A lifelong passion sprinkled with fate, led Rohan Vos – owner and founder of the glorious Rovos Rail, to an auction where he would buy the very first coach that was destined to become the legendary South African success story that it is today!
On that day, the idea of running a vintage train as a business venture was born…..
Several coaches were purchased and taken to the Society’s yards in Witbank to be rebuilt. One of them, Private Saloon 15063, is still in service and another, an engineer’s caboose, stood at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront for many years where it served as the marketing and reservations office for Rovos Rail.
Consisting of a locomotive and seven carriages, the train was launched on 29 April 1989, with four paying passengers, friends and press setting off for the then Eastern Transvaal.
Since then, Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world-class travel experiences. In a series of bespoke train journeys lasting from 48 hours to 15 nights, Rovos Rail links some of the continent’s greatest destinations with a variety of off-train excursions.
A journey on this luxurious train, transports passengers back in time to the golden age of rail travel.
The train itself is a work of art, lovingly restored to its former glory, with wood-panelled walls, plush seating, and attentive staff ready to cater to every need. Vintage furnishings and exquisite attention to detail complete the elegant suites.
On board the train, passengers are treated to gourmet meals prepared by skilled chefs using locally sourced ingredients. The dining experience is a highlight of the journey, with beautifully set tables, exquisite china, and impeccable service. Each meal is accompanied by a selection of the finest South African wines, carefully chosen to complement the flavours of the dishes.
In the evenings, passengers can unwind in the classical lounge car, sipping on cocktails while listening to music or engaging in stimulating conversations with fellow travellers. The train also offers a small library, filled with books on African history and wildlife, providing the perfect opportunity for passengers to learn more about the places they are visiting.
As the train winds its way through the picturesque countryside, passengers can enjoy panoramic views from the observation car or relax in the comfort of their own suites with unique feature windows that open and close. On each journey, the train stops at various historic towns along the way, allowing passengers to explore and immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the region.
One of the most spectacular routes is the Rovos Rail Victoria Falls journey, combining the nostalgia of a bygone era with the natural beauty of Africa.
A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. passengers have the opportunity to explore the falls, taking in the awe-inspiring beauty and power of this natural marvel.
Whether you are a train enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique and luxurious travel experience, Rovos Rail is sure to exceed your expectations
The beautifully rebuilt trains, which may be hauled by diesel or electric locomotives, carry a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites and are also available for charter, while the Events Train caters for up to 250 guests and is suitable for daytime journeys.
The breath-taking landscapes, the luxurious train, and the warm hospitality of the staff will linger long after the journey is over.
Rovos Rail frequently run special two-for-one promotions for residents of South Africa and neighbouring countries –subscribe to their newsletter, to receive updates