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South Africa Safari

Rovos Rail - Train Routes

Pretoria, South Africa

Rovos Rail's Pride of Africa en route to Dar Es Salaam
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Choose from a series of train journeys lasting from 24 hours to a fortnight as the Pride of Africa links some of Africa's greatest destinations. Ride the Pride of Africa on the 13-day Dar Es Salaam sojourn, the two-day trip between Cape Town and Pretoria, the 55-hour Safari train from Pretoria to Durban, the 48-hour meander between Pretoria and Victoria Falls, the 24-hour journey between Cape Town and George, the seven-day Namibia special, the nine-day Collage between Pretoria, Malelane, Durban and Cape Town, or the eight-day Golf Safari.

Pretoria to Cape Town via Kimberley: 48 hours
Pretoria to Victoria Falls via Nelspruit to Pietersburg with a flight into Zimbabwe: 50 hours

Cape Town to George: 24 hours
Pretoria to Durban via Swaziland: 55 hours


Pretoria to Swakopmund in Namibia in May, a distance of 3,400kms: 7 days

African Collage in June from Pretoria to Cape Town via Kruger Park, Durban, Bloemfontein, Graaff-Reinet George, Knysna and Worcester: 9 days

Golf Safari in April and September a round trip from Pretoria to Malelane, Swaziland, Durban, Ladysmith, Sun City and back to Pretoria: 9 Days

Dar Es Salaam from Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania in July,a distance of 6100 kms: 13 days

Private Charters: The 13-coach, 42 bed Edwardian Train is available at certain times of the year for private charter. The coaches, which were collected from the far corners of the country, have been painstakingly rebuilt and refurbished and, while offering the same spaciousness as the classic trains, offer discerning travelers the last word in nostalgic comfort and style.

Pretoria • Kimberley • Matjiesfontein • Worcester • Cape Town
The Cape WinelandsFor many visitors to South Africa, there's no finer way to see the country than on the popular 48-hour weekly journeys between Pretoria and Cape Town. One of the world's top destinations, Cape Town offers a blend of cosmopolitan city life, mountain splendor and scenic wine lands. The twin cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg in Gauteng form South Africa's economic heartland and the ideal departure point for the Lowveld's world-famous game reserves.

This 1,600-kilometre route follows an old pioneering trail carved out of the African bushveld, passing through the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld to the haunting barrenness of the Great Karoo. Trundle through the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic winelands of the Cape. Journey's end is Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, cradled by the bulk of Table Mountain, Devil's Peak and Lions Head.

Highlights of the north and southbound routes include visits to the historic village of Matjiesfontein. This authentic and perfectly preserved Victorian Village, which was founded by Mr. Logan as a refreshment stop in 1890, also boasts an impressive museum on the platform. A stop is also made in Kimberley (city of De Beers) providing an opportunity to tour the city and visit the Mine Museum and the Big Hole, the world's largest man-made excavation.


Cape Town • Kruger Park • Victoria Falls • Lusaka • Dar Es Salaam
This amazing journey travels from Cape Town, South Africa to Dar Es Salaam (Zanzibar), the Serengeti & Kenya. In July every year, this epic 13-day journey travels through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and is destined to become one of the most famous train journeys in the world. This is the ultimate African safari, designed for travelers who wish to re-live true adventure in complete luxury, comfort and security.

The magnificent sojourn will take you through South Africa with short tours of the diamond town of Kimberley and the capitol city of Pretoria. An overnight stay in a private game lodge in the famous Kruger Park game area is next, before crossing the border into Zimbabwe, with another overnight stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel. After crossing the mighty Zambezi River, travel northeast through Zambia, joining the Tazara Railway line at Kundalila Falls and continue the climb towards the Zambian/Tanzanian border, almost midpoint between two of Africa's Great Rift Valley lakes.

Descend into the Rift Valley itself and enjoy spectacular scenery as the train negotiates the tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the escarpment. Early on the last day the train passes through the Selous Game Reserve, the largest on the continent - a vision of timeless Africa shortly before the bustle of arrival in Dar Es Salaam Station.


Cape Town • Ashton • George • Knysna
View from Rovos Rail's Observation CarThe picturesque 550-kilometre, 24-hour rail journey, which runs during the summer months between Cape Town and George and then on to Knysna, a coastal jewel in the heart of the famous Garden Route, is rated one of the most beautiful in the world.

From the Mother City, with the Hex River Mountains as a backdrop, the Pride of Africa travels through Du Toits Kloof tunnel towards Worcester. Grapes are grown in vast quantities in this area, and apart from several co-operative wine cellars, there are a number of brandy distilleries. The KWV Brandy Distillery is visited on the George to Cape Town leg.

