Rovos Rail Luxury Train
Rovos Rail offers luxurious train travel to some of Africa’s best holiday destinations. Trips range from 3 – 28 days depending on your final destination choice and link destinations such as Pretoria, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Dar es Salaam. You will be spoilt with spacious, elegantly furnished suites, exceptional service and fine dining.
Pretoria – Cape Town
This 1 600-kilometre 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; this authentic perfectly preserved Victorian Village – founded by Mr Logan as a refreshment stop in 1890 – also boasts an impressive museum on the platform. Another stop is made in Kimberley providing an opportunity to enjoy a city tour and a visit to the Diamond Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole.
This option is also available in reverse.
Pretoria – Victoria Falls
This three-day adventure begins with the train’s departure from Rovos Rail’s gracious station in Pretoria. It then winds its way south through Johannesburg and the goldfields of the Witwatersrand before travelling west alongside the Magaliesberg Mountains. After border formalities at Mafikeng, the train travels north the following day through Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, crosses the Tropic of Capricorn and continues via Mahalapye and Francistown to the Zimbabwean border at Plumtree. The next day the train passes through Hwange National Park where animals can be spotted from the train. After a service stop at Thompsons Junction, the sojourn ends at the incomparable Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River. The surrounding areas offer travellers many recreational opportunities including cruises, whitewater rafting as well as superb game viewing and photo safaris.
This option is also available in reverse.
Please note: As of 1 July 2014, the journey will include an additional night with a game drive at The Hide in Zimbabwe’s largest reserve, the Hwange National Park – one of the world’s richest and most diverse wildlife sanctuaries.
Cape Town – Dar es Salaam
This epic 14-day 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. As it climbs again to Dar es Salaam, it traverses the Selous Game Reserve – the largest on the continent and a vision of timeless Africa.
This option is also available in reverse.
Cancellation insurance is compulsory and will not be waived. Rovos Rail offers insurance to South African residents. For international guests we suggest you contact your local travel agent for assistance. Please bring a copy of your travel insurance policy stating clearly the company, policy number and 24-hour medical emergency telephone number.
Scheduling Times, Routes and Excursions
Rovos Rail cannot be held liable for any delays due to trains not running to schedule. Off-train excursions cannot be guaranteed and will only be undertaken if time and circumstances permit. Departure and arrival times are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. Rovos Rail reserves the right to alter the routing at any time between departure and arrival points.
Passports & Visas
The onus is upon the client to ensure that passports and visas, as may be required, are valid. Please check with the relevant consulates in good time regarding applications or enquire with Itseng Africa or Rovos Rail. Visitors to South Africa are required to have at least three blank VISA pages in their passports to receive an entry visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the guests’ return-home date.
- Please ensure you have indicated if you have any medical conditions, physical disabilities or allergies. There is a basic First Aid Kit on board. There is a doctor on board on the Dar es Salaam trip.
- Anti-malarial precautions are recommended. Malaria areas: Swaziland, Kruger Park, Northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. Recommended immunisations (not required): Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus, Cholera (low risk).
- A Yellow Fever/Medical Exemption Certificate is essential if travelling to/from Zambia & Tanzania. Although all countries travelled through don’t require this, countries guest’s return to after the trip often require them.
- Please consult your clinic or doctor.
- South Africa – Rands only. All major credit cards are accepted on the train.
- Outside of South Africa – Any off-train expenses or excursions booked while on the train are to be paid with US Dollars. Hotels and major dealers accept credit cards except in Sudan.
- Ensure all US$ are printed after the year 2000 or they will not be accepted. Low denominations recommended for shopping/gratuities and larger denominations for exchanging money to local currency (especially in Tanzania) as you get a better rate. The Gift Shop might exchange money if currency is available – it is not normally catered for.
Gratuities for the staff are at your discretion. If you wish to show your appreciation in this manner, there is a suitably marked envelope in your suite that you can hand directly to the Train Manager who will distribute any amounts on a pro-rata basis amongst the staff on board. An amount between US$10 and US$20 per person per night is suggested.
