Your African Adventure starts here

Our tour across southern Africa is like no other. Geoff Cooke will host a grand adventure that explores some of the continent's
outstanding history, heritage, scenery, wildlife and steam trains across five countries by rail, coach and safari vehicle.
Your African adventure will start in Johannesburg, the preferred gateway into the sub-continent. There are two options for getting
to Sandstone, one includes a standard gauge Gautrain ride from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport to Johannesburg’s main
station, where you will join a scheduled passenger train to Kimberley. Spend time in Kimberley and Bloemfontein before motoring
to Sandstone to join their amazing Stars of Sandstone Festival. This option offers you an opportunity to see a little more of South
Africa and ride a mainline train. If you prefer, a shorter journey between Johannesburg and Sandstone is offered with a five-hour
coach transfer on Friday, 31 March.

Visit the mountain kingdom of Lesotho before driving to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. Stop off at the Pilansburg Game
Reserve to look for the Big Five before spending time in Botswana's capital city, Gaborone. One of the few cross border
passenger trains in Africa will take you to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, an interesting place to visit and the starting point for
your train ride to Victoria Falls. Along the way, spend time at the Hwange game reserve, the largest in Zimbabwe.
Cross into Zambia to see the Victoria Falls and photograph your own chartered steam trains on the famous bridge that spans the
Zambezi river between Zimbabwe and Zambia.  

To round off your African adventure, there is an option to spend a few days in Botswana on the Chobe River, on the border with
Namibia.

This way to the Railway Enthusiast tour

Your African Adventure programme

Wednesday. 29 March 2017
Your holiday across Africa will start this morning with a standard gauge Gautrain high speed commuter train ride from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo
Airport to the city’s main railway station, we anticipate leaving the airport at 10h38. Board a long distance passenger train for an eight-hour ride across
South Africa’s Highveld to the historic city of Kimberley, where you will travel in First Class compartments. The train will have a dining car for light
refreshments. On arrival at Kimberley, transfer to your comfortable hotel for the next two nights.

Overnight: Protea Hotel, Kimberley. Dinner included.

Thursday. 30 March 2017
Kimberley is well known as the city of diamonds. Today, we will visit the Big Hole museum that was the original open cast mine and remains the world’s
largest hand dug hole. If operating, ride the electric tram on a restored line to the far side of the big hole and back again. Continue with a tour of the city
where you will also visit the railway museum at the station and the Class 25NC 4-8-4 on display on the platform.

Lunch will be at the Halfway House, which claims to have become the world’s first drive through bar during the siege of Kimberley in the Anglo Boer
War. (Meal not included).

This afternoon we will arrange a private visit to view the steam locomotive collection of Steamnet 2000, a preservation group located at the former steam
locomotive depot. Their collection is truly impressive, featuring both condensing and non-condensing Class 25 4-8-4 locomotives.

Overnight: Protea Hotel, Kimberley. Breakfast and dinner included.

Friday. 31 March 2017
This morning, drive to the city of Bloemfontein, city of flowers and judicial capital of South Africa. A short tour of the historic city will be followed by a visit
to the locomotive workshops where the Sandstone Heritage Trust undertake their overhauls. Continue this afternoon through the attractive Freestate
scenery to your hotel at Fouriesburg.  

Overnight: Fouriesburg Country Inn. Breakfast and dinner included.

Saturday. 01 April 2017
Travel by road today to explore the attractive Free State / Lesoto border region. Your tour will include a visit to the Katse Dam in Lesotho, the second
largest dam in Africa. Built high in the Maluti Mountains, the dam is the heart of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This is the land of the “blanket
people”, who ride their sturdy ponies, build picturesque houses and greet visitors with a dignified salute.

There is an option today to spend the day at the Stars of Sandstone Festival. This may appeal to railway enthusiasts wishing to spend more time at the
festival as the week long multi-faceted event cannot be fully appreciated in one day. Bus transfers will be available between hotel and Sandstone in the
morning and after dinner.

Fouriesburg Country Inn. Breakfast and dinner included.

Sunday. 02 April 2017
A full day at the Stars of Sandstone Festival.

