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Rovos Disabled Access

Rovos Disabled Access

This mobility guidance about Rovos Disabled Access also applies to Shongololo Express. Updated January 2019.

Mobility On Board


The trains can accommodate passengers with walking difficulties although they recommend that an able-bodied passenger accompany them.

The trains are not suitable for wheelchair-bound passengers.

Should you have mobility impairments, walking restrictions or any special requirements, please contact us when booking with the Club.

About the Trains

Rovos has a style all its own with train tours that have a blend of earthy African safari and traditional luxury - except that a divine soak in a full-sized bath in a train was always rare, even on Royal trains.

The Pride of Africa trains are more than mere rail transportation - from these transports of delight one can experience the richness of southern Africa..

Shongololo Express is an impressive sight as it traverses the plains of southern Africa. The ultimate in touring, this train offers a true safari experience, by rail.

Travelling comfortably and securely during the night, Shongololo Express trains save guests precious holiday time, arriving each dawn at a new destination.

Train Formations

From the front engine there are service cars, sleeper cars, then in the middle of the train the lounge (if required and sometimes not in the middle), kitchen and dining cars, then more sleeper cars and finally, at the rear of the train, the observation car.

The number of coaches depends on how many passengers there are. The maximum is 21 coaches.

Guests are required to walk short distances between their suites and the public cars.

The railway can sometimes be inconsistently maintained. Train speed is restricted to 60km/h (37mph) but over poorer sections, down to 20km/h (12mph).

Many carriages date back to the 1920s and 1930s, and therefore there is clickety-clack and rocking motion. Even able guests find it a little tricky to walk while the train is moving, but they all become experts in due course.

Onboard Facilities

Rovos and Shongololo Express trains have big suites therefore the passages are inevitably narrower. There are handrails along the passages and, within the suites, there are surfaces that can offer some support.

In the bathrooms there are handrails in the shower and non-slip mats as well as a freestanding shower seat (available on request).

Unfortunately no wheelchair – even a collapsible one – can manoeuvre in the train or between some carriages where there are 90-degree turns and crossing can be uneven and difficult. The suites are not tailored for wheelchair access. If needed, we have a wheelchair on board for off-train excursions.

Getting On And Off The Trains

At Rovos Rail’s private station in Pretoria, there is a ramp to help disabled or elderly guests onto the train.

However, when guests need to disembark while on their journey, they must use the fixed handrails and train steps, which are vertical against the train.

On certain journeys, where there is no platform to disembark onto, the train carriesfreestanding platform steps.

Off-Train Excursions

There is a wheelchair on board for excursions, if needed.

Not all of the places visited have wheelchair access.

Coaches/buses and game-drive vehicles are used for some of the excursions; they have steps to climb up or down.

Wheelchair Access At St James Guesthouses

The Manor has wheelchair access for the entire ground floor as well as the Deluxe Suite, Boyes. Contact us for more information.

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