Since its establishment in 1989, Rovos Rail has earned its reputation as being the most luxurious train in the world. Passengers get the chance to discover some of Southern Africa’s most spectacular destinations all from the wood-panelled, gleaming five star luxury of a bygone era. Bespoke train safaris offer passengers a series of journeys lasting from 48 hours to 15 days, and depending on your itinerary, stop to allow for “off-train excursions” like a safari, cultural and historical experiences.
The beautifully rebuilt Rovos Rail carries a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites including the Royal, Deluxe and Pullman Suites. Although it is a steam train, it may occasionally be hauled by diesel or electric locomotives. It consists of a locomotive, generator car, staff car, guest sleepers, a non-smoking lounge car, two non-smoking 42-seat dining cars, a kitchen car, guest sleepers, smoking Club Lounge and an Observation Car at the tail. Meals are an elegant affair served in one sitting – only in the dining cars – and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. An enthusiastic team of chefs is responsible to cater for your every need. They make use of fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes, such as game, are a specialty on board.
Why we like it here
All suite types have en-suite bathrooms.
The Royal suite includes a Victorian ball-and-claw bath tub.
Although the lounges are air-conditioned, the windows can be opened which allow in the sights, sounds and scents of Africa.
Things to be aware of
Children under the age of two are not permitted to travel.
In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, you will not find any radios nor television sets on board.
Out of respect for other passengers, the use of mobile phones and laptops (and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers) is confined to the privacy of your suite.
Rovos Rail is reliant on national railway authorities for traction and service (locomotives and drivers) and as a result, delays can be experienced due to faulty equipment and vandalism to infrastructure.
Although the dress code on board is smart casual during the days, evening attire is more formal. For gentlemen, a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement, while for ladies a cocktail / evening dress or suit is recommended.