Come July this year, Rovos Rail is set to connect Africa from the Indian Ocean on the East to Atlantic Ocean in the West through its half-a month epic journey from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Lobito in Angola by its vintage train, the Pride of Africa.
Counted as the most luxurious tourist train in the world, the Rovos Rail train or the “Pride of Africa” is set to roll from the Indian coastal city of Dar es Salaam on the eastern side of Africa, traversing across Tanzania, Zambia, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Lobito in Angola on the Atlantic Ocean.
This anticipated, epic journey from the eastern side to the western side of the African continent will be a historical, tourism event in the history of the Africa to see a passenger, tourist vintage train snaking its way through the Tanzania and Zambia Railway (TAZARA) to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.
From Zambia, the Pride of Africa train will roll through the Zambia Railways line from Kapiri Mposhi station then connect to the National Railways Company of Congo (SNCC) to join the Benguela Railway at Luau station in Angola closer to DR Congo border to Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean.
Reports from Rovos Rail headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa said that the inaugural voyage will set off on July 16 from Dar es Salaam to include a visit to the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania, a fly in two night safari in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and a city tour of Lubumbashi in DR Congo.
Thereafter, the luxury, vintage train will join the Benguela line for short walking tours detailing Angola’s recent history and later roll its way with the epic, historic journey ending in Lobito for a reverse, departing trip on the second day of August taking the same route.
Rovos Rail Communications Manager, Brenda Vos-Fitchet was quoted saying that the 15-day epic expedition traversing Tanzania, Zambia, the DR Congo and Angola will be the first in history of this part of Africa that a passenger train will travel from the eastern to western trail connecting the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Atlantic Ocean port of Lobito in Angola.
Travelling rates in this epic, vintage journey start at US$12,820 per person sharing, vary according to suite type and are fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, all alcoholic and other beverages, room service, laundry, an on-board historian and doctor as well as excursions and the fly-in two-night safari including accommodation, meals, bottled water and a limited wine selection as per released itinerary.
“To be able to introduce a new adventure after 29 years in operation is exciting and presents me with a refreshing operational challenge. It’s taken over two years to acquire permission and have our proposed itinerary approved by the respective authorities”, said Rovos Rail Owner and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Rohan Vos.
“My team and I have flown across our borders on a few occasions to meet the relevant officials, drive the route and conduct site visits in an effort to smooth the way as best we can for our band of intrepid travellers who will hopefully join us on this expedition,” he said.
Rovos Rail also operates a luxury train from Cape Town to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, along with several other journeys. The vintage train made its first maiden, northward trip to Dar es Salaam in July 1993 where tourists enjoyed travelling in old, Edwardian, 21 wooden coaches with a capacity to accommodate 72 passengers altogether.
The old wooden coaches are aged between 70 to 100 years, and have been furnished into passenger-worthy carriages.
Based in Pretoria, South Africa, Rovos Rail train or “The Pride of Africa” is all set to make true, the former Cecil Rhodes’ dream to connect the African continent from Cape Town to Cairo by rail.
The Rovos Rail luxury train follows Cecil Rhodes’ trails from the Cape, passing through Southern Africa to Dar es Salaam and links its passengers to other parts of the African continent through other railway networks in Eastern Africa.
Rovos Rail is a private railway company operating out of Capital Park Station in Pretoria, South Africa. Rovos Rail runs its vintage and epic tourist adventures through a regular schedule on various routes throughout Southern Africa including the fabulous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
During its northward journey to Tanzania, the Pride of Africa passes through historical and tourist attractive areas in southern Africa including the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the Kimberley diamond mines of South Africa, Limpopo and Kruger National Parks and the Zambezi River.
In Tanzania, the train pass through such tourist attractive sites in Southern Highlands including the picturesque Kipengere and Livingstone Ranges, Kitulo National Park, Selous Game Reserve, among other tourist eye-catching places.
By Apolinari Tairo