South Africa in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill
We invite you to join us on an exciting South Africa small group travel journey with Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell, Co-Owner + Director of cazenove+loyd, has hand-designed an extraordinary journey with Rovos Rail, which will take one of the world’s most opulent trains deep into the heartlands of the Boer War.
The trip will trace Sir Winston Churchill’s footsteps during the war, from his dramatic capture by the Boers to his subsequent escape via freight train. Joining you on this journey will be Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, a former British Member of Parliament and fantastic storyteller, who will regale you with tales of his grandfather and bring KwaZulu-Natal’s Boer battlefields to life.
“I feel very strongly that much of my grandfather’s life was shaped by his time in South Africa, in particular when he was captured by the Boers and subsequently made his escape,” says Sir Nicholas Soames. “So much of who he was and who he was to become came through at this moment of great danger and personal desperation. It will be a privilege to lead this trip next September, travelling by train to visit many of the most important battlefields of the Boer War. I believe that much of Churchill’s audacity and courage – and his drive and ambition – comes to light in his experiences as a young man in Africa. These characteristics are what made him into the national hero that he later became.”
This phenomenal opportunity promises to be fascinating, entertaining and full of learning, with the luxury of returning to one of the world’s most stunning trains every evening.
What makes this trip spectacular?
Travel throughout with Sir Nicholas Soames + expert guides
This journey will provide a matchless insight into the fascinating Boer War, taking in unexplored corners of battlefields, which will be put into exhilarating context by Sir Nicholas Soames and Rovos Rail’s historical consultant, Nicholas Schofield. Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson is an incredible companion and guide on this journey. He will give lectures in the evenings and dine with you, bringing these important battlefields to life and recounting Churchill’s experiences as a courageous young man in Africa. You will also be hosted and guided by the Rattray family at the Zulu battlefields of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana.
Enjoy colonial-style luxury with this one-off routing
Step back in time onboard the glamorous Rovos Rail train – exclusively chartered for guests of cazenove+loyd. Enjoy elegant décor and exquisite dining while journeying through the rolling hills.
Go to The David Rattray Foundation’s school
The trip will involve a wonderful opportunity to spend some time at the pre-school set up by The David Rattray Foundation (also known as Khula Education) at Rorke’s Drift. Our founder, Henrietta Loyd, is a trustee of the charity, which recently successfully raised money to build Wi-Fi towers in the area and deliver 200 Ipads so that the Year 12 students could continue with their final year studies during the lockdown.
The Journey You Will Take
On this very special small group trip, you will start in Johannesburg, from where you will go to Pretoria to board the luxurious Rovos Rail train, which will take you deep into the heartlands of KwaZulu-Natal and the Anglo-Boer War. The journey will end in Durban, after which we are very happy to arrange extensions in South Africa or beyond.
30th March 2022
Welcome to South Africa
Fly overnight to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.
31st March 2022
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met and driven to your hotel for one night, Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa. The afternoon is free for you to recover from the flight until evening falls when it’s time to enjoy some cocktails, canapés and dinner.
Where you will be staying for one night
Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
Originally owned by the Oppenheimer family, this exclusive boutique hotel was once a 10-acre family home. Today, it offers more than 40 spacious, individually themed suites, a fully equipped gym, an à la carte restaurant, landscaped gardens and a Balinese Spa. We love Fairlawns’ tranquil environment – it is a sanctuary in the city – and being only 30 minutes from Johannesburg airport makes it an extremely convenient as well as comfortable place to stay.
1st April 2022
After an early breakfast, you will be driven to Pretoria, where you will visit the Department of Education Building and Library. This library is significant to Sir Nicholas Soames, as his grandfather, Winston Churchill, was held captive here until his escape about a month later. The building had become a prison following the outbreak of the Boer War. Historian Nicholas Schofield will meet you here and give a short talk.
Following this visit, you will be driven to Capital Park Station to board your train and begin your journey to Dundee. The gong will sound for the first time as a sumptuous three-course lunch is served in the dining carriage as you leave Pretoria. As the afternoon continues, enjoy the stunning views of the undulating hills from the comfort of your cabin or the elegant lounge car. Enjoy a real sense of ceremony with dinner this evening, complete with crystal glasses, fine white linen and silverware.
Where you will be staying for four nights
Step back in time onboard Rovos Rail’s glamorous carriages, exclusively chartered for guests of cazenove+loyd. Enjoy elegant décor and exquisite on-board dining whilst journeying on this luxurious train. Our longstanding relationship with Rovos Rail and the nature of this extraordinary trip mean that we are able to access this routing exclusively, allowing passengers to discover the history of the Boer War in total luxury. Without exception, the cabins on board are beautifully appointed. The Deluxe Suite offers either twin or double beds, and the opulent Royal Suites span half a carriage each. All have a private lounge area and a full bathroom. A highly-skilled team of chefs is responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every taste is catered for. In the evenings, come together for cocktails, dinner and discussions about the day’s events.
