Upon written request via email or fax and subject to availability, we will provisionally book your place on the chosen tour. No deposits are required. Space is allocated and held BUT if definite suites are required by another client, the holding agent/guest will be asked to confirm with a deposit payment or release the suite. Upon receipt of a written confirmation via email or fax and a completed Reservation Form, final confirmation details and an invoice will be sent to you. Upon receipt of the relevant payment, your booking on the chosen tour will be confirmed. See Downloads below for the Reservation Form and for more details about the payment schedule.
Cancellation insurance is compulsory and will not be waived. We offer insurance to South African residents. For international guests we suggest you contact your local travel agent for assistance. Please bring a copy of your travel insurance policy stating clearly the company, policy number and 24-hour medical emergency telephone number.
Scheduling Times, Routes and Excursions
We cannot be held liable for any delays due to trains not running to schedule. Off-train excursions cannot be guaranteed and will only be undertaken if time and circumstances permit. Departure and arrival times are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. We reserve the right to alter our routing at any time between departure and arrival points.
Passports & Visas
The onus is upon the client to ensure that passports and visas, as may be required, are valid. We travel through South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, the Sudan and Egypt on the various trips. Please check with the relevant consulates in good time regarding applications or enquire with us at Rovos Rail. Visitors to South Africa are required to have at least three blank VISA pages in their passports to receive an entry visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the guests’ return-home date. www.home-affairs.gov.za, www.swazihighcom.co.za, www.namibia.org.za, www.botswanaconsulate.co.za, www.zimbabweconsulate.co.za, www.zambiapretoria.net, www.tanzania.org.za, www.uganda.org.za, www.sudani.co.za, www.egypt.visahq.com.
- Please ensure you have filled out the Reservation Form to indicate if you have any medical conditions, physical disabilities or allergies. There is a basic First Aid Kit on board. We have a doctor on board on the Dar es Salaam trip.
- Anti-malarial precautions are recommended. Malaria areas: Swaziland, Kruger Park, Northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. Recommended immunisations (not required): Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus, Cholera (low risk).
- A Yellow Fever/Medical Exemption Certificate is essential if travelling to/from Zambia & Tanzania. Although all countries travelled through don’t require this, countries guests return to after the trip often require them.
- Please consult your clinic or doctor. TRAVEL DOCTOR AFRICA local 0861 300 911 or international +27 11 214 9030.
- South Africa – Rands only. We accept all major credit cards on the train.
- Outside of South Africa – Any off-train expenses or excursions booked while on the train are to be paid with US Dollars. Hotels and major dealers accept credit cards except in Sudan.
- Ensure all US$ are printed after the year 2000 or they will not be accepted. Low denominations recommended for shopping/gratuities and larger denominations for exchanging money to local currency (especially in Tanzania) as you get a better rate. The Gift Shop might exchange money if currency is available – it is not normally catered for.
Gratuities for the staff are at your discretion. If you wish to show your appreciation in this manner, there is a suitably marked envelope in your suite that you can hand directly to the Train Manager who will distribute any amounts on a pro-rata basis amongst the staff on board. An amount between US$10 and US$20 per person per night is suggested.
Please be sensitive to the adult nature and atmosphere of the train by keeping your children respectful and quiet. Long journeys are not recommended for under 13s. There are no child-minding facilities or activities for children on board.
Use of steam has become increasingly difficult over the years as more and more water and coaling facilities have been scrapped. Diesel or electric locomotives are used while steam is used in and around the area of Rovos Rail Station.
The track over which we travel is inconsistently maintained. If you wake at night imagining the train is travelling at high speed, be assured it is the state of the track below that is creating that impression. We restrict the train to 60km/h and over the bad sections reduce speed to as little as 20km/h. If you find it noisy, earplugs are available.
Meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. Breakfast is between 07h00 and 10h00, lunch at 13h00 and a formal dinner at 19h30. All meals are served at these times unless otherwise stated in the timetable. A gong heralds lunch and dinner. Tea is usually served at 16h30 in the midway Lounge Car or Observation Car at the rear of the train.
We will do our best to cater for dietary requirements provided a detailed request has been made on the Reservation Form. If a special request has not been made, the chefs will endeavour to prepare suitable meals with the ingredients available on board. We regret we are unable to provide meals requiring strict religious observance in the preparation.
For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for the gentlemen a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits. Please include warm clothing for cold mornings and evenings. With regard to off-train excursions, we strongly recommend comfortable walking shoes, sun lotion and hats as well as warm clothing for the game drives, which are on open vehicles and can get very cold.
Mobile Devices and Internet
In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your suites only. The reception is poor while the train is moving. It is advised to contact your service provider to ensure the correct settings for network services are activated. Internet is available at our Cape Town Lounge, Rovos Rail Station, Tau Game Lodge and Victoria Falls Hotel and at most of the accommodation used on the Cairo journey.
On board the train, smoking is allowed in the Club Lounge only. Please note on the Reservation Form provided if you are smoking or non-smoking so that the appropriate room might be requested at the hotels. Smoking is allowed in the privacy of your suite, but please be mindful that the train is generally made up of wood; please don’t throw flammable items such as cigarette or cigar butts off the train as bush fires in Africa are a constant and dangerous hazard.
There is a limited laundry service on board comprising household washers, dryers and steam irons. The turnaround is 48 hours so we are not able to handle a week’s worth of washing. Please note that while we are providing a complimentary service we cannot be held responsible for items that may be damaged or lost in the process. There are no dry-cleaning facilities en route or on board the train.
Each suite has a luggage rack that runs its length providing ample space for storage. On selected annual journeys, guests are provided with a Rovos Rail tog bag that can be used for overnight trips or hand luggage on aircraft. On the Cairo journey, luggage will be limited to the requirements of each aircraft – enquire with firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a small gift shop on the train and at Rovos Rail Station. Due to the varying exchange rates, credit cards are preferred. The host/ess on duty has a basic First Aid Kit and personal essentials (toothbrushes, razors, earplugs etc.). He/she will also fulfil any administrative requirements and check your onward arrangements. Stamps are available for sale and postcards may be posted in the post box at the entrance to the Observation Car or at Rovos Rail Station.
We would like to celebrate your special occasion with you. Upon boarding the train, please advise the Train Manager.
Books, Magazines and Games
There are board games, playing cards, a card table (dependent), books and magazines available for your use in the Lounge and Observation Cars whilst on board the train.
Electrical Current and Adaptors
220V AC 50Hz 3-point round-pronged wall plugs, 110V/220V 2-pin plugs for shavers. International adaptors available.
An electronic safe is provided in the cupboard in each suite.
There is an internal telephone system on board. Numbers are listed on the provided Guest List.
All public cars are fitted with gas-filled air-conditioning systems. Each suite has an individual air-conditioner with individual temperature controls that can also be set to heat mode. Fresh-air intake is solved by opening a window. Windows should be closed while operating the air-conditioning unit. Electric under-blankets are fitted on the bed. See General Info download for average temperatures.