Sandstone is a large commercial farming estate on the picturesque South African / Lesoto border. The principal business here is agriculture, with crops
including wheat, soya and the very colourful cosmos flower that are grown for their seed. The estate is very open, you can walk freely almost everywhere
and there will also be organised walks. Many years ago, owner Wilf Mole started collecting vintage agricultural machinery, eventually branching out into
a railway that is used to carry crops back to the central area. These heritage activities grew and it was decided to open the facility to visitors in a festival
that covers two weekends and the intervening week. Enthusiasts from around the world travel to Sandstone to give their support, operating the railway,
agricultural machinery, steam road vehicles, traction engines and steam cranes, military vehicles including working tanks with the support of the South
African military museum, vintage aircraft, draft animals, vintage cars and buses, and much more.

Sandstone has an outstanding narrow gauge railway system. Over 20 kilometres of scenic line, over 24 working steam locomotives and about 200
items of rolling stock offer an abundant opportunity to ride the rails, photograph trains and generally have a lot of fun on the railroad.  Return to the hotel
after dinner.

Overnight: Fouriesburg Country Inn. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Monday. 03 April 2017
This morning, enjoy a last session at Sandstone or relax at the hotel before a late morning transfer to Pretoria by coach. There will be a break for lunch
at a motorway services and we plan to arrive in Pretoria at about 17h00.

Overnight: Protea Hotel Hatfield, Pretoria. Breakfast and dinner included.

Tuesday. 04 April 2017
After breakfast, take a tour of Pretoria that includes the Voortrekker Monument, Paul Kroger’s House, the city centre, Melrose House and the stately
Union buildings before visiting Capital Park station and depot, where Rovos Rail carry out maintenance on their impressive fleet of heritage
locomotives and carriages, “The Pride of Africa”.

Overnight: Protea Hotel Hatfield, Pretoria. Breakfast and dinner included.

Wednesday. 05 April 2017
After breakfast, travel to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, arriving in time for lunch and an afternoon game drive. Set in the crater of a long extinct
volcano, the park ranks among the largest of the parks in South Africa. This well-stocked park has a dramatic landscape that supports a wide variety of
plants, animals and birds. Pilanesberg accommodates virtually every mammal of southern Africa and is also home to the Big Five. An abundance of
wild life proliferates in some 580km² of diverse and arresting bushveld terrain.

Overnight: Black Rhino Game Lodge, Pilanesberg. Breakfast and dinner included.

Thursday. 06 April 2017
Enjoy a morning game drive in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve before driving to Gobane. After crossing the border into Botswana, continue to
Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. Planned to be the country's capital following independence in 1966, Gaborone is now a sprawling city of around
250,000 people.

Overnight: Cresta President Hotel, Gaborone. Breakfast and dinner included.

Friday. 07 April 2017
Enjoy a little TV nostalgia with a full day tour that explores the heritage of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Leave for Mochudi, Mma Ramotswe's
ancestral home. Upon arriving in Mochudi, you will first visit the Kgotla or traditional court. Here, in keeping with Tswana traditions, you will pay your
respects to the Kgosi (or Chief). You will then visit the fascinating Phutadikobo Museum run by Sandy Grant. Sandy's photos have illustrated the covers
of McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe series and he gives a wonderfully illustrated background to where Mma Ramotswe comes from. Here you will also
get a chance to purchase postcards, reading material and crafts from Botswana. After the museum, visit a traditional home much like the one Precious
would have grown up in, then have lunch at a local restaurant. With vibrant music and a bustling atmosphere, you'll sample traditional cooking, the
usual fare being chicken or beef, rice, maize pap and salads. After lunch, visit the spot where McCall Smith 'met' Mma Ramotswe - more accurately, the
lady who provided the inspiration for the character, and hear the story behind this… Depart Mochudi for Gaborone where you see Kgale Hill where the
detective agency office would have been, then pass by Mma Ramotswe's rambling house in Zebra Drive, and then sip red bush tea on the veranda of
the President Hotel. Right in front of the hotel, on the Main Mall are a number of craft sellers, you will not want to miss them.

