Southern Africa Train Journey Itinerary

18 August – 5 September, 2024 | 19 Extraordinary Days
Early Booking Discount $500 if you book by 12 March, 2024
The Free Information Pack has more details including flights.

August 2024
Sun 18    Auckland – Singapore

After checking in at Auckland Airport this afternoon we board our Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore. We’ll arrive this evening and transfer to our hotel.

Mon 19    Singapore    (B)

We have a day at leisure in Singapore and late this evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to Johannesburg. We have a late check out of 6.00pm at our hotel.

Tue 20    Singapore – Johannesburg – Victoria Falls    (D)

We arrive at Johannesburg airport early this morning and transit through to our flight to Livingstone, Zambia.
On arrival we are met and transfer to our Lodge.
This evening we have dinner at the Lodge.

Wed 21    Victoria Falls    (B,D)

This morning we have a guided tour of the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.
In the afternoon we have a Zambezi sundowner cruise. At the end of the day, we sail upstream to celebrate the setting African sun. We share in the end-of- day ritual which see wild herds streaming to the riverbanks for their last drink. Flocks of birds skim the waterline as the sun sets behind the African skyline.
This evening we enjoy dinner at the Lodge.

Thu 22    Victoria Falls    (B,L,D)

This morning we transfer to Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. Luggage will be taken to the train by Rovos Rail staff.
11:00 Enjoy a tour of the Zimbabwe side of the Victoria Falls with lunch.
16:00 Reception at Victoria Falls Hotel.
17:00 The train departs for Dete.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: Formal

Fri 23    Hwange National Park    (B,L,D)

05:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
06:30 Full-day game drive in Hwange National Park with a packed lunch.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars. Depart for Bulawayo.
Dress: Formal

Situated in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park covers 1,462,000 hectares making it the nation’s largest wildlife area. It contains a variety of animals and bird species but is well-known for its prolific lion population.

Sat 24    Matobo National Park    (B,L,D)

07:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
09:00 Full-day tour of Matoba National Park with lunch. Visit the grave of Cecil John Rhodes as well as bushmen caves with rock art.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars. Depart for Dabuka.
Dress: Formal

Matobo (or Matopos), meaning ‘bald heads’, was the name chosen for the area by the Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Matobo hills just a short distance from the park. It is an apt description of the dramatic hills and granite rocks of this area. The park is also the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave at the summit of Malindidzimu–‘hill of benevolent spirits’. He referred to this hill as having a view of the world. His grave is carved out of solid granite and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of boulders. A visit can be made to one of the more accessible bushman caves, of which there are many hidden amongst the hills. Matobo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sun 25    Antelope Park    (B,L,D)

06:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
08:00 Depart for a full day at Antelope Park with lunch. Optional extras include canoeing, game drives, horseback game viewing, elephant interaction, bird-watching cruises and so on.
15:00 Return to train. Depart for Bannockburn.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: Formal

Set in over 3000 acres of open savannah grassland, Antelope Park is a unique game reserve and a haven of tranquillity welcoming guests and volunteer eco-tourists alike. It is home to the world-famous African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) lion rehabilitation programme, which is a multiphase lion conservation initiative. It is Africa’s first genuine programme working to ethically re-introduce the offspring of captive-bred African lions back into the wild.

Mon 26    Great Zimbabwe Monument    (B,L,D)

06:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
08:00 Transfer to the Great Zimbabwe Monument for a tour with lunch.
17:00 Return to the train. Travel towards Beitbridge for border formalities.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: Formal

Travel through attractive granite hill country to the Great Zimbabwe Monument, a hugely impressive monument situated on the southeastern edge of the central plateau and the largest precolonial monument south of the Egyptian pyramids. A celebrated achievement of the African people and a place where magical fables such as the story of King Solomon’s Mines find their origins amongst the ruins of an ancient city built by the Rozwi people. Discover how these ancient people lived and mined gold and silver, which were ultimately taken out of Africa by Arabic and Portuguese traders.

Tue 27    Limpopo Province    (B,L,D)

07:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars until 10.00. Day on board as the train traverses Limpopo.
13:00 Lunch is served in the dining cars.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars. Travel towards Hoedspruit.
Dress: “Africa” Theme or Smart Casual

Limpopo Province is in the far north of South Africa and shares borders with three neighbouring countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. For this reason, the province is also known as the gateway to other African countries and also shares provincial borders with Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Northwest. The Limpopo landscape varies from one area to the other from tropical forests, bush and shrubs to semi-desert areas with small trees and bushes and mountains to flat land. Limpopo is divided into five regions, strategically located according to the cultural inhabitants. Capricorn is the central region predominantly occupied by the Bapedi people. Waterberg is the largest region with a majority of Tswana people. Vhembe in the far north is dominated by Vhavenda and Vatsonga. The Mopani region near the Kruger Park is Vatsonga whereas the Sekhukhuni region is dominated by Bapedi and Ndebele. Limpopo is the only province in South Africa with more than two cultural groups staying together in their original habitat in harmony. Other ethnic groups include English and Afrikaans people.

