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Book one of our South Africa tours departing from September 2024 by 1st July 2024 and save £200 per person. Request a brochure

South African Rail Discovery

Home Icon 17-days from only £7,395 £7,195pp

South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world – and there is no better way to explore it than from the comfort of the ‘most luxurious train in the world,’ Rovos Rail. This brand-new tour promises adventure in abundance, meandering across the country at a leisurely pace along the rails, and with each calling point plenty of opportunity to fall in love with everything that makes South Africa so special.

Explore the jacaranda-lined streets of Pretoria and enjoy exhilarating game drives in some of the country’s most revered national parks and game reserves. Walk the battlefields of Spionkop, explore the history (and ostriches!) of Oudtshoorn, and see why Cape Town is continuously ranked as one of the most spectacular cities in the world. Leave your worries behind and explore the allure of South Africa through the lavish lens of Rovos Rail’s ‘Pride of Africa’ enjoying 12 spectacular all-inclusive nights. On board, guests can relax in comfort and style and experience wonderful service and cuisine.

Take the opportunity to explore Africa further by extending your holiday with a three-night stay at Victoria Falls, with a guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Victoria Falls and a cruise on the Zambezi included; or add a stay amid Botswana’s abundant wildlife and make it a fabulous six-night extension to Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park; or visit Cape Town with a three-night stay experiencing pristine beaches to rugged mountains, world-class cuisine and an incredible waterfront, the perfect addition to your African adventure.

SAVE £200 per person! Book one of our South Africa tours departing from September 2024 and save £200 per person. Offer ends 1st July 2024.

Day 1

Depart UK

South African Rail Discovery Day 1

Depart the UK from London Heathrow with British Airways. Connecting flights to London Heathrow from Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Belfast City are available at no extra cost.

Included meals:

In-flight meals and drinks

Day 2

Pretoria, Overnight

South African Rail Discovery Day 2

Our flight arrives into Johannesburg and we transfer to the idyllic Irene Country Lodge in Pretoria. Enjoy the range of facilities available at your disposal.

Included meals:

In-flight meals and drinks

Day 3

Pretoria

South African Rail Discovery Day 3

Late afternoon, we transfer to Rovos Rail’s private station in Pretoria, where our splendid luxury hotel-on-wheels awaits. For the next 13 days enjoy unparalleled comfort, from each wooden-panelled and tastefully decorated suite to the gorgeous dining cars where feasts await for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. As our train departs Pretoria, dress for dinner and enjoy your first evening on board.

Included meals:

Breakfast and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 4

Rovos Rail

South African Rail Discovery Day 4

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as the day is ours to relax and enjoy. See the rolling hills of eMakhazeni, eNtokozweni, and Dullstroom pass by from large panoramic windows. Around lunch, the view will shift to the majesty of the Drakensberg Mountains, named for the ‘dragon spine’ that the Voortrekkers saw when gazing at these spiked, weathered peaks. The same range is referred to as uKhahlamba in isiZulu, meaning ‘barrier of spears’. Enjoy a drink in the lounge prior to dinner.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 5

Kruger National Park

South African Rail Discovery Day 5

Tour Highlight

Rise for an early breakfast this morning to fuel us for our game drive in the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Established in 1898 to protect South Africa’s beautiful wildlife, the Kruger is home to 147 mammal species, 114 reptile species, 507 bird species, and 336 tree species. Visitors flock from around the globe to see the Big Five – hopefully we will have some good sightings. After lunch, we return to the train for tea in the lounge car, followed by dinner. Sink into the softness of your bed and dream of lions roaring.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 6

eSwatini (Swaziland)

South African Rail Discovery Day 6

This morning we complete border formalities and cross into the Kingdom of eSwatini. Completely landlocked and surrounded by South Africa, this tiny Kingdom’s beauty belies its diminutive size. Also known by its former name Swaziland, we visit the Swazi Candles Centre, followed by the ‘living’ Mantenga Cultural Village. Both attractions provide us with the opportunity to learn about the culture and heritage of eSwatini. Following lunch, we return to our train, crossing back into South Africa this afternoon.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 7

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park

South African Rail Discovery Day 7

Tour Highlight

Enjoy an early breakfast this morning before heading out for today’s adventure. We transfer to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park for another game drive. Hluhluwe boasts of being the oldest reserve in Africa. Whilst far smaller than Kruger at 960km2, it is known for its rich wildlife (including the Big Five) and extensive conservation efforts. After our exciting game drive, we return to our train for lunch and travel south along the Indian Ocean coastline.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 8

Durban

South African Rail Discovery Day 8

After breakfast, we head into South Africa’s third-largest city, Durban. We explore the stunning botanical gardens and enjoy lunch with panoramic views of the beachfront at nearby Umhlanga. Spot the iconic lighthouse and count the ships that dot the silver horizon, awaiting notice from the harbour. Return to the comfort of our train for afternoon tea, accompanied by the view of the aptly named Valley of a Thousand Hills, prior to dinner.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 9

