Whilst the service and dining on board The Ghan or Rocky Mountaineer maybe as equally exquisite, the history of Rovos Rail and the love that has gone into restoring each engine and carriage separates it from the other great rail journeys of the world.
Step on board and you are immediately transported back to the golden age of train travel. Combine this with the excitement and breathtaking landscapes of Southern Africa and the result is a rail experience like no other.
At Freedom Destinations we offer the three main Rovos Rail journeys from Pretoria to Cape Town, Durban and Victoria Falls, all of which can be incorporated into a longer Africa holiday. The difficulty is choosing which journey to experience first…
Pretoria to Cape Town – 3 Days
Rovos Rail’s flagship route traverses 1,600 km from the South African seat of Government to the continent’s most southernly city.
Sit back, with a glass of wine in hand, as the train glides through the rocky goldfields of the Witwatersrand and the desert-like plains of the great Karoo, before winding through the mountains and vineyards of the Western Cape towards the ‘Mother City’.
En route you will stop at the Kimberley Mine Museum and extraordinary Big Hole, from which 2,722 kilograms of diamonds were hand extracted over 43 years in the late 19th Century, as well as the Victorian village of Matjiesfontein.
This Rovos Rail route is also available in reverse, from Cape Town to Pretoria, or as part of a longer South African itinerary; for example a 10 day escape including three nights in Cape Town and a guided tour of the Garden Route.
Pretoria to Victoria Falls – 4 Days
Introduced by Rovos Rail in 1994, this luxurious four day African adventure crosses the Tropic of Capricorn on its way to Zimbabwe and the spectacular Victoria Falls.
The journey includes a 114 kilometre stretch of straight track that cuts through Hwange National Park, where wildlife can be spotted from the train and then close up on an afternoon game drive in an open safari vehicle. Zimbabwe’s largest reserve, Hwange is home to the ‘Big Five’, as well as over 400 species of bird.
You will arrive at Victoria Fall Station at approximately 10:00, allowing you the afternoon to explore the falls at your leisure, perhaps on a guided tour or helicopter flight.
For a week of luxury, the journey to Victoria Falls can be combined with the Rovos Rail Cape Town service, with night in a Pretoria hotel between the two. Please speak with your Travel Consultant for options.
Durban Safari – 3 Days
Offering something for history, geography and wildlife enthusiasts, the Pretoria to Durban service departs once a month between August and April, with a break in December.
The three day package includes a morning game drive in the Nambiti Conservancy, home to elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino, as well as an afternoon excursion to the Spionkop Game Reserve or a tour of the infamous Spionkop battlefield.
The route passes through the Drakensberg Mountains and traverses the breathtaking Valley of a Thousand Hills, head to the Observatory Car for panoramic vistas.
The Durban Safari can also be combined with the Cape Town to Pretoria route, or included in a longer holiday.
Life on Board Rovos Rail
Rovos Rail is the essence of luxury. From the departure lounge to your final stop, you can expect 24 hour, first class service. Take time to also explore the train and meet your fellow passengers and staff members.
Each Rovos Rail trainset has two Lounge Cars, with deep sofas and wingback chairs. The carriages are air-conditioned, but the windows can also be opened, to feel the warm breeze and soak in the sound and sights of sub-Saharan Africa.
The equally comfortable Observation Car at the rear of the train has a unique, open-air balcony, perfect for watching the sunset over the savanna, with a glass of sparkling wine in hand.
Meals are served in one sitting in the dining car, akin to five star restaurant on wheels. The team of experienced chefs have created an exquisite menu using fresh, local ingredients, including a variety of game meats, that is complemented with award-winning South African wine.
In keeping with the elegance of the journey, the dress code is smart casual during the day, switching to a jacket and tie or evening dress or suit from dinner onwards. Guests are asked to refrain from using laptops or mobile phones outside of their cabins, not a difficult proposition when surrounded by luxury and spectacular scenery.
Meals, drinks and refreshments are all included in your Rovos Rail fare.
Pullman, Deluxe & Royal Suites
The suites on board Rovos Rail have been beautifully restored, preserving their Edwardian features, whilst carefully incorporating modern comforts, such as air conditioning, a hair dryer and shaver plugs.
Pullman Suites are one fifth of a carriage in size, with an en suite shower room and either a double bed or two tiered single beds, which transform into a sofa for daytime travel. Deluxe carriages are split into three suites, each with an en suite shower room and their own lounge area. Royal Suites are even more spacious at half a carriage in size, with a lounge area and a full bathroom with a Victoria style bath and separate shower.
Rovos Rail 2024 Bookings
Freedom Destinations are rail holiday specialists, offering unforgettable adventures on the great railways of Africa, Asia, North America and Australasia. With FREEDOM, you can book your train journey, flights, hotels and any extras in one place, with full ATOL protection.
If you are looking to travel in 2024, it is worth booking as early as possible, to secure your preferred Rovos Rail cabin and departure date.
If you are planning your rail journey as part of a longer African holiday, we recommend you also explore accommodation and safari options well in advance, in particular Cape Town hotels, South African safaris and Victoria Falls accommodation and experiences.
Our friendly team of Africa Experts can check availability and put everything in place for you, please give them a call.
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