Rovos Rail: Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam
• Cape Winelands • Chishimba Falls • Madikwe Game Reserve • Selous Game Reserve • Victoria Falls
This epic train journey travels through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and is one of the most famous in the world. The sojourn begins in Cape Town taking guests to the historic village of Matjiesfontein, the diamond town of Kimberley and the capital city of Pretoria for short tours followed by two nights in the Madikwe Game Reserve.
Continue through Botswana into Zimbabwe where and overnight at the Victoria Falls Hotel. After crossing the mighty Zambezi River, the train joins the Tazara line in Zambia and continues to Chisimba Falls to enjoy a bush walk. The train climbs to the Tanzanian border then descends into the Great Rift Valley negotiating the tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the spectacular escarpment. Climbing again, it traverses the Selous Game Reserve, before the bustling arrival in Dar es Salaam the following day.
The Train: Each train has accommodation carriages, dining cars, a lounge car, small gift shop, smoking lounge and observation car with open-air balcony. Maintaining the spirit of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. There are three types of suites available which include a dedicated host available at all times and services the suites daily.
Pullman Suite: Used on short journeys, the cabins feature an en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. During the day, the suites have a comfortable sofa-seat with a conversion to double or twin beds (side-by-side or upper and lower bunks) for the evening.
Deluxe Suite: Accommodates one or two passengers in double or twin beds with its own lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower, toilet and basin. Includes a bar fridge filled with the on-board beverages of the passengers choice.
Royal Suite: Takes up half a carriage with its own private lounge area and en-suite bathroom with Victorian bath, separate shower, toilet and basin. Accommodates one or two passengers in double or twin beds and includes a bar fridge filled with the on-board beverages of the passengers choice.
Day 1: Cape Town > Matjiesfontein Depart from Cape Town Station. Guests may freshen up in their suites before joining fellow travellers in the lounge car and observation car before lunch is served in the dining cars. The train reaches Worcester in the Hex River Valley before climbing 750m up the face of the escarpment. The train arrives at the first of four tunnels on the pass with the last tunnel being 13.5km long. Disembark at Matjiesfontein for an opportunity to stroll through the historic village. Of special interest is the museum on the platform and a collection of historic cars and railway carriages to the right of the Lord Milner Hotel.
Day 2: Kimberley > The Highveld Breakfast is served in the dining cars as the train travels through the Karoo, a vast semi-desert region that was once an enormous inland sea. Over millions of years, volcanic matter was ground down and deposited as silt upon the sea bed to form what geologists call the Karoo system. Lunch is served in the dining cars before a tour of Kimberley's Diamond Mine Museum and the Big Hole. Capital of the Northern Cape, Kimberley is well known for the discovery of diamonds that led to its establishment in 1871.
Day 3: Pretoria Enjoy breakfast onboard as the train travel through the goldfields. Arrive in Pretoria and take a tour of the Rovos Rail Station followed by lunch on the platform and a city tour of Pretoria.
Day 4: Madikwe Game Reserve After breakfast transfer to a lodge in Madikwe for a two night stay. Lunch is served on arrival followed by a game drive. Madikwe is a prime malaria-free Big 5 wildlife reserve bordering Botswana. It lies within a transition zone between the North West Province bushveld and Kalahari thornveld with enormous volcanic intrusions, wide open plains and the riverine environment along the Marico River. As a result, the region is host to an incredible diversity of species from both ecosystems with a rich assortment of vegetation and more than 300 resident and migrant bird species.
Day 5: Madikwe Game Reserve Enjoy an early morning game drive before breakfast is served at the lodge. After lunch there is opportunity for an afternoon game drive followed by dinner at the lodge.
Day 6: Madikwe > Plumtree Early morning game drive before breakfast before departing the lodge and transferring to the train at Gaborone in Botswana. Border formalities will take place en route and guests are required to present themselves to the border officials. Lunch is served in the dining cars as the train crosses the Tropic of Capricorn and the eastern edge of the Kalahari Basin. Known as 'Kgalagadi' in Botswana, the Kalahari (which extends to 900 000km2 and covers much of Botswana, parts of Namibia and South Africa) is not a true desert as it does experience small amounts of rain, with some areas enjoying up 250mm. The surrounding basin covers over 250,0000km2 extending farther Botswana, Namibia and South Africa and encroaching into parts of Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is part desert, part plateau. The only constant river, the Okavango, flows into a delta in the northwest forming marshes that are rich in wildlife.