Spionkop

South African Rail Discovery Day 9

After breakfast, we travel back in time as we transfer to Spion Kop Lodge (arranged by Rovos Rail). Here we learn of the battle fought on 24th January 1900 during the Second Boer War that led to a calamitous British defeat, where Winston Churchill, Louis Botha, and Mahatma Gandhi were all present! Following lunch, choose to relax at the lodge or embark on an afternoon game drive. We return to the train late afternoon, where we can relax prior to dinner.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 10

Golden Gate National Park

South African Rail Discovery Day 10

Today’s adventure first takes us on a drive through Golden Gate National Park. Situated in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains, the park is known for its eroded sandstone cliffs and outcrops in shades of orange-hue and golden ochre. We visit the quaint town of Clarens, and continue to the Sandstone Heritage Trust, where we can view an impressive collection of heritage trains. Our train meets us at Bethlehem, where we’ve time to freshen up and maybe enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 11

Bloemfontein

South African Rail Discovery Day 11

This morning finds us in Bloemfontein, or as it is known by the locals ‘Bloem’, the judicial capital of South Africa. In Afrikaans, Bloemfontein translates as ‘fountain of flowers’ and we find the streets lined with thousands of rose bushes as we tour the city. As well as being the birthplace of JRR Tolkien, ‘Bloem’ is filled with history and we enjoy a visit to the highly regarded Anglo-Boer War Museum. We re-join our waiting train and begin our journey across the mesmerising Karoo, a semi-desert which was once an inland sea. Admire the unique vegetation and scattered towns dotted with the charming windmills that characterise the region. We slowly descend the Great Escarpment as we wind our way back to the coast.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

 

Day 12

Addo Elephant National Park

South African Rail Discovery Day 12

Another morning, another adventure! Following breakfast, we head into the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa’s third largest reserve. Addo stretches from the Karoo over the Zuurberg Mountains and Sundays River Valley, all the way to the coast. The park is home to one of the densest elephant populations in the world and an experience that we won’t soon forget. After our game drive, we return to the plush comforts of Rovos Rail for lunch. As the afternoon rolls by visit the train’s quaint gift shop, browse the extensive drinks offering, and enjoy your meals alongside vistas of the South African landscape.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 13

Knysna

South African Rail Discovery Day 13

Today, we pack an overnight bag (a tog bag will be placed in our suites for our convenience) for our stay at Fancourt Hotel & Resort (arranged by Rovos Rail). Upon arrival at Port Elizabeth, we disembark and travel via Oudebosch to Knysna on South Africa’s renowned Garden Route. At Knysna we board our waiting ferry for our tour of Knysna lagoon. View the magnificent Knysna Heads, two gargantuan sandstone cliffs that stand sentinel to the lagoon mouth. Later, we transfer to the magnificent Fancourt Hotel & Resort, perched at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 14

Oudtshoorn

South African Rail Discovery Day 14

This morning we visit Oudtshoorn, another semi-desert region at the foothills of the imposing Swartberg Mountains. The town is regarded as the heart of the ‘Klein Karoo’ and back in the ostrich boom of the early 20th century, provided much of the world’s boas and feathered hats, adorning socialites and fashionistas alike. Following a fascinating tour of an ostrich farm our afternoon visit takes us to the ancient Cango Caves, with its massive dripstone halls and monumental limestone formations. Later we travel to Prince Albert Road Station, where our luxury train awaits to welcome us back on board for our final evening. As evening descends, don your finest attire and enjoy a final dinner with the many friends we have made on our journey together.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 15

Cape Town, Overnight

South African Rail Discovery Day 15

Our final day on board as we view the spectacular mountain ranges and the scenic winelands passing by. Early evening brings our arrival into Cape Town and we bid a fond farewell to Rovos Rail. We transfer to the hidden gem of the Camps Bay Retreat for our overnight stay.

Included meals:

Breakfast and lunch PLUS selected on-board drinks

Day 16

Depart Cape Town

South African Rail Discovery Day 16

After two weeks making memories, it is finally time to make our way back home. We head to the airport for our flight to London Heathrow.

Included meals:

Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks

Explore more of Africa…

Why not extend your Southern Africa holiday with our magical three-night holiday extension to Victoria Falls, or add a stay amid Botswana’s abundant wildlife and make it a fabulous six-night extension to Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park or visit Cape Town with a three-night stay experiencing pristine beaches to rugged mountains, world class cuisine and an incredible waterfront.

Day 17

Arrive UK

South African Rail Discovery Day 17

We arrive at Heathrow in the morning with packed bags and minds full of memories of our African adventures. Those continuing to other regional UK airports will connect via London Heathrow.

Included meals:

In-flight meals and drinks

Departure dates & prices

Departure datePullman SuiteDeluxe SuiteAvailabilityOffer
 2024
 16 October£7,395 £7,195£9,595 £9,395JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person
29 October*£7,395 £7,195£9,595 £9,395JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person
 2025
31 March£7,795 £7,595£9,995 £9,795JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person
23 April£7,795 £7,595£9,995 £9,795JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person
19 October£7,795 £7,595£9,995 £9,795JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person
3 November*£7,795 £7,595£9,995 £9,795JUST LAUNCHEDSAVE £200 per person

* These dates operate in the reverse direction to the itinerary featured, beginning in Cape Town and finishing in Pretoria.

