Want to see the natural grandeur of southern Africa and ride in comfort? Ride the Shongololo! So what does the word 'Shongololo' mean? It is a giant African Millipede the length of a man’s boot. Shongololo Express trains are like long Cruise Ships on land. They offer luxury travel that can take all the hassle out of some places in Southern Africa that you really want to visit. They offer luxury cabins, excellent chefs preparing authentic African dishes, local wines and professional staff. Packages range form weekends to 16-day treks. Each train has air-conditioned Mercedes Benz touring vehicles for days out with guides who speak English, German, Dutch and French. Adventures even include scuba diving, hot air ballooning and elephant rides.
All accommodations are self-contained cabins with air-conditioning and bathrooms. They also have a bar, dinning room, library, smoking lounge, laundry and the whole train is air-conditioned.
The Shongololo travels to 9 countries across southern Africa: Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania.
Before you go and book that self-drive holiday adventure – you need to do your research. What side of the road do they drive on? The answer is both. I don’t mean at the same time, but that happens as well. I have a weblink below that will tell you so you can prepare. Driving can be dangerous enough, but driving on the wrong side would be a quick disaster. Please don’t forget that animals ignore the rules of the road and even sleep there.
(If you would like specific advise on any of the African countries I have driven in - please let me know.)
www.atlas-blue.com is a handy website to be aware as this airline is a budget subsidiary of often rather expensive Royal Air Maroc. Actually since this Atlas Blue seems to have disappeared and Royal Air Maroc have been doing very reasonable, often budget airline beating prices to and from Morocco.
British airways also do attractive deals from time to time and ive ended up flying with them almost more often than Easyjet. They also allow 23 kg hold luggage.
Royal Air Maroc are handy because they fly to and from Morocco from rather strategic locations around Europe and can be very useful for linking and connecting destinations. They also have one way flights available. Flights include 23 kg of hold baggage and 10 kg of cabin bagage.
From London they fly from both Heathrow and Gatwick to Marrakech, Fes and Tangier.
Easyjet.com is another favourite of mine and they have flights from London Gatwick to Marrakech daily and Agadir twice a week - Wednesdays and Sundays - and also from Madrid to Tangier and Casablanca - book early as possible for cheaper flights or to get in before flights often become horrendously expensive.
One way tickets are available which is handy for flying in to one airport and out from another if wish, or use along with ferry travel in or out of Morocco, or use different airlines according to price.
Booking online allows choosing to pay extra for hold luggage or flying with only cabin baggage. So do consider the larger airlines as with luggage, food and drinks included in their tickets often flying with an international carrier ends up a better deal than the budget airlines!
www.Ryanair.com still fly to Marrakech and Fes.
Thomsonfly.com do chartered flights to Agadir and Marrakech on certain days of the week.
www.momondo.com and www.skyscanner.com are helpful sites with what flights are available but also check the website of the individual carrier for more thorough info on flights and prices. Sometimes on momondo.com last minute price reductions have become available the day before you might want to fly.
When I visited Tunisia I price compared and flew with British airways, www.ba.com to Tunis, Tunisia but flights and prices can also be compared with Tunis Air and Air France.
Price comparison sites that are around online these days can be helpful such as www.momondo.com and www.skyscanner.com - even if to give you an idea of what flights are operating and then go that companies website and compare.
I usually travel independently - ie fly off, get a rental car and head off with my guide books and road map...but
Package tours from the UK can also be worth checking out particulary last minute as often a package deal is offered with return flights along with a weeks accommodation which can cost the same, if not less, than just buying return flights. Package deals tend to be in places that can be used as a good base and do day trips from and if you got such a good deal it will not really cost you much more to go and do a trip or two with a night or two away elsewhere.
Flights go to several destinations - Tunis, Sousse, Hammamet
www.travelsupermarket.com is a good site for package offers.
