Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail’s journeys include a number of Southern African destinations. Some of these include Cape Town, Pilanesberg, Durban and Kruger National Park in South Africa; Bulawayo, Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; Windhoek, Swakopmund and Etosha National Park in Namibia; and Dar es Salaam and Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania.

Rovos Rail offers a variety of journeys, from 48-hour sojourns to two-week trips. Their trips include 3-day Cape Town, 3-day Victoria Falls, 3-Day Durban Safari, 9-day Namibia Safari, 10-day African Golf Collage and 15-day Dar es Salaam.

The day begins with a delicious breakfast and then, depending on which journey you choose, you will enjoy a number of off-train excursions. Lunch is served at 13h00, tea at 16h30 and later in the evening a formal dinner is served.

The train offers three levels of accommodation – Royal Suites, Deluxe Suites and Pullman Suites. The Royal Suites have their own small lounge area and a bathroom with a Victoria bath and shower. The Deluxe Suites have twin or double beds, a small lounge area and an en-suite bathroom with shower. The Pullman Suites have a sofa-bed during the day which is converted to a double bed in the evening, an en-suite bathroom with shower.

The train departs from the Rovos Rail station, Capital Park, in Pretoria.

Rovos Rail has no luggage restrictions, and there is plenty of room in the suites for up to six large suitcases. These can be stored on the overhead luggage rack or under the bed.

The dress code on the train during the day is smart casual. In the evenings, guests are required to wear formal attire; an evening or cocktail dress is suitable for the ladies, and a jacket and a tie for the gentlemen. For off-train activities, guests should wear comfortable clothing with good walking shoes.

On the train, guests can enjoy a variety of board games, relaxing in the comfortable lounge area, having a drink at the bar or gazing at the changing scenery in the Observation Car. Off-train excursions depend on your desired route. Some of the activities include game drives, cultural tours, city tours and golf.

The chefs on board the train cook five-star meals using fresh local ingredients. The meals are accompanied by fine South African wines.

The train travels to many different destinations, with weather conditions varying from place to place. On board, each suite has air-conditioning with temperature control and the temperature of the public cars is controlled using a gas-filled air-conditioning system.

While children can be accommodated on the train, the long journeys are not recommended for children under the age of 13. There are no child-minding services or activities on the train for children.

Rovos Rail is unfortunately not wheelchair-friendly due to the size of the passages and the layout of the train.

A Yellow Fever Certificate or Medical Exemption Certificate is required if you are travelling to Tanzania. Vaccines against Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus and Cholera are also recommended. Please visit your doctor to discuss any other medications, including anti-malaria medication, that you may need before your Rovos Rail journey.

South African Rands is the only currency that is accepted on the train. The train also accepts all major credit cards. For off-train excursions outside of South Africa, you will need to use the local currency.

The staff on the train speak mainly English, Afrikaans and other local ethnic languages. A few speak German, Spanish and French.

Tipping is at your discretion. Suitably marked envelopes can be found in your suites for gratuities, which can be handed to the train manager who will distribute them on a pro-rata basis.

Yes, but guests may only use their cellphones, laptops and any other electronic devices in the privacy of their own suite. While the train is moving, the reception is poor. Before your Rovos Rail trip, it is best to contact your service provider and ask them to activate the correct network settings.

Shongololo Express

The Shongololo Express traverses through a number of countries in Southern Africa. These include Cape Town, Oudtshoorn, Graaff-Reinet and Durban in South Africa; Maputo in Mozambique; Bulawayo, Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; and Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay in Namibia.

The tours offered are between 12- and 15-days long. The Good Hope tour is an enthralling 15-day journey travelling through South Africa. The Southern Cross is a 12-day trip that travels from South Africa to Zimbabwe, and the Dune Express offers an epic 12-day adventure from South African to Namibia.

After a filling breakfast, guests will enjoy off-train excursions, which include city tours and guided walks. Lunch will then be had at a restaurant in the city or area where the train has stopped. Guests will then travel by train to their next destination, all the while relaxing at their own leisure. In the evenings, guests are treated to a delicious dinner.

The rate includes accommodation, dinner and breakfast, off-train excursions facilitated by a tour guide, and entrance fees at places of interest

Shongololo Express comprises of Emerald Double, Emerald Twin, Gold Double or Gold Twin cabins – all of which have en-suite bathrooms. The Emerald rooms are slightly larger than the Gold rooms and contain a small lounge area.

Shongololo Express departs from the Rovos Rail station, Capital Park, in Pretoria.

While there are no luggage restrictions, space on the train is limited so guests should not bring excess baggage. Luggage can be stored in your cabin under the bed or above the door.

The train has a relaxed atmosphere, so it is best to bring comfortable and casual clothing on your trip. It is advisable to pack warm clothing as the early mornings and evenings can be cold.

