Who can resist South Africa during wildflower season, especially when your hotel-on-wheels is Rovos Rail’s super-deluxe Pride of Africa? Includes four nights on the train while traveling two of its fabulous itineraries, and behind-the-scenes tour of Rovos Rail restoration shops! Also: a cruise on the Zambezi River for views of Victoria Falls. Geoff Cooke will lead. Optional private game reserve extension in Botswana.
Day 1: Arrive Cape Town. Arrive in Cape Town today. You will be met by our tour leader, Geoff Cooke, and transferred to the exciting Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to our beautiful five-star deluxe hotel, the Cape Grace. The waterfront is a lively area with shops, boutiques, cinemas, theaters, restaurants and cafés, and our hotel, exuding elegance and warm hospitality, is one of the finest in the world. Each of the rooms has French doors and breathtaking views of the harbor, Table Mountain or the yacht marina.
Day 2: Cape Town. Table Mountain. Today, tour Cape Town, the Malay Quarter, the Company Gardens and Cape Town Castle. Enjoy a cable car trip up Table Mountain for fantastic views (weather permitting). The day is capped by a sunset excursion to the beach on the Spier Vintage Train, pulled by 57-year-old steam locomotive The City of Cape Town. We toast the beginning of our journey in the beautifully restored bar carriage, watching the sun dip into the Atlantic Ocean. Meals included: (B).
Day 3: Winelands. This morning we head to the Cape Winelands, including Waterford Estate, in the lee of the Stellenbosch Mountains, and Clos Malverge Estate, in the Devon valley. We also will enjoy a short walking tour of the town of Stellenbosch. Lunch today will be in the Spier Wine Estate amid the tranquility and old-world charm of this famous region. Meals included: (B), (L).
Day 4: Cape Peninsula. Today’s highlight is a full-day trip to Cape Peninsula. The climax is the Cape of Good Hope where the warm waters of the Indian Ocean mix with the frigid waters of the Atlantic. We’ll take a funicular up to the lighthouse for a splendid view of the ocean followed by lunch. Tour also includes the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We’ll end the day on Signal Hill, toasting a beautiful sunset. Meals included: (B), (L).
Day 5: Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa. The most luxurious portion of our trip begins today as we head to the Cape Town train station for a special trip on Rovos Rail’s beautifully restored Pride of Africa. Members of our company rank this train among the top trains in the world. After a champagne send-off, we snake through the Hex River Valley and the town of Worcester. Lunch is served as we pass through Touws River, and in the evening, we visit the 100-year-old Milner Hotel in the perfectly preserved Victorian village of Matjiesfontein. It was founded as a refreshment stop in 1890. Dinner will be served in the romantic dining car tonight's superb cuisine and fine South African wines paired with the over-the-top service of the Pride of Africa. Accommodation on the train is in Deluxe Class Twin Suites, each with two twin beds. There are also a limited number of Royal Suites, which are larger and take up half a train car. Both types of suites are air-conditioned and have private, ensuite bathroom with shower. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Pride of Africa, Kimberley. After arrival in Kimberley, we disembark and proceed by coach, then historic railway tram on a city tour, visiting the Big Hole—the world’s largest man-made excavation—and the Mine Museum. Lunch at the Kimberley Club before returning to the train. Enjoy dinner tonight in the beautiful dining car. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Pretoria. Upon arrival in Pretoria, we will be treated to an exclusive "behind the scenes" tour of the restoration shed where the Rovos Rail coaches and steam engines are rebuilt and maintained. Enjoy a delicious lunch hosted by Rovos Rail within their lovely Capital Park Station. After a brief tour of Pretoria, we overnight close by in a stylish boutique-style hotel in the heart of Arcadia, a suburb of Pretoria. Meals included: (B), (L).
Day 8: Pride of Africa - Witibank. This morning, we head back to Rovos Rail’s station to begin our second memorable journey, to Victoria Falls, aboard this ultra-luxurious train. Lunch will be served as the train travels to Witibank, a rich coal-mining area where an intrepid young Winston Churchill leapt aboard a freight train to escape his Boer War captors. The Pride of Africa heads toward Mozambique, reaching its highest point at Belfast before descending the breathtaking Drakensberg Escarpment. This descent is one of the most challenging rail tracks in the world as the train winds through many switchbacks and tunnels. Tonight we’ll have dinner in the gorgeous dining car. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Pride of Africa - Kruger Park. Today we follow the edge of the world-famous Kruger Park towards the heart of South Africa’s celebrated game-viewing paradise. This morning we disembark the train for an exciting game park excursion to view some of Africa’s fabulous wildlife. In the afternoon, spend time in the train’s lounge car. We’ll sit back and relax as the panorama of the African landscape unfolds around us. Dinner on board tonight. Meals included: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Victoria Falls, Zambezi River Cruise. Enjoy breakfast as the train travels past tea estates, trout streams and natural woodlands as well as vast citrus farms before arriving in Pietersburg at about 8 a.m. Here, we are transferred to the Pietersburg Airport to board an historic vintage aircraft for the two-hour flight to the incomparable Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi River. We are transferred to the Royal Livingstone Hotel on the banks of the Zambezi. This evening at sunset, we take a "sundowner cruise" on the river. On past trips, IRT members have seen everything from baby giraffe to hippo, monkeys and elephants. Meals included: (B).
Day 11: Victoria Falls. Today, we take a walking tour of the incredible Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. Overlooking Devil’s Cataract, we gaze at the cloud of spray billowing from the chasm 650 feet below. We’ll walk through the rainforest and see the falls from various vantage points. This afternoon is at your leisure; walking, horseback and elephant-back safaris are all options you can choose on your own. Or perhaps you’d just like to relax at the swimming pool, enjoying the view of the Zambezi River before it crashes over the edge of the falls. Meals included: (B).
Day 12: Depart South Africa. Breakfast at the hotel, followed by some free time before we transfer to the Livingstone Airport for our flight to Johannesburg. Connect to flights back to U.S. Alternatively, depart today for Botswana for an optional game park adventure. Meals included: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Africa South Africa Zambia Botswana Local Culture Railway Trips Boating and Sailing