Each time I visit Africa I conker a lot of car problems, flat tyres are the most common. Is it because of me?? Probably the bad roads, so when you rent a vehicle check the spare tyre or when you take public transport, be patient.
When I was planning my road trip across Namibia I had an African road atlas written by a certain company with the initials L and P. What a waste that was! It did not show the nice paved road right across the Caprivi Strip! It is an excellent paved and modern road. I kept seeing this out of date road atlas wherever I went, even in South Africa. The official Namibian Road Map shows this beautiful and fast road. You can drive the strip very easily and build up the speed you need to cover this huge area. Happy driving!
Drive? In Africa? Yes. They have car rental companies here and if you avoid the ‘major’ international companies, you cab get a great deal and have a safe car. What usually pushes up the price of any holiday is paying for a bus tour, driver and tour guide. This is where they make their profit. With your own car you go when and where you want to, stay as long/little as you like and you don’t have wasted time picking up other people from their hotels.
Design your own holiday!
I have driven their cars in: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
The rest of the information is about a fantastic car rental company in South Africa. I got a new car cheaper than from the large companies. I HAVE NOW USED THEM TWICE.
A bit of a mouthful, but an excellent car rental company. They gave me the cheapest rates and you can take their cars into Zimbabwe. Many companies have stopped letting people go into Zim. Just tell them which countries you want to go to and they will prepare the paperwork.
They have modern cars, loads of locations and couldn't be more helpful and friendly.
After Hours/Weekend: +27(0)84 4224022
**If in Durban, Johannesburg, Nelspruit or Port Elizabeth you may use this number:
Railways are not specially developed in African countries, in some simply there isn't !!
Most of the railways come from the colonial times, when french and british built them to keep their business going. So expect them to be old, not very well maintained and, of course, delayed.
I have used very little the trains in Africa, except from travelling in Morocco or South Africa where the net is extense and the trains are unusually good. Apart from that, I took the train from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), which is a nice old colonial train, as well as the Lunatic train from Mombassa to Nairobi (Kenya).
Other famous trains in Africa are:
- The Blue train in South Africa
- The Iron train in Mauritania (longest train on earth!!)
- The Mali Express from Dakar to Bamako
Yes we did it in April and it was awesome. We eventually ditched the car rental idea. We flew into Livingstone stayed at Jolleyboys and they are amazing. They organized a day trip for us to Chobe.
Their driver took us to the ferry at the Kazangulu crossing (quick trip of about 5 min across the Chobe) and on the other side a tour operator picked us up for a great drive in Chobe game park and a cruise on the Chobe. Late afternoon the driver picked us up on the other side again.
It was most probably more expensive but trouble free because the driver got us through passport control in minutes, bought the ferry tickets and we were ready to go.
We found a very nice taxi driver in Livingstone that we used for all our other trips. I'm sure they will take you to the border as well.
I have his cell number if anyone is interested.
We flew to Burundi with Ethiopian Airlines - their website is very efficient for lookng at their destiinations and flights - especially for linking flights to must see destinations around Ethiopia.
Our flight went to Addis Ababa and then we waited for the connecting flight to Burundi which went via Kigali in Rwanda - this is also a very handy flight to know about and very popular too for travellers - both locals and tourists - to connect the countries.
the flight from Burundi to Rwanda takes about an hour but saves 15 hours on the bus! and is not very expensive.
Ethiopian airlines also have an airmiles scheme.
And a big plus, especially for us and any others who are doing charity work, is the ability to take 46kg per person of hold baggage!