After dinner at a local restaurant, join an overnight sleeper train to Francistown.

Overnight: On the Botswana Railways sleeper train. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Saturday. 08 April 2017
Arrive in Francistown early this morning.  After a short break for breakfast, transfer to toe Zimbabwe border, and on to Bulawayo, by motor coach. Arrive
in Bulawayo early this afternoon, followed by some free time before dinner. This is a change from the original programme as the Francistown to
Bulawayo passenger train has been withdrawn.

Overnight: Cresta Churchill Hotel, Bulawayo. Breakfast and dinner included.

Sunday. 09 April 2017
After breakfast, join a full day trip to the Matobo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage site about 35 km from the City. Enjoy amazing scenery, fascinating
history, interesting rock art and good wildlife. Visit the Rhino conservation areas and Malindidzimu, hill of benevolent spirits where Cecil John Rhodes
and others are buried.

Overnight: Cresta Churchill Hotel in Bulawayo. Breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner included.

Monday. 10 April 2017
After breakfast, enjoy a hosted tour of the City of Bulawayo. Visit the National Museum, Railway Museum, the Town Hall and city centre. Lunch will be at
a leafy suburban restaurant (not included).

After lunch, travel by road to the Hwange Game Reserve.

Overnight: The Hwange Safari Lodge. Breakfast and dinner included.

Tuesday. 11 April 2017
Enjoy morning and afternoon wildlife viewing at Hwange. The park covers an area of 14,651km² with an average altitude 1,000m above sea level.
There are thousands of elephants and buffalo. Lions may be seen and the elusive leopard is always a bonus. This park has such variety that one
hundred different species have been recorded. Several waterholes have raised wooden platforms in which you can spend many hours observing
animals and the interactions between them.

400 species of birds are found here making it a bird watchers paradise. Largest are the Ostrich and the ground dwelling Kori Bustard that will only take
to the air if absolutely necessary.

Overnight: Hwange Safari Lodge. Breakfast and dinner included.

Wednesday. 12 April 2017
Spend another day at Hwange with morning and afternoon game drives. Some drives will be inside the game reserve, others may take place on the
private concession surrounding the lodge.

Overnight: Hwange Safari Lodge. Breakfast and dinner included.

There is an option today to travel by road to Thomson Junction for the steam train activities, being a charter to Old Hwange in the morning and a visit to
Hwange Colliery in the afternoon. Late afternoon, return to Hwange Safari lodge by coach. The road trip will take about 2 hours in each direction,
breakfast will be packed, lunch in the dining car and dinner back at the hotel. There will be an extra charge of  $150 to cover the steam charter, colliery
admission, lunch and coach transfers.

Thursday. 13 April 2017
Transfer early this morning to Thomson Junction in time to join the train departure. Our Garratt operated steam train will depart Thomson Junction this
morning for Victoria Falls. This journey is only 120 km long, but we anticipate taking all day as we stop for numerous photo run-pasts.

Overnight: The A’Zambezi River Lodge at Victoria Falls. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Friday. 14 April 2017 (Easter)
An unforgettable day to end your Garratt extravaganza, featuring four steam trains to the Victoria Falls Bridge, with three different locomotives from two
countries.

The first train will be our Zimbabwean Class 15A Garratt, which will make runpasts over the Bridge at sunrise, a dramatic scene best viewed from the
gardens of the five star Victoria Falls Hotel.

After breakfast, transfer by road to Livingstone in Zambia to board the Bushtracks train. We are planning some photographs in the station area with a
false start and run-pasts as we steam to the Bridge. There will be an opportunity to photograph the train on the bridge, probably with an ex Rhodesia
Railways 12th Class 4-8-2 locomotive. The best photo locations are from viewpoints in the Zambian Victoria Falls national park, from where it is often
possible to get rainbows over the train.

Enjoy time exploring and photographing the Victoria Falls from the Zambian bank as the Livingstone train returns and the Zimbabwean Garratt makes
a second run to the Bridge. You will then have an opportunity to photograph this train from the Zambian viewpoints before walking back across the
bridge to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Later this afternoon, board the train at Victoria Falls Station for our fourth steam charter to the Bridge. This time, ride a train operated by a Zimbabwean
Class 14A Garratt that will stand on the Bridge as the sun sets. A free bar and snacks are included.

