Luxury Train Trips
Imagine the trip of a lifetime via African train travel, perhaps a honeymoon or anniversary safari, traveling by train through the grasslands, wine country, the diamond mines and mountainous regions of South Africa. See it all in the luxury of the Blue Train, the Shongololo Express or via Rovos Rail and you’ll understand what the tourist brochures claim, “South Africa is a world in one country”.
While each company lists different rail journeys, some including safaris or other excursions, they all offer comfort and luxury with world-class service, plus the thrill of the magnificent scenery as the trains roll through Africa’s incredible landscape.
The Blue Train
The Blue Train is an African travel icon and has for 60 years provided the discerning traveler with luxurious accommodation in air-conditioned suites. Two standards of suites are available – deluxe or luxury. The luxury suites are larger and have entertainment centers which include blockbuster movies on DVD and a range of music on CD.
Prepared on board by highly trained chefs, the gourmet cuisine is complimented by the specially selected South African wines.
A butler is in attendance on each coach, serving the needs of up to 4 suites. Available upon request, a selection of snacks and drinks can be served in your suite, valet and limited laundry services, an in-suite safe for valuables and extra storage for luggage not needed during the trip are among the other onboard services.
And, should you be among those who want to know everything about the train and its engine, the engineers on board are happy to share their knowledge with you.
The Shongololo Express
The Shongololo Express offers an exciting range of excursions at a different locations each day. Traveling through the night means the train arrives at your new destination as the sun comes up. Organising your journey this way eliminates the need to pack and unpack every day as well as cutting out the otherwise interminable bus rides. Travelers can make each day of their holiday really count.
With a fleet of mini buses on each train, the Shongololo Express includes most of a wide variety excursions in the price of the package. The touring buses are air-conditioned and professional, knowledgeable guides are on board and at least English, German and French are spoken on each bus.
Onboard the train, with its bar and dining facilities, travelers can enjoy excellent breakfasts and dinners each day. Cabins have either en suite or shared bathrooms, sufficient closet and storage space, bedding and towels and are serviced each day.
Scheduled routes go to Johannesburg to Cape Town, including Durban and Kimberley; Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, including Maputo, Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe; Swakopmund to Johannesburg, including Kimberley, Upington and Windhoek; Livingstone to Zambia and Dar es Salaam.
Pictures of the Rovos Rail – Rovos Rail Prices
Rovos Rail is perhaps the real jewel in the crown of rail travel in South Africa. A private railway company that has scoured the countryside for vintage locomotives and carriages, refurbishing them to the highest standard of luxury.
Traveling over the Victoria Falls Bridge 2 – Dar es Salaam journey – Rovos Rail Prices
The trains are made-up of a locomotive, a generator carriage, sleeper carriages, non-smoking lounge, two dining carriages, the kitchen, more sleeping carriages, a smoking lounge and the observation carriage. While steam trains are often limited to in and around the Rovos Rail station, steam enthusiasts can charter the train with its steam locomotives for a Steam Safari or other steam events.
Rovos Rail offers the most luxurious and spacious accommodation for up to 72 passengers on their two Classic trains. With wood panelling and Victorian/Edwardian features, the furnishings and décor create an atmosphere of grandeur and elegance. Although they recapture the romance of days gone by, modern conveniences such as air-conditioning, a personal in-suite safe, a fridge bar, hot showers, hair dryers and shaver plugs ensure that today’s travelers have the comforts they require in the largest railway suites in the world. And, each suite has its own butler in attendance to service your every need.
There are three levels of accommodation – the Pullman, the Deluxe and the Royal suites. All levels have en suite bathrooms and it is primarily the size of the suite that makes up the difference. Each train has limited laundry service.
In the charming atmosphere of the Victorian-inspired dining carriage, meals are served in one sitting, with breakfast from 7-10 am, lunch at 1 pm and the formal dinner at 8.30 pm. Afternoon tea is served in the Lounge or Observation carriage at 4.30 pm. The sound of a gong alerts passengers that lunch or dinner is served.
There is a dress code on the trains: daytime – smart casual, formal evening attire with a jacket and tie the minimum for men and cocktail, evening dress or suit for the ladies.
Rovos Rail scheduled routes include Cape Town to Pretoria; Pretoria to Swakopmund (Namibia); Pretoria to Victoria Falls; George to Cape Town; Cape Town to Dar es Salaam.
Passengers must ensure they have all necessary passports and visas for the countries through which the trains travel – Egypt, the Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa. Excursions are planned within the scheduled routes but additional excursions can be included.
World-class service, fine dining, luxury accommodation and the sights, sounds and scents of Africa make a compelling case for traveling through South Africa’s incredible countryside by train.