Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world-class travel experiences.
Exceptional train safaris combine some of Africa’s most magnificent scenery with travel aboard an authentically refurbished Edwardian-style train, accommodating up to 72 guests in the most spacious train suites in the world, each with their own en-suite bathroom and subtle modern conveniences.
The eight scheduled journeys begin or end at Rovos Rail Station, the headquarters and private station of this independent railway company, which is situated in Pretoria.
The Royal Suites, each of which take up half a carriage, are spacious and elegant measuring ±16 sq meters in size. Each has its own private lounge area and full bathroom with Victorian bath and separate shower. The epitome of luxury with handsome wood panelling and period Edwardian features, the air-conditioned suites accommodate two people offering the option of side-by-side twin or spacious double beds. In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hair dryers and shaver plugs.
The very spacious suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort and luxury, with fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. All are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.
The Deluxe Suites (±10 sq meters/±108 sq feet) accommodate two passengers in either twin or double beds and have a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower. The wood-paneled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodeled and refurbished to mint condition, offer every modern convenience and comfort.
In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hair dryers and shaver plugs. The spacious suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort and luxury, with fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. All are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.
The Pullman Suites (±7 sq meters/±76 sq feet) are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat during the day with a conversion to double or twin beds for the evening, and also have an en-suite bathroom with shower. The wood-paneled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodeled and refurbished to mint condition, offer every modern convenience and comfort. In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hair dryers and shaver plugs.
The spacious suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort and luxury, with fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. All are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.
Trail of 2 oceans Journey
15 DAYS • 4300km
This voyage sets off from the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam (a city familiar to Rovos Rail as it has been running its Cape to Dar trip there since 1993), and includes a game visit in the Selous Reserve, a fly-in two-night safari in the South Luangwa National Park (Zambia) and a city tour of Lubumbashi (DRC). Thereafter it joins the Benguela line for short walking tours detailing Angola’s recent history with journey’s end in Lobito. Available in reverse.In July 2019, Rovos Rail set off on this new 15-day expedition traversing Tanzania, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola. It was the first time in history that a passenger train travelled the famous east-to-west copper trail on this route. The trip was a great success.
3 DAYS • 1600km
This meander is a perfect illustration of South Africa as a world in one country. Travel the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld to the haunting barrenness of the Great Karoo; trundle through the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic winelands of the Cape. Journey’s end is Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, cradled by the imposing bulk of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Highlights of the north- and southbound routes include a visit to the historic village of Matjiesfontein, an authentically preserved Victorian Village founded as a refreshment stop in 1890, which also boasts an impressive museum on the platform. Another stop is made in Kimberley to visit the Diamond Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole. Available in reverse.
3 DAYS • 800km
This safari between Pretoria and Durban departs during the summer months and includes game drives, a battlefield tale with a world-class historian and a look at unusual African ceramics. Experience the Nambiti Conservancy – a Big Five private retreat set on 20 000 acres of malaria-free bushveld in KwaZulu-Natal. It has an incredible biodiversity including savannah, grasslands, thornveld and tall acacia trees. Situated on an expansive game farm, Spionkop Lodge – which adjoins an 11 000-acre nature reserve – is the perfect base for exploring the mountains, bush, birds and battlefields of the region. Ardmore Ceramics is a story about the Zulu people whose sense of rhythm, color, dance and song, as well as the spirit of the African imagination, is exerting its influence on the other continents of the world. Visit this charming centre in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands before traveling the Valley of a Thousand Hills to Durban. Available in reverse.
4/5 DAYS • 1400km
This adventure begins with the train’s departure from Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. Travel north through Warmbaths (Bela-Bela), so named for its mineral waters, and Nylstroom, christened by the Voortrekkers as the source of the Nile River as the town’s river happened to be north-flowing. Pass the edge of the escarpment and cross the Tropic of Capricorn towards Bulawayo, the second city of Zimbabwe, capital of Matabeleland and industrial capital of the country. Travel along one of the world’s longest stretches of the straight railway line – 114km – before traversing Hwange National Park, a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary where a game drive excursion is enjoyed. Arrive at the incomparable Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River where this sojourn ends. The surrounding areas offer travelers many recreational opportunities including cruises, whitewater rafting as well as superb game viewing and photo safaris. Available in reverse. Depending upon railway capacity, this journey could be routed through Botswana.From 2022, guests have the option of choosing the 3-night journey or the new 4-night journey, which includes an excursion to Polokwane.
