Rovos Rail launched in April 1989, when the first train transported four paying passengers from Cape Town to the Eastern Transvaal. Since then, the business has expanded dramatically – fast forward almost three decades, and the Rovos Rail fleet includes seven operating locomotives and numerous lounge, dining, and accommodation carriages, with all trains designed to carry a maximum of 72 passengers!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
An exciting variety of routes is possible on Rovos Rail and all journeys are available in reverse too, whether you'd like to travel between Cape Town and Victoria Falls, Cape Town and Dar es Salaam, or even Pretoria and Walvis Bay.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The communal spaces within each train consist of lounge cars, dining cars, and an observation car at the tail end. Rovos Rail has provided two lounge cars per train since 1995, due to demand for the company’s services! These areas boast comfy wingback chairs and sumptuous deep sofas. All are air conditioned, but the windows may be opened to allow the African air to waft through. There’s a small gift shop too, and some cars have an additional function as lecture rooms on a few of the trips. The dining cars boast a characterful Victorian ambience, ensuring that guests tuck into delicious cuisine in style! Breakfast is served from 07:00 to 10:00, lunch at 13:00, and dinner at 19:30. Please note, afternoon tea is taken in the lounge cars or observation car. The latter is able to accommodate 32 guests in total.
Rovos Rail offers three types of suites – Royal, Deluxe, and Pullman. Every Royal Suite takes up half a carriage! This is equivalent to approximately 16 square metres. Featuring wood panelling and Edwardian furnishings, the category has a very elegant feel. Each suite is air conditioned and contains a double bed or twin beds, a lounge area with mini-bar and tea drawer, a writing desk, ample storage space, and an en-suite bathroom with flush toilet, washbasin, shower, and bathtub. Other amenities include a telephone for internal calls, a safe, a luggage rack, adaptors, plug points and shaver plugs, a hairdryer, dressing gowns and slippers, a laundry bag, and a shoe bag. The Deluxe Suite occupies about 10 square metres and has a smaller lounge area, a luggage shelf, and a shower room rather than a bathroom. Finally, the Pullman Suite (7 sq. m) has a sofa-seat that converts into double or twin beds and an en-suite shower room.
The 3-day 1,600 kilometre Cape Town Journey takes you from the Mother City to Pretoria through the Highveld grasslands, the Great Karoo, and the wonderful Winelands. Travellers can also opt to spend three days aboard a train from Pretoria to the spectacular Victoria Falls– highlights on this route include Nylstroom and Hwange National Park! Tickets may also be purchased for the 3-day rail safari between Durban and Pretoria, a trip involving the Nambiti Conservancy.
First-rate wildlife viewing is on offer with Rovos’ Namibia route too, from Pretoria to Walvis Bay. This is an epic 9-day experience, featuring Fish River Canyon, the Kalahari Desert, Windhoek, Sossusvlei, and the national park of Etosha! However, this is not the longest journey available, as the Cape Town to Dar es Salaam trip comprises an incredible 15 days of travel through five countries in Safari Africa – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. Sights along the way include the Madikwe Game Reserve, the Great Rift Valley, and the mighty River Zambezi.
There are also two trips designed for keen golfers, as well as a new route, Trail of Two Oceans, a 15-day extravaganza featuring Tanzania, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola. The Trail will launch in July 2019.