Wed 28    Kapama Reserve    (B,L,D)

05:00 Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars until 05:30.
05:30 Game drive in Kapama Game Reserve followed by visit to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
12:00 Return to the train for lunch. Depart forMpaka
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: Formal

Situated in South Africa’s northernmost province of Limpopo, renowned for its prolific and diverse wildlife, Kapama Private Game Reserve is home to over 40 different mammal species including the Big Five, approximately 350 bird species and a myriad smaller species. The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is a unique African wildlife facility focusing on conservation and the sustainability of rare, vulnerable and threatened species. Founded on passion, the centre has adopted a holistic approach to its conservation activities such as the educating of surrounding communities, tourism, breeding, rehabilitation and anti-poaching, to name a few.

Thu 29    Eswatini    (B,L,D)

07:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
8:30 Disembark at Mpaka. Transfer (±90 min) to Swazi Candles and visit Mantenga Cultural Village with lunch at Mantenga Lodge.
14:15 Return to the train (±75 min). Depart forMaputo.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: Formal

The tiny Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) covers only 17,000 sq km, most of which is mountainous. For such a small country, it is surprising that it sustains two capital cities: Mbabane is the administrative capital and Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital. In April 2018, Swaziland changed its name to the Kingdom of Eswatini (meaning “place of the Swazi”) and is an absolute monarchy. It is landlocked and borders South Africa and Mozambique. Continue through the Ezulwini Valley to Swazi Candles where guests are invited to interact with the artisans as they make a variety of candles. Woodcarvings, colourful textiles and superb basketwork are also on display. Mantenga Cultural Village is a living museum of old traditions representing a classical Swazi lifestyle during the 1800s. With the traditional artifacts on display, the village illustrates many facets of the ancient Swazi way of life: social, economic and religious. Mantenga Lodge is nestled in the mountains overlooking ‘Execution Rock’.

Fri 30     Maputo, Mozambique    (B,L.D)

07:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
09:00 City tour of Maputo, Mozambique, with lunch.
15:30 Return to the train. Border formalities take place.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Malelane.
Dress: Formal.

Capital of Mozambique, Maputo is a city of contrasts offering an exciting mix of cultures. Its architecture is a blend of African, Portuguese and early Colonial traditions with old Catholic churches side-by-side with mosques, fortresses, Victorian mansions and other buildings from a bygone era.

Sat 31     Kruger National Park    (B,L,D)

05:30 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
07:00 Full-day game viewing in the Kruger Park with lunch.
18:00 Return to the train. Depart for Mbombela.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: Formal

The famous Kruger Park has 2-million hectares of an unrivalled diversity of life forms. It is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and home to an impressive number of species, e.g. 336 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 34 species of amphibians, 114 species of reptiles, 507 species of birds and 147 species of mammals including the Big Five.

September 2024
Sun 1   
Panorama Route    (B,L,D)

07:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars.
09:15 Full-day tour of historical areas Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and Graskop with lunch. The Graskop viewing lift takes visitors 51m down the face of the gorge into the forest below where wooden walkways and suspension bridges meander along a 600m trail through the indigenous forest with an interactive exhibit (lift for own account).
17:00 Return to the train. Depart for eMalahleni.
19:30 Dinner is served in the dining cars.
Dress: “1920s” Theme or Smart Casual

Pilgrim’s Rest is a living museum and declared a National Monument. Gold was discovered in this area in 1873 attracting 1500 prospectors. Today many of the restored miner’s houses serve as shops and restaurants. Bourke’s Luck Potholes are strange deep cylindrical cavities formed by river erosion and floodwater. Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve has the most spectacular viewpoints overlooking South Africa’s Lowveld, so named because it is much lower than the high escarpment along which the Panorama Route runs.

Mon 2    Arrive Pretoria    (B,L,D)

07:00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars. The train travels on the eastern line towards Middelburg, known as the “stainless steel capital of Africa”, and the harsh eMalahleni coal-mining area. The Dutch railway building company, NZASM, built the eastern line between Pretoria and Lourenço Marques (Maputo) from 1893 to 1895.
13:00 Lunch is served in the dining cars.
16:30 Tea in the lounge and observation cars.
18:00 Arrive at journey’s end at Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria.

We have a private transfer to our hotel.
Our Farewell Dinner this evening is at the hotel.

Tue 3    Johannesburg – Singapore    (B)

This morning we transfer to Johannesburg airport and early this afternoon we depart for Singapore.

Wed 4    Singapore – Auckland    (B)

We arrive at Changi airport early this morning and transfer to our hotel.
Today is at leisure and this evening we transfer back to the airport for our flight home.

Thu 5    … Home

We arrive home with so many wonderful memories and amazing photos.