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ROVOS RAIL LUXURY TRAIN

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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FAQS

ROVOS RAIL LUXURY TRAIN FAQS

We know you have many questions regarding booking the Rovos Rail experience. Below are the most common questions, along with important information about trips. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK ?

This tour by train is a very exclusive one with only a few departures throughout the year. We strongly recommend that clients book their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. This is especially true for higher-level cabins, which are in high demand.

CAN YOU OBTAIN & ADVISE ON THE VISAS FOR US ?

Visas can be very complicated so it is a good idea to use a specialist agent. We also recommend CIBT Visa Central, who provide a reliable service for all visas required for your trip. We provide all documentation that is required to support your application. It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that passports and visas are valid before departing for Africa. Passports should have at least five pages of blank visa pages. They must also be valid for at most six months after your return-home date.

We travel to South Africa, eSwatini and Namibia. Port-of-entry visas are available for some nationalities. You will have access to immigration forms at the airport. You should bring at least US$200 cash. You must obtain visas for Angola and DRC before you travel. When possible, we request that Tanzanian visas be obtained before you travel.

ARE YOUR TOURS FINANCIALLY PROTECTED ?

Yes! All our trips come with financial protection either through our ATOL if the trip includes a flight or insurances which comply with the UK package travel regulations for any trip that does not include a flight. In addition our ABTA membership means we must adhere to their strict code of conduct.

CAN YOU BOOK INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FOR US ?

Absolutely! With our ATOL license, we are able to book domestic and international flights. Because we are an appointed operator, we can get the best British Airways deals.

CAN YOU BOOK FURTHER TRAVEL FOR US ?

Yes, we can extend your trip to allow you to see more of the places at the other end. Just ask us for details.

SCHEDULING TIMES, ROUTES & EXCURSIONS

Rovos Rail relies solely on the railway and traction services provided by the countries we travel. We are disappointed when these services stop working due to problems with drivers, signals, overhead power-cable damage, theft and vandalism. Reliance on national organizations can cause delays. Rovos Rail cannot be held responsible for delays or changes to tour arrangements caused by natural or unavoidable factors. Rovos Rail reserves all rights to alter or cancel our itinerary, any excursions or tour departure dates, provided that we are able to offer alternative departure dates or excursions. Rovos Rail can't guarantee excursions, departure or arrival times. While we are obligated to transport guests from departure to destination points according to schedule, any obligation to provide excursions will be overridden by our obligation. However, we will endeavor to offer all off-train experiences. Due to delays in flights, we strongly advise against booking same-day air travel for departure/arrival days.

POSTAGE

The Gift Shop sells stamps. For posting, you can hand your postcards to the Administration Deputy.

GUEST INDEMNITY

While limited insurances may have been purchased, Rovos Rail Tours Ltd (Pty) Ltd, Shongololo Express (herein collectively referred as "Rovos Rail") will not be responsible for the loss or damage of passengers' luggage and other personal effects. While wild animals may be an occasional part of some tours, Rovos Rail and its agents, servants, or employees are not liable for any injuries or incidents that might occur to passengers or their belongings. Rovos Rail, its agents, servants, employees, and sub-contractors are hereby released from any claims that the passenger may have against them for any injury or loss whatsoever, including without limitation the generality the aforementioned, consequential loss. This includes any transport used for the tour. This waiver is binding on the executors, heirs or trustees of the passenger and their dependants. All services and facilities offered to passengers are voluntary and made with the full knowledge that they could cause injury, danger, or loss. The passenger also records that all services and facilities provided to him/her are voluntary. This waiver shall not be affected by any statements, representations, or information made by Rovos Rail.

Upon reservation, Our T&C will be considered accepted and strictly adhered to.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Rovos Rail reserves all rights to use any photographs/films taken on tour by its staff for public relations purposes, without compensation or permission.

