She gazes out to the horizon of this seemingly barren landscape - her refuge, her home. Unforgiving, harsh and sometimes cruel, this land is as unique as the pattern that adorns her. To her left, an elephant herd meanders past in search of water. To her right, a tower of giraffes feed from the tallest trees. Her eyes see an Africa that few will ever witness.
We were delighted, excited and have promoted captain's choice to our family and friends since returning home.
P & L Fuller, South America by Privately Chartered Qantas 747
Our incredible journey through the landscapes and game parks of Southern Africa begins today aboard a mid morning flight with Qantas to Johannesburg. On arrival, we transfer to Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff and enjoy an elegant Welcome Cocktail Party.
What better way to begin our journey than with a panoramic tour of Johannesburg? Embrace the stunning mountaintops that encompass your surrounds.
Africa is vast and overland trips can be long and arduous. A journey aboard the Pride of Africa, on the other hand, is a journey unlike any other. We head for Rovos Rail’s private railway station in Capital Park, a gracious colonial style station that was once the bustling hub of steam locomotion in the old Transvaal. Settle in on board this afternoon and familiarise yourself with your suite and the train before our first dinner on board tonight.
Peel back the curtains and keep an eye open as a spectacular flock of flamingos may just be waiting for us on the shores of the shallow lake before we arrive in Kimberley. Kimberley is one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets. Somewhat off the beaten track, the story of Kimberley is the story of diamonds. De Beers, Cecil John Rhodes and the Cape-to-Cairo railway are all centred on Kimberley. We tour the city, the Big Hole and the Mine Museum before lunch back on board.
Founded on the banks of the Orange River in 1884, Upington is home to a thriving wine industry and is a centre for the production of lucerne, dried fruits, cotton, peas, karakul sheep, goats and cattle.
We take a stroll along Date Palm Avenue and listen to the tales of diamond smugglers, horse rustlers and triumph over the elements.
Eroded over many millennia, Fish River Canyon is the second largest natural gorge in Africa. Here, baboon, rock dassie, ground squirrel and klipspringer are often spotted, while the presence of leopard and mountain zebra is indicated by tracks left at waterholes.
Before passing the small mission town of Keetmanshoop, we stop to admire the spectacular Quiver Tree Forest at Garas Park. Some of the larger specimens are through to be up to three centuries old.
Sossusvlei boasts vivid pink orange sand dunes that are among the highest in the world. Many of them reach more than 200 metres tall, creating a truly spectacular sight.
Disembarking the train today, we transfer by light aircraft to the Namib-Naukluft National Park, where an afternoon drive takes us into the bush on our lodge’s private reserve.
A bush dinner under a sparkling African night sky will be a treat, as will the refined comfort of Sossusvlei Lodge.
We join a 4WD for our morning excursion to see the dunes from up close in Namib-Naukluft National Park. Enjoy breakfast, before a return flight to Windhoek where we reboard the train.
Pulling in to Namibia’s Otjiwarongo, it’s time to explore beautiful Etosha National Park.
Here, wide open grasslands and large camel thorn trees mix with Mopani trees to create an environment that makes the park one of Africa’s greatest game reserves.
Lunch is served on arrival at our lodge before an afternoon game drive. With a little luck you may see elephants, lions, wildebeest and other wildlife. Our fingers are crossed for a spectacular African sunset as we settle in for the evening at the lodge.
Rise early for a morning game drive to explore the saline desert, savannah and woodlands of the national park.
For most of the year the vast depression of the Etosha Pan is a place of mirages. Its dry, flat, salt encrusted surface shimmers in the heat, creating a strange effect of animals seemingly floating in pools. Seeing vast herds of game against this eerie backdrop makes the Etosha game viewing experience unique.
Returning to Otjiwarongo by road, our train welcomes us back on board for lunch and an afternoon of relaxation.
Our time with Rovos Rail has come to an end, but our journey continues. A visit to the Skeleton Coast of Namibia simply wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Swakopmund, a beautifully preserved typical Hansa town built by the Germans where the Baltic meets the desert. Enjoy a day at leisure here before overnighting at the Swakopmund Hotel.
A journey by air lands us in the heart of the Okavango Delta, a vast area of crystal clear water that hosts a variety of birds and wildlife. Fed by floodwater from the Angolan Highlands, the Okavango Delta fans out into a web of palm fringed channels, lagoons and islands, soaking away to the Kalahari Desert.
We have three nights in deluxe-tented rooms at Chief’s Camp on Chief’s Island - the best place to experience life on the delta. Tonight we relish our first meal here, served in a delightful outdoor setting amid bushland.
Travellers regard the Okavango Delta as one of the most spectacular and beautiful natural areas in Africa’s south. Covering over 1,000 square kilometres, its landscapes include grassy flood plains, savannahs, waterways, palm covered islands, thick mopane forest and lush lily covered lagoons.
Exploring the delta by 4WD and mokoro (a traditional dug out canoe), we will take game viewing safaris each morning and in the late afternoon, with ample time to relax during the day and enjoy our pleasant surroundings.
Enjoy a final game viewing cruise and some time to relax before our early afternoon private charter flight to the town of Kasane, gateway to Chobe National Park. Chobe is renowned for the sight of elephants and hippos drinking and bathing in the Chobe River. Our home for the next two nights here is the wonderful Chobe Game Lodge, perfectly located beside the river. It won’t be long before we head out on our first river safari.
Having travelled the course of the river in search of wildlife, this morning we take to open 4WD vehicles to seek out the animals on land. Chobe abounds in a rich variety of wildlife - if we are lucky we may even spot one or more of Africa’s famous Big Five. After this thrilling game drive, we return to the lodge for a relaxing day.
After a last morning game drive and breakfast, we travel by road to the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone, our sumptuous home for two nights set right next to Victoria Falls. Stroll the grounds this afternoon, or perhaps enjoy a drink by the river and watch for hippos bathing near the top of the falls.
Victoria Falls in May is in full flight - be prepared to get a little wet on our guided walk around the falls this morning. Incredible though the spectacle is, taking in the raging torrents and plunging falls are not the only thing to do here.
Having discovered Africa in all its splendour, our journey draws to an end. It’s time to head back to Johannesburg to join our Qantas flight home to Australia.
On your return home this afternoon, you’re sure to be brimming with memories of a journey like no other.
Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.
Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.
Since its establishment in 1989, Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences. On our Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam journey step aboard the wood panelled coaches – classics remodelled and refurbished to mint condition – and enjoy fine cuisine in five star luxury as some of the most varied scenery imaginable unfolds beyond the windows. Recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era, when privileged travellers experienced the magic and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and most elegant fashion.
Feeling social? Join your fellow guests in the observation car and perhaps enjoy a cup of tea as the scenery rolls by.
Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff
This stylish resort provides uninterrupted views across the Johannesburg Zoo and the prominent neighbourhoods beyond, while remaining close to cultural, shopping and leisure activities.
On board this luxury locomotive, guests are treated to a romantic atmosphere, fine cuisine and unfaltering 5-star indulgence.
Located in the world-renowned Moremi Game Reserve, this lavish camp places guests in a prime location for viewing the vast number of animals that assemble here year-round.
Based on per person, twin share in a Deluxe Suite aboard Rovos Rail - from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane flying with Qantas. Prices from other cities are available on request.