African Explorer

  • January 28 - February 15, 2021 | 19 days / 18 nights
  • $12,250.00

University Alumni Travel

Experience the immense beauty of Southern Africa on an epic railroad journey across some of Africa’s most spectacular landscapes. Deep canyons, wide-open plains, wild animals and the highest sand dunes in the world. From Namibian deserts to lush forests, the African Explorer private train is your key to adventure. Have a glass of world-class South African wine in the bar car. Take in the fresh African air from an outdoor observation platform or relax inside the air-conditioned lounge car. There is simply no better way to experience the wonders of Africa.

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Participating Universities

This tour is available to the following University Alumni travel programs

African Explorer

$12,250.00

University Alumni Travel

Experience the immense beauty of Southern Africa on an epic railroad journey across some of Africa’s most spectacular landscapes. Deep canyons, wide-open plains, wild animals and the highest sand dunes in the world. From Namibian deserts to lush forests, the African Explorer private train is your key to adventure. Have a glass of world-class South African wine in the bar car. Take in the fresh African air from an outdoor observation platform or relax inside the air-conditioned lounge car. There is simply no better way to experience the wonders of Africa.

Webinar Coming Soon


Participating Universities

This tour is available to the following University Alumni travel programs

Daily Overview

Date Destination Activities
Jan 28 Toronto - Johannesburg Board your overnight flight to Johannesburg
Jan 29 Johannesburg Arrive in Johannesburg and check-in hotel
Jan 30 Johannesburg
Windhoek, Namibia
Sightseeing tour in the morning
Transfer to airport for local flight to Windhoek
Jan 31 Windhoek, Namibia Morning city tour and embark to your African explorer private train
Feb 01 Etosha National Park Explore the wonders of the Etosha National Park by bus
Feb 02 On safari Enjoy safari game drive for the day and enjoy a traditional African Braai (BBQ) in the evening
Feb 03 Spitzkoppe Excursion to granite peaks known as Spitzkoppe
Feb 04 Namib Naukluft National Park Home to mountain ranges and the Namib Desert
Enjoy and relax at lodge for the night
Feb 05 Namib Desert View the giant sand dunes of the Namib Desert
Enjoy and relax at lodge for the night
Feb 06 Namib Naukluft National Park Board the private train at Mariental and enjoy brunch in the tiny village of Maltahöhe
Feb 07 Kolmanskop Visit “ghost town” site of Namibia first diamond discovery
Feb 08 Holoog Visit Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa
Feb 09 Upington Excursion to Augrabies Falls National Park
Feb 10 Matjesfonteijn Visit Victorian village of Matjesfonteijn
Feb 11 Cape Town Arrive Cape Town and disembark your train
Feb 12 Stellenbosch Enjoy tour of 2 wineries with wine tasting
Feb 13 Cape Town Enjoy full day of Peninsular tour
Feb 14 Cape Town Free time during the day and transfer to the airport in the evening for your midnight flight
Feb 15 Cape Town Flight departs early this morning

Additional Information

Days

January 28 – February 15, 2021, 19 days / 18 nights

Pace

Casual

Cities

Johannesburg, Windhoek, Namibia, Cape Town

DAY 1 | JAN 28

Depart Toronto

Board your overnight flight to Johannesburg.

Transportation: KLM Airlines

DAY 2 | JAN 29

Arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Accommodation: Holiday Inn Sandton or similar (1 night)

DAY 3 | JAN 30

Johannesburg - Windhoek, Namibia.

Visit the Top of Africa viewing deck, for a panoramic city view, and explore Museum Africa which celebrates the vibrant social and cultural history of Africa. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then transfer to the airport for a local flight to Windhoek, Namibia. Upon arrival, meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel..

Transportation: Local flight
Accommodation: AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino or similar (1 night)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4 | JAN 31

Departure on the African Explorer

Begin with a Windhoek city tour to learn about its colonial and German-influenced past. View the neo-Gothic Christ Church and the Tintenpalast, or “Ink Palace,” which houses the Namibian parliament. At Windhoek Station, it’s “all aboard!” as the exclusively-private train departs on this incredible journey. Have your cameras ready as you pass through private game farms teeming with giraffes, antelopes and ostriches. Overnight onboard your private train for the night.

Accommodation: Onboard African Explorer train (1 night)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5 | FEB 01

Etosha National Park

Explore the wonders of Etosha National Park. Ride in comfort with air-conditioned buses across the entire park and observe elephants, gnus and more up close. The Etosha Pan, an extremely flat salt pan, lies at the heart of the Park. This shimmering “great white place”, as its name says, is the largest salt pan in Africa and is teeming with wildlife. The unforgettable day ends with an overnight stay in a nearby lodge.

Accommodation: Mokuti Lodge or similar (1 night)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6 | FEB 02

On Safari

Wildlife and birds will give you plenty of reasons to keep your camera out on this extensive morning game drive. Following the safari, sit back and relax en route to the town of Otijiwarongo where a private train will be waiting to continue your Namibian journey. In the evening, enjoy a traditional African Braai (BBQ) under a starry night sky.