CHILDREN

Rovos Rail, Shongololo Express and Shongololo Express are both open to children. However, we ask that parents be respectful of the adult atmosphere and train's adult nature by making sure their children remain quiet and respectful. There are no activities or child-minding services available onboard. For children under 13, long journeys are not recommended. Travelling with children between the ages of 0 and 2 years is not allowed. Children younger than five years old are not allowed in the lounge and dining cars. You can order room service. The chefs will make every effort to prepare delicious meals using the ingredients onboard. Two guests are allowed to share a suite or cabin. A child below the age of 5 years old can share a cabin with up to two adults in a Deluxe, Royal, or Emerald category. However, should there be a child over the age of five, he/she should have his/her own suite/cabin(conditional). If parents are uncomfortable with this option, they could share the room with their child. Children aged 3-9 years pay 75% of the adult per-person sharing rate, while those aged 10+ pay the full rate.

ROVOS RAIL STATION TOUR & MUSEUM

The private station headquarters at Capital Park, Pretoria is a highlight for guests. There, over 400 people work tirelessly to maintain the trains and locomotives to the highest standards. This bustling hub is home to a world-class provisioning operation, which is known for its efficiency and attention. This tour will take you through the workings of the company. A museum houses a collection of historical train paraphernalia.

CHECK-IN

Check-in at least one hour before your departure. We recommend arriving at least two hours before departure if you plan to visit the museum or take a tour of Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria. We recommend that you delay your pick-up if Pretoria is your destination. At check-in, passports are required. Vouchers are not required. You will receive a complete itinerary pack and your luggage will be tagged.

AMENITIES

Rovos Rail offers a complete amenity kit with the following South African products: soap (25g), tissues, shampoo (30ml), conditioner (30ml), bath and shower gel (30ml), hand and body lotion (30ml), lip balm (4.8g), sun cream SPF50 (8ml), insect repellent gel (8ml), cotton-wool pads, ear buds, a shoe mit, nail file, small sewing kit, ear plugs and a shower cap.Plug-in hairdryers - in addition to your bathroom unit (if applicable) - are available on board.

PETS

Pets and emotional-support animals are not allowed on the train.

CURRENCY

South Africa Rands only. All major credit cards are accepted on the train. Rands can be used in Namibia and eSwatini as well as South Africa. US dollars are accepted in Zimbabwe, Tanzania (Dar es Salaam), DRC, and Angola. Cash is strongly recommended. Major dealers and hotels accept credit cards. US Dollars that were printed prior to 2013 or that are worn out will not be accepted. For shopping or gratuities, it is recommended to use low denominations. It is recommended to exchange money into local currency (especially Tanzanian) in larger denominations as it will give you a better rate.

DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

If you have any food allergies, we can accommodate your request. The chefs will try to prepare suitable meals using the ingredients onboard if a special request is not made. We are sorry that we cannot prepare meals that require strict religious observance.

DINING

All meals on board are served in one place in the dining cars. Breakfast from 07:00-10:00. Lunch at 13:00. Tea at 16:30. Formal dinner at 19:30. Bar service begins at 07:00 and ends at 01:00. Unless otherwise noted in the timetable, all meals are served at these times. Lunch and dinner are served by a gong.

HOW DO I MAKE A BOOKING

Call our office on +44 020 8191 0620 or email enquiry@theluxurytraintravelcompany.com and speak to one of our consultants. Provisional reservations can be held for up to 7 days without payment. After this time confirmation is required or the cabin will be provisional reservation will be released. Upon receiving confirmation, an invoice will be issued and deposit payment is due upon receipt of this. The deposit payment secures your place on the tour.

IS THERE A CHARGE FOR USING A CREDIT CARD ?

Credit card transactions are subject to a 2% surcharge. Debit card transactions are free of charge.

WHEN IS THE DEPOSIT DUE ?

After we receive your travel confirmation, we will issue you an invoice and a confirmation letter. After receipt of the invoice, the deposit will be due to confirm the trip. Deposit payments cannot be refunded.

WHEN IS THE FINAL BALANCE DUE ?

The balance is due 90 days prior to departure. We will not issue a final balance so please make a note of the balance due date. Cancellations received within 90 days of departure are subject to full loss of payment.

ELECTRICITY

220V AC 50Hz 3-point, round-pronged wall outlets and 110V/220V 2-pin sockets for chargers and shavers. Each suite has USB ports. International adaptors available. Generators provide power. When servicing is necessary, certain power interruptions may be required.

DO YOU ISSUE A TRAIN TICKET ?

You do not need to have a train ticket in order to board our trains. A ticket for the train or travel vouchers will not be issued to you.

