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ANGOLA TO TANZANIA ABOARD ROVOS RAIL

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

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

18 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 29 Jul 2020

Switch off from the rest of the world and traverse the African continent from west to east aboard Rovos Rail. We welcome you to Africa’s most isolated locations, exchanging modern life for an authentic immersion into the continent’s beating heart. The 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.

Map

We are brought directly to our residence, Hotel Terminus. Hidden away all but for a busy port, Lobito and its surrounding areas are the perfect starting point from which to unravel the country’s little-known secrets. Perhaps travel to Benguela to explore the Portuguese-influenced architecture aboard an antique train. Or, spend the day fishing for giant tarpon. The chance also arises to discover the port town’s history on a walking tour.

Before the heat of the day sets in, further explore Lobito with a morning walking tour. Rovos Rail awaits in all its splendour, prepared to carry us across the Huambo province. 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.

Our train pulls in to Kuito, and we take a moment on our own schedule to enjoy a stroll through the town. We will learn about Ovimbundu families in the area, which consist of a male head who typically has a number of wives. Here, land is passed down through the family for agricultural purposes on which the local economy is heavily reliant. Alight for a discovery of Luena, learning of Angola’s recent history and passing by local villages.

Border formalities are taken care of while we become educated on the country through a series of lectures. Remoteness is celebrated in this part of the world, and we have the perfect excuse to disconnect. Mining is one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s greatest sources of income and is responsible for over 50 per cent of global cobalt production. In Kolwezi, we visit one of the world’s largest known copper and cobalt mining areas.

Our train cuts across copper-coloured dust, headed for Lubumbashi. We near the border of Zambia early this evening. We momentarily bid farewell to Rovos Rail, our bags packed for a two-night stint in South Luangwa National Park. Our privately chartered flight takes us to the heart of the national park, and vehicles await to guide us across savannahs to Mfuwe Game Lodge. We set off on a game drive in the Luangwa Valley.

On morning and afternoon game drives, our expert guide and tracker scours the dirt for any trace of animal tracks, hopefully guiding us into the midst of creatures’ dens. Hopes are set high on our early game drives; morning is the best time to see predators as they hunt their prey, and we may be fortunate enough to witness this spectacle. Following a privately chartered flight to Mpika we find Rovos Rail anticipating our arrival.

Three waterfalls form Chishimba. The main fall, the largest and furthest from the entrance, topples into a chasm said to be the home of Zambian water spirits. We return to Rovos Rail to descend into the Rift Valley, stopping in at Makambako for a short exploration. Departing in an easterly direction to Dar es Salaam, we stop at Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa. We trade in train tracks for the four wheels of our game-viewing vehicles.

Weeks of traversing some of the world’s most isolated villages leaves us believing that Dar es Salaam may be a mirage. Stretching our legs and farewelling our rolling home, we take the chance to enjoy lunch at a local establishment. Our bags have magically appeared at the harbourside Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, where we retire for the night before we depart. In a private vehicle, we are taken directly to the airport for our flight home.

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Rise early this morning to fly to Zanzibar. We spend the day wandering Stone Town, a tapestry of spices and exotic plants. The narrow streets, a maze to some, enlighten a centuries worth of fascinating history if you know precisely where to turn – which, luckily, we do. The island’s enthralling scents and flavours are later revealed during a spice tour, and we sample local delicacies for lunch before a cruise at sunset. Once stars stud the sky, we are taken to Elewana Kilindi, where our bags are already waiting.

Life on Zanzibar isn’t dictated by clocks and schedules. Instead, locals live on a 12-hour Swahili time which runs from sun-up to sun-down – a confusing concept at first,the notion becomes refreshingly simple. Our second day in Zanzibar is the perfect chance to become acquainted with the past-time. Spend it on Swahili time, at your own pace.

The coast of Zanzibar dissolves in the distance as we fly to Arusha. Landing just in time for brunch, we are welcomed to the world-renowned Arusha Coffee Lodge where our senses are stimulated to the nth degree. From here we are taken to the Asilia Highlands Ngorongoro Lodge where we have the pleasure of retiring for two nights.

Teeming with wildlife, our day is spent on game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater. Keep your eyes peeled for resident elephants and rhinos as they frolic in their home.

As yesterday was dedicated to a discovery of Tanzania’s creatures, today is spent on cultural illumination. We return to Arusha and visit a local social enterprise. Shanga employs people who have a disability, and together they create wonderfully unique and internationally-recognised jewellery, glassware and homewares with entirely recycled materials. Witness the uplifting project and converse with the craftspeople as they go about their daily business. The afternoon takes us to a Maasai market and the Cultural Heritage Centre. Both destinations demonstrate the interesting history behind local ways of life. It is now time to say goodbye as we are taken to Kilimanjaro International Airport for our flight home.

Brochure