Day 7: On Board Day at leisure onboard the train where lectures will take place throughout the journey during the morning and afternoon in the lounge car. Pass Gwaai and Dete along one of Africa's longest stretches of straight railway line 114 kilometres and along the eastern edge of the Hwange National Park.
Day 8: Victoria Falls Breakfast is served in the dining car as you arrive at Victoria Falls. Disembark the train and walk across to the Victoria Falls Hotel followed by lunch at Jungle Junction. Later this afternoon meet in the hotel foyer and depart on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi. Dinner is served at the Livingstone Room, Victoria Falls Hotel.
Day 9: Victoria Falls Enjoy a day at leisure with lunch served at Jungle Junction. Plunging over the lip of the Victoria Falls is the largest body of falling water on earth. The mighty Zambezi, fourth longest river in Africa, is about 2kms wide above the falls and cascades dramatically over a precipice 1.6km in length and 108m at its deepest, compressing the vast volume of water into a chasm 50m wide. The sound can be deafening, the aspect magnificent and the memory indelible. In autumn, the spray is so great it inhibits photography while in spring the seasonal flow considerably reduces leaving large slabs of brown basalt exposed on the lip. Later this afternoon meet on the station platform for departure to Zambia, crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge. Tea is served in the lounge and observation cars as border formalities take place.
Days 10 & 11: On Board The train travels across the Kafue Railway Bridge - a 477-metre long steel girder truss bridge of 13 spans each at 33 metres supported on concrete piers. The train then passes through Zambia's capital, Lusaka before travelling the TAZARA railway line, an engineering tour de force and one of Africa's best-kept secrets as it passes through remote territory. The journey continues towards Kasama.
Day 12: Chisimba Falls Enjoy a visit to Chisimba Falls and take a pleasant walk down to the rock pools at the base of the falls or admire them from various viewpoints. Chisimba Falls is a series of three waterfalls named Mutumuna, Kaela and Chishimba, which are separated over 300m along the Luombe River. According to Bemba tradition, the nature spirit 'Chishimba' lives in a cave behind the falls therefore no bad behaviour (including fights, insults and arrogance) is allowed in this area. Though the Bemba people arrived here in the 17th century, they weren't the first as the land surrounding the falls is dotted with evidence of Iron Age activities including kilns, smelting pipes and iron ore deposits.
Lunch is served as the train climbs to the border, almost exactly the midpoint between Africa's two Great Rift Valley lakes. Tea is served as border formalities take place, followed by dinner as the train passes Baobab forests and descends the Rift Valley towards Mbeya
Day 13: Makambako > Great Rift Valley Arrive at Makambako and enjoy a stroll through the town (time permitting).The train travels towards the jungled Udzungwa Mountains and negotiates the dramatic switchbacks, viaducts and tunnels of the escarpment.
Day 14: Selous Game Reserve Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars as the train descends into the highlands and traverses the fertile lands of Tanzania towards the Selous. Enjoy a game visit in the Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa at 55,000km2 (time permitting) before returning to the train for dinner.
Day 15: Dar es Salaam After breakfast, arrive at journey's end in Dar es Salaam at Tazara Station.
*Itinerary also operates in reverse. Depending on the railway capacity this journey could be routed slightly differently.
• Accommodation • All meals • All beverages on board • Room service • Limited laundry • Excursions with a qualified guide (where applicable) • Entrance fees as per itinerary • On-board historian and doctor • Government tax • Madikwe Game Reserve and overnight bag • Madikwe Game Reserve meals, water, tea/coffee, breakfast juices, snacks & drinks on sunset cruise.
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Cape Town to Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam to Cape Town 1 Feb
Cape Town to Dar es Salaam
Booking conditions • Itinerary operates in reverse
• Depending on the railway capacity this journey could be routed slightly differently.
• *Or Kwa Maritane in Pilansberg Game Reserve.
• Itinerary operates in reverse • Depending on the railway capacity this journey could be routed slightly differently. • *Or Kwa Maritane in Pilansberg Game Reserve.