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Jewel of the Desert: Cape Town to Windhoek

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A railroad safari across some of Africa's most spectacular landscapes. Deep canyons, open plains, wild animals and the highest sand dunes in the world. Climb aboard the African Explorer for the voyage of a lifetime.

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
14 days From $12,110 per person

2021 Tour code: LT-JDCN-21

About the tour

Adventurers unite for this unique opportunity to explore Southern Africa and Namibia by train. This rail journey begins in the city of Cape Town, where our time is spent on a guided city tour, soaking up the scenery and enjoying the local fare. After a night in the city, we set off on our luxury expedition aboard the African Explorer. Take in the panoramas from the window-lined lounge car as we journey out of the city and into the vast wilderness, or relax with your fellow travelers in the bar car or one of the two restaurant cars. With full-day stops in places such as Augrabies National Park, Namib Naukluft National Park and Etosha National Park, we have the opportunity to see antelope, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, big cats and some of Africa's other common wildlife in their natural settings. This tour offers much more than just animals, though; enjoy colonial architecture in Swakopmund, massive sand dunes in the Namib Desert, early 20th-century history in Kolmanskop and so much more. We wrap up our time in Africa with an authentic safari before arriving in the final stop of Windhoek, which makes this 14-day rail journey one to remember for a lifetime.

Journey is also available from Windhoek to Cape Town based on your travel preference.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Cape Town

Meet your tour guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. After checking in, depart on a city tour and discover everything this multicultural melting pot has to offer. Head to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for a pleasant stroll or take an optional excursion to ascend the top of Table Mountain via its iconic cable car and take in stunning views of it all. Round off the day by joining your fellow travelers for an excursion to Signal Hill and a special welcome dinner. Overnight Cape Town.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – The African Explorer

Board a legend to begin your South African train tour. Discover the unmatched ease of rail travel, as the  African Explorer whisks past verdant valleys and through the dramatic tunnels of the Hex River Mountains. Stop in Matjiesfontein to soak up this tiny railroad town's colonial flair, including the charming Victorian-era Lord Milner Hotel. Overnight train. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 – Across Southern Africa

Enjoy a day of once-in-a-lifetime views from the comfort of your private train as the African Explorer crosses South Africa. Enjoy the entertaining lectures on local customs and culture. Overnight train. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 – Augrabies National Park

Today you visit Upington and Augrabies National Park. You'll stand at its world-famous waterfalls, your senses coming alive in the face of their thunderous roar and refreshing spray. The train takes you further north this evening. Overnight train.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 – Fish River Canyon

Welcome to Namibia, a land of color and texture with landscapes almost too staggering to take in. This afternoon, attend a biltong tasting-but not before discovering Fish River Canyon. Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest in the world! Stare across its vast space and feel majesty, awe and perspective. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 – Lüderitz Peninsula/Kolmanskop Ghost Town

Diamonds were discovered in Kolmanskop in 1908, drawing money and miners in droves. Today it's a Teutonic ghost town with abandoned buildings covered knee-deep in sand for you to explore. A quick bus trip through Namibia's heavily restricted diamond zone takes you to Lüderitz, a historic port town nestled on the dramatic Atlantic coastline. The town is known for its colonial architecture, wildlife including flamingos and penguins and the nearby Diaz Point, famous for its stone cross observing the location where Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz landed. Overnight train.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Namib Naukluft National Park

This morning, you arrive in Mariental. Travel by bus via the Zarieshoogte pass and along untarred roads to the plain of the Namib Naukluft National Park to your lodge, a lonely oasis in the midst of the wilderness. Overnight Namib Naukluft National Park.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Sand Dune Giants

Stand atop mighty orange-red sand dunes-the biggest in the world-and take in the alien beauty of the Namib Desert on today's tour aboard open-top vehicles as the sun begins to set. You'll never forget the natural beauty you witnessed today. Overnight Namib Naukluft National Park.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Walvis Bay and Swakopmund

Head back to the coast to Walvis Bay, named after the whales that still frolic by this deep-water port city. Look for pink flamingos strutting along the lagoon and then continue your day's air-conditioned bus journey to Swakopmund, famous for its exceptional examples of colonial architecture, German heritage and timbered houses. Overnight train.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 – Spitzkoppe

Marvel at the craggy, barren dome of the Spitzkoppe, the tawny granite peak known as Namibia's Matterhorn. Hunter-gatherer artwork on the rocks here speaks to the fascination this famous landmark has long held for humankind. Later, you return to your private train, stopping in the evening to enjoy a braai-a traditional African barbecue-alongside your train, beneath a fabulously starry sky. Overnight train. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 – Etosha National Park

Arrive in Etosha National Park and embark on a full-day safari crossing the entire length of the park. Watch as elephants, giraffes and countless other wild animals congregate near watering holes. If you're lucky, you might even see a rare black rhino before sunset. Overnight Etosha National Park.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – On Safari

Jump into a jeep and go on a safari in the golden light of the morning. Seek out creatures of the feathered, furry and fanged kind right where they live. Overnight train.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 – Windhoek

With luck, the morning's unique train route will be a veritable safari. It passes through private game farms, where giraffe, antelope and ostrich are often visible from the train. Upon arrival in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, tour the city, including Christ Church, which combines Germanic neo-Gothic design with local African sandstone. Stop at the Namibian parliament building followed by a visit to the township of Katutura and a local market. This evening enjoy a special dinner in celebration of your exceptional journey and to say farewell to your fellow travelers. Overnight Windhoek.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 – Return Home

Your African Explorer adventure ends today with your transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Pricing Plans

Elephant: Elephant compartments on the African Explorer offer two single berths or one double berth. Cabins include a small safe, towels, a compact wardrobe, hair drier and toiletries. Cabins include a private shower and toilet, individually adjustable air conditioning and 220/230 volt sockets. The train features five Elephant category cars with five compartments per car.

Leopard: Leopard compartments on the African Explorer offer two single berths or one double bed. Cabins include a small sitting area in addition to a small safe, towels, a compact wardrobe, hair drier and toiletries. Cabins include a private shower and toilet, individually adjustable air conditioning and 220/230 volt sockets. Leopard compartments are located closer to the restaurant cars. The train features five Leopard category cars with three suites in each.

Please note

It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

International flights, visas, tips, personal expenses and any services not mentioned are not included in tour price. 

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Mokuti Etosha Lodge, Etosha National Park

Mokuti Etosha Lodge, Etosha National Park

View hotel

Sossusvlei Lodge, Namib Naukluft National Park

Sossusvlei Lodge, Namib Naukluft National Park

View hotel

Train

African Explorer

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