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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Rovos Rail Top Train Rides in South Africa

Rovos Rail is a luxurious train that offers long-distance travel to mature and sophisticated travelers across Southern and Eastern Africa.

In 1989, the Rovos Rail had its first trip taking off from South Africa. From that day, it got recognition as ‘the most luxurious train worldwide.’ 

Considering its vintage ambiance, some users refer to the Rovos Rail as ‘The Pride of Africa.’

Rovos Rail offers custom-made services, ensuring absolute comfort and luxury, leaving its passengers with a memorable experience. 

Because of the many offers of the Rovos Rail, it made it the top train ride in South Africa.

Rovos Rail Establishment and the founder

The owner of Rovos Rail is an entrepreneur from South Africa’ Rohon Vos’. Before starting the Rovos Rail in 1989, he collected old train spare parts from auctions, South African Railways, old Rhodesians, private owners, and foreign rail operators to restore them.

It wasn’t long before he decided to serve and collect tickets for his fleets, turning it into a family business. 

His fleets were one of the largest in the world, with vintage coaches watchfully picked.

Features of the Rovos Rail as a top train ride in South Africa

The Rovos Rail, also called the Pride of Africa, has many attractive features that make it the most luxurious train globally. It is the top train ride in South Africa.

On some occasions, the train uses steam locomotives but sometimes uses electric and diesel. Rovos Rail also has a train museum among many other facilities.  

Among the many beautiful features of the Rovos Rail are;

1. The coaches

Rovos Rail has coaches made with elaborate wood panels and carved pillars that hold up the roof. 

The coaches serve as observation kitchen cars, lounges, dining cars, bathroom in every coach, and suites all backed with luxury.

The coaches have an olden day’s theme, which gives it more of its magnificence. They have wingback chairs specially made with leather sofas. The coaches offer five-star amenities and a luxury travel itinerary.

2. The capacity of the Rovos Rail

Every guest suite in the Rovos Rail houses a maximum of 72 passengers, combining the modern and Edwardian themes.

3. Duration of the Rovos Rail train travels

Considering the trip you want with the Rovos Rail, the train travels from 48 hours to 15 days. 

They travel across top destinations in Africa while also offering excursions out of the train.

4. The staff strength of the Rovos Rail

For every 50 passengers on board the Rovos Rail, the train has 24 staff available to care for their passengers’ needs.

Accommodation at the Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail offers comfy air-conditioned, en-suite accommodation in three different categories Pullman, Deluxe, and Royal Suites.

All the categories of the suites offer a minibar stocked with passenger’s choice of beverage, a personal safe, 24 hours room service, modern convenience, and a writing area. The suites also provide a bag of amenities, including dresses, slippers, and dryers on request.

  • Pullman Suite

The Pullman suite offers accommodation in double rooms, split rooms with side-by-side mattresses, and upper and lower bunks

The Pullman Suite has twin or double beds, a shower area in an en-suite bathroom, a sofa, and many other amenities.

  • Deluxe Suite

The deluxe suite offers double deluxe suites, double sideways deluxe suites, and twin deluxe suites. Each of them (four suites) has double beds, a shower in en-suite bathrooms, and a lounge in an 11 square meters space.

  • Royal Suite

The royal suite has two categories, the Double Royal Suites, and the Twin Royal Suite. The two accommodations (four suites) have double beds, an en-suite bathroom with a Victorian bath and shower, and other 16 square meter space amenities.

The Rovos Rail’s other kinds of accommodation are the Rovos Dining Cars, famous for offering local dishes in comfy Victorian scenery. Observation cars and lounges are different kinds of lodging in the Rovos Rail that allows for a clear view of types of attractions in the country.

The Rovos Rail is available for charter in their 36 suites, accommodating about 72 passengers. 

Also, it offers a daytime trip for event caterers, which can accommodate about 250 guests.

The bathrooms at the Rovos Rail have amenities ranging from an 8ml insect repellent gel, 25g soap, shower cap, 60ml shampoo, tissues, little sewing kit, 8ml insect repellent gel, 60ml conditioner, nail file, 60ml bath and shower gel, shoe mitt, 60ml hand and body lotion, earbuds, 4.8grams lip balm, cotton wool, and 8ml Sun Cream SPF30.

Rovos Rail Top Train Rides, Destinations and Routes

When onboard the Rovos Rail, the passengers expect to see African Savanna, game reserves, vineyards, rugged coastlines, deserts, mountains, and forests. The central headquarter and park station of the Rovos Rail is Pretoria, South Africa.

The most common destinations of the Rovos Rail include;

  • Victoria Falls, South Africa,
  • Durban, South Africa, and
  • Cape Town, South Africa.

However, the train also travels across Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Namibia on multiple trips every year. Rovos Rail also offers golf journeys of two different kinds many times a month.

Let’s look at the itinerary of the Rovos Rails;

i. Cape Town Journey

A journey from Pretoria to Cape Town to and fro covers 1600 kilometers in 3 days. In this journey, travelers will explore many attractions in the areas, including the famous Matjiesfontein village, Table Mountain, Victorian Village, Lion’s Head, and Devil’s Peak.

