Sharon from Egan & Turner recalls her time aboard the grand Rovos Rail in Africa.
It was with much excitement that we boarded Rovos Rail. Described as the most luxurious train in the world, the journey would take 48 hours travelling from Cape Town to Pretoria.
After the introduction to our elegant, spacious cabin by the friendly steward we set out to explore the rest of the carriages. The train, maximum capacity 72 passengers, is authentically refurbished and captures the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era. Oak, mahogany, leather chairs, antique fixtures and elegantly dressed staff all added to the buzz of this historic adventure. Mr Rohan Vos (creator) has done an amazing job sourcing carriages dating as far back as the 1920’s.
The 3 sleeper cabins range from the Pullman Suite to the Royal Suite – with your own bath, I may add. Sitting in our carriage with a glass of bubbles watching beautiful Table Mountain fade in the distance, I was overcome with a sense of truly relaxed euphoria.
Tearing ourselves away from our luxurious cabin we headed for lunch in the strikingly beautiful Victorian style dining car. The presentation and quality of the food we were served on our journey was amazing and begged the question “how on earth did they prepare this in such a small kitchen?” Accompanied by some of the nicest wines I have ever had (South African of course) meal times were lengthy and very enjoyable.
After lunch we moved to the observation car for postprandial relaxation on the supremely comfortable chesterfield lounges. Passengers contently nodding was a common site. Just when I thought I would join them, out came afternoon tea. I recall thinking I was going to roll off the train!
The scenery was mesmerising. From lush mountains to the desolate Great Karoo. We stopped twice on the journey. Matjiesfontein, a historical village set in what seems to be the middle of nowhere and Kimberley. Home to one of De Beers largest diamond mines and the 'Big Hole', the largest hand dug hole in the world. It was an interesting tour...my husband was definitely relieved I'd left my credit card stored in our room safe. Kamfers Dam is another spectacular sight. Hosting one of only six breeding sites in the world for flamingo, the thousands of birds only metres from the train were a true vision.
Dinner was my favourite time of the day. Passengers whom were previously dressed in casual attire now arrived in evening gowns and tuxedos (jacket and tie is the bare minimum requested by Mr Vos). The sommelier was never far away with his recommendations of wine to accompany our four-course meal and the whole affair was just exquisite.
So many things about this journey impressed me. The mini bar in my room (filled with whatever you like 24 hours a day), the little tags you hang outside your cabin door when laundry is needed (or anything else for that matter), the banning of all things technological in public areas (no radio or tv on board), friendliness of the staff, impressive dining, and a very comfortable bed.
Being more of an adventure traveller I was surprised at how much I didn’t want the journey to end. So...anothertrip has been added to my bucket list, Pretoria to Victoria Falls onboard the Pride of Africa.
To find out more about Sharon's trip, phone 1800 889 875.