The train will leave Pretoria on Friday 29 November 2024 and will visit Dullstroom, Mbombela (Nelspruit), Hoedspruit and Tzaneen, returning to Pretoria via Polokwane on Wednesday 4 December 2024. This will be a truly world-class travel experience combined with five mornings of exceptional birding.

The train will traverse some of South Africa’s most beautiful habitats, including the northern escarpment, which is undeniably the centre of bird diversity in the country. Dramatic changes in altitude and a myriad of diverse habitats contribute to the impressive assemblage of sought-after birds found here. This one-of-akind journey will take us across this renowned part of the country through golden grasslands, lush forests, Mopani woodlands and acacia thornveld as we search for the region’s most desired birds.

Our journey will begin in Pretoria before we set off towards the quaint town of Dullstroom. Here, we will explore the highveld grasslands in all its summer glory, and stand a chance of seeing iconic endemic species like Blue Crane, Southern Bald Ibis, Buff-streaked Chat, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Gurney’s Sugarbird and, if we’re lucky, Yellow-breasted Pipit – to name but a few.

We’ll then leave behind the highveld and snake our way down the escarpment for what promises to be a scenically spectacular journey into the Lowveld. Our morning around Mbombela will deliver an entirely new suite of birds with a distinctly tropical flavour: Purple-crested Turacos, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds and Collared Sunbirds will be abundant, and we may be lucky and see the endemic Bush Blackcap.

From Mbombela, we’ll head north towards the touristy town of Hoedspruit, where the pristine waters of the Blyde River hold African Finfoot, Mountain Wagtail and Half-collared Kingfisher. The wailing calls of Trumpeter Hornbills reverberate from the riverine forests.

Our next stop, Tzaneen, promises to be one of the most exciting! Here, we have the opportunity to visit lesser-known sites to track down range-restricted species like Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Magpie Mannikin, Bat Hawk, Arnot’s Chat and even White-breasted Cuckooshrike.

The breathtaking Magoebaskloof offers some of the best Afromontane forest birding in the country, and we may see Black-fronted Bushshrike, Narina Trogon and Cape Parrot in addition to several other forest specials.

We then work our way back over the escarpment and into the arid acacia thornveld of the Polokwane plateau. Once again, we’ll find ourselves surrounded by new birds, including the coveted Short-clawed Lark, Tinkling Cisticola and Shelley’s Francolin. Other common species here will likely include acacia veld specialists, like the striking Crimson-breasted Shrike and gorgeous Violet-eared Waxbill. We’ll then roll into Pretoria on our final evening before concluding what is sure to have been an unforgettable journey.

The beautifully rebuilt trains – which may be hauled by diesel or electric locomotives – carry a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites.


Our charter can accommodate 72 passengers:

9 Pullman suites: R62 500.00 per person sharing in a double/twin

27 Deluxe suites: R90 000.00 per person sharing in a double/twin

Single Supplement: +50% for all suites; limited availability


  • Accommodation, all meals and all beverages on board the train
  • Reception at Rovos Rail Station (sparkling wine, orange juice, light canapés, string duet)
  • Luggage handling pre- and post- the journey
  • Secure parking for passengers vehicles
  • Room service and bar facilities
  • Limited laundry service
  • Guest speakers on board the train
  • Five early-morning, three-hour off-train birding excursions with specialist guides within the vicinity of the railway stations in Dullstroom, Mbombela, Hoedspruit, Tzaneen and Polokwane


  • Pre-/post-train safari accommodation, meals and beverages
  • Guest transfers to/from the Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria
  • International/French champagne
  • Gratuities

To book your place, please contact Clare Neall at BirdLife South Africa on Tel. (011) 789 1122 or clare.neall@birdlife.org.za.

BirdLife South Africa will need to inform Rovos Rail by 1 June 2024 if there are sufficient guests to charter the train.


To book your place, please contact Clare Neall at BirdLife South Africa on Tel. (011) 789 1122 or clare.neall@birdlife.org.za