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Rovos Rail: The Most Luxurious Train in the World

Dreaming of the most exclusive train in the world, which crosses the Southern Africa with 8 spectacular itineraries from 48 hours to 15 days

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Everything started from the whim of a (brilliant) South African millionaire entrepreneur. In 1985 Rohan Vos wanted to go on holiday with his family in Africa. So he decided forthwith to buy some old railway carriages, to renovate and furnish them with any kind of luxury and comfort. Evidently his holiday was so enjoyable that he decided to found his private railway company,

destined to conquer the title of the most luxurious Train in the world, from the start. The maiden voyage started on April 1989 and since then, the dream of this visionary entrepreneur has become a reality with eight unforgettable itineraries, from 48 hours to 15 days, in the most fascinating places of Africa, between Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Angola and Congo, with vintage trains, beautifully restored and decorated, which accommodate up to 72 travelers.

Today numbers confirm, without confutation, enthusiasm of entrepreneur. 440 staff members, five operating extra luxury trains, called Pride of Africa, and a sixth arriving by December 2019, are ready to run simultaneously on the rails of the eight offered itineraries – including the great novelty of this summer, the coast-to-coast which crosses continent – and one more, the Shongololo Express, a 3-star but always magnificent train, active from time to time on one of the three offered routes. Results are amazing, but it’s also amazing that a similar success doesn’t make arrogant person. For founder and CEO of this business, that still today is family run, the keyword is only one: consolidation. “Once our sixth train will be launched, we must focus on maintenance of all railway carriages, on staff training and perseverance in making us independent”, added Vos with his wife Anthea always by his side.

Victorian Luxury by Rovos Rail

Boarding one of the Rovos Rail trains is like returning to a past of elegance and adventure, journeys and explorations. Within historical railway carriages there are 36 cabins, from “simpler” pullman suites, to deluxe, up to spacious royal suites, all of them with private bathroom. They are furnished according to a perfect concept of luxury in Victorian style and with warm tones of boiserie. In elegant common areas, travelers, who are asked to have a suitable dress code, spend their time enjoying excellent cuisine offered in the Victorian style diner and fine selection of South African wines, admiring wonderful landscapes that pass beyond large windows. As custom there’s a panoramic railway carriage with big windows and cosy armchairs, there’s also a lounge carriage, placed at the end of the train, which offers the possibility to access to the romantic open-air veranda and to enjoy nature scents and colors. The pleasure of life on board alternates with charming excursions on land: from safaris to discoveries of history and local culture.

Itineraries of Pride of Africa

For all itineraries, departure is from Pretoria (with exception of Dar es Salaam). They are also available in opposite direction.

  • CAPE TOWN – 3 DAYS A journey of 1,600 km to discover South Africa, between spectacular mountains, scenic vineyards, charming cities and Victorian hamlets.
  • VICTORIA FALLS – 3 DAYS An itinerary of three nights, across Zimbabwe, passing through the city of Bulawayo. In this itinerary you’ll follow the longest straight line on rail in the world (114 km), before arriving at sanctuary of nature and animals Hwangand National Park. The journey ends in breathtaking Victoria Falls, the incomparable jump of Zambezi river.
  • DURBAN SAFARI – 3 DAYS Three days that are completely dedicated to safari, which should be experienced in summer months. The Big Five may be watched and photographed in Nambiti Conservancy. Spionkop Lodge reserve is the perfect starting point for exploration of mountainous region, it has witnessed important events of South Africa history.
  • GOLF SAFARI – 9 DAYS A timeless classic since 1989. Nine days of golf and safari, through the hills of Pilanesberg, Sun City, the spectacular Spion Kop of Drakensberg Mountains, and the Valley of a Thousand Hills of Durban. Magnificent photo-safari can be made in the oldest reserve of South Africa, the Hluhluwe in Zululand district, in Mkhaya refuge in the Swaziland and in the famous Kruger Park in Malelane.
  • AFRICAN COLLEGE – 10 DAYS An alternative for golf and nature enthusiasts. Also in this itinerary, there’s the visit to the Kruger Park in Malelane. Crossing the Swaziland, you’ll arrive first at Hluhluwe reserve in Zululand district and then you’ll head towards Durban for a city tour. Thus, you’ll visit mountainous scenery of the Valley of a Thousand Hills and, going on towards to Port Elizabeth you’ll make a photo-safari at Addo Elephant Park and a visit to oyster production of Oudtshoorn. Journey continues among Outeniqua Mountains towards George, allowing travelers to visit the natural paradise of Knysna, and it passes through the impressive Garden Route towards vineyards region and mountains behind Cape Town.
  • NAMIBIA SAFARI – 9 DAYS A journey of 3,400 km from savannah to Atlantic Ocean. First stop is at Kimberley, at its diamond miners. Then you’ll cross Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world after Grand Canyon, the Quiver Tree Forest and the Giant’s Playground of Garas Park. On the route to Windhoek, cosmopolitan capital of Namibia, you’ll see uncontaminated beauty of Kalahari desert. Here, for a short time, you’ll leave train and you’ll go by plain towards Sossusvlei, the impressive dune in Namib desert, where you’ll stay overnight. Next day, you’ll go on a photo-safari at the Etosha National Park. Then, you’ll return on board the train and you’ll go to the 19th century former German colony of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, the city on Atlantic coast.
  • DAR ES SALAAM – 15 DAYS An epic journey which passes through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. It’s one of the most famous and exclusive itineraries. It starts from Cape Town, in order to visit the historic village of Matjiesfontein, the diamonds city namely Kimberley, and Pretoria the capital. Then, it reaches the Madikwe Game Reserve for a stay of two nights. Journey continues going through Botswana to arrive to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. After having overcome the Zambezi river, it reaches Chishimba Falls, the Great Rift Valley in Tanzania and the Selous Game Reserve, the biggest reserve of the entire continent, finally arriving in Dar es Salaam.
  • DAR/LOBITO NEW COAST-TO-COAST – 15 DAYS It’s the great novelty of summer 2019, the two oceans itinerary, the Africa coast-to-coast. Launched on 16 July, the new journey, proposed by Rovos Rail, leads you across Tanzania, Zambia, Congo and Angola. It starts from the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, where you’ll visit the Selous Reserve. With a plane flight, you’ll go to the South Luangwa National Park, in Zambia, for an unforgettable safari, and to the city of Lubumbashi in Congo. Thus, crossing the Benguela line railway, you’ll discover history and present of Angola, finally reaching the city of Lobito.

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