Travelling on the Shongololo Express train is a wonderful way to experience the best of southern Africa: some of the world’s top game parks, spectacular scenery, wildlife conservation, African culture and history, and vibrant cities. All this, without having to pack and unpack, worry about finding accommodation or drive vast distances. Everything is taken care of for you.

Do join us for this fantastic conference and journey.

Pre Conference Tour

Extend your experience before joining the main conference group - join the optional pre conference tour.

Day 1


Depart Australia and overnight in Johannesburg.

Day 2


Fly from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls. The falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, the ‘smoke that thunders’, is one of the earth’s great spectacles. Our hotel is within walking distance of the Victoria Falls National Park and a quick taxi ride to the town.

Join fellow delegates for welcome drinks at the hotel tonight.

Day 3


Full day conference, including lunch.

The evening is free for you to enjoy dinner in the hotel or take the short ride into town and try one of the restaurants there.

Day 4


Full day conference, including lunch.

This evening enjoy a cruise on the Zambezi River. Head downstream towards the falls to feel the thunder and spray before heading upstream to spot elephants, crocodiles and hippos doing their evening thing. Relax as the glowing African sun sets over this iconic river.

Day 5


This morning take a guided tour of Victoria Falls town and then the falls, which have evolved over the past 2 million years.

After lunch, board the train head and towards Hwange National Park.

Afternoon conference session.

Day 6


Today you will spend the day in safari vehicles spotting wildlife in Hwange National Park. It has a profusion of them: some 400 species of bird and 107 types of animal can be found in the park, including lions, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs. It is home to 40,000 elephants! Today you will have a picnic lunch in the park to get the most out of your game viewing. Return to the train in the evening for dinner.

Day 7


Today we visit the dramatic hills and granite rocks (shaped like bald heads) of the Matopos Hills, where the Ndebele King Mzilikazi is buried. Hear about Cecil John Rhodes, a controversial figure in Zimbabwean history, and see his grave nearby. Visit some bushmen’s caves. Forty thousand years ago the caves and crevices carved out of these rocks became home to Zimbabwe’s earliest inhabitants, the San. Twenty thousand years later San artists began painting on the walls of caves and rock shelters, using special pigments and natural minerals that have survived the onslaught of climate and time.

Late afternoon conference session.

Day 8


This morning we visit Antelope Park, home to the world famous African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) lion rehabilitation program. It is Africa’s first genuine program working to ethically reintroduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild. Set in over 1,200 hectares of open savannah grassland, Antelope Park is a unique game reserve and a haven of tranquility set in the African bush. Take a walk with the lions – an amazing experience. After lunch you have a choice of other activities in the park before returning to the train.

Late afternoon conference session.

Day 9


Travel through the central plateau of Zimbabwe to Africa’s largest pre-colonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids. It is 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 the Rozwi lived and mined gold and silver, which were ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders.

In the evening depart Rutenga and travel towards Beitbridge for border formalities.Cross the bridge to Messina for South African border formalities.

Day 10


Today we have a full day conference.

We traverse Limpopo province, passing through a changing landscape from tropical forests, bush and shrubs to semi-desert areas with small trees and bushes, from mountains to flat land. The five regions of the province are each home to a different cultural group – the Bapedi, Tswana, Vhavenda, Vatsonga and Ndebele people.

Day 11


This morning we have a chance to spot the Big Five – elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. We will certainly see a myriad of smaller species such as zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and hyena. There are 350 bird species to be on the lookout for! Later get close to endangered cheetahs at The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Here they take a holistic approach to conservation activities, such as the educating of surrounding communities, tourism, breeding, rehabilitation and anti-poaching.

Return to the train for lunch.

Afternoon conference session.

Day 12


We pass into the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland for a bit of an arts, crafts and shopping day. By bus we travel through the panoramic Komati River Valley to visit Ngwenya Glass Complex, which produces gorgeous jewellery, ornaments and artworks from recycled glass. We continue through the Ezulwini Valley, passing the Ludzidzini Royal residence and stopping briefly at Swazi Candles, before heading east to Manzini where you can wander through the Swazi market, a hive of activity displaying a wide variety of skillfully crafted woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork for which Swazis are renowned. We travel on to Mpaka to reboard the train before crossing into Mozambique.

Day 13


Spend a great day in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. One of the loveliest cities in Africa, it is a city of contrasts and offers an exciting mix of cultures. The city swings along to a beat like no other on the continent and offers true African hospitality. 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. Along the colourful beachfront there are many cafés and restaurants that specialise in Indian Ocean cuisine with its emphasis on the freshest seafood dishes prepared in traditional African- Portuguese ways, where you can enjoy lunch.

Return to the train mid- afternoon for a rest before dinner on board as we cross into South Africa.

Day 14


Today participate in a full day of game viewing in the world-renowned Kruger National Park. It will definitely not disappoint. Its 2 million hectares are unrivalled in diversity of life forms and the park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The park is home to an impressive number of species: 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 all of the Big Five.

Day 15


Another full day off the train starting in the quaint town of Pilgrim’s Rest, a restored mining village. Further along the escarpment we find the great Blyde River Canyon, a gorge 26 kilometres in length and 800 metres deep, carved into the face of the escarpment. 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 the sweeping landscape of the Lowveld, where subtle fragrances of the lower region rise to merge with the crisp winds of the Highveld.

Day 16


This morning we arrive in Pretoria and leave the train. We visit the Union Buildings, which now house the offices of the President and Ministers. Next we are off to the Voortrekker Museum, which commemorates the Great Trek of the 1830s. Travel to Johannesburg passing by 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. Visit the Hector Petersen Memorial in Soweto, named after the first student to lose his life in the 1976 uprising against the Apartheid government.

You will be taken to the airport for your evening flight home, arriving in Australia on Tuesday 14 May.

OR join the post-conference tour to Uganda.

Post Conference Tour

Continue your experience before returning to Australia - join the optional post conference tour.

End of arrangements. Please note this program may be subject to change

Dr Gary Kilov (1:42)
Dr Asha Nair (1:31)
Dr Ralph Audehm (1:11)