The train continues along the Breê River Valley towards Robertson, home of the largest brandy distillery in southern Africa, and then on to Ashton, largest preoducer in the southern hemisphere of canned fruit, jams and vegetables. On the Cape Town to George leg a stop is made to sample the wines of a local wine estate. Then it's on towards Swellendam, South Africa's third oldest town.

Leaving the coast behind the train passes near Mossel Bay, a commercial seaport that enjoyed a boom in the 1990's due to the discovery of offshore oil. George is a quiet inland town, founded in 1811 and named after King George III. Available to Rovos' guests is the optional 67km stretch between George and Knysna aboard the local Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe run by the Transnet Museum.


GOLF SAFARI  (8 days)
Pretoria • Malelane • Swaziland • Durban • Drakensberg • Sun City • Pretoria
South Africa boasts beautiful and challenging golf coursesRovos Rail has designed a delightful nine-day Golf Safari to entertain the most discerning player. At all venues, there are optional intruiging excursions for the entertainment of non-playing guests.

This special journey commences in Pretoria and travels east towards the spectacular Drakensberg escarpment en route to Nelspruit. Play at Leopard's Creek or visit the breathtaking God's Window and the gold mining village of Pilgrim's Rest. Tee off at the Royal Swazi Golf Club, near Manzini in Swaziland, while non-golfers visit the Mlilwane Game Reserve, Houses of Parliament and the Swazi Candle Factory. Then it's on to Zululand for game viewing in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and the St. Lucia Estuary.

Play one of South Africa's finest courses, the Durban Beechwood Country Club, while non-playing guests enjoy a city tour of Durban followed by a visit to The Valley of a Thousand Hills.

In the foothills of the imposing Drakensberg Mountains 18-holes await at the Champagne Sports Resort, with a guided tour of the Battlefields a further highlight for non-golfers. Relax as the train travels north towards the magnificent resort of Sun City in the Pilanesberg Mountains. A full day is spent at this world-famous facility before departing for Pretoria where this memorable journey ends.


Pretoria • Kimberley • Fish River Canyon • Windhoek • Etosha Pan • Swakopmund
The picturesque dunes of the Namib Desert, NamibiaIn May 1998, Rovos Rail reopened the passenger rail link between Pretoria and Namibia. In May each year, the Pride of Africa carries her passengers in world class style and comfort through some of the most historic and scenic areas of Southern Africa on a journey from the savannahs of the Highveld to the Atlantic Ocean.

The 3,400-kilometre, 7-day journey takes the train from Pretoria to Kimberley, center of one of the world's most famous diamond rushes, where there's an opportunity to visit the Big Hole, the world's largest man-made excavation, and to savor the 1870's atmosphere of the mine museum village.

The railway line covers the stark vistas of the arid Northern Cape as the train travels through Upington to the border and into Namibia. There is ample time for an excursion to the Fish River Canyon - second only in size to the Grand Canyon - and truly a spectacular sight.

The journey continues across the untames beauty of the Kalahari Desert and on to Windhoek, the capitol of Namibia, a lively cosmopolitan city with a strong German atmosphere. After a short city tour and an afternoon game drive you will continue by train to Tsumeb for an overnight stay at Mokuti Game Lodge in the Etosha National Park. On the last morning the Pride of Africa passes along the German-built railway through the Namib Desert and into Swakopmund, a perfectly preserved nineteenth century German Hansa town set on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.


Pretoria • Malelane • Swaziland's Mkhaya • Hluhluwe • Durban
White Rhinos in Hluhluwe Game ReserveThis special three-day safari between Pretoria and Durban departs during the summer months and includes game drives in two varied and unique game reserves.

The train departs in the morning from Rovos Rail's Station in Pretoria and slowly meanders through the grasslands of the Highveld with a short stop in Witbank. In then descends the escarpment between Belfast and Waterval Onder, taking the train through the Drakensberg and what is surely the most spectacular sundowner scenery in South Africa.

Awake in Malelane for breakfast as the train travels along the boundary of the world-famous Kruger Park. Tha safari continues south towards Swaziland for an afternoon game drive in the Mkhaya Game Reserve followed by a memorable candlelit dinner in the pristine riverine setting of Stone Camp.

Travel overnight to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in Zululand, sanctuary of the endangered Black and White Rhinos. Enjoy an early morning game drive during which a large variety of game can be seen. The Pride of Africa departs mid morning and winds its way through the lush cane fields and rolling hills of KwaZulu Natal, to arrive in Durban by late afternoon where this scenic safari ends.