Light, comfortable clothing for the summer
Warm clothing with a jacket for the winter
Good walking shoes for off-train activities

Camera with additional lenses and memory cards

Guests on board can take pleasure in sightseeing from the comfort of their suite, nursing a cold drink at the bar, reading a good book from the small library or simple relaxing in the lounge. Off-board activities include game drives, city tours, guided walking tours, golf excursions, and visits to places of interest.

The chefs on board are five-star chefs who serve three-star meals. You can look forward to traditional dishes as well as a variety of modern, cosmopolitan cuisines. A selection of South African wines can be enjoyed with meals.

The train travels to a number of different destinations and the climate changes from country to country. On the train, the temperature is regulated by an air-conditioning system which is on at all times.

Yes, the train runs year-round and journeys are available throughout the year. Please contact us for the set departure dates.

The train does not accommodate children under the age of 10, and children over the age of 10 pay the full adult rate. Please note that there are no child-minding services or child-friendly activities on-board.

Unfortunately, the train is not wheelchair friendly as the train’s layout is not equipped for wheelchair access.

For all the journeys, it is advisable to take anti-malarial medication. A Yellow Fever or Medical Exemption Certificate is required if you are travelling to Tanzania. Please visit your medical practitioner before your Shongololo Express trip to discuss what medication you may need to take.

Only Rands may be used in South Africa and on the train, but both Rands and Dollars are accepted in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana.

Staff on board the train speak English, and some may also speak the local languages such as Afrikaans, Xhosa and Tswana.

Guests should tip at their own discretion. Those who wish to show their appreciation can ask for gratuities to be added to their final account or the amount can be handed to the train manager.

There is no WiFi available on the train, and mobile reception is rather limited owing to the remote areas that the train travels through.

Blue Train

The train travels from Pretoria to Cape Town on the first route, and from Pretoria to Hoedspruit on the second route. The Pretoria to Cape Town Southbound trip has a stop-over in Kimberley, and the Northbound journey has a stop-over in Matjiesfontein. The Pretoria to Hoedspruit route includes a visit to Kruger National Park.

Each route is a 27-hour trip and the train travels a total of 1’600 km.

Guests will start the morning with a delicious breakfast, followed by an off-train excursion to a place of interest. High tea is served when guests return, after which they can relax at their own leisure. In the evening a formal dinner is served. Post-dinner drinks can be enjoyed in the Club Car.

The rate includes accommodation, all meals and snacks, local alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and select off-train excursions.

The Blue Train offers accommodation in Luxury Suites and De Luxe Suites. The Luxury Suites have twin or double beds as well as luxury baths. The De Luxe Suites have either twin or double beds, and either a shower or a bath.

The train departs from either Pretoria Station or Cape Town, depending on which route you choose.

A limited amount of luggage can be stored in the suites so it is advisable to pack a small overnight bag. There is a storage car for larger suitcases and luggage bags.

The dress code on the train during the day is smart-causal, and in the evening guests are required to wear formal clothing to dinner. Gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie or traditional attire, and the evening wear for ladies must be elegant. For off-train excursions, guests are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing with good walking shoes.

Smart-casual and formal attire for the train
Light, comfortable clothing for excursions in the summer
Warm clothing with a jacket for excursions in the winter

Camera with additional lenses and memory cards

Activities on the train include fine-dining, relaxing in the Lounge Cars or enjoying a drink in the Club Car. Depending on which journey you choose, you can enjoy a variety of off-board activities including a visit to Matjiesfontein, sightseeing in Kimberley and a stopover in Kruger National Park.

Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast or a full English breakfast. Lunch and dinner consists of a local meat – such as Karoo lamb, ostrich fillet and Knysna oysters – and tasty sides. Meals are accompanied by award-winning wines, and vegetarian, Halaal and Kosher meals can be prepared on request.

The train travels to a variety of different destinations, each with their own climate and weather conditions. On the train, a temperature of 20-21 degrees Celsius is maintained in the public cars with a gas-filled air-conditioning system. Each individual suite has individual temperature controls, and most of the bathrooms have heating systems fitted under the tiles.

Yes, the train runs throughout the year with set departure dates.

Children are welcome on the train, with those aged two years and younger required to share a suite with their parents. Children must not inconvenience other guests and should be supervised at all times. There are no special meals for children, and they are not allowed in The Club and Lounge Cars.

The Blue Train has two train sets. The first train has a paraplegic suite that is partially wheelchair friendly, but the second train is not wheelchair friendly.

As Kruger is a malarial area, anti-malarial medication may need to be taken for guests who are travelling on that particular route.  Please visit your doctor to further discuss what medication you may need.

The currency used and accepted on the train is South African Rands and all major credit cards are accepted. The main language spoken is English.

Gratuities are not compulsory. For guests who wish to show their appreciation, there is a tip box at the entrance of the Club Car. The money placed in this tip box is then shared evenly among the staff.

WiFi and mobile reception is available in all of the train’s suites. However, signal cannot be guaranteed for the entirety of the trip, as the train travels through mountainous and rugged areas where the signal may get lost.