Bound for the game parks of southern Africa, our sights are set on Johannesburg. Check in at The Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, where we are sheltered well away from common commotion.
Our welcome into Africa could not be more insightful. Enjoy a tour of Johannesburg, embracing the vast plains and endless skyline that mark our temporary home.
This afternoon, take a moment of private reflection or enjoy the very first Your World experience.
At Livingstone, gateway to Victoria Falls, we fall into the embrace of the colonial-style Royal Livingstone Hotel, where we’ll spend two nights.
Doctor Livingstone, the first European to see Victoria Falls, named his discovery in honour of his monarch, Queen Victoria. However, it is also known by its indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya – ‘the smoke that thunders’.
The remainder of the afternoon is spent on your own terms or with a Your World experience.
In the dry season, elephants flock to the Chobe River in unimaginable numbers, making it one of the best places to view these gentle giants. Propped perfectly beside the riverside, we arrive at the Chobe Chilwero.
We cannot yet dream of rest – the waterways are too enticing. It’s time to head out on our first river safari. Cruising in the warm glow of sunset, we secure front-row seats to the pageantry of Africa at sundown. Families of hippos wallow in the river as elephants slosh towards the water’s edge to drink, bathe and play.
We take to open-air 4WDs and travel away from the banks of the river, listening for branches snapping – it usually means elephants are nearby.
Back at our lodge, the afternoon unfolds as we please. Kick back and enjoy the view of the Chobe River from your terrace or join our Your World experience.
Fed by flood water from the Angolan Highlands, the Okavango Delta fans out across the country like slender veins, forming an intricate web of palm-fringed channels, lagoons and lush islands. Take a private charter directly into the heart of the Okavango Delta.
Upon arrival we are transferred to the Khwai River Lodge overlooking Moremi Reserve, the first wildlife area to be set aside by tribal people rather than colonial powers. Tonight’s dinner is served in a delightful outdoor setting embraced by bushland. Under the setting sun, the delta’s hushed water is blanketed in crimson radiance.
Travellers regard the Okavango Delta as one of the most beautiful natural areas of the continent. If safari dreaming has brought you here, the game viewing will exceed your wildest imaginings. We search for wildlife each morning and in the late afternoon, open-air 4WDs taking us along the island’s floodplains. Leopards stalk through thick thorn scrub. Hippos bellow from faraway lagoons.
A journey by air lands us along the wind-swept Skeleton Coast. Countless ship wrecks shrouded in dense ocean fogs give this haunting place its name. We have this afternoon to spend at Swakopmund, a typical Hans town built by the Germans, where banks of sand rush to meet the thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean. We overnight at the Swakopmund Hotel.
In South Africa and Namibia, raw treasures are known to hide off the beaten track; unpolished and often otherworldly in their beauty. From the elegance of our Deluxe Suite on board Rovos Rail, Africa unfolds before our eyes. We stake our claim on a wing-backed chair and contemplate what life must have been like during the heyday of steam locomotion.
From the peaceful solitude of Rovos Rail we arrive in Tsumeb to explore Etosha National Park. Nestled between camel thorn and mopani trees, Mokuti Etosha Lodge welcomes us. After lunch, we head out on our first game drive. Etosha is one of the few places that the endangered black rhino resides, almost unaffected by poaching. It will be a privilege to spy the wrinkly creatures.
Amongst the changing colours of the early morning, we set off in 4WDs. Parched and cracked, the shimmering surface of the saline desert creates an eerie effect, the animals seemingly floating in pools. Game viewing in Etosha is certainly a unique experience. We return to our train and continue the journey south.
Classic steel wheels deliver us to Windhoek where our light aircraft is awaiting to carry us to Sossusvlei. Transfer to Namib-Naukluft National Park, and retreat to the luxury of Sossusvlei Lodge. On an afternoon drive, we sail up and down the ancient dunes, among the highest in the world. Back at the lodge, a bush dinner is served al fresco within the atmospheric confines of our lodge’s private reserve.
The orange dunes of Sossusvlei burn so deep they appear lit from within. We embark on a 4WD desert excursion to experience this illuminating display. After a return flight from the coast to Windhoek, it’s back to our noble train in time for lunch and an afternoon spent relaxing to the rhythm of the rail.
This morning we discover the settlement of Keetmanshoop and learn of its German heritage. Later, a detour takes us out to the Quiver Tree Forest and we consider the formations at Giant’s Playground before continuing on to Fish River Canyon. Almost 1.5 billion years of geological history stretches out before us. Peer over the expanse in search of baboons, rock dassies, ground squirrel and tiny klipspringers.
Upington is wild at its very core. Shrouded in stories of diamond smugglers and horse rustlers, highway robberies and ruthless fortune-seekers, we come to grips with this frontier town during a stroll along Date Palm Avenue.
A cloud of fuchsia materialises on the edge of a shallow lake, as if conjured by the wave of a magic wand. Our train edges ever closer and we clamber towards the windows hoping to see flamingos dancing a fantastical ballet.
We roll into Kimberley, a mining town cloaked in tales of diamonds. The De Beer name is synonymous with the city, home to one of the world’s most successful diamond mines. We tour the city, the Big Hole and the Mine Museum before retiring to our train.
Our journey draws to an end in Pretoria today and we take a coach to Johannesburg where our flight is waiting, ready to whisk us home.
Ever so reluctantly, we land on home soil this morning, brimming with memories and tales – unsure of which we should recount first.
Sometimes travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the fascinating places you are in. That’s why everything mundane has been moved behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map, luggage, small change for tips or bargain for a taxi fare.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included – flights and other travel arrangements, luxurious accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, and even sightseeing trips. Even the Your World experiences within your itinerary and internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
Almost a village, tightly bound by courtyards and terraces, Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff presents a remarkable reception into Africa. Prepare for our daily discoveries with a steaming mug of coffee on your private balcony or ground-floor garden, welcoming the sounds and smells of South Africa’s bustling capital.
Not all game drives have to be on four wheels. As the Pride of Africa tumbles and turns, we are granted the rare opportunity to traverse the natural wonderland that of Namibia and Southern Africa. Crank open the Lounge Car windows and peek outside – you never know, there just might be a playful creature peeping back.
An oasis within the Okavango Delta, Moremi Wildlife Reserve was the first wildlife area to be protected by tribal people rather than colonial powers. From our private suites at the Khwai River Lodge, we are offered the perfect vantage point for viewing migratory animals.
Fares are based on a Deluxe Suite aboard Rovos Rail. Per Person, Twin Share.
Fares are in Australian dollars and include Qantas flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Prices from other cities available on request.
Land Only Guests join the tour in Johannesburg for dinner on Day 1 and depart Johannesburg at the airport on Day 19.
Solo availability at the above price is limited.
Trip notes: This journey is reserved for a group of just 20 guests.