Travel Tips + Accommodation
Written by Lisa Nel
General Manager of Marketing and Product at Ker & Downey® Africa, Lisa Nel, recently embarked on a journey aboard the Rovos Rail – leaders in luxury train travel in Africa. The 4 day expedition took her from the city of Pretoria in South Africa to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Note: From 2022, Rovos Rail will also offer a 5 day journey which includes an additional excursion to Polokwane, South Africa.
Rovos Rail departs from a number of train stations throughout South Africa. For this specific trip, we were due to leave from the Pretoria Station. The station is easily accessible from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and you can choose to either take a direct 45 minute transfer to the station or overnight in one of Pretoria’s 5 star hotels.
At the forefront of luxury train trail, Rovos Rail was established in 1989 and offers a series of bespoke train journeys that range from 48 hours to 15 days. The elegantly refurbished locomotives transport guests to some of Africa’s most sought after destinations including South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania and offer a variety of off-train excursions including safari game drives.
A highlight of my journey was traveling across the Victoria Falls bridge – giving you a close up of the cascading water plummeting into the pools below.
The charter train features 36 suites with three accommodation options – the Royal Suite, Deluxe Suite and Pullman Suite. I stayed in the Deluxe Suite which is refurbished to mint condition and offers every amenity and comfort that you might require. A highlight for me was the impeccable turn down service which included a bottle of sparkling wine, as well as our personal butler who was available for our every need 24/7.
Each itinerary includes off-train excursions. If you opt for the Pretoria to Victoria Falls itinerary, you can enjoy a 2 to 3 hour game drive at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Here, we had the opportunity to spot the Big 5 before a luxurious bush breakfast served under a canopy of trees.
An afternoon high tea is served in the observation car at 16h30 every day. The observation car features an open-air balcony, big picturesque windows and comfortable sofa booths – a great spot to watch the landscape unfold and mingle with other guests. Bar service on board the Rovos Rail is open from 07h00 to 01h00 and offers an array of beverages.
The culinary experience onboard the Rovos Rail is world-class and is complemented by incredible South African wines. During my stay the chef’s went out of their way to cater to my dietary requirements. A formal four-course dinner is served in the dining car each evening at 19h30. Most guests dress up for the occasion so to be sure to pack formal attire for your trip.
Luxury train travel on board the Rovos Rail is a bucket list item and is a unique way of seeing Africa while traveling in absolute luxury. If you want to add a Rovos Rail journey to your safari itinerary in Southern Africa, get in touch with our team who can assist with your travel plans.