2nd April 2022
Dundee + the First Battle of the Anglo-Boer War
After breakfast, you will disembark the train for a morning with historian Nicholas Schofield, a peerless storyteller, who will lead you to the site of the murder of the Prince Imperial, the last Napoleon (and only son of Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie), during the Anglo-Zulu wars. Although the emphasis of this trip is on the Anglo-Boer War and Sir Winston Churchill, the Anglo-Zulu wars are equally pertinent. The prince’s murder is a fascinating snapshot of the time: with him died the final hope of his supporters for the eventual return of the empire to France.
Lunch will be back on the train, after which you can rejoin Nicholas Schofield for an afternoon visit to the site of the Battle of Talana – the first major clash of the Anglo-Boer War. During this conflict, the British suffered heavy casualties but occupied the coal-mining town of Dundee, which proved crucial to the British war effort. We have also arranged for you to have private after-hours access to the Talana Museum. Here, the curator, Pam MacFadden, who is the resident expert on the battle, will regale our group with how the battle unfolded, culminating in the tragic death of the commanding officer and Commander-in-Chief of the army.
After this gripping afternoon, you will re-board the train at Dundee. In the early evening, Sir Nicholas Soames will deliver a lecture entitled ‘The Importance of Being Winston’, all about his grandfather’s early life. You will then be served a delicious dinner on the train.
3rd April 2022
The Rattray family, Rorke’s Drift + Khula School
Although much of the emphasis of the trip will be the Anglo-Boer War, the Zulu Wars are equally fascinating and we have planned a full day to explore the beautiful area around Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana hosted and guided by the inimitable Rattray family. David Rattray, who sadly died in 2007, was the renowned historian of the Zulu people and his family carry on his storytelling and passion for the area he called home. Following breakfast, guests will disembark the train for a morning at the site of the Battle of Isandlwana.
Next, you will proceed through the villages of Zululand to Rorke’s Drift, where you will have the opportunity to spend some time at the preschool set up by The David Rattray Foundation (also known as Khula Education), which is directly adjacent to the site. David was passionate about helping local school children through education. As he said, “Without education there is no hope, without hope there is no future.” Our founder, Henrietta Loyd, is a trustee of the charity, which has recently successfully raised money to build WiFi towers in the area and deliver 200 Ipads so that the Year 12 students can continue with their final year studies during the lockdown. Afterwards, you will meet the Rattray family and enjoy a picnic under the shade of the trees in the gardens of the mission station, before immersing yourself in the story of Rorke’s Drift.
At about 6.30pm, you will return to the train, which will then depart towards Frere. Dinner will be served onboard. The Battle of Isandlwana in 1879 was the first major battle in the Anglo-Zulu war between the British and the Zulus. A Zulu force of about 20,000 warriors, mainly equipped with traditional assegai attacked about 1800 British, colonial, native troops and some civilians. The battle was a decisive victory for the Zulus and caused the defeat of the first British invasion of Zululand. The Battle of Rorke’s Drift followed on immediately after Isandlwana. Rorke’s Drift was a mission station and a former trading post. It was located on the Buffalo River, which at the time formed the border between the British colony of Natal and the Zulu Kingdom. About 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the garrison against 3–4,000 Zulus. Eleven Victoria crosses were awarded among many other honours.
4th April 2022
Exploring Ladysmith + Spionkop
This morning, after breakfast, you will be driven to the capture site (or Armoured Train Incident) and on to the Ladysmith Siege Museum. Known as one of the best Anglo-Boer War museums in South Africa, it was built in 1884 as a market house and served as a ration post for civilians during the siege. Now, it houses an extremely comprehensive collection of artefacts from the Boer War. Nicholas Schofield really comes into his own, describing this dramatic time of the Anglo-Boer War. You will then travel to Mount Alice, where on arrival, renowned Boer War raconteur, Raymond Heron, will give an account of the Spionkop Battle. Lunch will then be taken at Spionkop Lodge.
This afternoon, you will visit the actual site of the Spionkop Battle and drive to the top of the hill where the fighting took place. Nicholas Schofield will give a fascinating tour and describe in detail Sir Winston Churchill’s role in the battle – he acted as a courier between Spionkop and General Buller’s headquarters – before you are taken back to the train at Ladysmith Station. In the early evening, Sir Nicholas Soames will deliver a lecture on Churchill’s experiences in South Africa from December 1899 to June 1900, including his time as a journalist, his capture and miraculous escape from the Boers, and his rejoining of the army. He will draw on Sir Winston’s private diaries and papers to add great colour to the lecture. Dinner will be served afterwards before the train leaves Ladysmith for Pietermaritzburg, with an overnight stop at Estcourt Distance.
5th April 2022
Arrival in Pietermaritzburg
After breakfast, you will be driven along the coast road to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, from where you will take your onward flight. Whether you would prefer to go on safari, collapse on a beach or explore other parts of Africa, we would be very happy to arrange an incredible extension to your trip.
