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.

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.


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 Norway. It should be valid for at least 3 months after your return.

    Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

  2. Visas

    No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter Norway.

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

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.

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Bergen

Winter: January – March / November – December

  • Days in the low 0s, nights around freezing or somewhat below.

Spring/Fall: April – May / September – October

  • Days in the mid to high 0s, nights in the low 0s. September a bit warmer.

Summer: June – August

  • Days in the high 10s to low 20s, nights in the low 10s.

Being a coastal climate, rain can be expected on 2 out of 3 days. The heaviest Rainfall / sometimes snow is in the winter months.

If you are booking a cruise-only program, you must make your own way to the port of departure:

1. Northbound and Roundtrip: Bergen

In Bergen, the Hurtigruten ships sail from: Hurtigruten Terminal, Nøstegaten 30, N-5010 Bergen. You can pre-book through our office the Hurtigruten shuttle bus between the airport and the port.

If you are taking a taxi, you can simply ask the taxi driver to get you to “the Hurtigruten Terminal”.

Luggage lockers are available in the terminal and cost NOK 30 (3 x 10 kr.) The terminal is staffed and open for luggage check-in from 1:00PM until 2:30PM. Passenger check-in begins at 3:00PM and boarding takes place from 4:00PM to 7:30PM. Cabins are available from 6:00PM. Please note that the latest check-in time in the terminal is at 7:30PM during the entire year for all voyages.

The currency of Norway is the Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

Onboard, you will be issued a cruise card which you can use to charge all purchases during your voyage. You must provide a Visa, American Express, Diners or MasterCard that is valid for at least 3 months after your trip date.

The final bill will be charged to your account in Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in most towns and cities in Norway. Regrettably, currency exchange facilities do not exist aboard the ship.

It is not usual practice to leave a tip onboard Hurtigruten ships in Norway. However, if you feel that a crew has provided exemplary service, there are tip boxes in the restaurant onboard.

Laundry rooms with washing machines, dryers and irons are available on all ships. You can buy laundry payment tokens at the ship’s reception desk.

There are numerous shore excursions available at all major ports along the way. To obtain the most up-to-date list of shore excursions and costs, please contact our office for details.

Light to Moderate – Ultimately the activity level depends on you. Some guests are content to spend the majority of time on board enjoying some of the world’s most beautiful coastline as it passes by.

Depending on the time of year, there are excursions ranging from zodiac boats to dogsledding and more. Please consult us to determine the right mix of activities for you.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare (unless you have booked a port-to-port ticket). Beverages are available for purchase onboard but coffee and tea is complimentary.

Breakfast is usually served from 7:30AM (open seating), lunch from 12:00PM-1:00PM (open seating) and dinner from 6:30PM (assigned seating). During the high season, there may be two lunch and evening meal sittings – the times will be displayed on board. The voyage begins with a buffet dinner on departure from Bergen, and (for roundtrip voyages only) ends with brunch on the arrival day back in Bergen. Breakfast consists of a wide selection of cold meats, cheeses, eggs, cereals and fruit, with fresh-baked bread, pastries and often “sveler” (small pancakes) and waffles freshly cooked in the restaurant. The all-inclusive package includes a mixture of buffets and set menus for lunches and dinners, while for those guests who wish to enjoy an enhanced dining experience, the à la carte menu available for a small additional charge.

Norway educates their citizens in English from a very young age. You will not likely run into any language difficulties.

There are no doctors aboard the ships as typically there are many ports of call each day and medical assistance is seldom far away. Some crew members will be trained in first aid and in the most urgent cases, medivac evacuation is readily available.

By this point you will know that travelling on Hurtigruten is not like a conventional cruise, but rather a hybrid between a cargo ship, car and passenger ferry and cruise line. To this end, docking and departing, loading and unloading activities occur day-in and day-out, every single day. Some cabins, particularly on lower decks adjacent to the cargo doors, will experience noise. While most passengers take this in stride given the nature of the journey, if you are someone who is particularly bothered by this, then please make your concerns known at the time of booking so that we can endeavour to secure a cabin away from such areas. Please note that there is no part of any ship which is completely silent and noise free.

Most of the ships have a telephone in each cabin. Charges will vary depending on the destination called as it is obviously a ship-to-shore system.

Mobile phones will work in proximity to many of the ports along the way. Check with your mobile provider about roaming packages for Norway or alternatively, if your phone is unlocked, you can obtain a prepaid SIM card for Norway which will undoubtedly be considerably less expensive than any roaming plan if you plan to do a lot of phone calls or use a lot of internet data.

All ships have Wi-Fi although not all ships have Wi-Fi available in the cabins. Please contact us at the time of booking and we can advise if the ship you are considering has the facility you require.

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Norway. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

You must have travel insurance to participate on this voyage.

Our ships are equipped with the latest in emergency communication, life boats and other equipment to deal with any kind of problematic event. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for more details.

There are currently no security threats in Norway, one of the safest countries in the world.

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/norway

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