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Jewel of the Desert Cape Town to Windhoek

 

Itinerary from Cape Town to Windhoek

This is the current 2017 itinerary, Cape Town to Windhoek, on the Shongololo Express Jewel of the Desert.

Day 1 Arrival in Pretoria

In the morning you arrive in Johannesburg. A city tour in the South African capital Pretoria will show you the Union Buildings, the Nelson Mandela-Monument and the home of Paul Kruger. Welcome dinner in the evening where you will get to know your guides. (D)

Day 2 Departure Shongololo Express

Embarkation in the morning. Get to know your train. Shongololo Express leaves the Gauteng region and passes the Highveld. Dinner on board and time for a relaxing evening in the bar-wagon. (BLD)

Day 3 Diamond City Kimberley

in the morning your private train will reach the historical train station of Kimberley, the city of diamonds. At the end of the 19th century, the town experienced a real diamond rush, from which the diamond empire of De Beers emerged, led today by the Oppenheimers and founded by Cecil Rhodes. You can view the famous Big Hole, once the largest diamond mind in the world and visit the lovingly restored original buildings of Kimberley’s Belle Époque. (BD)

Day 4 Wine tasting

Arrival in Upington. Thanks to the Oranje River this region is predestinated for winegrowing. You will enjoy a wine tasting on a typical vineyard. In the early evening you will get back to the train and continue in the direction of Namibia. The border crossing formalities will be handled in your compartment. (BLD)

Day 5 Fish River Canyon

Arrival in Holoog in the morning. The Fish River Canyon, today’s highlight, is the second largest canyon in the world! Climb aboard one of the air-conditioned mini tour buses carried by the train for the excursions and enjoy the stunning views. There is also a chance to take a short walk along the canyon’s edge. In the afternoon your train continues. At the small town of Keetmannshoop, there’s just enough time before the sun sets for a trip to the Quiver Tree Forest (the Kokerboom Woud in Afrikaans). (BLD)

Day 6 Ghost Town

Morning arrival in Aus station. Your day’s programme begins with a bus ride to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, where the first diamonds were found in Namibia in 1908. From here, the harbour town of Lüderitz is a short journey through the Sperrgebiet (the “Restricted Diamond Area”). After crossing the historical Lüderitz peninsula, you reach the next highlight of the day – Diaz Point, set against the backdrop of the dramatic Atlantic waves. Back on board at Aus station, your private train continues on its journey south. (BD)

Day 7 Namib Naukluft National Park

In the morning, arrival in Mariental, where mini buses will transfer you to your lodges. You will stop in the small village of Maltahöhe for a tasty brunch – complete with delicious freshly baked bread! Overnight in a lodge. (BD)

Day 8 The Highest Sand Dunes in the World

Early morning is the best time to see the giant dunes of the Namib. Climbing a dune may be quite tough, but the panoramic view from the top over a sea of apricot-coloured sand is reward enough! Open-top vehicles take you the last few kilometres along an unpaved sandy track to the Vlei, a salt-clay sink surrounded by sand dunes. On the way, you may well be fortunate enough to see oryx antelopes and springboks. As the sun sets, enjoy a romantic journey through the stunning desert landscape. Overnight in a lodge. (BD)

Day 9 Walvis Bay and Swakopmund

After breakfast, your air-conditioned mini tour buses are waiting to take you to Walvis Bay where, with luck, you can see flocks of flamingos and pelicans. The tour through the Namib Naukluft National Park by mini buses takes about 5 hours. In Swakopmund your train awaits you. (BD)

Day 10 Spitzkoppe

In the early morning your train leaves Swakopmund. It will stop at Usakos for an excursion to the granite peaks known as the “Spitzkoppe”. A visit to a local school (except in the school holidays) provides an insight into the everyday life of children from the Damara people. Back on board, your train continues to Omary where a wine tasting is prepared. (BLD)

Day 11 Etosha National Park

Explore the wonders of the Etosha National Park. The Shongololo Express crosses the entire park – a chance to see elephants, gnus and other wild animals close up on the journey. The Etosha Pan, an extremely flat salt pan, lies at the heart of the National Park. This shimmering “great white place”, as its name says, is the largest salt pan in Africa – and with herds of wild animals passing through, an unforgettable experience! This exciting day ends with an overnight stay in a comfortable lodge nearby. (BD)

Day 12 On Safari

In the morning, enjoy an extensive safari drive before carrying on to Otjiwarongo where your private train is waiting for you. (BD)

Day 13 Windhoek

With that proverbial little bit of luck, your journey will be a train safari. This unique route passes through various private game farms where giraffes, antelopes and ostriches are often visible right from the train window! After arrival in Windhoek you will go on a city tour including the neo-Gothic Christ Church and the Tintenpalast, literally the “Ink Palace”, which houses the Namibian parliament. After that, you will visit the township Katutura and a local market. You will be transferred to your hotel before a farewell dinner will be served in a special restaurant. Overnight in a hotel. (BD)

Day 14 Good bye Namibia

According to your flights, transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)

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