The African Explorer

From:
AUD $ 8,389
p.p. twin share. Excludes Airfares

One Train – Four African Countries

map-African-Explorer

Discover the incomparable diversity of sights in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Look forward to highlights such as the legendary Kruger National Park and the Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River as well as a host of sights off the standard tourist trail, including Maputo, the Matobo National Park and the Great Zimbabwe ruined city.

This private train journey takes you through inspiring and constantly varied landscapes – and all without the hassle of inland flights or having to re-pack suitcases every day. With the African Explorer usually covering longer stretches of the route at night while you sleep peacefully in your private compartment, there is more time for memorable excursions during the day. Enjoy exploring the fascination of these four countries – as well as the extended wildlife safaris!

Overview

Overview

Day 1Arrival at Victoria Falls
Day 2Victoria Falls
Day 3In the Land of the Elephants – Hwange National Park
Day 4Cecil Rhodes’ Grave
Day 5Great Zimbabwe
Day 6By Train Across the Limpopo
Day 7Meeting Cheetahs
Day 8Panorama Route through the Drakensberg Mountains
Day 9On Safari in the Kruger National Park
Day 10Arrival in Maputo on the Indian Ocean
Day 11The Kingdom of Swaziland
Day 12Pretoria
Day 13Au revoir Africa!

Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival at Victoria Falls

Arrival at Victoria Falls Airport. Transfer to your lodge. Enjoy the view from your private balcony of the lodge’s on-site waterhole, which attracts many wild animals, and the magnificent panorama of the Zambezi National Park. In the afternoon, explore the Zambezi River by boat – with the chance of viewing elephants and hippos from close quarters. The evening ends with a farewell dinner of a different kind – a braai barbecue of African specialties around a flickering camp fire.
Overnight: Victoria Safari Lodge. Meals included: Dinner (D)

Day 2 Victoria Falls

This day is dedicated to the Victoria Falls. Numerous vantage points provide stunning views of the waters of the Zambezi River pouring into the canyon below. The columns of spray and clouds of mist rising from the world’s largest waterfall led the indigenous Kololo people to call this Mosi-oa-Tunya, “the mist that thunders”. Scottish missionary explorer David Livingstone first set eyes on the waterfall in 1855 on an expedition from the Cape to Luanda, and his written account made the falls world famous. After enjoying the falls at your leisure, you will embark the train in the afternoon. You journey continues southbound.
Overnight on board. Meals included: Breakfast (B) and dinner (D)

Day 3 In the Land of the Elephants – Hwange National Park

The proverbial early bird must also have loved safaris… At sunrise, your bus leaves Dete station for a day out on an extensive safari through Hwange National Park. After a first taste of the day’s sights, enjoy breakfast at a waterhole and recharge the batteries for more encounters with Africa’s fascinating wildlife! Here, there’s also the chance to go on safari in an open vehicle accompanied by a professional ranger. Hwange National Park, renowned for its herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, is Zimbabwe’s largest and most important game reserve. Set close to the edge of the Kalahari, the reserve is a point of transition from lush grasslands to the semi-arid savannah. Even in the politically and economically unstable years, committed gamekeepers and staff at the private lodges worked to protect the game reserve’s animals against poaching and preserve the vegetation. With a little luck, that early start could yield sightings of elephants, giraffes and lions, as well as the rare wild dogs and sable antelopes. In the late afternoon, it’s everyone back on board as your private train continues in the direction of Bulywayo.
Overnight on board. Meals included: Breakfast (B) and dinner (D)

Day 4 Cecil Rhodes´ Grave

Begin this day with a visit to the Matobo National Park, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park, whose name means “bald heads”, is renowned for its bare whaleback hills with weathered granite rocks set on top, often balanced in strange formations. This is also the location of the grave of Cecil Rhodes, who founded the colonial territory of Rhodesia, today’s Zimbabwe. It was his last wish to be buried on the hilltop known as World’s View, a magical place with a stunning panorama of the hills around it. There is also a stopover to view some fine rock paintings by the San hunter-gatherers. With over 3,000 known rock art sites, the Matobo Hills have the world’s largest collection of rock paintings. The afternoon program continues with a short city tour of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city and the heartlands of Matabeleland. Afterwards, there is a choice of either visiting the remarkable collections at the Natural History Museum or the Railway Museum. For train fans, the Railway Museum’s display of old steam engines and Rhodes’ personal carriage is a must. Back on board for dinner, your private train journey continues on to the south.
Overnight on board. Meals included: (BD)

Day 5 Great Zimbabwe

Next highlight on your program is today’s bus excursion to the stunning ruined city of Great Zimbabwe. Over 1000 years old and once a settlement housing up to 18000 people, Great Zimbabwe is Africa’s largest pre-colonial monument south of the pyramids in Egypt. Even today, the massive mortarless walls of perfectly interlocking granite slabs still stand towering upwards into the sky. Great Zimbabwe, now inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage, also gave its name to the present-day country of Zimbabwe. At the tiny Rutenga Station, your private train awaits to carry you on towards South Africa. During the night you cross the border at the bridge over the Limpopo river. The border formalities are conveniently arranged for you on board.
Overnight on board. Meals included: (BD)

