Rovos Rail is the leader in luxurious train travel in Africa. If you don’t believe me, just ask Vogue. There are routes around South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania ranging from three to fifteen days, so you can travel in style to dream destinations like Victoria Falls and Zanzibar.
I was invited to experience the Rovos Durban Safari journey– a three-day adventure on the rails between Pretoria and Durban. It seemed like the perfect way to dive more into South African culture. This ultimate luxe safari had us winding through historical sites and tons of incredible landscapes.
Here’s what you can expect on a Rovos Rail luxury train tour!
Getting To and From
Every Rovos Rail journey begins and ends in different destinations around Africa. For Rovos Rail’s Durban Safari journey, we started in Durban and ended in Pretoria.
Getting There: Before hopping on Rovos Rail, we flew into Durban from Cape Town. As the second largest city in South Africa after Cape Town, Durban offers plenty to do, and it’s worth getting there early so you can explore.
Nicknamed “South Africa’s playground,” Durban is a year-round beach destination with perfect weather and white-sand beaches, and the perfect way to spend your night before boarding the rail. The Oyster Box Hotel in Durban was voted the number one hotel in South Africa, and it is a favorite of yours truly. I had an incredible time there, and it’s really a destination in itself.
Getting Home: After finishing our Rovos Rail journey, we opted to fly back to Cape Town from Johannesburg. The Johannesburg airport is just over a thirty-minute drive from the train station in Pretoria, so probably the best option. If you prefer more train travel, the two cities are well connected by the high-speed metro train as well!
The Rovos Rail Experience
You can expect the same, high standards on all Rovos Rail journeys, and I absolutely loved the gorgeous aesthetic onboard the trains. Traveling with them was like stepping back in time (in a good way!).
Not only was the look very “old school cool,” but it was also no-tech. No phones or electronics are allowed outside of your cabin. As someone who spends the majority of her time online and with technology, this was a nice break.
The no-tech policy was the perfect excuse to relax and have real conversations.
We played board games, drank our weight in gin and tonics, and enjoyed the time onboard—no screens, no distractions! It was just good old-fashioned fun.
Service on Rovos Rail
Like all Rovos Rail trips, you can expect 5-star service onboard the trains. The charming “Victorian chic” atmosphere is everywhere. Every meal feels like an event– from breakfast to lunch, the food was incredible.
Rovos Rail is all about keeping things local and fresh, so the meals were all traditional African cuisine with seasonal ingredients.
We especially loved the South African selections of wine.
All Rovos Rail journeys are all-inclusive, so when you hear the gong (yes, there is a real dinner bell!), it’s time to come running. The staff is great and you can be certain that you’ll leave happy.
Excursions on Rovos Rail’s Durban Safari
While you can expect the same 5-star service and experience on all Rovos Rails journeys– it’s cool to know that no two trips are the same. The highlight of the Durban Safari was the safari excursions included.
South Africa has an amazing amount of natural beauty. We were able to wander around and learn about the land; we spotted rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and other beautiful locals that you won’t see outside of Africa.
On other journeys, they offer local historians and guides that will teach you through the highlights of each destination, as well as interesting historical and cultural facts.
You’re learning in luxury!
Thank you to Rovos Rail for hosting me during this trip. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.