Hi,A few years ago I did a trip from UK to Cape Town by rail,road and boat
1 London to Athens train if under 26 use interrail card or student ticket £200
2 Pireus to Alexandria (Egypt) by ferry ? Check with ferry company £85
3 Alexandria to Cairo then Cairo to Aswan by Train £30
4 Aswan (Egypt) to Wadi Halfa (Sudan)by ferry accross Lake Nasar £50
5 Wadi Halfa to Khartoum (Sudan)Train £15
6 Khartoum to Gedaref (Sudan) Bus £5
7 Gedaref to Border with Ethiopia Pick Up £5
8 Ethiopian Border to Gonder(Ethiopia) Bus £5
9 Gonder to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Bus £10
10 Addis to Moyale (Kenya Border)Bus ? Check for consular advice £10
11 Moyale to Marsibit(Kenya)Bus or Truck £5
12 Marsibit to Nairobi Bus or Matatu £7
13 Nairobi to Moshi (Tanzania) Bus £12
14 Moshi to Dar es Salaam Train or Bus ? Trains were not running last year £10
15 Dar to Kapira Mposhi(Zambia) Train £25
16 Kapira to Lusaka Train/Bus Trains not running in 2007 £12
17 Lusaka to Livingston Train £15
18 Livingston to Victoria Falls(Zimbabwe) Mini Bus £3
19 Vic Falls to Bulawayo Train £15 absolute guess due to current climate
20 Bulawayo to Gaberone (Botswana)Train £10 guess
21 Gaberone to Joburg (South Africa) Train or bus £20
22 Joburg to Cape Town (Bus or Train)
This is roughly the route I took in 2001 there are some parts of this itinary are not possible due to local circumstances. I did not do all this directly ,I made a few detours and had some stop overs I spent around 4 months which included 2 weeks on Lamu Island in Kenya. I have put a question mark at the side of any inclusion that may be problematic.
Depending on how long you have then it could cost you around £4k for 3 months if you like to rough it or £40 per day. If you budget this amount then have a reserve fund of another £1k at home in case of emergency, you will require at least 10 visa's so budget at least £400 for that another £200 for injections and £300 for good malaria protection (around £90 for every 30 days)
This is not a cheap undertaking but will be the most worthwhile thing you will ever do.
Good Luck I might bump into you as I am contemplating doing it again in March or April.
FLY KLM TO GET HERE! They have an extensive destination list in Africa and are usually the cheapest way to get here from Europe.
Why I like KLM:
• Always polite, friendly flight crews that seem to enjoy working with each other
• Fantastic booking website where you can search for flight 1 month at a glance!
• Great prices on long haul flights
• Free drinks! Just ask for more
• Comfortable planes
• Excellent in-flight entertainment (pictured)
• Good food (pictured)
You can join their Frequent Flyer Programme for free – it’s called Flying Blue. And you get to board the plane first – even if you have an economy ticket!
Great airline. Give them a Fly!
The best, and really only, street maps of many parts of Africa on the internet are provided by Via Michelin, the same Michelin folks who make car tyres good enough to drive across Africa. Please click on the link below and you wish you had found this website years ago. Good job Michelin!
(Please note: the photos are just roads I have driven on across Africa)
If you are driving yourself around Africa, you will need fuel. I know you already understand this concept, but just plan on not being able to get any. It can happen. Don’t let it happen to you! If you look at the pictures you can see some of these look very remote. They are. Sometimes it can be 100 miles between fuel stops along vast stretches of this huge continent. I arrived at such a place and found no fuel. Luckily I had kept it topped up. There are pictures here of places with no fuel, limited fuel and awaiting fuel being put into the stations tanks. Because the fuel stops can be remote as well, they have a hard time keeping topped up too! Always keep topped up or you may end up somewhere without accommodation.
The first time it happened I was driving and my local friend Johannes was giving me directions. Suddenly I heard him say “Look out for the Robot”. I thought he was crazy. Suddenly I saw red traffic lights and had to apply the brakes quickly. We came to an almost violent stop and Johannes was looking at me like I was crazy now. Now he says “I told you to watch out for the Robot”. I am now looking around for metallic coloured mechanical man. I still don’t see one. That’s when Johannes realises and tells me that Robots in South Africa are automatic traffic lights. Mystery solved. Mr. Robot turns green and away we go.
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