Dune Express – Westbound
PRETORIA to SWAKOPMUND – 12 DAYS
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, second in size to the Grand Canyon, followed by tours of historical towns Lüderitz, Kolmanskop and Keetmanshoop. Day seven sees guests overnighting at a Sossusvlei lodge, surrounded by the dramatic dunes of the Namib-Naukluft Park, with visits to the natural Sesriem Canyon and the 170m-high star-dune “45”. The train then leaves the vast stillness of the Kalahari Desert for a city tour of Windhoek. On day ten guests 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. Available in reverse.
Read the Fact Sheet for this trip:
DAY 1 – THE TRAIN DEPARTS PRETORIA
15h00 Train departs Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria for Kingswood for our overnight stop.
DAY 2 – KIMBERLEY TOUR
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.
Capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley is 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.
DAY 3 – UPINGTON TOUR AND WINE/BRANDY TASTING
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. Overnight Holoog.
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
DAY 4 – FISH RIVER CANYON VISIT
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.
Fish River Canyon
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
DAY 5 – KOLMANSKOP AND LÜDERITZ TOUR
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.
Lüderitz and Kolmanskop
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.
DAY 6 – KEETMANSHOOP TOUR
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.
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
DAY 7 – OVERNIGHT SOSSUSVLEI LODGE WITH A VISIT TO SESRIEM CANYON
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.
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.
DAY 8 – SUNRISE FROM DUNE 45 AND SCENIC DRIVE ACROSS NAMIB-NAUKLUFT PARK
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.
Dunes in the Namib
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.
DAY 9 – WINDHOEK TOUR
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.
12h00 Return to the train and depart for Otjiwarongo. Enjoy lunch on board.
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. The museum at the Alte Feste Castle offers a range of displays, including the Social History Gallery and the Independence Display. Both give an insight into Namibia’s complex history. 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. Romanesque, neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau styles influenced its design and Kaiser Wilhelm II donated its stained- glass windows. Our last visit is the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building. Distance travelled: ±50km
DAY 10 – OVERNIGHT ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK WITH GAME DRIVE
09h30 Transfer to a lodge in Etosha National Park. Enjoy game-viewing activities. Overnight at lodge.
Etosha National Park
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.
DAY 11 – ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK GAME DRIVE AND RETURN TO TRAIN
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 – ARRIVE IN WALVIS BAY AND DEPART THE TRAIN
11h30 Arrive at Walvis Bay Station where your tour ends. Check out of the train.
Swakopmund, Namibia’s seaside resort on the west coast, is a place of singular charm. It resembles a small Bavarian village nestling between the desert and the sea and enjoys a restful and relaxing atmosphere. The source of Swakopmund’s continental vibe is the graceful Art Nouveau buildings dating back to the turn of the previous century.
EMERALD CABIN (±10sqm)
2017: R75 000 per person sharing
2018: R81 000 per person sharing
GOLD CABIN (±7sqm)
2017: R59 800 per person sharing
2018: R65 000 per person sharing
Single supplement: +50%
Choice of double or twin beds. All cabins have an en-suite bathroom.
RACK RATE ONE WAY PER PERSON SHARING INCLUDES:
• Accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis
• Excursions accompanied by a qualified tour guide
• Entrance fees as per itinerary
• Government tax.
• Lunches off the train
• All beverages
• Travel insurance.
Included in off-train accommodation:
• Meals at lodges/hotels/clubs/resorts.
Excluded in off-train accommodation:
• All beverages
• Personal expenses.
Children: We regret we cannot accommodate children under the age of 10. Children over 10 pay the full rate.
DAY 1 and DAY 12: Transfers can be arranged at an additional cost.