Sit back on a luxury train for a return to the Golden Age of Travel. Designed to deliver some of the most exclusive and personalised journeys in Africa, our luxury train safaris relive the bygone days of high tea, dressing for dinner and watching the landscape gently unfold before you.
It’s an experience-rich journey. Wending their way through southern and East Africa, luxury train tours take time to include game drives in Big 5 reserves and connect iconic destinations such as Cape Town, the Kruger and Victoria Falls. You can even finish your grand rail tour with a beach holiday on Zanzibar.
There are two options for luxury train travel in Africa: Rovos Rail and the Blue Train. Both are South African-based and lay claim to be among the most luxurious trains in the world. Find out more below.
Blue Train vs Rovos Rail
The Blue Train: South Africa in Style
Instantly recognisable by its deep blue livery, the Blue Train remains the iconic way to journey between Cape Town and Pretoria.
It’s a modern train with wood-panelled lounge car, bar and dining carriage. Suites are surprisingly spacious and convert from your daytime sitting area – complete with lounge chairs and desk – to a comfortable bedroom. Each suite has a private bathroom – the larger ones have a bathtub – and butler service.
The Blue Train is perfect for travellers with more time on their hands and who want to spend a couple of days in a unique environment. The atmosphere is refined but relaxed and inclusive – the train’s bar and lounge are popular meeting places for fellow travellers.
All meals and drinks are included on this 2-day journey – there is a formal dress code for dinner – and guests are treated to a historical tour of the towns of Kimberley or Maatjiesfontein, depending on which way they are travelling – Cape Town to Pretoria or vice versa.
The Blue Train now runs from Pretoria to Hoedspruit, the gateway town to the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Private Reserve. Talk to us about a tailor-made journey that takes in the attractions of Cape Town and the Big 5 game viewing of the Kruger – a rail safari that echoes the past glories of travel.
Rovos Rail - Travel from a Bygone Era
Rovos Rail is the gold standard of luxury train travel. From the exclusivity of its private stations to the sheer indulgence of its suites, this is an experience for the most discerning traveller.
The train is essentially a luxury hotel on wheels: there is a choice of luxurious suites, including the Royal Suite which takes up half a carriage, as well as dining cars, a smoking and non-smoking lounge, and convivial observation car. Meals are first-class, the wine list extensive and everything is included during your journey.
There’s a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere on board the train. There are no televisions or radios on the train and all cell phone and laptop use is restricted to the privacy of your suite. The dress code is smart casual during the day and formal for dinner.
Like the Blue Train, Rovos Rail runs between Cape Town and Pretoria but takes an extra day to make it a 3-night journey. You’ll stop at both Kimberley and Maatjiesfontein for an inclusive tour.
Rovos Rail also runs longer routes into Namibia, offers golfing tours across South Africa, and even travels to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where you can step off the train and head for the beaches of Zanzibar. Our favourite Rovos Rail route is the one from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. It’s an amazing week-long experience that includes a game drive in Hwange National Park.
Browse our recommended examples below, each featuring African Luxury Train Travel. If you’d like us to tailor-make an itinerary based on your needs and budget, then simply contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
Exceptional service ensuring a wonderful holiday. Highly recommended
Attention to detail & service provided was first class, from our very first email to the last day of our trip. Walter went above and beyond to ensure that we were notified of any changes, even up to our last day with a change to our flight time, at short notice. The safari was so much more than expected, from the rustic to the exceptional, every camp was different in it’s own way and our highlights are hard to single out just one as each camp was great.
Cyndi and Dave (AU)
Faultless service, attention to detail and quality of accomodations.
The communications and service from Walter was excellent, and we were continuously fully informed. The information package and book received on arrival were excellent. We felt that we had been allocated carefully selected lodges at each camp and every detail met or exceeded our expectations.
The safari tour was wonderful, and a particular feature was the variety offered at each location which combined perfectly
I was already last year in South Africa and Zambia organized by Safari Online. It was a absolutely gorgeous trip. Everything was perfect. This was the reason I booked this year in May and June an new trip to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. I got everything I expected. It was a dream again. I know I´m coming back.
We have booked at the Elephant Plains Lodge. We stayed there for a few nights and went on safaris. The lodge, the guide, the food and all the animals we have seen were fantastic. Really an outstanding experience. We can recommend Elephant Plains to everybody. Maybe you will not be as lucky as we were, becaucse we have seen the Big 5! But however you will not forget your stay at Elephant Plains.
We had a wonderful holiday with no hitches, perfectly planned for us and so professional.
Though we live in Australia, Safari online made planning for our family holiday so easy. Walter understood our requirements and nothing was too much trouble. The holiday was everything we wanted it to be and so much more. Every camp was ideally suited for our family and we loved each day, every early morning and evening game drive. Thank you to Walter for his attention to detail and his friendly, professional and caring manner. It was a trip of a lifetime and one that we will talk about forever.
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.
Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver. She responded to our requests promptly and gave us several options with links to each option; we ultimately chose Lukimbi. She then coordinated our flights to and from the property, arranged the drivers necessary to get us from the airport to the lodge and back again, and sent the appropriate paperwork to each of us to verify each step of the process. We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!
Trip of a lifetime: Five countries, six camps, Vic Falls, Big Five plus more game
In June/July 2016 we undertook a trip to Southern Africa to fulfill a lifelong intention. We stayed at six camps, safari style, and had a great time. All of our expectations were met or even exceeded. For example, we never expected to see honey badgers or sitatunga, given the secretive nature of those species, but we did! All travel arrangements and connections worked smoothly, which is astonishing since we had several dozen transfers and meeting points; all of the connecting personnel were prompt, professional, and welcoming.
The trip was sensational and tailored to our needs. Simply fantastic!
The care by Walter was great from planning to leaving Johannesburg. The accommodations were perfectly chosen. If after a few days you thought it could not be better, you were told otherwise. It was an increase every day, with the 3 days safari in the Kruger, including overnight in tree house, the grand finale.
I would book a trip anytime again at Safari Online.
Best experience ever!!
They provide us the most taylored and customized honeymoon possible! everything was much better than we expected. We loved the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere and everyone made us feeling so incredibly special and gave us a unique insight. Over our game drives we managed to see all the big five plus some!!
Experience of a lifetime and wonderful service!!
Our extended family (16 travellers, including 8 children under ten years of age!) went on a wonderful safari adventure curated and organised by Walter Kohrs of Safari Online. It could not have been any better than we experienced. From our time in Cape Town, to visiting Victoria Falls, all the way through Zimbabwe and finally wrapping up at the amazing Chobe Safari Lodge, all the locations chosen by Walter were amazing.
His attention to detail, willingness to fine-tune and excellent responsiveness (over a period of several months!) could not have been better. He took time to visit us personally upon our arrival in South Africa, with lovely gift-packs and shared a wealth of advice, recommendations and tips. I cannot recommend Safari Online (and Walter Kohrs in particular) any higher. Absolutely amazing.