The Rovos Rail African Train – The Journey of a Lifetime
Friday, May 19, 2017
When it comes to the world’s most beautiful and luxurious train journeys – Rovos Rail ranks among the very best.
The Rovos Rail train journey is often known as the Pride of Africa or Africa’s answer to the Orient Express, and it is a superb example of the glamorous golden era of the age of steam. It is a private railway company that operates out of Capital Park Station in Pretoria, South Africa, and it was founded in 1989 by Rohan Vos.
A luxurious hotel on rails, the Rovos Rail train runs on regularly scheduled routes throughout Southern Africa, from Tanzania to Namibia to South Africa. The trains themselves consist of restored historic coaches from Rhodesia Railways, which include two restaurant cars, private sleeping compartments and two lounges. The trains are either pulled by electric, steam or diesel locomotives, and a maximum of 72 passengers are allowed on board.
It's all about the journey
This style of slow and indulgent train travel demonstrates the old adage about how it is not the destination that is most important – it is the journey. Travel becomes no longer a rush to get from point A to point B; it is a chance to unwind and enjoy some of the scenery along the way.
The largest and most luxurious suite on the train is the Royal Suite, which is 172 square feet and takes up half of the train car. Like all the cabins, it has an en-suite toilet, sink and shower, but it also boasts a Victorian-style bathtub. With wood panels and plush furnishings, these coaches allow passengers to experience the elegant atmosphere of a bygone era.
Even the dress code of the patrons reinforces the atmosphere of elegance. There is a smart-casual dress code in place, requiring slightly more formal attire than the typical travel wardrobe. Guests will dine in a lavish Victorian-era train car on cuisine prepared by a talented team of chefs using the freshest and finest local ingredients.
There are several routes available throughout Southern Africa – such as the three-day summer Durban Safari, where guests will travel between Pretoria and Durban and learn about traditional African ceramics, historic battlefields and wild game.
The trip will take passengers to the Nambiti Conservancy in KwaZulu-Natal, which is a Big Five game reserve that is home to hippos, zebras, giraffes and cheetahs. This wild and pristine area is also known for its biodiversity, and it is home to several different landscapes – from grasslands to acacia trees to savannahs and much more.
There is also a golf-themed trip that will take passengers from Pretoria to Cape Town, through Kruger Park and Zululand. As the train winds through the wonderfully scenic Garden Route, it even stops at a brandy distillery for a tasting.
No matter which of the routes you choose, you will be pampered in old fashioned elegance and style the entire way.