Please be sensitive to the adult nature and atmosphere of the train by keeping your children respectful and quiet. Long journeys are not recommended for under 13s. There are no child-minding facilities or activities for children on board.
Use of steam has become increasingly difficult over the years as more and more water and coaling facilities have been scrapped. Diesel or electric locomotives are used while steam is used in and around the area of Rovos Rail Station.
The track over which the train travels is inconsistently maintained. If you wake at night imagining the train is travelling at high speed, be assured it is the state of the track below that is creating that impression. We restrict the train to 60km/h and over the bad sections reduce speed to as little as 20km/h. If you find it noisy, earplugs are available.
Meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. Breakfast is between 07h00 and 10h00, lunch at 13h00 and a formal dinner at 19h30. All meals are served at these times unless otherwise stated in the timetable. A gong heralds lunch and dinner. Tea is usually served at 16h30 in the midway Lounge Car or Observation Car at the rear of the train.
Utmost best is done to cater for dietary requirements, provided a detailed request has been made. If a special request has not been made, the chefs will endeavour to prepare suitable meals with the ingredients available on board. Regretfully, Rovos Rail is unable to provide meals requiring strict religious observance in the preparation.
For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for the gentlemen a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits. Please include warm clothing for cold mornings and evenings. With regard to off-train excursions, we strongly recommend comfortable walking shoes, sun lotion and hats as well as warm clothing for the game drives, which are on open vehicles and can get very cold.
Mobile Devices and Internet
In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your suites only. The reception is poor while the train is moving. It is advised to contact your service provider to ensure the correct settings for network services are activated. Internet is available at our Cape Town Lounge, Rovos Rail Station, Tau Game Lodge and Victoria Falls Hotel and at most of the accommodation used on the Cairo journey.
On board the train, smoking is allowed in the Club Lounge only. Please advise if you are smoking or non-smoking so that the appropriate room might be requested at the hotels. Smoking is allowed in the privacy of your suite, but please be mindful that the train is generally made up of wood; please don’t throw flammable items such as cigarette or cigar butts off the train as bush fires in Africa are a constant and dangerous hazard.
There is a limited laundry service on board comprising household washers, dryers and steam irons. The turnaround is 48 hours. Please note that this is a complimentary service and Rovos Rail cannot be held responsible for items that may be damaged or lost in the process. There are no dry-cleaning facilities en route or on board the train.
Each suite has a luggage rack that runs its length providing ample space for storage. On selected annual journeys, guests are provided with a Rovos Rail tog bag that can be used for overnight trips or hand luggage on aircraft.
There is a small gift shop on the train and at Rovos Rail Station. Due to the varying exchange rates, credit cards are preferred. The host/ess on duty has a basic First Aid Kit and personal essentials (toothbrushes, razors, earplugs etc.). He/she will also fulfil any administrative requirements and check your onward arrangements. Stamps are available for sale and postcards may be posted in the post box at the entrance to the Observation Car or at Rovos Rail Station.
Rovos Rail would like to celebrate your special occasion with you. Upon boarding the train, please advise the Train Manager.
Books, Magazines and Games
There are board games, playing cards, a card table (dependent), books and magazines available for your use in the Lounge and Observation Cars whilst on board the train.
Electrical Current and Adaptors
220V AC 50Hz 3-point round-pronged wall plugs, 110V/220V 2-pin plugs for shavers. International adaptors available.
An electronic safe is provided in the cupboard in each suite.
There is an internal telephone system on board. Numbers are listed on the provided Guest List.
All public cars are fitted with gas-filled air-conditioning systems. Each suite has an individual air-conditioner with individual temperature controls that can also be set to heat mode. Fresh-air intake is solved by opening a window. Windows should be closed while operating the air-conditioning unit. Electric under-blankets are fitted on the bed.