Rovos Rail to Dar es Salaam is an epic train journey that 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 and then descends into the Great Rift Valley negotiating the tunnels, switchbacks, and viaducts of the spectacular escarpment. Climbing again, it traverses the Nyerere National Park (ex-Selous Game Reserve). This is 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.
* Please note that depending upon the railway’s capacity this journey could be routed northwards through Beitbridge and Zimbabwe.
We are also able to offer optional Pre and Post-Rovos Rail tours so you have one company arranging all your travels making your journey far less stressful. Send us an email so we can customize your luxury African safari holiday to meet your requirements.
Rovos Rail luxury train Cape Town to Dar es Salaam itinerary
Daily Itinerary for Rovos Rail to Dar es Salaam
Please note dress code for dinner on the Rovos train is formal.
Day 1: Cape Town
11 am – Depart from Cape Town Station. Guests may freshen up in their suites before joining fellow travelers in the lounge car and observation car. 1 pm – Lunch is available in the dining cars. The train reaches Worcester in the Hex River Valley before climbing ±750m up the face of the escarpment. The train arrives at the first of four tunnels on the pass. The last tunnel is 13.5km long so guests are to be careful when walking through the train and may wish to turn on necessary lights. 4.30 pm – Tea is available in the lounge and observation cars. 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. 7.30 pm – Dinner is available in the dining cars.
Day 2: Kimberley
7 am – Breakfast is available in the dining cars until 10 am. Travel through the Karoo, a vast semi-desert region that was once an enormous inland sea. Over millions of years, the volcanic matter was ground down and deposited as silt upon the seabed to form what geologists call the Karoo system. 12.30 pm – Lunch is available 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. 4.30 pm – Tea is in the lounge and observation cars. 7.30 pm – Dinner is in the dining cars. Dress: Formal
Day 3: Pretoria
7 am – Breakfast is available in the dining cars until 9.45 am. The train travels through the goldfields. 10 am – Arrive at Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. Enjoy a walking tour of the station and locomotive workshops (weather permitting) followed by lunch on the platform and a city tour of Pretoria. 7.30 pm – Dinner is available in the dining cars en route to Zeerust.
Day 4: Lodge in 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.
7 am – Breakfast is in the dining cars until 10 am. 11 am – 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). 7 pm – Dinner at the lodge. Dress: Casual
Madikwe Game Reserve is a prime malaria-free Big 5 wildlife reserve bordering Botswana that boasts year-round game viewing. Breeding herds of Elephant, White and Black Rhino, Lion, Cheetah, Spotted and Brown Hyena, Buffalo, Leopard, Zebra, and the endangered Wild Dog. Various Antelope species include Impala, Springbok, Kudu, Waterbuck, Eland, Blesbok, Nyala, and Sable. Wildebeest, Giraffe, Ostrich, and Warthog, together with an array of small mammals, are among the magnificent animals that roam in the reserve. Madikwe is also home to a bird population of over 300 different species.
Day 5: Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve
Early morning game drive (approximately 3 hours). 7 am – Breakfast is available at the lodge until 9.30 am. 12.30 pm – Lunch at the lodge. Afternoon tea and game drive (approximately 3 hours). 7 pm – Dinner at the lodge.
Day 6: Botswana
Early morning game drive (approximately 2 hours). 7 am – Breakfast is until 9.30 am. Please ensure your bags are ready for collection at 10 am and proceed to check out. 10.30 am – 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). 1 pm – Lunch is available 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. 4.30 pm – Tea is in the lounge and observation cars. 7.30 pm – Dinner is in the dining cars.
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 Victoria Falls; whitewater rafting; bungee jumping; golf etc. You may book these excursions yourself at the hotel OR beforehand on the train with the onboard historian – today between 4.30 pm-6 pm. Cash accepted.
Day 7: At leisure on board Rovos Rail
Lectures will take place throughout the journey during the morning and/or afternoon in the lounge car. 7 am – Breakfast is in the dining cars until 10 am. Border formalities take place. 1 pm – Lunch is available in the dining cars. 4.30 pm – Tea is in the lounge and observation cars. Pass Gwaai and Dete; along one of Africa’s longest stretches of straight railway line – 114 kilometers – and along the eastern edge of the Hwange National Park. 7.30 pm – Dinner is available in the dining cars.
