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Angola to Tanzania Aboard Rovos Rail

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Luanda
  • Lobito
  • Rovos Rail
  • Huambo
  • Lubumbashi
  • South Luangwa National Park
  • Chishimba Falls
  • Selous Game Reserve
  • Dar Es Salaam
  • Zanzibar

22 Days Exploration
  • Departing:
  • 6 Aug 2025 Sold Out

Traverse the African continent from west to east aboard Rovos Rail. Africa’s most isolated locations welcome you to exchange modern life for an authentic immersion into the continent’s beating heart. Railway tracks stretch from coast to coast, looping through game parks teeming with wildlife and copper mining towns you’d be hard pressed to locate on a map. This journey is reserved for no more than 26 guests.

Journey Map

Tour Manager - Denise Van Sever

Tour Doctor - Dr Victoria Hayes

As Your Tour Manager, Denise Van Sever Welcomes You On This Journey

Your Accompanying Tour Doctor For This Journey Is Dr Victoria Hayes

Beginning in Luanda, we are transferred to the InterContinental Luanda Miramar. This evening, a Welcome Dinner gives us the opportunity to meet our fellow guests and Tour Host Team.

A morning tour of Luanda first brings us to Fortaleza de São Miguel, a war museum and national historic monument. We then stand before the towering monument erected in honour of Dr Agostinho Neto, the physician, poet, and first president of Angola. After lunch, we transfer to the airport for our flight south to Catumbela. A short drive then delivers us to the city of Lobito. We stay at the Hotel Terminus, along the narrow point that is Myrtle Beach. Select your choice of restaurant this evening.

The calm of Angola and its coast is a certain sign of the region’s remoteness – and the inspiration for our day’s exploration. A coastal drive brings us south to the city of Benguela. On arrival, explore the area’s Portuguese-influenced architecture; many buildings built in the baroque style can be seen here. We also have the opportunity to visit the church of Nossa Senhora do Pópulo, said to be the first stone building in the city, and the only one of its kind in southern Africa. Following lunch in Benguela, we return to Lobito to discover more of the fascinating port town’s history during a walking tour. Further dining options present themselves this evening.

Perhaps take the opportunity to do a final spot of exploring during a free morning. We then farewell Lobito, boarding Rovos Rail for our journey across the continent. Along iron tracks, we cross the Huambo province. Gather in the dining car and raise a glass to the adventures that lie ahead.

The central plateau of Angola is built upon crystalline rock and granite from the Paleozoic era. Huambo, one of the plateau’s old kingdoms, is our first stop. As the second largest city in Angola, there are many sites to see; we indulge our curiosity during a leisurely walk.

Our train pulls into Kuito this morning, and we enjoy a stroll through the town. We learn about the area’s Ovimbundu families, which consist of a male head who typically has several wives. Here, land is passed down through the family for agricultural purposes, upon which the local economy remains heavily reliant.

The steel wheels of our train set the morning’s pace. Linger over coffee, taking in each sight as it gradually passes before us. Alight in Luena for a discovery of Angola’s more-recent history. While returning to our train in the afternoon, we pass by villages, whose friendly residents may take a pause from their day’s work to say hello. Our journey sees us rolling alongside the Cassai River, whose catchment area encompasses a vast ecosystem, rich in fish species.

Cross the border into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As formalities are taken care of, we are educated on the country during a series of lectures. We further celebrate the remoteness of our surroundings while drawn to the passing vistas beyond the windows of the train’s lounge car.

Enjoy breakfast in the dining car as we continue our gradual traverse of the Congo. More onboard lectures today detail the historic and geographic aspects of this vast country. As day gives way to night once more, our train continues rolling eastward, toward the city of Kolwezi.

Mining is one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s greatest sources of income and is responsible for around 70 per cent of global cobalt production. During a morning in Kolwezi, we visit one of the world’s largest known copper and cobalt mining areas.

Our train rolls across the region’s copper-coloured terrain, headed for Lubumbashi. We spend the afternoon discovering the country’s second largest city during a guided drive. Return to Rovos Rail in time for dinner in the train’s dining car. We near the border of Zambia early this evening.

No journey to Africa is ever truly complete without a safari. We momentarily bid farewell to Rovos Rail, our bags packed for a two-night stay within South Luangwa National Park. A flight takes us into the heart of the park, where waiting vehicles guide us further across the savannah to Mfuwe Game Lodge. Upon our arrival, we enjoy a lunch of delicious local specialties. With our binoculars at the ready, we set off on a game drive across the Luangwa Valley. With our journey timed for Zambia’s dry season, sightings are assured, as a variety of species flock to the park’s scarce water supplies.

A collective birdsong serves as our alarm clock this morning. After an early breakfast, we join a game drive, watching the resident animals in the light of dawn. Return to the lodge in time for a hot stone or reflexology massage. The late afternoon is then dedicated to a second game drive. Our expert guide scours the dirt for animal tracks, in the hope they may lead to a candid display of daily life from the park’s lions, leopards, impalas or zebras. Winding down from the excitement of the day, we enjoy dinner and a nightcap back at our lodge.

