The Rovos Rail ethos has always been more about experiencing the journey rather than rushing to the destination and each adventure submerses guests into an enchanting Edwardian-style fairy tale. In keeping with the spirit of travel of a bygone era, trains blissfully dawdle along at no more than 60 km/h allowing guests to admire the scenery, observe birds and wildlife, take photographs and even poke one’s head out of the window to add a more tangible element to the journey. There is an absence of radios and televisions and the use of technological devices is confined to the privacy of guests’ suites.
Rovos Rail journeys vary from 2 to 15 nights and are offered in both directions. Rovos’ private, colonial-style station at Capital Park in Pretoria serves as the departure or arrival point for most journeys. Guests can sip cocktails, nibble canapés and visit the Railway Museum before climbing aboard for an experience of a lifetime. Below is a brief description of each Rovos Rail journey. Please contact us at African Travel Gateway for more detailed information and chat with us about how we can incorporate a Rovos Rail Journey into your itinerary.
The Cape Town Journey
The most popular journey on Rovos Rail is now a 3-night trip that runs both ways between Pretoria and Cape Town. It showcases South Africa as a world in one country. This journey departs weekly, rolling through Highveld grasslands, the semi-desert Karoo, dramatic mountain ranges and the picturesque vineyards of the Cape Winelands. Off-train excursions include Kimberley’s Diamond Museum and the ‘Big Hole’, the world’s largest man-made hand-excavated hole, as well as the historic settlement of Matjiesfontein in the Karoo.
Due to railway line closures from Johannesburg to Pretoria, the train will depart and arrive at Kookrus Station. Guests will check in as per normal at the Pretoria Station and have the chance to visit the Railway Museum before a 90-minute transfer in a luxury coach to Kookrus Station where the train journey will begin, complimentary transfers from Kookrus Station to the Pretoria Station are available on the return journey.
The Victoria Falls Journey
A wonderful 3 or 4-night adventure, trundles through Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand goldfields before skirting the Magaliesberg Mountains and entering Botswana at Mafikeng. Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, the journey continues to the Zimbabwe border at Plumtree. Keep an eye out for wildlife as the train chugs through Hwange National Park where a game drive excursion is offered. This amazing journey culminates at the roaring Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River.
The Durban Journey
A fabulous 2-night safari between Pretoria and Durban that operates during the summer months. Highlights include a game drive and a Battlefields tour conducted by a world-class historian. Guests can also browse Ardmore Ceramics Gallery in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands before continuing through the Valley of a Thousand Hills to the beach-side city of Durban.
The Golf Journey
A specially designed 9-night Golf Safari starting and ending in Pretoria, which will entertain even the most discerning player. Golfers tee off at the Gary Player Country Club, Champagne Sports Resort, Durban Country Club, Royal Swazi and Kruger’s Leopard Creek. For the non-golfers, the itinerary includes game drives at four different game reserves, a Battlefields tour and a visit to Swaziland’s Ngwenya Glass and Guava Gallery jewellery boutique.
The Namibia Journey
In 2024 the Rovos Rail Namibia Safari will merge with the Dune Express from the Shongololo Express turning this journey into a remarkable 11-night safari from Pretoria to Walvis Bay. Travel through the Northern Cape and the semi-desert Karoo to the spectacular Fish River Canyon. Traversing the Kalahari to Windhoek, guests join a short flight to Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert for an overnight sojourn. After another amazing overnight in Etosha National Park, the journey takes you through the beautiful and vast Namib Desert where your journey will end in the town of Walvis Bay.
The African Collage Journey
As of 2024, this 10 or 11-night journey becomes a 12-night journey which travels between Pretoria and Cape Town or in opposite directions, including stops in Bloemfontein and Clarens. This journey includes both golfing and non-golfing itineraries. Golfers tee off at Leopard Creek, Durban Country Club, Humewood in Port Elizabeth, and the Garden Route’s Ernie Els Oubaai and Fancourt. The non-golfing itinerary includes game drives at three different reserves, a visit to Ardmore Ceramics and an ostrich farm, a ferry ride to Knysna’s Featherbed Nature Reserve and a fascinating tour of the KWV Brandy Distillery.
