morning of game viewing, lunch will be at the Sikumi Tree Lodge. There will be an opportunity to relax at the pool for a while before we resume our game viewing later in the afternoon.

Activities can include the following: Overnight at Sikimi Tree Lodge

DAY 13 – LIVINGSTONE (ZAMBIA)

Guests will walk across the Zambezi River over the famous railroad bridge. The first stop is on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls before continuing to the town of Livingstone, named after David Livingstone, the Scottish visionary, who had an insatiable appetite for exploration and a desire to open Africa to the world.

Activities can include the following: Lunchtime boat cruise on the Zambezi River

DAY 14 – CHOBE NATIONAL PARK (BOTSWANA)

A 50 mile ride brings guests to the Botswana border, where we cross into the famous Chobe National Park. There is a great array of wildlife and the Chobe elephants are well respected, as are the Hippos in the river. Highlights include a game drive in 4×4 vehicles and a river cruise on the Chobe River. Lunch will be taken at a waterfront lodge where there is a swimming pool.

DAY 15 – VICTORIA FALLS

Activities can include the following: Helicopter flight over falls, white water rafting, elephant riding, bungee jumping from Livingstone bridge

DAY 16 – TRANSFER DAY

If guests are transferring to a hotel, this will be arranged for them in the morning. If guests are flying out of Victoria Falls, their flight may only be in the afternoon. In this case optional tours may be undertaken.

Activities can include the following: Helicopter flight over falls, white water rafting, elephant riding, bungee jumping from Livingstone bridge

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