A luxury rail journey is the perfect way to see Africa with all the details taken care of for you. With round the clock service accompanied by the gentle motion of opulent coaches, you can sit back and enjoy the changing landscape in between frequent stops at fascinating destinations. There are many rail journeys to choose from which can be treated as a stand alone African trip or an add-on to a wider itinerary. In this itinerary, we highlight the nine day Namibian Safari trip that takes place once a year in April/May, whisking you from the historic city of Pretoria through the Fish River Canyon and Kalahari Desert to a safari in Etosha National Park.
Arrive at Pretoria Rovos Rail station and climb aboard your home for the next nine days. Find yourself drawn into travel from a bygone era, where the clacking of wheels and blur of passing scenery invokes an era of elegance and romance. Your trip includes the delightful pleasure of dining on the move, featuring crisp white table linen, silver cutlery, fine china and you and your fellow guests dressed in your finest evening wear.
This morning you'll explore Kimberley, the site of one of the biggest diamond rushes in the world. The hill where the first diamond was found became the site of a massive mine known as The Big Hole. Today it is an interactive tourist experience, featuring a ride underground in a recreation of a mine shaft, a short film explaining the history of diamonds in Kimberley and a museum of ancient artefacts. In the afternoon, you'll hop back on board and depart for Upington in the Karoo.
If you wake with the sun, you'll be treated to one of the most hauntingly beautiful sunrises in Africa as your train cruises through the semi-desert landscape of the Karoo. The Great Karoo stretches across two-thirds of southern Africa’s interior. The parched soil seems to ache of thirst, cracked and desolate as it is sucked dry by the relentless sun. Despite the arid conditions, this region supports a surprising diversity of plant and animal species who are well adapted to this harsh life. This morning you'll stop in Upington for an optional walking tour. Upington is a town rich in cultural history that lies on the banks of the Orange River. It has the distinguished accolade of being the hottest town in South Africa and has become a fixed pit stop for luxury train travellers. Later that morning, you'll head out on the tracks leading to the Namibian border, your destination being Holoog Station.
Today is a jam-packed day, with a morning excursion to the Fish River Canyon before you traverse the awe-inspiring Kalahari Desert on your way to Garas Park.
The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is the second largest canyon in the world, reaching almost 550 metres in depth. It need little introduction and will stay with you long after you've left. Once back on board the train you'll head to the southern Namibian city of Keetmanshoop, best known for its astonishing Giants Playground and Quiver Tree Forest, two mysterious natural wonders featuring ancient trees and piles of black boulders that, legend says, were laid down by creative giants.
After an early breakfast you'll head out on a tour of Windhoek, Namibia's bustling capital city. It's a fascinating multicultural melting pot, with its German past still evident in the wealth of German citizens and restaurants located in the vicinity. The city also has a culture all of its own, best demonstrated by its home-brewed beer and world-famous meat products.
After your city tour you'll take a short flight in a light aircraft to Sossusvlei Lodge where you'll spend the night. On arrival you'll be treated to a bush lunch before heading out on a desert drive. Sossusvlei is characterised by stark red-gold dunes that stretch into the horizon of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, a region of the Namib Desert. This salt and clay pan is a photographer’s dream, a place of haunting beauty illustrated by desolate dunes in dusky pink and vivid orange, with windswept patterns emphasizing the solitary nature of the place. On your enchanting desert drive, you will follow the whimsical trails of Toktokkie Beetles and Shovel Snouted Lizards, while reclining in comfortable all-terrain game viewing vehicles.
You'll enjoy a very early morning drive through the ochre dunes, watching as the rising sun paints the land in hues of copper and gold. After breakfast in the vlei, you'll return by air to Windhoek and board the train for your journey towards Etosha National Park for a classic Namibian safari.
Etosha National Park is one of the largest in Southern Africa and has massively diverse terrain across its reaches, including thorn bushes, woodlands, rolling grasslands and saline desert. The park is well-known for the salt pan that gives it its name; a sprawling, shallow depression so large it can clearly be seen from space.
On your safari you will encounter the vast array of game - 114 mammal species to be exact - that call it home. Lion, giraffe, mountain and plains zebra, blue wildebeest, cheetah, leopard and hyena roam the park uninhibited, while the elephant population is enormous due to the lack of poaching. This is also one of the best places in the word to see the endangered black rhino.
After an early morning game drive you 'll board the train and start your journey towards the Atlantic. A scrumptious lunch will be served on board complete with waiter in coat tails and clinking crystal glasses.
Over breakfast you can peek out your window at the endless Namib desert stretching as far as the eye can see. At 12h30 you'll arrive in Walvis Bay, where your epic luxury rail journey ends.