Pretoria • Malelane • Hluhluwe • Durban • Bloemfontein • Port Elizabeth • Oudtshoorn • Knysna • Cape Town
The lovely, rolling Green Hills of South AfricaRovos Rail will once again run this annual journey starting 29th May 2003. This panoramic 3,400-kilometre, nine-day sojourn commences at Rovos Rail Station at Capital Park in Pretoria and departs annually in June. The first leg of the journey takes the train through Witbank and Middleburg and then traverses the majestic Drakensberg escarpment en route to the lowveld of Mpumalanga. The following morning you will receive an early wake up call to join a game drive through the famous Kruger Park. Brunch will be served in the Dining Car while the train winds its way southwards to Swaziland in time for an afternoon game drive in the Mkhaya Reserve. The day will be rounded off with a candlelit bush dinner in the pristine riverine setting of Stone Camp. During the night the train will continue south to the village of Hluhluwe in Zululand.

Starting early once again, a wide variety of game can be seen on a morning game drive through the scenic Hluhluwe Game Reserve. The Pride of Africa departs mid morning and makes its way south through the lush cane fields and rolling hills of Kwazulu Natal, arriving in Durban late afternoon. The train, after an evening in Durban, steadily ascends the scenic escarpment through Pietermaritzburg and The Valley of a Thousand Hills en route to Ladysmith and Bethlehem. This route takes the train past Lesotho and the highest mountains in the Drakensberg range at 3,482 metres (11,425 feet). During the night you continue onto Bloemfontein, the Freestate capital, where we will enjoy a morning excursion to the Addo Elephant Park close to Port Elizabeth. The route then turns southwards for a late afternoon excursion in Graaff-Reinet, an historic village established in 1786.

An early morning departure from Willowmore takes the train into Oudtshoorn for a visit to the Highgate Ostrich farm followed by another spectacular rail descent down the Montagu pass into George. A morning visit to Knysna and the surrounding attractions will complete the visit to this natural paradise. The train sets off at midday from George traveling along the scenic Garden Route through Mossel Bay and Riversdale. The next morning, after a short visit to the KWV Brandy Distillery in Worcester, the Pride of Africa ends its magnificent collage in the Mother City of Cape Town.


Pretoria • Mpumalanga • Pietersburg • Victoria Falls
The mighty Victoria FallsDuring the summer months combine the luxury of train travel with the excitement of a nostalgic flight in a vintage Convair 440 airliner.

This 50-hour adventure begins as the train departs the garcious station at Capital Park in Pretoria. It pauses in Witbank, a rich coal-mining area, where Rovos Rail was founded in 1986, before descending the breathtaking Drakensberg Escarpment. The descent between the quaint towns of Waterval Boven and Watervol Onder is one of the most challenging in the world as the train winds through many switchbacks and tunnels. Journey on in comfort through the lush, sub-tropical Mpumalanga bushveld to Nelspruit and the Crocodile River Valley. Follow the border of the world-famous Kruger Park towards Hazyview and Hoedspruit, the heart of South Africa's celebrated game-viewing paradise, for a game excursion.

Ascend to the Highveld through the tangled indigenous forests of Magoebaskloof, with its deep gorges and ancient cliffs where "living fossil" cycads flourish, before arriving in the high-lying land of the primevil Baobab tree. Travel past tea estates, trout streams, natural woodlands and through some of South Africa's vast citrus estates.

At Pietersburg board a classic aircraft for the two-hour flight to journey's end, the incomparable Victoria Falls on the Mighty Zambezi River.


Rovos Rail trains are available for private chartersVery successful overnight trips from one to ten days have been undertaken with special interest groups. Business incentive groups, historical tours, private parties and bird shoots are just a few of the special charters Rovos has hosted during the past 11 years. Within reason, and subject to availability, the chartered train can go anywhere there is a railway line in the sub continent of Africa.

The costing for these trips is based on distance, time, the number in the party and the number of coaches required to house the party.

Rovos Rail is a private train company running on the rails of the National Railways and their tariff is determined by the number of coaches run at a given time and the distance covered, added to which are the costs of locomotive crews, train inspections and watering facilities. Therefore, each charter request has to be individually costed. The following itineraries will illustrate a few options.

ONE NIGHT: An early evening departure from Capital Park Station, Pretoria.
Dinner and overnight on board. The train will stop at about midnight for ± 6 hours.
Return to Capital Park after a leisurely breakfast.
Up to 42 passengers in 21 suites.

Day 1:
An early evening departure from Capital Park Station, Pretoria. Dinner and overnight on the train.
Day 2: After breakfast disembark for a day of activities off the train. Return to the train late afternoon for dinner and overnight on the train.
Day 3: Disembark at Capital Park Station, Pretoria after breakfast.

Destination Sun City - Golf, Leisure and Gaming Resort
Distance in kilometres 166
Number of Suites 21
Highlight of suggested destinations Golf, Game Viewing

Destination Dullstroom in the highlands of Mpumalanga
Distance in kilometres 321
Number of Suites 21
Highlight of suggested destinations Trout Fishing, Walking

Destination Malelane on the border of the Kruger National Park
Distance in kilometres 463
Number of Suites 21
Highlight of suggested destinations Game Viewing

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