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Shongololo Dune Express: Luderitz, Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park & More

Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 8,326

FIRST-CLASS | RAIL: Ride in style on this train journey across Namibia and South Africa. Venturing aboard the Shongololo Express, you’ll head on safari, hike across sand dunes, gaze upon one of the world’s largest canyons, and explore ghost towns and diamond mines.


This 12-day Southern African vacation takes you on an incredible train journey across Namibia and South Africa, including stops in Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei, the Namib Desert, and Kimberley. It features moderate accommodations and shared tours.

Your train journey begins in Walvis Bay on the Namibian coast. There you’ll board the Shongololo Express and begin your rail trek across the southwestern reaches of the African continent. First stop is Etosha National Park, where you’ll stay overnight at a game lodge and spend two days on game drives through the great salt pan of the Kalahari Basin. You’ll have a good chance to spot zebra, springbok, and even endangered black rhinos before you return to the train and continue to Windhoek, the Namibian capital. A city tour will showcase some of its key museums and attractions, including the Trans-Namib Transport Musuem, which charts the history of rail travel in the nation, and the Alte Feste, a massive fortress with a variety of displays about the nation’s history and culture.

Leave Windhoek behind and ride the train into Namib-Naukluft Park, where you’ll connect to a desert lodge for the night and spend time exploring the breathtaking expanses of sand dunes and salt pans. The Namib Desert is the oldest in the world and renowned for its deep red sand and the world’s largest sand dunes. Hike across the cresting dunes, gaze upon the shifting sands of Sossusvlei, where skeletal black trees remain as remnants of past moisture, and see the Sesriem Canyon, the only part of the area where water can be found year-round.

Continue onwards to Keetmanshoop, an old German town, and Garas Park, known for its prehistoric forked trees. In the port town of Luderitz, tour the old town known for its colonial architecture and spot the local wildlife of seals, penguins, and ostriches. You’ll also visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop, once a centre of the diamond mining industry, but now an abandoned remnant of Namibia’s past.

Reach the border with South Africa, where you’ll visit Fish River Canyon, which flows across the border and is the largest canyon in the Southern Hemisphere. Admire the rocky landscape of towering cliffs and flowing river before entering South Africa to reach Upington, a wine town that straddles the Northern Cape and southern reaches of the Kalahari. Head on a morning tour and enjoy a wine tasting at Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate. Continue to Kimberley, where you’ll learn about South Africa’s diamond industry and visit some of the key landmarks from the diamond rush of the 1870s, including the Big Hole and the Diamond Mine Museum.

Your journey aboard the Shongololo Express ends in Pretoria, the South African capital, where you’ll continue your journey elsewhere or connect to the airport for onward travels. 


 

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Duration
12 Days
Prices From:
US$ 8,326

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Walvis Bay

Check-in at Walvis Bay Station, Namibia. The train departs for Otjiwarongo. Lunch is served in the dining cars. Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Meal Plan Lunch and Dinner
Duration11 Nights
Accommodation

Shongololo Express

More Info

Location View map
  • Shongololo Express



    Just like an ocean cruise, from the moment guests join the train, all their comforts are taken care of from accommodation, meals, recreation and sightseeing and - what a pleasure - there is only the need to unpack and pack once. The trains travel comfortably …

    Just like an ocean cruise, from the moment guests join the train, all their comforts are taken care of from accommodation, meals, recreation and sightseeing and - what a pleasure - there is only the need to unpack and pack once.

    The trains travel comfortably and securely during the night to the next stop on the itinerary and guests awake each morning to a fresh vista on Africa and the anticipation of new and exciting adventures. In this way Shongololo Express guests can make the most of every precious holiday hour.

    The chefs offer menus that represent the many culinary influences of the region include Cape Dutch and Malay recipes as well as authentic African dishes. Meals are complemented by a selection of specially selected South African wines. It is the aim and the pleasure of every staff member on board to provide guests with a friendly and efficient service.

    More Details

Day 2

Etosha National Park

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:00. Please have the overnight bag ready for departure. Tog bags have been placed in your cabin for your convenience. Transfer to a lodge in Etosha for overnight. Enjoy lunch on arrival. Game drive in Etosha National Park. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Etosha National Park offers great game viewing. It gets its name from the Etosha pan, a large salt pan forming part of the Kalahari basin. Etosha means 'Great White Place'.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 3

Etosha National Park

Breakfast at the lodge followed by a morning of game viewing in Etosha National Park. Please be checked out with luggage before departure. Return to the train at Otjiwarongo Station with lunch en route. Depart for Kranzberg. Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Windhoek