Accommodation: Onboard African Explorer train (2 nights)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7 | FEB 03

Spitzkoppe

The train stops at Usakos for an excursion to the granite peaks known as the “Spitzkoppe.” Visit a local school to learn about the everyday life of children from the Damara tribe. Back on board, the train continues its journey to Swakopmund where you will arrive in the evening. Visitors to this important Namibian city will discover its intriguing German colonial architecture.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8 | FEB 04

From the Atlantic Shore into the Desert

After breakfast, take an air-conditioned bus to Walvis Bay where, with luck, flocks of flamingos and pelicans will be observed. Then drive to the Skeleton Coast, with views of the Namib Desert and Vogelfederberg Hill, before arriving at the protected Namib Naukluft National Park. Relax at your lodge for the night.

Accommodation: Namib Desert Lodge or similar (2 nights)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9 | FEB 05

The Highest Sand Dunes in the World

Climb the giant sand dunes of the Namib Desert for a panoramic view in the early morning. Open-top vehicles take you along an unpaved sandy track to the vlei, a salt-clay sink surrounded by sand dunes. Watch for oryx antelopes and springboks. As the sun sets, enjoy a romantic ride through the stunning desert landscape. Overnight in a lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10 | FEB 06

Namib Naukluft National Park

Travel by air-conditioned bus from the lodge in Namib Naukluft National Park to Mariental. Board the train and travel to the tiny village of Maltahöhe for a tasty brunch.

Accommodation: Onboard African Explorer train (5 nights)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11 | FEB 07

Ghost Town

Morning arrival at Aus station and drive to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, the site of Namibia’s first diamond discovery in 1908. Onwards to the harbour town of Lüderitz through the Sperrgebiet (“Restricted Diamond Area”). After crossing the historical Lüderitz peninsula, visit Diaz Point where waves crash against the rocky coastline and fur seals and dolphins can be spotted. Back on board at Aus station, the train continues on its journey south.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12 | FEB 08

Fish River Canyon

Arrival in Holoog. Begin this special day with a visit to Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest in the world. It is also the second most visited attraction in Namibia. Enjoy a scenic canyon excursion from the comfort of the bus and embrace the stunning views. Hop off the bus and take a short walk along the canyon’s edge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13 | FEB 09

Augrabies Falls National Park

Arrive in Upington in the Northern Cape Province in South Africa and venture off on an excursion to Augrabies Falls National Park. This area is famous for its picturesque waterfalls and abundance of giant aloe trees, or quiver tree as it is known here. The waterfall is 60m high with a deep gorge below. Depart by train in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14 | FEB 10

Matjiesfontein

Visit the village of Matjiesfontein, which was originally inhabited by Khoikhoi herders and San hunter-gatherers. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around this quaint Victorian town to discover its charm and history, including the famous Lord Milner Hotel, where Cecil Rhodes, the first Minister of the Cape Colony, and the writer Edgar Wallace resided.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15 | FEB 11

Arrival in Cape Town

Arrive in Cape Town in the morning. Say goodbye to the train and its crew, and discover the most famous city in South Africa. Stroll along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront or take the cableway to the top of the famous Table Mountain on an optional excursion. In the early afternoon, join the city tour through Cape Town. As the sun sets, enjoy the expansive views of the city from Signal Hill. The evening ends with a special dinner.

Accommodation: The Commodore Hotel or similar (3 nights)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16 | FEB 12

Half Day Wine Tour to Wine Country

Enjoy a tour of two wineries in Stellenbosch with wine tasting and lunch

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 17 | FEB 13

Full Day Peninsula Tour

Tour Chapmans Peak Drive, Cape of Good Hope, Boulder’s Beach (where you might see penguins) and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 18 | FEB 14

Free Day

Enjoy free time during the day and transfer to the airport in the evening.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 19 | FEB 15

Farewell South Africa

Your flight departs early this morning.

Transportation: KLM Airlines

CABIN CATEGORY DOUBLE OCCUPANCY SINGLE OCCUPANCY
Elephant Category CAD $12,250 per person CAD $15,590 per person
Leopard Category CAD $14,890 per person Not available

Note: Single passengers booked in double occupancy cabins are limited to 10% of the total passengers travelling within the group.