Meet Your Guides
Travel With Experts
Sir Nicholas Soames
Sir Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames is a former British Conservative Party politician and the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. He represented Mid Sussex from 1997 until 2019, previously serving as MP for Crawley. Sir Nicholas has an incredible energy and passion for his grandfather, which is infectious. To this unique trip, he brings personal anecdotes, as he knew him late into his teenage years, as well as access to previously unpublished materials from the Churchill archive.
Born on a grape farm in the Cape, Nicholas has a life’s passion for African history and, in particular, the Anglo-Boer War. Upon completion of his studies, he became a lecturer in history at Vista University, Mamelodi, the black township of Pretoria. Schofield is now the historical consultant for Rovos Rail and has been for the past 27 years. He is described by Rohan Vos, Founder of Rovos Rail, as “our storyteller extraordinaire”.
Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell is the Co-Owner + Director of cazenove+loyd and has been travelling frequently to Southern Africa since his first visit to KwaZulu-Natal as a schoolboy in the early 1970s. Having worked in South Africa in the 1980s and travelled to most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it is a region with an enduring fascination. Christopher has led a number of small group trips, including a private boat charter on the Irrawaddy in Myanmar and another private boat journey along the Mekong from Vietnam to Cambodia.
£4,995 / US$6,993
per person based on two sharing. Single supplement cost applies
- Deluxe Suite: £4,995 / US$6,993 per person based on two sharing
- Royal Suite: £5,995 / US$8,393 per person based on two sharing
- Single supplement: £1,500 / US$2,100
- Four nights in a Rovos Rail suite
- One night at Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, including breakfast
- All food and drink while on the train
- Luggage handling
- All private guiding
- All experiences as per itinerary
- Return airport transfers
- Dinner at Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
- Travel insurance
- Any other extras
- International flights – please speak to one of our experts who can help you arrange these
The Benefits of Small Group Travel
What You Need To Know
Our hand-picked specialists, guides and leaders ensure unrivalled insider access that you wouldn't normally be able to achieve unless you were travelling as a group, allowing guests to experience the destination in a very special way.
Small group travel gives you an amazing opportunity to spend time with true experts in their field. Each trip is accompanied by an owner – either Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell or Henrietta Loyd – as well as top specialists, guides and leaders.
TRAVEL WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
Our small trips often form the beginning of life-long friendships. Much of the journey is spent as a group, but there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy your own space too. Henrietta and Christopher are brilliant at reading their guests and being proactive and reactive to the flow of the trip.
Getting it Right Everytime
CREATING AN ITINERARY
We work in some of the most ecologically and culturally sensitive parts of the world, so have always been conscious of operating in a way that has a positive impact on both the environment and the people.
When you travel with us, we will make a contribution on your behalf to one of the following charities: All About the Light Foundation in Africa, ABOUTAsia Travel & Schools in Cambodia, the Alalay Foundation in Bolivia and Scott Polar Research Institute in the Polar Regions.
If clients are interested, we are always keen to get them involved in local projects and conservation efforts. Whether it be whale counting in Antarctica or rhino relocation in Kenya, you will leave knowing your actions have made a difference.
Our service includes booking and managing all your international and domestic flights. However, you can also book your own international flights if you would prefer. We can also organise private charters and private jet travel for both international and domestic flights.
We have a fantastic VIP service in place to help you navigate the airport and make your journey as smooth and easy as possible. We can collect you from your home, take you to the airport and escort you through check-in and immigration to avoid any queues, straight through to the airport lounge before boarding your flight. The same service can be put in place on your return journey.
We understand that one of the most important factors to our clients is flexibility to give you as much assurance as possible when booking your next trip. We are extremely flexible and are on hand to discuss with you the latest updates on flexibility in any one of our destinations.
We have excellent relationships with a handful of insurance companies who provide various forms of cover. Each one offers a different policy with varying terms and conditions, so we strongly recommend getting a series of quotes and discussing your personal requirements in detail with them in order to find the best one for you.
Booking and travelling with an accredited tour operator is more important than ever. cazenove+loyd is a bonded tour operator and is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our ATOL number is 3208. This means that the UK government guarantees all funds paid out to a bonded operator and is bound to pay in full if the bond holder is unable to deliver as contracted. This gives our clients peace of mind and full financial protection. Please see our booking conditions for further information.
We have put the relevant measures in place so that our destinations are ready to welcome you safely. In all of our destinations, sanitation and hygiene in our vehicles and the properties we work with are extensive, with cleaning protocols rigidly followed as well as other necessary safety requirements. We always arrange private vehicles and guides for our clients when travelling in a destination.
The price of our service is dependent on the intricacies of the itinerary. No two trips are the same. Our philosophy is to make every detail tailored just to you.
For the latest details on deposit and balance payments and schedules, please get in touch to speak to an expert.
South Africa Small Group Travel
ANGÈLE PARLANGE FROM NEW ORLEANS, USA, WHO TRAVELLED ON OUR 2018 SOUTH AFRICA SMALL GROUP TRIP