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:00. Enjoy a city tour of Windhoek with visits to the Trans-Namib Transport Museum, the Alte Feste, the Evangelical Lutheran Church (one of the city's most striking landmarks) and the Namibia Craft Centre in the old Breweries Building. Return to the train. Depart for Mariental. Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Situated in Namibia's central highlands, Windhoek is an attractive city surrounded by clusters of hills and the impressive Auas and Eros Mountains. The Trans-Namib Transport Museum outlines Namibian transport history, particularly that of the railway. The Alte Feste is a fortress and museum featuring displays that lend insight into Namibia's complex history.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5

Sossusvlei

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:00. Please have the overnight bag ready for departure. Transfer (3.5 hours) to a Sossusvlei lodge in Namib-Naukluft Park for overnight. Enjoy lunch on arrival. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Sossusvlei and Namib - Naukluft Park

Early breakfast is served at the lodge. Please be checked out with luggage before departure. Transfer (1 hour) to Deadvlei. Visit Dune 45 and Sesriem Canyon. Return to the lodge for lunch. Scenic drive across the Great Escarpment - formed over 80-million years ago. Arrive at Mariental. Depart for Keetmanshoop. Dinner is served in the dining cars.

The dunes of the Namib Desert were created by sand carried by the wind from the coast of Namibia. The sand here is over five million years old and is red in colour due to its iron-oxide content. As the light changes during the 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 causing the sand to form a star shape with multiple arms, hence the name "star dunes". The Tsauchab River has shaped the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years. It is one of the few places in this 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Keetmanshoop and Garas Park

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 08:30. Visit Keetmanshoop and Garas Park (Quiver Trees), home to roughly 300 specimens of the Aloe dichotomy. The prehistoric trees have forked branches that reach up to 5m making for great photographic opportunities. Return to the train. Depart for Aus. Lunch is served in the dining cars. Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8

Luderitz and Kolmanskop

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure. Visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Arrive in Luderitz, known for its museum, colonial architecture, and wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos, and ostriches. Look out for the legendary horses rumored to roam the Namib. Return to the train. Depart for Holoog. Dinner is served in the dining cars.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 9

Fish River Canyon

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure. Visit the Fish River Canyon. Return to the train. Depart for Nakop and Ariumsvlei for border formalities. Lunch is served in the dining cars. Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Upington.

The Fish River rises in the centre of the country before flowing south into the Orange River on Namibia's border with South Africa. 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. Its size is impressive: 161km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Upington

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure. Arrive Upington. Visit historical sights beginning with a drive past the Donkey Memorial - which honours the life of the working donkey - and the railway on the Orange River followed by a tour and tasting at Bezalel Wine & Brandy Estate. Return to the train. Depart for De Aar. Lunch is served in the dining cars. Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Holoog.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 11

Kimberley

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure. Disembark for a tour of Kimberley, the Diamond Mine Museum, Big Hole, William Humphrey Art Gallery, and McGregor Museum. Depart Kimberley. Ten minutes after leaving Kimberley, a shallow lake appears on the left-hand side of the train where on most occasions, there are spectacular flocks of Lesser Flamingos (approximately 23 000). Tea is served in the lounge car and observation car at the rear of the train. Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Potchefstroom.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12

Pretoria

Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 09:00. Please have the luggage ready for collection at 11:30. Arrive Rovos Rail Station in Capital Park, Pretoria. Check out of the train. Journey ends.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2022:
Eastbound:
 May 26; Nov 11

2023:
Westbound: May 11; Aug 10
Eastbound: May 27*

* Please enquire for details of the reverse itinerary

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 9 nights moderate accommodations aboard Shongololo Express in a Gold Cabin*
  • 1 night moderate accommodation in Etosha National Park
  • 1 night moderate accommodation in Sossusvlei
  • Morning & afternoon shared game drives in Etosha National Park
  • Shared Windhoek Train Museum & City Tour
  • Shared visits to Sesriem Canyon, Deadvlei, and Dune 45 Entrance fees
  • Shared visit to Garas Park & Quiver Trees
  • Shared visit to Kolmanskop Ghost Town 
  • Shared visit to Fish River Canyon
  • Shared walking tour of Upington
  • Shared guided visit of Kimberley Open Mine Museum and Big Hole
  • Entrance fees
  • South Africa VAT
  • Tea, coffee, bottled water while on-board Shongololo Express
  • 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 11 dinners

* Upgrade to Emerald Cabins available. Please enquire for pricing.

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Meals & beverages not explicitly listed as included
  • Gratuities
  • Optional excursions
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa fees if applicable

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.

TB SHONGOLSWA0122RA: DEE GC
11 Nov 2022
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