For some visitors the prospect of driving themselves all the way around Namibia can be quite daunting given the long distances. The Desert Express is an ideal way to break your drive, sit back and relax while taking time to enjoy the desert scenery and a few excursions along the way. The Desert Express runs weekly between Windhoek and Swakopmund, departing from Windhoek on a Friday afternoon and from Swakopmund every Saturday afternoon.
Each compartment has a small en-suite toilet and shower as well as two fold down single beds. Triple compartments are available but these are better suited to a family travelling with children than three adults together, unless they are contortionists. During the day the beds are folded neatly away to give space for chairs and a small table, and the central lounge and bar enables guests to relax and enjoy the views.
Upon departing Windhoek station guests are treated to a welcome drink and snacks in the lounge before having time to relax as the train makes its slow progress through outskirts of the city and alongside the mountains of the Khomas Hochland.
In the late afternoon guests disembark for an afternoon nature drive at Oropoko Ranch. Here you may hope to see white rhino, giraffe, oryx and kudu before stopping for a sundown drink at a very pretty viewpoint.
Upon returning to the train there will be time for a quick shower and change before a delicious three course dinner is served in the restaurant car. After dinner the train pulls into a secure siding for the night and guests have the chance to walk around, stretch their legs and marvel at the clear night skies before retiring to bed.
In the early morning the train begins to move once again, making its way slowly towards the coast and Swakopmund. After a buffet breakfast, guests are able to enjoy an early morning dune walk in the desert between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. For those with some energy to burn, the view from the top of the dunes is beautiful. After returning to the train it is a short ride into Swakopmund where passengers arrive at around 10am before making their way onwards.
The return journey begins on a Saturday afternoon when guests check in and depart from Swakopmund for a relaxing afternoon traversing the desert plains. In the late afternoon you may disembark and enjoy a walk into the Khan River Valley from where you can enjoy magnificent, unspoilt views across the plains and into the surrounding mountains whilst sipping a refreshing drink. Returning to the train for dinner, guests again have the opportunity to explore outside after their meal before heading to bed.
After an early breakfast, guests alight at Okapuka Ranch and are accompanied on a lion feeding excursion which allows visitors to observe relocated Caprivi lions which have been introduced to a large, secure area. Upon returning to the train there is plenty of time to relax and prepare for your onward journey before arriving in Windhoek at around 10h30am.
There is nothing quite like relaxing to the rhythmic sway of the train as it makes it way across Namibias ancient landscape.