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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 26 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Anthony Lambert

It’s the endlessly fascinating South African scenery that sets the train apart, with exciting excursions into Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to see some of Africa’s top sights, like the Cape Winelands, Victoria Falls, Etosha National Park and the massive ochre dunes of Sossusvlei.

The carriages have a period feel with wood panelling throughout and no TVs or radios, which maintains the time-warp atmosphere and encourages sociability – a hallmark of Rovos Rail. The atmosphere is enhanced by formality (jacket and tie required for dinner).

Admirable attention to detail and an emphasis on top-notch food and wines are key elements of the Rovos Rail experience. Fresh local ingredients are used to produce meals to a very high standard, with an emphasis on traditional dishes such as game (springbok carpaccio salad) and excellent South African wines.

Price from: £1400+
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 4-14 nights

Getting there & doing it

Trains usually start and finish in Cape Town, Durban or Pretoria (where Rovos Rail has its own station). Tours of 3, 4, 8, 10 or 14 nights venture into Namibia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania stopping for excursions en route to game reserves, Boer War sites, famous ceramic galleries, the big hole at Kimberley, equestrian centres, and natural wonders such as Victoria Falls. There are also specialised tours for golf and safaris. All food and drinks are included in the price.

When to do it

Trains operate all year round, with 1-6 departures per month for each route.

It’s a great experience all year round, but check the best times of year for the experiences you want. Winter months (June-August) can be wet and cloudy in Cape Town – not great for sightseeing. Summer months can be uncomfortably hot in Namibia.

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Cape Town

Western Cape, South Africa

Vibrant, multicultural city with dramatic scenery, adrenaline adventure galore, Africa’s best art’s scene and golden beaches and outstanding gastronomy.

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Desert adventure and desolate coastlines meet game-rich reserves and quirky towns in this unique and atmospheric country.

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Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The world-famous Victoria Falls is also Africa’s adventure playground, offering an array of brilliant adrenalin-packed adventure activities plus Big Five safaris.

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Overview >

Round-ups that include this experience