Africa by Rail: Hosted Luxury Rovos Safari 2025

From Johannesburg to Victoria Falls
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe
  • Luxury
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Tour Description

Africa by Rail , a 10 day luxury Rovos Rail Safari

Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, 28 August - 6 September 2025

HOSTED BY:

  • Hilary Barry - one of New Zealand's most beloved journalists and television presenters
  • Rachel Williams - Founder and Adventure Guru from Viva Expeditions.

Join us on an exclusive nostalgic journey across South Africa and Zimbabwe aboard Rovos Rail's vintage wood-panelled coaches, immersing yourself in the timeless allure of yesteryears. As the picturesque scenery unfolds outside the windows, indulge in attentive and warm service, exquisite dining experiences, and a handpicked selection of South Africa's finest wines, capturing the elegance and romance of African exploration. Rovos Rail's meticulously restored trains, hauled by diesel or electric locomotives, accommodate up to 72 passengers in 36 luxuriously appointed suites.

The meticulously restored trains, pulled by diesel or electric locomotives, accommodate a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 luxuriously appointed suites.  Three distinct suite options are available: Pullman Gold (7 square meters), Deluxe (10 square meters) and Royal (16 square meters). These refined and spacious suites prioritize passenger privacy and comfort, offering options of double or twin beds. Each suite is equipped with en-suite facilities comprising a shower, toilet, and basin, all meeting the highest standards. Ample storage is provided, along with safes, air-conditioning, quality linen, and amenities, with daily servicing to maintain the highest standards of comfort.

This bespoke experience seamlessly integrates opulent comfort with valuable networking opportunities, creating a platform for meaningful connections and collaborative discussions. Traverse stunning landscapes from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, while indulging in gourmet cuisine and fine wines onboard.

Encounter iconic destinations such as Kruger National Park, Kapama Private Game Reserve, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, and Hwange National Park, enjoying unique experiences that inspire creativity and foster professional growth. Whether forging new partnerships, exchanging ideas, or simply enjoying the luxury of Rovos Rail, this charter promises an enriching and unforgettable adventure tailored for the discerning traveler.  

WITH SPECIAL GUEST: HILARY BARRY

Hilary Barry is one of New Zealand's most beloved journalists and television presenters, known for her vibrant personality and engaging presence. With over three decades in broadcasting, Hilary has captivated audiences with her wit, charm, and insightful reporting. She first made her mark in radio before becoming a standout news anchor for TV3, and now co-hosts the hit breakfast show "Seven Sharp" on TVNZ 1.

Hilary's career is a testament to her versatility and dedication. She has covered some of the most significant national and international events, earning a reputation for her sharp intellect and warm, relatable demeanour. Her ability to connect with people from all walks of life has made her a household name and a trusted voice in New Zealand media.

But Hilary is more than just a media powerhouse; she's also a passionate advocate for social causes and an enthusiastic traveller. Her adventurous spirit and love for storytelling make her the perfect travel companion. We welcome you to explore the wonders of Africa with Hilary Barry sharing her insights, humour, and infectious energy along the way.

Please note, availability is limited on this one-off charter trip, so get in touch today to reserve your place onboard! 

 

Video Highlights

Viva's Best Bits...

Hosted by Hilary Barry - one of New Zealand's most beloved journalists and television presenters. Journey on the luxurious Rovos Rail and explore the wonders of Africa with Hilary Barry sharing her insights, humour, and infectious energy along the way.

Learn about the Endangered species center's conservation initiatives and the importance of protecting endangered wildlife. Its been instrumental in the conservation of specific endangered species, with a particular focus on cheetahs and rhinos.

Witness Hwanges spectacular Wildlife, the park's waterholes attract massive numbers of elephants during the dry season, making it one of the best places in Africa to observe these majestic creatures up close.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Johannesburg

On arrival, make your way to the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa.

Nestled within beautifully landscaped gardens, Fairlawns is an urban sanctuary centrally located in Johannesburg, offering a serene escape amidst the bustling city. Fairlawns prides itself on meticulous attention to detail and top-notch service, creating an intimate ambiance that attracts a diverse range of global personalities. The luxurious suites are uniquely designed with themes ranging from Eastern flair to French provincial, each equipped with modern amenities for ultimate comfort.

Day 2
Johannesburg Pretoria for Rovos Embarkation

Enjoy breakfast, then the group will be transferred to the exclusive Rovos station in Pretoria where we will enjoy a museum visit followed by welcome reception.

As we depart from the Rovos station in Pretoria, you may choose to freshen up before joining your fellow travellers in the lounge and observation cars where we will enjoy tea. Dinner will be served in the dining cars en route to Witbank

Day 3
Rovos

Today we enjoy the day on board travelling to Nelspruit.

The train journeys along the eastern route towards the rugged eMalahleni coal-mining region and Middelburg, renowned as the “stainless steel hub of Africa”. The Dutch railway construction firm, NZASM, constructed the eastern route linking Pretoria to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) from 1893 to 1895.

While aboard the train, there will be ample time to engage in networking, connecting with fellow travelers and sharing experiences. Dinner is served in the dining cars en route to Malelane.

Day 4
Kruger National Park

Enjoy an early breakfast today before a Full Day game viewing in Kruger National Park with lunch. Keep your binoculars at the ready as you search for the Big Five, along with a plethora of other fascinating creatures that call Kruger home. Marvel at graceful giraffes grazing in the distance, watch as herds of elephants gather at watering holes, and listen to the haunting calls of lions echoing through the bush.

