Tropic of Capricorn

After passing through the capital city of Botswana, Gaborone, passengers aboard the African rail tour will find the journey heating up as they travel over the Tropic of Capricorn. The famous Tropic of Capricorn is an imaginary line of latitude encircling the Earth at approximately 23.5° south of the equator.

Unlike the Tropic of Cancer, the Tropic of Capricorn passes mainly through water – with the exception of Africa. As Africa occupies a large portion of the Southern Hemisphere, the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the countries of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.

Understanding the Tropic of Capricorn

Though passengers on the luxury train journey may find it hard to visualise, the Tropic of Capricorn is the southernmost point on Earth where the sun’s bright rays can be located directly overhead at local noon. Capricorn holds grand significance in the understanding of the Earth’s geometry as it marks the southern boundary of the tropics and is one of the five major circles of latitude that divide the earth.

Naming the Tropic of Capricorn

Approximately 2, 000 years ago, the vibrant sun crossed into the constellation of Capricorn during the winter solstice. In short, the winter solstice is a period around 21 December which bears great significance in understanding the planet’s relationship with the sun. It is on 21 December that the rays of the sun directly strike one of the two tropical latitude lines – in this case, the Tropic of Capricorn. Though the name has stuck, the specific location of the Tropic of Capricorn is no longer in the constellation Capricorn, and instead finds its home in the constellation Sagittarius.


Countries bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn typically experience an arid or semi-arid climate with long sunny days interrupted by the occasional thunder storm and rain shower.