GRATUITIES

You can give staff gratuities at your own discretion. You can express your appreciation by leaving a note in your room. The Train Manager will then distribute the money on a share basis among the staff. Depending on how long your journey is, you might consider tipping between ZAR100 and 300 (+- US$10-20 per person per night). It is customary to tip lodge staff and guides at game lodges an average ZAR150 (+- US$10) per person per day.

DRESS CODE

Daytime attire onboard is smart casual. Long journeys offer themed evenings, where guests can dress up or wear smart casual.
* Golf Safari, African Collage and Dar es Salaam. 1 x AFRICA evening, 1 x 1920s evening. Check out the itineraries.
* Namibia Safari: 1x "AFRICA” evening. Itineraries.
Off-train excursions: Comfortable walking shoes, sun lotion, and hats are recommended. You can also purchase rain caps and blankets if you need them.
Game drives take place on open vehicles, so dress appropriately: Mornings can be cold and then warm up significantly; afternoons can become warm and then cool down substantially. As a guide, please refer to the average temperatures.

DRESSING GOWNS

For each guest, we provide a one-size-fits all gown and slippers to use on the train. They are also available for purchase in the Gift Shop if you want to take one home.

GIFT SHOP / ADMINISTRATION

A small gift shop is available at Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria. Credit cards are preferred due to the fluctuating exchange rates. The Administration Deputy on duty has a basic First Aid Kit and personal essentials(toothbrushes, razors, earplugs etc.). The Administration Deputy on duty will assist with any administrative needs and verify your onward arrangements.

LANGUAGES

Most staff speak English and other local languages. Translations of itineraries and information on board will be available for most long-distance journeys.

LAUNDRY

A limited laundry service (10 items per day) is available onboard. It includes household washers, dryers, and steam irons. We can't handle one week of laundry as the turnaround time is 48 hours. We do not have dry-cleaning facilities onboard or en route. This is a complimentary service and we are not responsible for any items lost or damaged.

LOCOMOTION

As more coaling and water facilities are being abandoned, steam usage has become more difficult. While steam is used around Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria, only diesel or electric locomotives can be used.

LUGGAGE

You can store your luggage under the bed in your room or on top of the door on a luggage rack. This provides plenty of storage space. Although there are no restrictions regarding luggage, we recommend not bringing more than two large suitcases. A Rovos Rail bag is provided for long-haul flights. It can be used to carry luggage or overnight on board. On plane transfers, a soft bag is preferred due to the 15kg luggage weight limit.

MEDICAL

All guests are responsible for ensuring that they can participate in the activities and tours.
* A doctor is on board for the 15-day Dar es Salaam or Lobito journeys.
* It is recommended to take anti-malarial precautions. Areas affected by malaria: eSwatini and Kruger Park, Northern Botswana.
* Recommendations for immunization (not necessary): Hepatitis B + B, Polio (low risk), Tetanus, Cholera.
* Ebola is only confined to the northeastern region of DRC. The Lobito journeys take us to the southern tip of the country, thousands of miles away.
* Yellow Fever/Medical exemption Certificate required for travel to/from Angola and DRC. While not required by all countries visited, they are often required for countries guests return to following their trip.
* Please consult your doctor or clinic. TRAVELDOCTOR AFRICA, local 0861 300 911 or international +27(0) 11 214 9030.

MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

Every train comes equipped with standard medical equipment, oxygen, an automated external, and a wheelchair. Private hospitals are available for emergencies. Private hospitals are not always available outside of South Africa. We can arrange for evacuation by road or air to a hospital if necessary (own account). Our Train Managers are all certified in First Aid, up to Level 3, and have been trained in emergency situations. However, we strongly recommend you speak with your travel insurance company to discuss your concerns and ensure that they provide the appropriate coverage to cover you for such an event.

MOBILITY

Although we can accommodate guests with walking problems, we recommend that a able-bodied passenger accompany them. The train is not suitable to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers. Should you have mobility impairments/restrictions or special requirements, we urge you to inform your travel agent or Rovos Rail at the time of booking. Mobility Info at rovos.com.

SECURITY

Each suite has an electronic safe in its cupboard. We ask guests to shut shutters, or better shutters and windows, when they are not in their suites. When passing through stations, please be especially careful. All train doors are locked from the inside. You can lock your suite door from the inside.

