12 DAYS DUNE EXPRESS TOUR | SHONGOLOLO RAIL

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12 DAYS DUNE EXPRESS TOUR | SHONGOLOLO RAIL

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This spectacular 12-day journey starts in Pretoria and winds its way to the coast of Namibia, a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine and seemingly endless space. First stop is Kimberley for a visit to the Big Hole and diamond mine museum village before continuing on to Upington for a walking tour and wine tasting. After crossing the border, guests visit the Fish River Canyon, followed by tours of historical towns Lüderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop. Day 7 sees guests overnighting at a Sossusvlei lodge, surrounded by the dramatic dunes of the Namib-Naukluft Park, with visits to the natural Sesriem Canyon. The train then leaves the vast stillness of the Kalahari Desert for a city tour of Windhoek. Travel to the Etosha National Park for an overnight stay with game-viewing activities before ending the journey in the quaint seaside town of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.


TOUR ITINERARY

DAY 7: NAMIB-NAUKLUFT PARK & SESRIEM CANYON

(B/L/D)
The Tsauchab River has shaped the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years and it is one of the few places in that area that holds water all year round. The early Afrikaans explorers named the canyon after the fact that they had to use six (ses) leather straps (riem) tied together to create a rope long enough to lower water buckets into the canyon below.

08h00    Transfer to a Sossusvlei lodge in the Namib-Naukluft Park. Visit the Sesriem Canyon, shaped over millions of years by the Tsauchab River. 

Overnight at lodge

DAY 8: NAMIB DESERT

(B/L/D)
The dunes of the Namib Desert were created by sand carried by the wind from the coast of Namibia. The sand here is 5 million years old and is red in colour due to its iron-oxide content. As the lighting changes with the time of day, so does the appearance of the dunes’ characteristic colour, allowing for interesting photographs at any time. The wind in the Sossusvlei area blows from all directions, which means that the type of the dunes hear are known as “star dunes”. This is because the winds cause the sand to form a star shape with multiple arms.

Enjoy sunrise from Dune 45 followed by brunch at the lodge. Take a scenic drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park. 

18h00   The train departs for Rehoboth for overnight

DAY 9: WINDHOEK

(B/L/D)
Situated in Namibia’s central highlands, Windhoek is an attractive city surrounded by clusters of hills and the impressive Auas and Eros Mountains. The city tour of Windhoek starts with a visit to the TransNamib Transport Museum. The museum is situated in the Windhoek Railway Station and was built from 1912 to 1913. In front of the building is the narrow-gauge locomotive (vintage 1900), which used to operate between Swakopmund and Windhoek. At the top of Robert Mugabe Avenue is the Christuskirche or Evangelical Lutheran Church. This is one of the city’s most striking landmarks and was built from local sandstone and completed in 1910. Our last visit is the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building. Distance travelled: ±50km

09h00    City tour of Windhoek. See the Trans-Namib Transport Museum, the Alte Feste (Old Fortress), the Evangelical Lutheran Church – a striking landmark – and the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building

DAY 10: ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

(B/L/D)
The park offers excellent game viewing in one of Africa’s most accessible venues. Zebra and springbok are scattered across the endless horizon while the many waterholes attract endangered black rhino, lion, elephant and large numbers of antelope.

09h30    Transfer to a lodge in Etosha National Park. Enjoy game-viewing activities

Overnight at lodge

DAY 11: ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

(B/L/D)
Enjoy a morning game drive before checking out and returning to the train. 

15h00 Rejoin the train in Otjiwarongo and depart for Kranzberg for overnight

DAY 12: WALVIS BAY

(B/L/D)
On arrival at the Walvis Bay Station, check-out from train and your journey ends here. Transfer to airport for flight to Johannesburg. 

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN PRETORIA

(D)
Upon arrival, transfer to Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria for Kingswood for overnight stop. 
Train will depart at 3pm.

DAY 2: KIMBERLY

(B/L/D)
Arrive at the capital of the Northern Cape - Kimberley. A city well known for the discovery of diamonds which led to its establishment in 1893. Highlights include a visit to the Big Hole Diamond Mine Museum.

10h00    Visit the Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum in Kimberley
12h30     Return to the train in Kimberley and depart for Upington. Enjoy lunch on board.

DAY 3: UPINGTON TOUR & WINE/BRANDY TASTING

(B/L/D)
A visit to the historical sights of Upington beginning with a drive past the Donkey Memorial, which honours the life of the working donkey, and the railway on the Orange River. Guests arrive at the Bezalel Wine & Brandy Cellar for a tour and tasting after which we return to the train. Distance travelled: ±80km

09h00   Morning tour of Upington and wine tasting at Belazel Brandy & Wine Cellar
12h00    The train departs Upington for Nakop for border formalities with Namibia. 
Enjoy lunch on board

DAY 4: FISH RIVER CANYON

(B/L/D)
The Fish River rises in the centre of the country, before flowing south into the Orange River, on Namibia’s border with South Africa. In between, it has formed the great Fish River Canyon – the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and probably only second to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in terms of size. The vast rocky landscape breaks up into a series of spectacular cliffs, formed by the Fish River as it meanders between boulders over half a kilometre below. Its size is impressive: 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. Distance travelled: ±180km

09h00    Morning visit to the Fish River Canyon, the largest in the southern hemisphere
12h30     Return to the train and depart for Aus for overnight
Enjoy lunch on board

DAY 5: KOLMANSKOP & LUDERITZ

(B/L/D)
Lüderitz lies at the end of the currently decommissioned railway line to Keetmanshoop. En route we might see the legendary horses that are rumoured to roam the Namib desert as we visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Lüderitz is known for its museum, colonial architecture and for wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos and ostriches.

09h00   Full-day tour of the ghost town Kolmanskop and Lüderitz, well known for its colonial architecture and wildlife
18h00   The train departs for Keetmanshoop for overnight

DAY 6: KEETMANSHOOP TOUR

(B/L/D)
Visit Giant’s Playground where dolerite dykes of between three to five metres in width and 20kms in length can be explored. Visit Quiver Tree Forest, which is home to roughly 300 specimens of the Aloe dichotomy. Between three to five metres tall, these prehistoric trees have forked branches that reach skywards; this visit makes for wonderful photographic opportunities. Distance travelled: ±80km

09h00    Morning tour of Keetmanshoop. See the Giant’s Playground with its 20km-long dolerite dykes as well as Quiver Tree Forest, home to 300 species of the Aloe dichotomy
13h00     Return to the train and depart for Mariental. 
Enjoy lunch on board


TRAIN CABINS

 

RATES INCLUDED:

  • Accommodation in double/twin bedded cabin with en-suite bathrooms
  • Meals as mentioned in program (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Guided off train excursions and game drives as mentioned in itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Transfer for excursion
  • English speaking local guide

RATES NOT INCLUDED:

  • International flights and taxes
  • Domestic flights and taxes
  • Camera or Video fees
  • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tipping for local guide and driver
  • Services other than mentioned
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance
  • Everything not included in the “RATES NOT INCLUDED"