Back

Jewel of the Desert: Cape Town to Windhoek

14-Day Journey from Cape Town to Windhoek

Jewel of the Desert: Cape Town to WindhoekA railroad safari across some of Africa’s most spectacular landscapes. Deep
canyons, wide-open plains, wild animals and the highest sand dunes in the world.
The voyage of a lifetime.

from6,600 $per person

What Makes Your Journey Unique

  • Exploring the urban and natural beauty of one of the world’s greatest cities—the multicultural melting pot of Cape Town
  • Standing on the edge of Fish River Canyon—the largest canyon in Africa
  • Walking the world’s highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert
  • Visiting otherworldly landscapes that are unlike anywhere else on Earth
  • Observing elephants, giraffes and black rhinos up close while on safari in Etosha National Park

Dates

  • 21 Oct 19 - 03 Nov 19 (14 days)
  • 03 Nov 19 - 16 Nov 19 (14 days)
  • 11 Nov 19 - 24 Nov 19 (14 days)
  • 24 Nov 19 - 07 Dec 19 (14 days)
  • 17 Feb 20 - 01 Mar 20 (14 days)
  • 01 Mar 20 - 14 Mar 20 (14 days)
  • 19 Oct 20 - 01 Nov 20 (14 days)
  • 01 Nov 20 - 14 Nov 20 (14 days)
  • 09 Nov 20 - 22 Nov 20 (14 days)
  • 30 Jan 21 - 12 Feb 21 (14 days)
  • 28 Feb 21 - 13 Mar 21 (14 days)

Info & Booking

Jakob Rastetter
Click here to email us

Day 1. Cape Town, South Africa

Your journey begins in a destination that has drawn adventurers to Africa for centuries. Few places can rival Cape Town’s spectacular setting, nestled between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. You discover everything this multicultural melting pot has to offer during a fun and informative city tour. Later you take a pleasant stroll on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront or ascend Table Mountain via its iconic cable car, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway to enjoy stunning views. You finish off the day by joining your fellow travelers on an excursion to Signal Hill and enjoying a special welcome dinner.

Overnight: The Commodore Hotel (or similar) (D)

Day 2. Matjiesfontein and Hex River Mountains

Your journey through Southern Africa truly begins as you board your private train, the African Explorer. Your friendly crew welcomes you aboard, and you discover the incomparable ease of rail travel as the African Explorer whisks you through green valleys and the dramatic tunnels of the Hex River Mountains. You stop in the small railroad town of Matjiesfontein to soak up its colonial flair, including the charming Victorian-era Lord Milner Hotel.

Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 3. Across South Africa

Today you enjoy a day of once-in-a-lifetime views from the comfort of your private train. As gorgeous landscapes pass by your windows, informative and entertaining lectures reveal local customs, culture and history that most travelers miss.

Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 4. Augrabies Falls and Upington

Visits to Upington and Augrabies Falls National Park are on the schedule for today. As you stand before the world-famous Augrabies Falls, your senses come alive with their thunderous roar and refreshing spray—a truly invigorating wonder of the world! As the early evening sets in, your private train takes you further north.

Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 5. Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Welcome to Namibia—a land of color and texture, with landscapes almost too staggering to take in all at once. You marvel at its sweeping landscapes of deep, ancient ochre and its huge, aquamarine sky. In the distance, silhouettes of animals shimmer beneath the hot sun. Later you enjoy a biltong (dried meat) tasting—but not before discovering awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa.

Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 6 Kolmanskop: Namibian Ghost Town

In 1908, diamonds were discovered in Kolmanskop, attracting money and miners in droves. But today it’s a ghost town with abandoned buildings filled knee-deep with sand for you to explore. A quick bus trip through Namibia’s heavily restricted diamond zone takes you to Lüderitz, a historic port town situated on the Atlantic coastline across from the famous Diaz Point.

Overnight: On board (BD)

Day 7. Namib-Naukluft National Park

In the morning, you arrive in Mariental, from where you take a scenic bus ride to your lodge. Via the Tsaris Pass, unpaved roads lead you to the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Your lodge is a quiet oasis in the midst of the wilderness—the perfect place for stargazing. If you feel like taking in the sights from the sky, a panoramic flight over this breathtaking landscape is available upon request.

Overnight: Namib Desert Lodge (or similar) (BD)

Day 8. The Namib Desert: a Walk Among Giants

Today, you take in the otherworldly beauty of the Namib Desert and have the opportunity to stand atop the biggest sand dunes in the world—immense, sculptural sand waves as dramatic and vast as the ocean. You’ve seen them in photographs, but nothing compares to real life. Later, as the sun begins to set, you have the chance to join a desert safari in open top vehicles. The natural beauty you see here is simply unforgettable.

Overnight: Namib Desert Lodge (or similar) (BD)

Day 9. Walvis Bay and Swakopmund

Today, you head back to the coast, this time to Walvis Bay (aka Whale Bay), a deepwater port city named for its historical abundance of southern right whales. Your tour guide advises you to look out for them as well as pink flamingos strutting along Walvis Bay Lagoon. Later, you continue your journey via air-conditioned bus to the coastal city of Swakopmund, famous for its unique examples of German colonial architecture.

Overnight: On board (BD)

Day 10. Spitzkoppe: Namibia's Most Famous Peak

You begin your day with a hearty breakfast, after which you continue your exploration of the Namib Desert. Today, you marvel at the immense, granite peak of the Spitzkoppe—known as Namibia’s Matterhorn. The ancient rock paintings you see here speak to the fascination this famous landmark has long held for humankind. Later, you encounter beaming smiles and friendly laughter at a school (during academic term) for local Damara children.

Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 11. Etosha National Park: the Great White Place

The seemingly endless, shimmering white plain you stand on is the largest salt flat in Africa—the Etosha Pan. With the mineral crust crunching underfoot and the horizon going on forever, it’s easy to understand why this was named the Great White Place. You watch as elephants, giraffes and countless other wild animals congregate near watering holes while crossing the entire park by bus. If you’re lucky, you might even see the rare black rhino before sunset.

Overnight: Etosha Safari Lodge (or similar) (BD)

Day 12. A Day on Safari and Traditional Barbecue

Today is a safari day, and you jump into a jeep in the golden light of the morning. You set out in search of creatures of the feathered, furry and fanged kind in their natural habitats. 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: On board (BD)

Day 13. Windhoek and Katutura

This morning’s unique train route is a veritable safari. Your private train passes through game farms where giraffe, antelope and ostrich are often visible from your window. Soon, you arrive in the Namibian capital Windhoek, where you embark on a fun and informative city tour. Among the major sights of the day are the Christ Church—which combines neo-Gothic design with local African sandstone—and the Namibian parliament building. Later in the day, you visit the township of Katutura and a local market, before heading back to relax at your hotel. That evening, you enjoy a special dinner in celebration of your exceptional journey and to say farewell to your fellow travelers.

Overnight: AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino (or similar) (BLD)

Day 14. Farewell Africa!

After your last delicious breakfast in Africa, you get the shuttle to the airport for your flight home. Looking back on your rail adventure, you smile, remembering the amazing sights you’ve seen, feeling that you’ve become a true African explorer. (B)

(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

Set out on an unparalleled adventure across South Africa and Namibia. The African Explorer train takes you from the metropolis of Cape Town to the otherworldly wonders of the Namib Desert. Travel in comfort and ease by private train, watching elephants and giraffes graze in fields outside your window.

Highlights of Your Journey

  • Traveling 2,200 miles/3,600 kilometers of railroad in style aboard the private African Explorer train
  • Tasting fine South African wines
  • The extraordinary landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park
  • Lüderitz—the first German colonial settlement in Namibia
  • The Kolmanskop ghost town
  • The high plateau of the Aus Mountains
  • Excellent examples of German colonial architecture in Swakopmund
  • The Spitzkoppe—a group of granite peaks known as Namibia’s Matterhorn
  • Braai—a traditional African barbecue
  • Windhoek’s blend of African and German heritage

Rates Include

  • 8 nights aboard the private African Explorer train
  • 1 night at a Windhoek city hotel
  • 1 night at a well-appointed safari lodge near the entrance to Etosha National Park
  • 2 nights at a stylish lodge in the Namib Desert
  • 1 night at a first-class hotel in Cape Town
  • Multilingual tour director from Cape Town to Windhoek
  • English-speaking tour guide for up to 23 guests from Cape Town to Windhoek
  • Doctor on board
  • All meals as per itinerary
  • Fine dining and local specialties, including traditional barbecue
  • All excursions and sightseeing including admission fees according to itinerary
  • Excursions and transfers in air-conditioned buses
  • A fascinating series of lectures on sights, history, daily life and culture
  • Extensive information materials about your journey

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visa fees
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal expenses

Entry Requirements

  • Passport and visa required depending on nationality. Please check with your local embassy
  • Depending on your country of origin, you may require vaccinations. Malaria tablets and hepatitis A vaccination are recommended. Please consult your doctor

Elephant

The Elephant compartments offer private shower and toilet, individually adjustable air-conditioning, 220/230 V sockets, a small safe, towels, a compact wardrobe with coathangers, small bedside cabinets, hair dryer, toiletries and one small bottle of water per person per day on the train. The windows (equipped with blind and sunshades) can be opened as needed.

Leopard

In addition to the features of the Elephant category the Leopard compartments offer a small sitting area and are located closer to the restaurant cars.

Restaurant

  • Guaranteed
  • Available
  • Limited
  • Waiting List
  • Excursions and lectures conducted in: EN=English, FR=French

Dates

Dates ElephantLeopard
Price $
21 Oct 19 - 03 Nov 19African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | ENExcursions and lectures conducted in: English | Cape Town–Windhoek
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
03 Nov 19 - 16 Nov 19African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | FRExcursions and lectures conducted in: French | Windhoek–Cape Town
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
11 Nov 19 - 24 Nov 19African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | ENExcursions and lectures conducted in: English | Cape Town–Windhoek
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
24 Nov 19 - 07 Dec 19African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | FRExcursions and lectures conducted in: French | Windhoek–Cape Town
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
17 Feb 20 - 01 Mar 20African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | Cape Town–Windhoek
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
01 Mar 20 - 14 Mar 20African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | Windhoek–Cape Town
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
19 Oct 20 - 01 Nov 20African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | ENExcursions and lectures conducted in: English | Cape Town—Windoek
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
01 Nov 20 - 14 Nov 20African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | FRExcursions and lectures conducted in: French | Windhoek–Cape Town
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
09 Nov 20 - 22 Nov 20African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | ENExcursions and lectures conducted in: English | Cape Town-Windhoek
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
30 Jan 21 - 12 Feb 21African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | Windhoek–Cape Town
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
28 Feb 21 - 13 Mar 21African ExplorerAfrican Explorer | FRExcursions and lectures conducted in: French | Windhoek–Cape Town
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel
Total price $
Single use supplement for Leopard category available upon request