9 DAYS • 2100km
This safari travels the northeastern reaches of South Africa and will entertain the most discerning golfers with a delightful itinerary for non-playing guests. Travel from Pretoria to Sun City* in the hills of the Pilanesberg for game viewing. Cross the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains to Spionkop*, the perfect base for exploring the mountains, bush, birds and battlefields of the region. Traverse the scenic Valley of a Thousand Hills to Durban* for a tour of the city and botanical gardens. Interact with artisans as they create highly decorative and geometric-shaped candles. The game viewing continues at Hluhluwe in Zululand (one of the oldest reserves in the country), Mkhaya* (eSwatini’s refuge for endangered species) and the world-famous Kruger Park in Malelane*, after which this memorable journey ends in Pretoria.
*Course selection is dependent on availability: Sun City Gary Player/Lost City, Champagne Sports Resort, Durban Country Club/Beachwood/Zimbali, Royal Swazi, Leopard Creek/White River/Mbombela.
10/11 DAYS • 3700km
This panoramic sojourn winds its way from Pretoria to Cape Town and includes a golfing and non-golfing itinerary. After a game drive in Kruger Park* guests travel through eSwatini to Hluhluwe for game viewing and along the coast to Durban* for a city tour. Traverse the Valley of a Thousand Hills to Spionkop Lodge*, the perfect base for exploring the mountains, bush, birds and battlefields of the region. Continue to Port Elizabeth* for a game drive at Addo Elephant Park then on to Oudtshoorn for an ostrich-farm visit followed by an impressive descent through the Outeniqua Mountains to George*. After visiting the natural paradise of Knysna*, the train traverses the spectacular Garden Route to the Winelands and Cape mountains before this magnificent expedition ends in Cape Town. Available in reverse. Cape Town-Pretoria is 11 days including eSwatini* – see the itinerary.
*Courses dependent on availability: Leopard Creek/White River/Mbombela, Nkonyeni, Durban Country Club/Beachwood/Zimbali, Champagne Sports Resort, Humewood, Fancourt and Ernie Els Oubaai.
9/10 DAYS • 3400km
This journey takes the train from the savannahs of the Highveld to the Atlantic in the west. Departing from Pretoria, the first stop is Kimberley, centre of one of the world’s famous diamond rushes where there is an opportunity to savor the 1870s atmosphere of the mining village. The train traverses the stark vistas of the Northern Cape to the Fish River Canyon – second in size to the Grand Canyon – and Garas Park with its quiver-tree forest. Guests continue across the untamed beauty of the Kalahari Desert to Namibia’s capital for a tour; Windhoek is a lively, cosmopolitan city with a strong German flavor. Then it’s a short flight to Sossusvlei, a stunning pan in the Namib Desert, for an overnight stay followed by a night in the game-rich Etosha National Park. On the last morning, the train travels the Namib to the perfectly preserved 19th-century German Hansa town of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay – an unforgettable end to a remarkable journey. Available in reverse.
From 2022, the Namibia Safari will be 9 nights/10 days including a visit to a cheetah conservation project
Dar Es Salaam
15 DAYS • 5800km
This epic train journey travels through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and is one of the most famous in the world. The sojourn begins in Cape Town taking guests to the historic village of Matjiesfontein, the diamond town of Kimberley and the capital city of Pretoria for short tours followed by two nights in the Madikwe Game Reserve. Continue through Botswana into Zimbabwe where guests overnight at the Victoria Falls Hotel. After crossing the mighty Zambezi River, the train joins the Tazara line in Zambia and continues to Chisimba Falls where guests enjoy a bush walk. The train climbs to the Tanzanian border then descends into the Great Rift Valley negotiating the tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the spectacular escarpment. Climbing again, it traverses the Selous Game Reserve – the largest on the continent and a vision of timeless Africa – before the bustling arrival in Dar es Salaam the following day. Available in reverse.
15 DAYS • 3100km
In July 2022, Rovos Rail will set off on this new expedition traversing Zimbabwe, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola. Travel across the mighty Zambezi from the incomparable Victoria Falls towards Kafue River for a sunset cruise. After a visit to Lusaka’s elephant sanctuary where teams rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants, fly into South Luangwa National Park (Zambia) for a three-night safari. With its western and northwestern edge bounded by the Muchinga Escarpment and the southern border lined with the meandering Luangwa River, there is no shortage of dramatic and fascinating topography in this beautiful game-rich park. Enjoy a tour of Lubumbashi (DRC) then join the historical copper trail for short walking tours detailing Angola’s recent history with journey’s end in Lobito. Available in reverse.
Landi Burns started selling travel in 2019, after managing exclusive luxury lodges and resorts across the globe. She specializes in East and Southern Africa beach & safari destinations.