Generally, the stops that travelers will make on this journey are;

  • Cape Town
  • Journey through the Cape Winelands
  • Traverse the Karoo
  • Kimberley Diamond Mine Museum tour
  • Matjiesfontein visit
  • Pretoria

ii. Durban Safari Journey

The Durban Safari journey with the Rovos Rail includes a three-day trip covering 800 kilometers. 

Passengers on this trip will expect to visit African historic sites and safari, with stops at the following areas;

  • Ardmore Ceramics Gallery
  • Drakensberg Mountains
  • Durban
  • Nambiti Reserve game drive
  • Pretoria
  • Spionkop for a historical tale
  • Spionkop Reserve game drive
  • Valley of a 1000 Hills for a trundle adventure

iii. Victoria Falls trip

A journey to Victoria Falls on Rovos Rail covers 1400 kilometers for about 4 to 5 days. Passengers on board will travel from Victoria Falls to Pretoria and back again. Victoria Falls journey is more suitable for wildlife and nature travelers.

Among the many stops that travelers on this route will make include;

  • Hwange Reserve game drive
  • Traverse the edge of the Kalahari Basin
  • Traverse the Limpopo province
  • Pretoria
  • Victoria Falls

iv. Golf Safari Travel

The Golf Safari route with the Rovos Rail is a 2100 kilometers trip that takes nine days. 

The route is more suitable for gulf enthusiasts. 

Among the many stops on this route include;

  • Bird of Prey Rehabilitation Centre
  • Dullstroom Visit
  • Drakensberg Mountains
  • Durban tour
  • Durban Botanic Gardens tour
  • Play the Golf Safari courses
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park game drive
  • Introduction to Fly fishing
  • Kruger Park game drive
  • Visit the Lost City

v. African Collage Journey

African collage travel covers 3700 kilometers for 10 to 11 days. It contains a journey from Pretoria to Cape Town back and forth. Some of the many routes that travelers will stop at in the African collage travel include;

  • Addo Elephant Park game drive
  • Cape Town
  • Journey through the Cape Winelands
  • Play the African Collage courses
  • Drakensberg Mountains
  • Durban tour
  • Durban Botanic Gardens tour
  • A trip along the Garden Route
  • Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park game drive
  • Traverse the Karoo
  • Boat cruise on the Knysna lagoon
  • Kruger Park game drive

vi. Namibia Safari Travel

Namibia safari route includes stops from Pretoria, South Africa, to Walvis Bay, Namibia

The destination covers 3400 kilometers that will last for about 9 to 10 days. The stops while on the Namibia safari route include;

  • Cheetah conservation project visit (2022)
  • Deadvlei visit
  • Etosha game drives and overnight stay
  • Fish River Canyon visit
  • See the quiver trees at Garas Park
  • Traverse the edge of the Kalahari Basin
  • Traverse the Karoo
  • Traverse the Namib Desert
  • Pretoria

vii. Dar Es Salaam Route

A journey with Dar Es Salaam on board Rovos Rail takes about 15 days covering 5800 kilometers. 

The stops on this journey include stopping at Cape Town, South Africa, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to visit historic sites, game reserves, and lots more.

Among the many stops on this destination include at;

  • Cape Town
  • Journey through the Cape Winelands
  • Chishimba Falls visit
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Travel over Kafue Railway Bridge
  • Traverse the edge of the Kalahari Basin
  • Traverse the Karoo
  • Kimberley Diamond Mine Museum tour
  • Traverse the Limpopo province
  • Madikwe Reserve game drives and overnight stay

viii. Trail of Two Oceans Route

Trail of Two Oceans is another route of the Rovos Rail. It covers a 15 days trip of 4300 kilometers from Dar Es Salam, Tanzania, to Lobito in Angola.

There are several stops for thrilling adventures while on this route, and they include;

  • Travel the Benguela Railway
  • Chishimba Falls visit
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Kolwezi copper mine visit
  • Optional walk at Makambako
  • Travel through the Rift Valley
  • Selous Reserve game drive
  • South Luangwa game drives and overnight stays
  • Travel the Tazara Railway
  • Traverse the Udzungwa Mountains

Prices for a ride on the Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail travel costs range from R26 500 per person to R210, 000 per person, depending on the period, duration of the travel, and destination. However, 

What is the most luxurious train in South Africa?

The most luxurious train in South Africa is The Rovos Rail. It is illustrious for offering extravagant and stylish services with onboard vintage lounges and carriage and five-star dining, just like in the 1940s.

Which is better, Rovos or Blue Train?

Comparing Rovos Rail and Blue Train, Rovos Rail is a better option because it offers more classy routes (destinations) in a refined mature, sophisticated manner than the Blue Train.

Is Rovos Rail the most luxurious train globally?

Upon inaugurating the Rovos Rail in South Africa in 1989, it was declared the most luxurious train globally because of its exquisite and unique offers.

What is the most luxurious train in Africa?

The most luxurious train in Africa is the Rovos Rail, as many people term it, the pride of Africa. The train didn’t just stop being the most luxurious in Africa; it is also the most luxurious train worldwide.

Bottom Line

Rovos Rail brings back the 1940s experiences of a rail ride combined with luxury and charm, leaving users with a lifelong memory.

The train runs across South and East Africa, offering accommodation, eatery among other offers in a five-star manner. 

The train’s luxury and features make the Rovos Rail the top train ride in South Africa.

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