Overnight: The A’Zambezi River Lodge at Victoria Falls. Breakfast and dinner included.

Saturday. 15 April 2017
11h00. Transfer to Victoria Falls Airport for an afternoon flight to Johannesburg (not included).

Alternatively, join a two day coach trip from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg, stopping tonight at Francistown. (Subject to a minimum of 15 bookings)
Geoffs trains tours
Page updated on:
09 November 2016
The Geoff's Trains 2017 Africa Season
Optional Chobe Wildlife Safari

The last part of our African experience is a splendid three-night visit to a lodge on the Chobe River in Botswana, an opportunity to see Africa’s
magnificent wildlife and birdlife hosted by Geoff and local photographic experts.


Saturday. 15 April 2017 (Continued)
After breakfast, transfer by road to the lodge, about 80 kilometres distant. The Chobe River is a tributary to the Zambezi, the Chobe National Park is one
of the best wildlife reserves in Africa.
Morning and afternoon game drives with one of the best photo safari operators in Africa. Game drives will be either by road or special photography
boats on the Chobe River.

Mowana Safari Lodge. Breakfast and dinner included.

Sunday. 16 April 2017
Full day wildlife viewing activities on land and by boat.

Mowana Safari Lodge. Breakfast and dinner included.

Monday. 17 April 2017
Full day wildlife viewing activities.

Mowana Safari Lodge. Breakfast and dinner included.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017
Transfer to Kasane Airport.
Transfer to Victoria Falls airport can be arranged for an additional charge. You will also need a Visa for Zimbabwe. There are direct flights form Kasane
to Johannesburg.

Breakfast included.
Most service suppliers in Africa quote in US Dollars, to keep prices as low as possible these tours are quoted in that currency. If you live  in Britain, you
are welcome to pay in Sterling at the prevailing exchange rate, please ask for details.

Prices may vary if input costs change.

For tourists

Full African Adventure option, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Starting in Johannesburg on 29 March and ending at Victoria Falls airport on 15 April 2017.
Including train and private coach travel, transfers, accommodation, meals and touring as described and Sandstone entry.

US$4,312       Per person sharing a twin or double room.
US$675          Single hotel room supplement. Train accommodation may be in twin shared compartments.

Excluding Kimberley and Bloemfontein.
Starting at Johannesburg airport on 31 March and joining up with the full African Adventure option on arrival at Fouriesburg.
Including private coach travel, transfers, accommodation, meals and touring as described and Sandstone entry.

US$3,986       Per person sharing a twin or double room.
US$ 601         Single hotel room supplement. If applicable, train accommodation will be in twin shared compartments.

Shorter tourist options that include only South Africa or Zimbabwe are possible, please enquire.

For Enthusiast and African Adventure options

Chobe and Zambezi Wildlife tour
Starting in Victoria Falls on 15 April and ending at Victoria Falls airport on 18 April 2017.

US$1,416       Per person sharing a twin or double room.
US$449          Single hotel room supplement.

Your tour price includes all transfers, activities, accommodation and meals as described in the programme.
Your tour price does not include air flights, visas, drinks, tips, laundry or other items of a personal nature.

Coach transfer from Johannesburg to Bulawayo
Departs OR Tambo Airport at 16h00 on 08 April 2017 and arrives in Bulawayo the following day.
Minimum 15 guests need to book the coach, which will cost
US$175 per person sharing a twin room, this includes coach travel and an overnight
hotel, bed and breakfast. For a single room, add
US$40.

Coach transfer from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg
Departs Victoria Falls on the morning of 15 April and travels via Kazungula and Francistown to OR Tambo Airport. Overnight in Francistown and arrive in
Johannesburg the following afternoon.
Minimum 15 guests need to book the coach, which will cost
US$175 per person sharing a twin room, this includes coach travel and an overnight hotel
in Francistown, bed and breakfast. For a single room, add
US$40.

To book
This tour is full.
Our booking conditions can be found here.
Click here if you have a query.

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