Rovos Rail
Rovos Air - Luxury Air Safaris


Rovos Air has a proud fleet of four classic aircraft, all fitted with business class seats and restored to Rovos standards.

The two splendid Convair 440's have proven conclusively to be one of the most reliable post-war passenger aircraft ever built, sporting spacious, pressurised cabins seating up to 24 passengers in true Rovos style and comfort.

Our 1944 Douglas DC 3, called 'Delaney' after a child who was born on board in October 1975, has been rebuilt with 21 business class seats and a very plush interior. The Douglas DC-4 embodies the safety, range, comfort and space of a true Business class 50-seat prop liner.

The aircraft are crewed by a captain, first officer, flight engineer and two flight attendants. Onboard service by our capable staff is of our usual high standard, complemented by the facilities of an efficient and comprehensive galley.

The aircraft will be used to convey our train passengers from Polokwane to Victoria Falls in Zambia on our scheduled Pretoria to Victoria Falls journeys as well as our exclusive 12 night, Rovos Air Safari

Convair 440

In April 2001 our two splendid Convair 440 aeroplanes were purchased from an operator in Bolivia and flown by our crew over the Atlantic Ocean to their new home in South Africa. Built in 1954 the first owner was the US Airforce, which based them in Texas until 1992. Then followed their 8-year tour of duty in Cochabamba at 8 500ft on contract to the Bolivian airlines.

The restoration of the air-conditioned aircraft to Rovos standards was achieved in Polokwane and proved easier than expected due to the exceptionally good condition of the airframe. The aircraft have flown relatively few hours during their 46-year life and as they were operated in dry areas there was no corrosion damage to contend with. The avionics were deemed to be out of date and were thus completely upgraded to incorporate the most modern radar, moving map and positioning systems available.

Fitted with the Pratt & Whitney 2800 radial engines the aircraft has a pleasing power to weight ratio, providing the sort of performance demanded by our well-qualified pilots. Pressurized to 23 000 ft (above the bumps) the aircraft will cruise comfortably at 400km per hour (220 knots) carrying 24 passengers in the comfort and style expected of our product. The geared propellers, a massive 13ft 6ins in diameter, only spin at 1000 RPM helping to keep the cabin noise at a very acceptable level. The aircraft are available for charter anywhere in Southern Africa.


The most famous, most durable and probably most beloved aircraft in the history of aviation, the Douglas DC-3 will mark its 70th anniversary of service on December 17, 2005, by doing what it does best - routinely flying people and cargo between airports all around the world. By 1945, when production of this aircraft ceased, an estimated 10 639 had been built by the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Sixty years later, more than 1,000 DC-3s are still operating, still adding to an aviation legend without equal. The Dakota, a name given by some of the World War 2 Allies to a military version of the Douglas DC-3, was used extensively during the War. One of its roles was the support of armies by transporting supplies of all kinds, carrying personnel and evacuating casualties. It also participated in airborne invasions by towing gliders containing troops and equipment, dropping paratroops and followed up aerial re-supply of the troops on the ground.

During a scheduled flight on the 15th October 1975 between Sishen and Johannesburg for United Airlines a baby girl was born on board at 17h55. The baby was called 'Delaney' - a name the aircraft sports to this day!


The original DC-4 was built in 1938 as a requirement for both United and American Airlines. As it began test flying the United States entered into World War 2 and the military authorities commandeered the production line. Even while the DC-3 still had to make its first flight the President of the United States pre-empted the need for a larger transport than the DC-3. He convinced his counterparts with American, Eastern, Pan American and TWA to support the project.

The original DC-4 was designated DC-4E, E for experimental. This shows how far fetched the dream for a 4-engined transport must have seemed in those days. This Douglas DC-4 embodies the safety, range, comfort and space of a true Business class 50-seat prop liner. The aircraft is crewed by a captain, first officer, flight engineer and two flight attendants.

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