THE TRACK

The track we travel on is not maintained in a consistent manner. You may wake up at night and imagine the train traveling at high speed. This is due to the track conditions below. The train can travel at 60km/h (37mph), and speed is reduced to 20km/h (12mph) on bad sections. Earplugs can be purchased in the Gift Shop and in your amenities bag if you find it too noisy.

WATER

Each coach has water tanks that hold the water. These tanks are emptied daily, but cannot be topped-up while the train travels. Help us to use water responsibly. The water inside the suites is filtered and chlorinated. It is safe to use for brushing teeth and bathing. You can drink the bottled water that is provided.

MAGAZINES, MAPS & GAMES

You can use the lounge or observation car to play cards, board games, and a card table (dependent), as well as magazines and books. You will find a map and an itinerary in your suite. Journeys magazine contains articles about your route. You can purchase a more detailed map in the Gift Shop if the provided map is not complete enough.

MOBILE DEVICES & INTERNET

Radios and television sets are prohibited on trains to preserve the traditional spirit of train travel. You can only use your suites to communicate with other guests using mobile phones and laptops. While the train is moving, reception is not good. To ensure that network services are properly activated, it is a good idea to contact your service provider. Wi-Fi access is available in our lounges in Cape Town, Pretoria, and most off-train accommodations (although it may not always be guaranteed).

SERVICE

An assigned host/ess is available 24/7. You can reach them via the telephone from your suite. The suite is cleaned every day and the room is turned down each night. To assist with any questions, the Train Manager and Deputy Manager are available throughout the journey. The Gift Shop is home to the Administration Deputy, who is available for administrative needs.

SPECIAL OCCASIONS

We'd love to hear about your celebration at the time you make your reservation.

TEMPERATURE & TIME ZONES

All public carriages are equipped with gas-filled air conditioning systems. Each suite is equipped with an air conditioner that has temperature controls and can be set to heat mode. When the air conditioner is being operated, it is important to close all windows. An electric under-blanket is fitted to the bed.

SMOKING

Smoking is only permitted in the Club Lounge. However, guests who do smoke should be aware that the train is primarily made of wood. Do not throw cigarettes or cigar butts onto the train. Bush fires in Africa pose a danger and are a constant danger. It is important to let the hotel/lodges know if you smoke or not at the time you make your reservation.

SUITES & COACHES

Measurements in centimetres = Length x Height.
Every train has accommodation carriages and dining cars. There is also a small gift shop, lounge car (+-26), small gift shop, smoking lounge (+-11) and observation car (+32) with an open-air balcony. Suites offer privacy and comfort for passengers with twin or double beds. They also have high-quality fittings and facilities.

All rooms have an en-suite bathroom with a shower, toilet, basin, bath, and a bathtub (Royal only), safes, air conditioning, and linen. They are all serviced every day. You will find adequate storage, small cabinets with hangers and shelves.

IS INSURANCE INCLUDED & DO I NEED IT ?

You must ensure that you are fully covered for all medical expenses while on holiday. In case of incapacity to travel, we recommend cancellation insurance. For more information, please contact us.

CABIN CLASSES

Full details on the cabin classes available on Rovos Rail luxury train.
LEARN MORE

LIFE ON BOARD

Learn about life on board the Rovos Rail Luxury Train and what makes it special.
LEARN MORE

VIEW TOURS

View all the Rovos Rail tours we offer to get your trip going.
LEARN MORE

Gail & Cathy

★★★★★
"I can’t tell you how much we appreciate all the pre planning you helped us with. Thanks again for all you did for us."

Shakuntala

★★★★★
"We are back and throughly enjoyed all the arrangements you made on our behalf .Thanks for making our dreams come true."

Pauline & Brenda

★★★★★
"Thank you so much for organising our trip of a lifetime. Brenda and I loved every moment. Very best wishes to you."

CONTACT

CONTACT US ABOUT ROVOS RAIL

We look forward to hearing from you and are happy to answer any questions you have - just call us or use the form below.
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We hold ATOL license 10287 so booking with us gives you 100% financial protection. We are also members of the Association of British Travel Agents. ABTA has strict membership requirements and we are required to adhere to the associations high standards. Our ABTA number is Y1699.
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