Day 6 By Train Across the Limpopo

Your train continues through the Soutpansberg mountains and the land of the legendary Rain Queen Modjadji. The day is dedicated to relaxation on your private train as it passes through the fascinatingly varied countryside o this stretch of your journey. (BLD)

Day 7 Meeting Cheetahs

In the morning you will leave the train for a safari through the private Kapama sanctuary. This 13000 hector area has was declared a natural sanctuary in 1993. Lots of animals such as the Big Five have been brought here. Afterwards you will visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre where you come close to rare African wild dogs and cheetahs. Here, the animals are prepared for their return to wilderness.
Overnight on board. Meals included: (BLD)

Day 8 Panorama Route through the Drakensberg Mountains

By bus you enjoy the Panorama Route through the rugged Drakensberg mountain range. This legendary route winds along the steeply sloping Drakensberg escarpment, offering spectacular views across the plains of the Lowveld over three thousand feet below. The Bylde River Canyon, a gorge carved into the rock by the Blyde River over millions of years, is also quite simply breathtaking! Afterwards you will cross Kruger National Park before reaching your lodge. After leaving the park in the afternoon, the buses transfer you to your overnight accommodation at the safari lodge. During your stay at the lodge, your main luggage remains securely aboard your private train. Relax with a cool drink on the lodge terrace – and with some luck, watch the fascinating sight of elephants, hippos and crocodiles on the banks of Crocodile River. As night falls, the wildlife action continues with an exciting night safari in open Jeeps, offering a very different experience of this majestic natural park. Whatever that famous song says, lions do not usually sleep at night. Instead, they mostly hunt in the darkness – just like hyenas – so there is a good chance of seeing them in action! A truly memorable day ends with a bush dinner under the African night skies.
Overnight: Pestana Kruger Lodge. Meals included: (BLD)

Day 9 On Safari in the Kruger National Park

Armed only with camera and binoculars, step aboard your bus to enjoy the thrills of this extensive safari! With an area close to 20,000 km2, this national park is home to a stunning variety of wildlife, including the big five game animals. IN the afternoon you get back to your train and continue in the direction of Maputo.
Overnight on board. Meals included: (BLD)

Day 10 Arrival in Maputo on the Indian Ocean

In the morning, your private train is already in Maputo. The station building, which dates back to 1910, is ranked as the most attractive in all of Africa. According to legend, the station is supposedly the work of none other than Gustav Eiffel. The sights on your bus tour of Mozambique’s capital include the Catholic Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens, the statue of Samora Machel, the country’s first and still much venerated president, and the oddly shaped Case Do Ferro, the Iron House. Naturally, a stop at one of Maputo’s bustling markets is also a must! Set directly on the Maputo Bay (formerly Delagoa Bay), the city has a vibrant yet relaxed, almost Caribbean atmosphere. In Maputo, from the colonial Portuguese buildings to the socialist apartment blocks, the traces of the past are still very much in evidence. As the sun climbs into the heavens, your bus drives on to the palm-lined beach – not only offering a contrast to urban life, but also perfect for a delicious lunch time platter of freshly caught fish and shellfish. Back on board in the late afternoon, your private train continues on its journey, heading for the South African border to the north.
Overnight on board. Meals included: (BLD)

Day 11 The Kingdom of Swaziland

This day’s programme begins with your air-conditioned buses leaving Mpaka for a visit to the Kingdom of Swaziland. This sovereign state ruled by King Mswati III is the second smallest country in Africa, and only half the size of Switzerland. You pass the Ezulwini valley, the capital Mbabane and Piggs Peak. The lively markets with their wealth of handcarved wooden artefacts and fine raffia craft products are ideal to find souvenirs for your loved ones at home! In the evening, your private train is waiting for you at Kaapmuiden station. While you enjoy your dinner on board, the train continues on towards Pretoria.
Overnight on board. Meals included: (BD)

Day 12 Pretoria

After breakfast it is time to say goodbye to your rolling hotel. The programme starts with a city tour of Pretoria, South Africa’s capital. The hilltop site of the imposing Union Buildings, the official seat of the South African government, offers a magnificent view out across the city. In 1994, this was where Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was sworn in. Recently a larger-than-life statue of Nelson Mandela has been set up here, showing him with arms outstretched in welcome.
On arrival at your lodge for your night’s accommodation, you can relax and refuel in your chalet. The lodge’s spreading, luxuriously green garden offers a first taste of Africa’s highly diverse vegetation. In the evening, join the farewell dinner.
Overnight: Misty Hills Lodge (BLD)

Day 13 Au revoir Africa!

Enjoy a day at leisure until it’s time to transfer you to the airport for your return flight or for onward journey. (B)

Inclusions

Inclusions

  • 9 nights on board the African Explorer private train according to the category booked
  • 1 night in a safari lodge at Victoria Falls
  • A night in a safari lodge at the entrance to Kruger National Park
  • 1 night in a lodge near Pretoria
  • Multi-lingual tour director from Victoria Falls to Pretoria throughout
  • English-speaking tour guide for max. 23 guests
  • Doctor on board
  • All meals as specified in the itinerary
  • All excursions and sightseeing including admission fees
  • Excursions and transfers in air-conditioned buses
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving between 12.10 p.m. and 12.50 p.m. in Victoria Falls on day 1 and departing from Johannesburg on day 13 between 7:00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. (to be confirmed)

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