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.

Return after an exciting day for Tea and dinner which is served in the dining cards en route to Hoedspruit.

Day 5
Kapama Reserve & Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

Today go in search of the big five in Kapama Game Reserve on a game drive accompanied by knowledgeable guides. Traverse the reserve's diverse terrain, from open savannahs to dense bushveld, as you track elusive leopards, watch towering elephants roam freely, and marvel at the grace of antelopes bounding across the plains.

Delve into the world of conservation at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Learning about their breeding programs, rehabilitation initiatives, and efforts to combat poaching. Witness up-close encounters with rare and vulnerable species, fostering a deeper understanding of the importance of wildlife preservation.

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.

Return to the train for lunch. Depart for Tzaneen and Louis Trichardt.

Breakfast and dinner is served in the dining cars.

Day 6
Limpopo Province

After breakfast continue north on board the train travelling to Rutenga in Zimbabwe.
Border formalities take place.

Limpopo Province is located 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.

Breakfast, Lunch and dinner are served in the dining cars.

Day 7
Great Zimbabwe Monument

After breakfast transfer to the Great Zimbabwe Monument for a tour with lunch.

Travel through attractive granite hill country to the Great Zimbabwe Monument, a hugely impressive monument and world UNESCO Heritage Site, 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.

Rejoin to the train at Oreti Siding. Dinner is served in the dining cards en route to Bulawayo.

Day 8
Hwange National Park

Enjoy breakfast and Lunch aboard before an afternoon game drive in Hwange National Park. As you venture into the park's vast expanse, keep your eyes peeled for sightings of Hwange's iconic residents, including massive elephant herds, graceful giraffes, elusive leopards, and an array of antelope species. With the expertise of experienced guides, uncover the park's hidden treasures and gain a deeper appreciation for its diverse ecosystems.

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.

Dinner is served in the dining cars en-route Victoria Falls.

Day 9
Arrive Victoria Falls - Disembarkation

After breakfast arrive Victoria Falls Station. Check out of train and meet for a walking tour the falls.

The little station of Victoria Falls was first reached by railway in June 1904. Old colonial buildings, bougainvillea and palm trees against the backdrop of the Victoria Falls Hotel form a charming oasis of soft sweetness after the rugged dryness of the landscape. The Victoria Falls is one of nature’s great revelations on a par with the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest and an erupting volcano. It is believed that there have existed no less than seven different Victoria Falls over the past two million years. These cascades correspond to the lower gorges of the Zambezi. The present falls is wearing from Devil’s Cataract northwards, eroding the softer material behind the present basalt base of the falls. When eventually all the soft matter has been removed, the Victoria Falls will move back, a fresh gorge will yawn and where the falls are now will become a new site for tourists. Although just over a mile long (1.7km), the falls are broken up by various small islands, including Livingstone Island. At their deepest, the falls are 108m deep at Rainbow Falls.

Afterwards you will be transferred to your hotel to enjoy lunch and some time at leisure. You will have time for an optional scenic helicopter over the falls - the best way to appreciate the grandness of the falls!

Later in the afternoon, you will be collected for a private sunset cruise. Time to enjoy your new friends, the beautiful African sunset with canapes and drinks.

Overnight at The Palm River Hotel including breakfast

Day 10
Victoria Falls

Today your arrangements conclude after breakfast.

You may choose to extend the neigbouring counties of Botswana and Zambia. Both countries offer exceptional opportunities for wildlife safaris. Botswana's Chobe National Park is famous for its large elephant herds, diverse birdlife, and predator sightings. The Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta is another wildlife paradise. Zambia's South Luangwa National Park is renowned for its walking safaris, allowing visitors to experience the bush up close. Talk to us today!

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 1 night Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa including breakfast
  • Included Copy 20 7 nights oboard Rovos in your chosen Suite
  • Included Copy 20 1 night Palm River Hotel including breakfast
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All Meals and all Beverages on board the train
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Tour escort ex Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Included Copy 20 Transfers from Fairlawns to Pretoria Station
  • Included Copy 20 Transfer from Victoria Falls Station to Palm River Hotel
  • Included Copy 20 Limited Laundry Service while on the train
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome Reception at Pretoria Rovos station
  • Included Copy 20 Room service and bar facilities while aboard Rovos
  • Included Copy 31 Optional Helicopter over the falls
  • Included Copy 7 Transfers from/to the airport, flights, insurance, gratuities, or anything not specified
Transportation

Rovos Rail

Activities

  • Included Search for the Big Five on a thrilling Full Day game drive in Kruger National Park
  • Included Witness herds of elephants, buffalo and other animals congregating around Hwange waterholes
  • Included Sample remote artisanal wine as you experience the old world charm of Rovos rail with friends
  • Included Learn about the rehabilitation and anti-poaching initatives of the Endangered species centre
  • Included Keep an eye out for colorful bee-eaters and majestic raptors while exploring Hwange.
  • Included Be amazed at the sheer power and beauty of the thunderous Victoria falls
  • Included Immerse yourself with nature as you explore Kapamas private game reserve on game drive
  • Included Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife action along the riverbanks while you cruise the Zambezi River
  • Included Witness the grand scale of the Falls from above with an optional scenic helicopter
  • Included Social activities with our tour hosts, including Hilary Barry.
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

10 days

Price from

$9,318 USD

Per person, sharing

Based on Pullman Suite

Select Date