Rovos Rail

Elegant journey back in time

Rovos Rail is the ultimate in luxurious train travel. © Chris Marais

A highlight of the Rovos Rail experience is the observation car at the back of the train. Big windows and open-air balconies give you a magnificent view as you sip your bubbly and gaze out over South African landscape, from the Karoo plains to the Mother City of Cape Town.

Did you know?

All of Rovos Rail’s refurbished carriages date from the early 1900s.

Rovos Rail, established in 1989, is a luxury South African train company that spares no expense - either in its furnishings, its level of service or its exotic routings. Rovos Rail is spotted at all the top southern African locations.

Hauled either by diesel, electric or steam, the 36 excellently finished suites carry a top load of 72 passengers, keeping the experience exclusive. The coaches - classics brought lovingly back to life - are wood panelled and elegant, the kind of location you'd expect to find Agatha Christie's Inspector Poirot bustling about in.

As you cross the legendary landscapes like the expansive Great Karoo in this luxury South African train, there is a wood surface for you to write your travel memoirs down on, a fridge bar and room service available 24 hours a day. It's seems rather Edwardian at first glance, but then you notice all the modern plug-ins needed for comfortable travel.

The Royal and Deluxe Suites each have their own private lounges. Their bathrooms come complete with showers and a Victorian bath

This luxury train company offers a journey called the Old Karoo Pioneering Trail, a 48-hour, 1 600-kilometre route that takes you from the Highveld, across the vast plains of the Karoo, down to the craggy mountain ranges heading into the Mother City of Cape Town.

Another classic Rovos Rail route is the 6-day Victoria Falls to Cape Town journey that adds Zimbabwe and Botswana onto the itinerary. All Rovos trains stop off at the historic Karoo village of Matjiesfontein to get that Victorian stamp of approval.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Rovos Rail Pretoria
Tel: +27 (0)12 315 8242
email: marielle@rovos.co.za

Rovos Rail Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 421 4020
email: sandy@rovos.co.za

How to get here

Most of Rovos Rail's trains depart from Capital Park station in Pretoria. The nearest airport is outside Johannesburg, an hour's drive away.

What to pack

With fine china and silverware at dinner, you'll feel a little out of place if you don't take along something elegant to wear at dinner time. And don't forget your camera. These will be memories to last a lifetime.

What to eat

The food is excellent, featuring the best of South African produce with wines to match.

What's happening

One of the great pleasures of life on a Rovos Rail journey is to sit in the observation car and watch South Africa's scenery go by.