7 am – Breakfast is in the dining cars until 10 am. 12pm – 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. Meet in the hotel foyer before departure for the sunset cruise on the Zambezi (time will be advised). 7.30 pm – 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, the 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 is 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.
The Victoria Falls Hotel was constructed by the British in 1904 when the Cape to Cairo railway line was being built – it certainly has a lot of history and has hosted all sorts of royalty and dignitaries.
Day 9: Victoria Falls
Check-out time is normally at 10 am (to be advised). If you have organized morning activities, please ensure you have checked out. Luggage storage at reception is complimentary until afternoon departure. 6.30 am – Breakfast is at the Jungle Junction Restaurant until 10 am. Morning at leisure in Victoria Falls. 1 pm – Lunch at Jungle Junction. 3 pm – Meet on the station platform for departure to Zambia. Cross the Victoria Falls Bridge. Tea is served in the lounge and observation cars. Border formalities take place. 7.30 pm – Dinner is available in the dining cars.
Please ensure the Train Manager or Administration Deputy is in possession of your passport.
Day 10 & 11: On board
Travel to Kapiri Mposhi via the Kafue Bridge (a 477-meter long steel girder truss bridge of 13 spans each at 33 meters supported on concrete piers) and Lusaka in a northeasterly direction. The train travels the TAZARA railway line, an engineering tour de force and one of Africa’s best-kept secrets as it passes through the remote territory. Relax on this luxury train at your leisure with optional lectures on board by the historian.
Day 12: Chisimba Falls
6 am – Breakfast is in the dining cars until departure. 8 am – 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. 11.30 am – The train climbs to the border, almost exactly the midpoint between Africa’s two Great Rift Valley lakes. 1 pm – Lunch is in the dining cars. 4.30 pm – Tea is in the lounge and observation cars. Border formalities take place. 7.30 pm- Dinner. The train passes the Baobab forests and descends the Rift Valley towards Mbeya.
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 behavior (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 13: Makambako (optional)
7 am – Breakfast is in the dining cars until 10 am. 9 am – Arrive at Makambako and enjoy a stroll through the town (time permitting). 11 am – The train travels towards the jungled Udzungwa Mountains and negotiates the dramatic switchbacks, viaducts, and tunnels of the escarpment. 1 pm – Lunch is in the dining cars. 4.30 pm – Tea is in the lounge and observation cars. 7.30 pm – Dinner is in the dining cars.
Day 14: Nyerere National Park
7 am – Continental breakfast is served in the dining cars until 8 am. The train descends into the highlands and traverses the fertile lands of Tanzania towards the Selous. 10.30 am – Brunch is in the dining cars until 11.45 am. 12 pm – Enjoy a game visit in the Nyerere National Park (ex-Selous Game Reserve), the largest in Africa at 55 000km2 (time permitting). 6 pm – Return to the train. 7.30 pm – Dinner is in the dining cars en route to Gwata. Dress: “1920s” Theme or Smart Casual
Day 15: Dar es Salaam
Please ensure that your luggage is ready for collection by 9.45 am and that you have your passport. 7 am – Breakfast is in the dining cars until 10 am. Travel in an easterly direction towards the coast. 10 am – Arrive at the journey’s end at Tazara Station in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Please note: Due to rough track and delays, the train often arrives late in Dar es Salaam. It is best to schedule an overnight in Dar es Salaam before flying out.
This itinerary is reversed for Dar to Cape Town journey.
Accommodation on board Rovos Rail Dar es Salaam Journey
All the suites offer passengers the opportunity to travel in privacy, comfort, and luxury, with fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. The wood-paneled rebuilt sleeper coaches, remodeled and refurbished to mint condition, offer every modern convenience and comfort. In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hairdryers, and shaver plugs. All are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day. For more info on the room types, see our Rovos Rail page.
Rovos Rail Cape Town Dar es Salaam (or vice versa) Journey Rates and Departure Dates