The Dar es Salaam Journey
An epic 15 night expedition departing from Cape Town that sweeps through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and is considered by many as one of the most exciting train journeys in the world. Highlights include Matjiesfontein and Kimberley, a two-night safari in Madikwe Game Reserve, Victoria Falls and Chisimba Falls, the Great Rift Valley, Selous Game Reserve as well as on-board lectures presented by Rovos’ historian.
Trail of Two Oceans
The 15 night Trail of Two Oceans cuts a path from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean across four African countries and visits lesser travelled gems in Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola. This journey combines several highlights among them a visit to the Selous Reserve and a two-night safari in the South Luangwa National Park. Rovos Rail is the first passenger train to do this route and it has been a success ever since.
The African Trilogy
As of 2024 this spectacular 14-night African Trilogy journey will take you through South Africa, eSwatini and Namibia. Beginning in Pretoria you will journey to the Kruger National Park, south through eSwatini and further south to Durban, after which your journey traverses west through South Africa and up into Namibia. Excursions on this journey will take you on Big 5 game drives, historical city tours, and overnight stays at luxurious lodges in Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park before winding back through the vast Namib Desert to Walvis Bay where this African Trilogy journey will end.
The Southern Cross
The 11-night Southern Cross journey takes you on a magical journey through South Africa, into eSwatini and onto Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Your 11-night journey begins in Pretoria where you will trundle through the spectacular Panorama Route before continuing into eSwatini, experiencing candle making and a cultural village tour. From here your journey takes you along the Greater Kruger area where you will go on game drives and an endangered species centre tour. The next stage of your train journey takes you into Zimbabwe where you will visit the historical Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Antelope Park and a game drive in the Hwange National Park. Your journey draws to a close at the mighty Victoria Falls with a tour of the falls and a stunning sunset cruise along the Zambezi River.
The Copper Trail
Travel from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to Lobito in Angola on this incredible 14-night journey through the historical copper trading routes of the past. As you leave Victoria Falls you will traverse the Kafue River where you will enjoy a magical sunset cruise in the national park, the next stop is a visit to an elephant rehabilitation centre in Lusaka. More highlights on this opulent journey through Southern Africa include a 3 night safari in the famous South Luangwa National Park in Zambia as well as walking tours and town visits detailing the history of Angola. Your journey comes to an end in the coastal town of Lobito.
Victoria Falls to Cape Town Combination Journey
This 8-night combination of the Victoria Falls to Pretoria and the Pretoria to Cape Town Journeys takes you through some of the best destinations in Zimbabwe and South Africa. On this journey, you will spend two nights in Pretoria with a historical tour of the city. The perfect trip to relax and enjoy the luxurious hospitality Rovos Rail has to offer.
Durban to Victoria Falls Combination Journey
This 7 or 8-night journey takes you on an enthralling journey from the stunning beaches of Durban, South Africa to the mighty Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Whilst you amble along the train tracks the scenery is ever-changing from rolling hills to breathtaking mountain ranges to open grasslands. Along the way, you will have the chance to visit the Ardmore Ceramics Gallery, as well as embark on game drives in the Nambiti Game Reserve and the Hwange National Park. Your journey comes to an end at Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Cape Town to Durban Combination Journey
Experience the best of South Africa on this 6 or 7-night journey through the Cape Winelands, the Karoo, Kimberly and onto Pretoria. From Pretoria, your journey takes you through the Drakensberg Mountains and the Valley of a Thousand Hills before coming to an end in the beachside city of Durban. Highlights on this journey include a visit to the Diamond Mine museum, a game drive in the Nambiti Game Reserve and a visit to the Ardmore Ceramics gallery. Relax in luxury as you experience the best of South Africa on the Rovos Rail.