Having flown to the Zambian city of Ndola, we rejoin Rovos Rail for our onward journey to Tanzania. Our train negotiates the many bridges and far-off terrain along the Tazara Railway, considered a vital link for the people and goods of the respective countries.

Cross the remote landscapes of Zambia aboard our train today. A vast expanse of the country’s territory is part of a high plateau reaching across Africa’s south and east. This produces an undulating and largely barren landscape. Sit back and relax, taking in these mesmerising scenes and enjoying the amenities of our rolling home.

Three waterfalls form Chishimba. The main falls are furthest from the entrance and drop into a chasm said to be the home of Zambian water spirits. After exploring this commanding natural site, we return to our train. Perhaps cool down with a crisp gin and tonic as we descend into the Rift Valley on our approach to Tanzania.

Follow in the footsteps of American travel writer Paul Theroux as we stop in at Makambako for a short exploration. Departing in an easterly direction, we then navigate dramatic switchbacks and tunnels through the Udzungwa Mountains, whose lush forests are home to a diverse array of endemic flora and fauna.

Our train winds gradually across the highlands, en route to Dar es Salaam. Before arriving in the country’s biggest city, though, we embark upon a discovery of Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s largest national parks. The reserve’s savannahs are broken up by pockets of various vegetation species and the sprawling Rufiji River. We keep our eye out for the majestic kudu, which makes its home here among plentiful buffalo, wildebeests and zebras. 

Our journey has been crafted to make the most of this prosperous region. We trade in our train tracks for the four wheels of the park’s game-viewing vehicles. The afternoon is dedicated to spotting as many of Selous’ resident creatures as we can, prior to rejoining Rovos Rail in time for dinner. Perhaps celebrate the day’s events with a white wine on the observation deck.

Our time traversing some of the world’s most isolated villages may leave us believing Dar es Salaam is but a mirage. As the sprawling city comes into view, however, we realise our time aboard Rovos Rail is nearing its end. Alighting the train, we immediately join a tour of the city’s key highlights. From Dar es Salaam, we then fly to the main island of the nearby archipelago of Zanzibar, making ourselves comfortable at the Park Hyatt Zanzibar. Choose from a selection of Zanzibar’s restaurants this evening for a taste of the island’s cuisine.

This morning, join a tour of Zanzibar’s Stone Town. The town’s name is said to derive from the proliferation of stone buildings erected by Portuguese colonists. The island reveals aspects of its dark past at the site of its former slave markets. Shortly after the slave trade was abolished here, Stone Town’s Anglican Cathedral was built on the site. From the nearby Sultan’s Palace, we admire the Indian Ocean views that the island’s leaders once enjoyed. The former residence serves as a museum today, while the palace’s garden accommodates the tombs of the sultans. Further history is unveiled at the Arab Fort. Employed as a means of defending Zanzibar’s Arab population from the Portuguese, the structure is comprised of Swahili architecture, while also incorporating features borrowed from Persian, Indian and European styles. A short stroll toward the waterfront brings us to the Forodhani Gardens, a popular meeting place, which also hosts a regular street market. Should you choose to, you are also free to relax at our hotel or explore independently. 

Following lunch at a local restaurant, Your World experiences offer the opportunity for further discovery:

— Appreciate how Zanzibar acquired its reputation as the spice islands during a visit to a farm within the village of Kizimbani. Our local guide explains how various spices are cultivated, processed, and utilised for nutrition, as well as medicinal and cosmetic purposes. 

— Relax and rejuvenate during a massage at our hotel’s tranquil spa. 

You may prefer to simply relax at our hotel or head out to explore on your own schedule.  

Choose your preferred dining venue again this evening.

Discover the secrets of the region’s flavours during a cooking class. Beginning at a local market, we purchase our ingredients before learning the finer points of Swahili cuisine. Afterwards, enjoy dining on the fruits of your labour. You’re also free to spend the morning unearthing a keepsake or two at one of the area’s local markets. Or simply relax at our hotel. 

This afternoon, take the opportunity to embark upon a final Your World experience:

— Enter Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park. Within its grounds, the Jozani Forest serves as one of the world’s last remaining sanctuaries of the red colobus monkey. Wander the forest’s nature trail, gazing skyward for a glimpse of these rare primates as they leap from tree to tree. 

— Retreat to our hotel’s spa for a restorative massage.

Alternatively, enjoy your remaining time exploring Stone Town at leisure or just relax at our hotel.

We reconvene for a Farewell Dinner this evening, celebrating our time in this seldom explored and fascinating region.

After breakfast today, we transfer to Zanzibar’s airport for our return flight to Dar es Salaam, where our remarkable journey reaches its end.