Dar es Salaam

Embark on this epic 15-night voyage across Southern Africa

Overview

15 NIGHTS • 5530km
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 guests 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 where guests 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 – the largest on the continent and a vision of timeless Africa – before the bustling arrival in Dar es Salaam the following day. Available in reverse.

Itinerary

DAY 1: CAPE TOWN

  • Check-in at Rovos Rail Lounge, 1 Adderley Street, Cape Town.
  • Depart from Cape Town Station. The train travels towards the Hex River Valley.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

DAY 2: MATJIESFONTEIN

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00. 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.
  • The train traverses 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 seabed to form what geologists call the Karoo system.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

DAY 3: KIMBERLEY

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars.
    Enjoy 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.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Klerksdorp. Dress: Formal

DAY 4: PRETORIA

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
  • Transfer (±60 min) to Pretoria for a city tour followed by lunch on the Rovos Rail Station platform. Enjoy a walking tour of the station and locomotive workshops (weather permitting). Return (±60 min) to the train.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Zeerust. Dress: Formal

DAY 5: MADIKWE GAME RESERVE

Please pack a small overnight bag for the stay in Madikwe. Tog bags have been placed in your suite for your convenience. See below for inclusions/exclusions. Spa facilities available (own account). Payment in ZAR or by credit card only. Times of meals and activities confirmed on arrival.

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00.
  • Transfer (±90 min) to a lodge in Madikwe for a two-night stay. Lunch is served on arrival. Afternoon tea and game drive (approximately 3 hours).
  • Dinner at the lodge. Dress: Casual

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 6: MADIKWE GAME RESERVE

Early morning game drive (approximately 3 hours).

  • Breakfast is served at the lodge until 09:30.
  • Lunch at the lodge. Afternoon tea and game drive (approximately 3 hours).
  • Dinner at the lodge. Dress: Casual

DAY 7: MADIKWE GAME RESERVE

Early morning game drive (approximately 2 hours).

  • Breakfast is served until 09:30. Please ensure your bags are ready for collection at 10:00 and proceed to check-out.
  • Depart the lodge. Transfer 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 (luggage may be searched).
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars. 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 to 250mm. The surrounding basin covers over 2 500 000km2 extending farther into 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.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

Please ensure the Train Manager or Administration Deputy is in possession of your passport. Victoria Falls: It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the list of activities available: Tour of Victoria Falls; helicopter over the falls; whitewater rafting; bungee-jumping; zip-lining; game walks; golf etc. You may book these excursions at the hotel OR beforehand with the on-board historian – today between 16:30-18:00. Cash accepted.

DAY 8: AT LEISURE ON BOARD

Lectures will take place throughout the journey during the morning and/or afternoon in the lounge car. Please consult Lecture Sheets for details. Victoria Falls: If you have decided to book activities through the on board historian, please ensure you have done so before lunch. Cash accepted.

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00. Border formalities take place.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars. 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.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

DAY 9: VICTORIA FALLS

Please pack a small overnight bag for the stay at Victoria Falls Hotel. See below for inclusions/exclusions. Meals are taken at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Currency exchange is available at the hotel (passports not required); there is a business centre and WiFi available throughout. If you are crossing the border into Zambia during your stay, please obtain your passport from the Train Manager or Administration Deputy.

  • Arrive at the incomparable Victoria Falls. Disembark with an overnight bag and walk across to the hotel. Welcome address on the lawn followed by lunch at Jungle Junction. Luggage will be delivered to the rooms. 15:45 WINTER / 16:15 SUMMER Meet in the hotel foyer before departure for the sunset cruise on the Zambezi.
  • Dinner at the Livingstone Room, Victoria Falls Hotel. Dress: Smart Casual (strictly no safari-wear, shorts, sandals or sneakers)

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.

DAY 10: VICTORIA FALLS

Check-out time is normally at 10:00 (to be advised). If you have organised morning activities, please ensure you have checked out. Luggage storage at reception is complimentary until afternoon departure. Please call the front desk and they will send a porter to collect your luggage.

  • Breakfast is served at the Jungle Junction Restaurant until 10:00. Day at leisure in the Victoria Falls.
  • Lunch at Jungle Junction.
  • Meet on station platform for departure to Zambia.
  • Cross the Victoria Falls Bridge. Tea in the lounge and observation cars. Border formalities take place.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

Please ensure the Train Manager or Administration Deputy is in possession of passport.

DAY 11: AT LEISURE ON BOARD

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00. After breakfast, 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.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars. The train passes through Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Kapiri Mposhi. Dress: “Africa” Theme or Smart Casual

DAY 12: AT LEISURE ON BOARD

  • Breakfast is served until 10:00. The train travels the TAZARA railway line, an engineering tour de force and one of Africa’s best-kept secrets as it passes through remote territory.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Kasama. Dress: Formal

DAY 13: CHISIMBA FALLS

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until departure.
  • Enjoy a visit to Chisimba Falls where guests can take a pleasant walk down to the rock pools at the base of the falls or admire them from various viewpoints.
  • The train climbs to the border, almost exactly the midpoint between Africa’s two Great Rift Valley lakes.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars. Border formalities take place.
  • Dinner is served. The train passes Baobab forests and descends the Rift Valley towards Mbeya. Dress: Formal
    PLEASE PUT YOUR WATCHES FORWARD AN HOUR BEFORE RETIRING FOR THE EVENING.

Chisimba Falls is a series of three waterfalls named Mutumuna, Kaela and Chishimba (Chisimba), 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.

DAY 14: MAKAMBAKO

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00.
  • 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.
  • Lunch is served in the dining cars.
  • Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars. Dress: Formal

DAY 15: SELOUS GAME RESERVE

  • Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars until 08:00. The train descends into the highlands and traverses the fertile lands of Tanzania towards the Selous.
  • Brunch is served in the dining cars until 11:45.
  • Enjoy a game visit in the Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa at 55 000km2 (time permitting).
  • Return to the train.
  • Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Gwata. Dress: “1920s” Theme or Smart Casual

DAY 16: DAR ES SALAAM

Please ensure that your luggage is ready for collection 15 minutes before arrival and that you have your passport.

  • Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10:00. Travel in an easterly direction towards the coast.
  • Arrive at journey’s end at Tazara Station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Information

Please dress accordingly for excursions/game drives: mornings can be cool then warm up considerably; afternoons can be warm
then cool down considerably. Warm clothing, comfortable shoes, hats and sun protection are advised. Rain capes are available.

Excursions may be changed according to schedule achieved. Times are approximate and cannot be guaranteed.
Please check with the Train Manager or reservations@rovos.co.za for any updates or changes to the itinerary.
In your suite you will find the Journeys magazine that features articles of interest related to the route.

INCLUDED: Accommodation; all meals; all beverages; room service; limited laundry; excursions with a qualified guide (where applicable); entrance fees as per itinerary; government tax. EXCLUDED: International sparkling wine; gratuities; personal expenses; visas; travel insurance; pre- and post-tour transfers, accommodation and flights.
MEALS ON BOARD (unless adjusted) Breakfast 07:00-10:00 • Lunch 13:00 • Tea 16:30 • Dinner 19:30

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