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overview

Rail is one of the most indulgent and comfortable ways to travel – with a spacious suite all to yourself, you can pass the days reading or catching up with fellow travellers in the lounge cars while the beauty of southern Africa’s varied landscapes rushes by while by night you are lulled into a refreshing sleep by the gentle ‘clickety-clack’ on the wheels on the tracks.

This journey invites you to spend 14 days on Rovos Rail, travelling in grand style and luxury on a unique journey from Cape Town in South Africa to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

From the scenic splendour of Cape Town at the foot of Table Mountain, you make your way through the mysterious Karoo, visiting the historic towns of Matjiesfontein and Kimberley along the way. The tracks then take you to the Highveld, with a stop in Pretoria before you embark on a 2-day Big 5 safari at the luxurious Tau Game Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve.

Continue through Botswana and Zimbabwe on your way to the iconic Victoria Falls, where you spend two days enjoying a host of exciting adventure activities at this Natural Wonder of the World. Cross the bridge over the Zambezi River and enter Zambia, visiting Chishimba Falls on your way through the country to Tanzania. Descend the spectacular passes into the Great Rift Valley before traversing the enormous expanse of the Selous Game Reserve, finally arriving at the tropical East African coast at Dar es Salaam – the ‘City of Peace’.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Travel on the world’s most luxurious train
  • Visit historic Matjiesfontein & Kimberley
  • Game drives in Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve
  • Experience the wonder of Victoria Falls
  • Visit Chishimba Falls in Zambia
  • Spectacular Great Rift Valley scenery
  • Traverse Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1

At the foot of Table Mountain

The train departs from Cape Town Station in the mid-morning and weaves its way northwards through dramatic mountain scenery. Emerging into the mesmerising Karoo, you make a stop at the historic railway station at Matjiesfontein, where you take a fascinating village tour of this relic of Victoriana. 

Day 2

Diamond rush in Kimberley

Your next destination is the diamond mining town of Kimberley, where miners in the 1800s excavated the largest man-made hole in the world to extract the precious stones. You pay a visit to the Diamond Museum to learn of the heady days of the diamond rush and the upheavals of the era before returning to the train to continue your journey. 

Day 3

Disembark at Pretoria

The train leaves the Karoo behind and enters the savannah-like Highveld, where you arrive in the city of Pretoria, which is the executive capital of South Africa and is well-known for its beautiful purple-flowered jacaranda trees. You enjoy a Rovos Station tour with a lunch at the platform dining room before taking in the multi-cultural sights of Pretoria on a city tour. 

Days 4-5

Into the wilds

Disembark at Zeerust Station in the North West province, where you are collected by a safari vehicle and taken on a game drive to the luxurious Tau Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve. Enjoy a delicious lunch and settle into your suite, take in the view of the waterhole and prepare for your afternoon game drive.

The Madikwe Game Reserve is the fourth largest in South Africa, and hosts a large diversity of bird and animal species in a beautifully scenic region. Here you are likely to encounter the Big 5, as well as a host of other large game, including the critically endangered African wild dog. These enigmatic predators are high up on any safari-goers list of animals to encounter, and seeing them in the wild must rank as one of the most thrilling experiences to have. Highly social and incredibly efficient hunters, they bring down their prey using a combination of dazzling speed and teamwork, and quickly and silently feed in a strict hierarchical order, making sure that their puppies are fed first. Once the meal is done, they rapidly depart before rival predators arrive to scavenge.

Selecting a scenic spot to allow you to stretch your legs, your guide produces a hamper packed with ice-cold drinks and canapés. In the kaleidoscopic light of your first sunset in the African bushveld, stand and savour the scene: the smell of earth and dust, the magical intensity of light and the sounds of roosting birds envelop you while you raise your glass in appreciation.

As the first stars begin to appear in the heavens above, you make your way back to the lodge, while your guide deftly wields a spotlight to pick out nocturnal animals as they emerge into the night: with bated breath, you strain to identify genets, porcupines, civets and hyenas from their eyes shining in the dark.

Days 6-7

Admire the ever-changing landscapes

After an early game drive, you depart Tau Lodge and ride across the Botswana border to rejoin the train. The landscape rolls into the endless vistas of the Kalahari Desert, set beneath an enormous dome of sky as you travel towards Zimbabwe. 