Prices
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin or double room.

Single occupancy supplement
Pullman Suite: £2,995
Deluxe Suite: £3,995

Deposit:
Pullman suite: £2,000 per person if travelling economy class, £2,950 if travelling World Traveller Plus, £4,750 per person for Club World.

Deluxe suite: £2,500 per person if travelling economy class, £3,450 if travelling World Traveller Plus, £5,250 per person for Club World.

Flight upgrades:
British Airways upgrade to World Traveller Plus from £1,395 per person, or Club World from £3,895 per person.

Visa information
A visa is not required for travel to South Africa. However, if you are planning to visit Victoria Falls or Chobe National Park, visa’s for Zimbabwe will be required. Rovos Rail will help facilitate this whilst travelling onboard. NOTE: If you are planning to take our Chobe National Park holiday extension you will require a double entry visa for Zimbabwe.

For more information on applying for your visa and the associated costs, please refer to our FAQ’s page.

Important information
Our holiday prices are subject to fuel surcharges and the availability of flights in the lowest fare booking class. The correct price will always be confirmed to you before you book, and once you have booked, our Price Promise will guarantee there will be no further increases.

For full booking conditions see our booking conditions page.

So much included

At Distant Journeys, we offer a leisurely and flexible tour of South Africa with so much included in the price. Your scheduled international flights, overseas transfers, expertly chosen hotels, daily breakfast, services of a Train Manager, and many amazing excursions are all included.

Flights with leading scheduled airlines

  • Return economy flights with British Airways London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Belfast City Airport.
  • All airport charges, security charges and any applicable fuel surcharges
  • UK Air Passenger Duty

Carefully selected hotels

  • First class and deluxe hotels in great locations
  • All hotel porterage
  • Applicable hotel taxes

Many meals

  • Daily breakfast

All-inclusive on Rovos Rail

  • 12-nights onboard Rovos Rail
  • All meals on board
  • Selected alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, on board
  • Services of a Train Manager

Unforgettable experiences

  • Sightseeing tour in Durban
  • Game drives in Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park, Spionkop Game Reserve and Addo Game Reserve
  • Visit the Spionkop battlefields
  • Explore Knysna Lagoon
  • Visit an Ostrich farm
  • Explore the Cango Caves

On the ground

  • All overseas transfers and transport

100% confidence

  • Your holiday is covered by our Price Promise
  • Your holiday is fully ATOL protected

Irene Country Lodge Hotel, Pretoria

For your visit to Gauteng, known as South Africa’s economic capital, you’ll be staying in the historical village of Irene. Here, your accommodation will be the enchanting African Pride Irene Country Lodge. As you approach the lodge, you’ll travel down… Find out more >
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  •   Official rating
  • Star-Rating-4-5
  •   Distant Journeys rating

Rovos Rail

Distant Journeys are proud to offer some of the world’s best rail tours across our destinations. A unique and memorable journey awaits you on the Rovos Rail. For more than 30 years, family-run Rovos Rail has operated rail journeys through… Find out more >

Camps Bay Retreat, Cape Town

Camps Bay Retreat is a true hidden gem with views across the Atlantic Ocean and the peaks of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. Set amongst four acres of a verdant green nature reserve in the delightful Cape Town suburb of… Find out more >
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  •   Official rating
  • Star-Rating-4-5
  •   Distant Journeys rating

Holiday Extensions

Take the opportunity to explore Africa further by extending your holiday with a three-night stay at Victoria Falls, with a guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Victoria Falls and a cruise on the Zambezi included; or add a stay amid Botswana’s abundant wildlife and make it a fabulous six-night extension to Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park; or visit Cape Town with a three-night stay experiencing pristine beaches to rugged mountains, world-class cuisine and an incredible waterfront, the perfect addition to your African adventure.


Victoria Falls Tour

3 night Victoria Falls tour from £1,595pp

Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of awe-inspiring beauty, described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 19th century as Mosi-oa-Tunya: ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. As Victoria Falls is only a short flight from Johannesburg,…

Find out more >


Hippo' eyes and ears poking out of the water in a river in Africa

Victoria Falls & Chobe National Park Tour

6 nights from £2,855pp

Victoria Falls is one of our planet’s greatest natural wonders. Just a short flight from Johannesburg, it is the world’s largest waterfall and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In neighbouring Botswana, Chobe National Park is a true wildlife paradise and…

Find out more >


Cape Town

Cape Town Extension

3 nights from only £645pp

Welcome to Cape Town, a city that effortlessly weaves together natural beauty, rich history and a vibrant culture. With the awe-inspiring Table Mountain as its backdrop, the city has so much to offer, from the colourful streets of the Bo-Kaap,…

Find out more >


Customer reviews  feefo logo

This is a new tour with the inaugural departure in 2024. This page will be updated with reviews as soon as our returning customers are contacted by the independent reviews company Feefo. In the meantime, please feel free to look at the reviews for some of our other tours to South Africa – we’re sure you will be impressed with the service our guests receive and the great reviews they kindly give us!

South African Rail Discovery 2024_25

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