DEPOSITS & PAYMENTS
FIRST DEPOSIT: CAD 2,500 per person at the time of booking
SECOND DEPOSIT: CAD 2,500 per person due on April 24th, 2020
FINAL PAYMENT: Due on September 25th, 2020

Note:

  1. Passenger names must match passport.
  2. Please ensure that passports are valid up till after six (6) months at last destination.
  3. No visa to South Africa and Namibia required for Canadian passport holders.
CANCELLATION CHARGES ON CRUISE & LAND
From time of booking to April 23rd, 2020: CAD 2,500 per person
Between April 24th – September 25th, 2020: CAD 5,000 per person
Between September 25th – date of departure: 100% of tour cost

AIR CANCELLATION PENALTIES ARE SUBJECT TO AIRLINE REGULATIONS

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African Explorer

The African Explorer, as a rolling hotel, offers sleeping compartments in two categories, two air-conditioned restaurant cars, a bar car and a lounge car with panorama windows and an open platform at the end. The tempting three-course dinners are served in one sitting. The bar car, open around the clock is ideal for relaxing over a beer or a glass of South African wine and is a popular spot for reading as well as the venue for the fascinating on board talks.

img-train-african-Elephant-compartments

Elephant Compartment

The Elephant compartments offer private shower and toilet, individually adjustable air-conditioning, 220/230V 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.

img-train-african-Leopard-compartments

Leopard Compartment

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.

  1. Passport

    Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for entry to South Africa. It should be valid for at least 6 months after your return. Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

  2. Visas

    Canadians do not need a tourist visa to enter South Africa. However, upon arrival, immigration officials will issue a temporary residents visa (TRV) for up to 90 days. Check the expiry date of your TRV to ensure you don’t overstay.

When planning your travel wardrobe, please remember that storage space in a train compartment is limited. Large luggage can be placed under the berths or in the upper racks. Hard shell suitcases are not recommended. When you leave the train for your lodge stays (Namib Desert, Etosha – and Kruger National Parks) you only take a small piece of luggage along, so please bring a small travel bag for this purpose. Your large luggage with everything not needed for your lodge stay remains safely on board. On the morning the train departs, every piece of luggage is marked with the carriage and compartment number by the tour guides and brought directly to your compartment.

Casual clothing is customary aboard the private charter train, also at meal times. A shirt or blouse and trousers are sufficient for dinner in the train restaurant as well as in the hotels and lodges. There is no need to load down your luggage with formal clothing. Space for luggage is limited in the compartments, so it is advisable to bring easy-care, wrinkle-free clothing on your trip. A laundry service is available throughout the train journey for a fee.

For Namibia, the temperate is between 16 degree (lowest) to 28 degree (highest) in Feb. The best time to visit Cape Town is during the summer months, from December to April. For Feb, there are about 10 hours of sunshine and the temperature varies from 16 degree (lowest) to 27 degree (highest)

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking is only permitted in the smoking lounge, but not in the sleeping compartments, restaurant cars, or buses used for the excursions. Please refrain from smoking pipes and cigars on board the train.

On board EURO, US dollars or South African Rand are accepted, as are Visa or MasterCard credit cards. Price lists for drinks showing the different currencies are available in lounge car. Please note that change for purchases in EURO or US dollars will be in South African Rand.

There is no card or coin telephones aboard the private charter train. In urgent cases your tour guide has an emergency telephone. Mobile telephones with standard contracts generally function in South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique. For Zimbabwe an agreement must exist between the specific provider and the country’s communications ministry. Reception is generally good throughout the entire region, but may vary in sparsely settled areas.

Guests using prepaid cards should inform themselves by their provider before leaving home about whether their particular service can be activated for the region.

There is no Internet service available on the train, and you will be travelling through regions where mobile service can be very inconsistent. Most accommodations offer Internet, and you will find Internet cafés in the larger cities.

Each train compartment has a 220 V alternating current (AC) socket for charging electrical devices and is also supplied with an adapter for the 3-pronged sockets commonly used in southern Africa. So-called world travel adapters and British 3-pronged plugs often do not function. We cannot accept any liability for electrical power outages and possible resulting damage to electrical devices.

A German physician accompanies the train and is available for your needs 24 hours a day. If special medical attention is needed, additional medical care can be requested over the train radio. Medical services aboard the train must be paid on-site in cash. If you should become seriously ill, all large cities have hospitals, and Cape Town, Windhoek and Victoria Falls have hospitals meeting international standards.

Breakfast is served buffet-style in one sitting in the restaurant cars. Coffee, tea and juice are included in the trip price. The midday and evening meals are also served in one sitting in the restaurant cars. You are welcome to remain in the restaurant cars after meals for socialising. The waiters are happy to serve you drinks of your choice. Please consider that special foodstuffs, such as gluten- or lactose-free ones, can be quite difficult to obtain in southern Africa. The exact times of the meals are listed in your daily programme.

There is no required vaccination for travelling to South Africa. We recommend you to consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel for any concerns.

South Africa and Namibia are safe tourist destinations. A certain level of attention is nonetheless always advisable. Do not leave your luggage unattended and avoid displaying valuables or handling cash in busy public spaces. During the excursions and lodge stays your large luggage is kept securely on the train. Each compartment has a small safe where guests can safely store their special valuables. Do not keep all of your cash in the same place. It is also advisable to bring copies of your passport and airline tickets on the trip and to store them separately from the originals.

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/south-africa

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