Crossing the border, the train takes you in a northwards traverse of the country, skirting the famous Hwange National Park. During the journey, a series of lectures by the onboard historian shed light on the fascinating history of the region, while the landscape outside is dotted with acacia trees and the occasional giraffe. 

Days 8-9

The Smoke That Thunders

In the mid-morning, you arrive in the small town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Victoria Falls Hotel is perfectly positioned alongside the gorge below the falls to take in the view and listen to the thundering sound of millions of tons of water pouring over the precipice. Enjoy a leisurely lunch on the terrace and settle into your suite before you are taken upstream for a gentle river cruise.

In the glorious late afternoon light, the boat skims out across the broad stretch of water and motors into the current. The forest crowding the banks is alive with birdlife, and the distinctive cry of a fish eagle echoes through the air. Hippos grunt and chortle in the deeper stretches, and you keep a close eye out for animals coming down the banks to drink. Elephants are often seen, and you may be lucky enough to encounter a herd in the act of crossing the river, which is an extraordinary sight!

As the sun sets the sky ablaze, the river changes and reflects a beautiful palette of colour bounded by a line of silhouettes from the trees along the banks. Drifting gently with the current, you will be taken with the magic of this moment: a broad sweep of water, the dark line of forest and the bright evening sky above.

Victoria Falls is an incredible sight from up close. Following a network of pathways through the tropical forest fed by the spray, you feel the ground shuddering below your feet with the sheer energy of so much water plunging into the gorge. A plume of spray rises above you and is visible for miles around, which gives the falls their local name of Mosi-a-Tunya or ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. The town is the centre for a host of activities that you can engage in, from adrenaline-fuelled tiger fishing and river rafting, to more sedate game drives and flips over the falls.

Days 10-11

Learn about and see Zambia

The train sets off over the mighty Zambezi River, crossing the bridge over the gorge just downstream from the falls. This has to rank as one of the greatest views seen from a train in the world!

Continue north into Zambia, where you roll through the wonderfully scenic landscape towards the Kafue River crossing, and then onwards past Lusaka to Kapiri Mposhi.

The journey continues northeast across this vast country, and the onboard historian adds colourful insight and historical detail to the region’s fascinating past as you gently roll through the landscape. 

Day 12

Encounter Chishimba Falls

Arriving at the town of Kasama, you disembark for a visit to Chishimba Falls. Fed by the Luombe River, Chishimba Falls are actually a combination of three successive waterfalls, incorporating Mutumena Falls and Kaela Rapids as well as Chishimba itself. The local Bemba people regard the Chishimba Falls as one of the most sacred places of spiritual power, where the spirit of Chishimba resides in a cave below the falls, which is a place of prayer and reverence. No insults, curses, words of vengeance or hatred may be uttered in the vicinity of this cave, which you walk into behind the rushing curtain of water.

The journey then continues into Tanzania, up the escarpment into the highland valley of Mbeya, known as the ‘Scotland of Africa’.

Day 13

The Great Rift Valley and Selous

Arriving at Makambako in the morning, you have time to stretch your legs and take a stroll through this colourful and bustling town. Boarding the train again, you begin the descent to the Great Rift Valley through the spectacular series of tunnels, switchbacks and passes of the Udzungwa Mountains. As the tracks level out, you pass through the Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest in Africa. While the historian gives a series of lectures, you gaze keenly through the large windows to spot any wildlife as you go along. 

Day 14

Jambo Dar es Salaam

The journey continues onto the tropical coastal plane, and in the mid morning, you roll into the vibrant port city of Dar es Salaam, the ‘City of Peace’. 

Inclusions

  • 11 nights on the Rovos Rail on a fully inclusive basis
  • Visit the historic village of Matjiesfontein
  • Tour of the Big Hole and Diamond Mine Museum
  • City tour of Pretoria
  • Morning and evening game drives
  • 2 nights at Tau Game Lodge on a full board basis

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 01 Jan 2014 - 31 Dec 2014 $13900

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

2015 Departure

  • July
  • September
Carlien Parsons

Carlien Parsons

Product Manager

"This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips you have to have on your bucket list - as the name implies - it's epic!"

From

$13900

Per person sharing

View all rates ENQUIRE NOW
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