This wintry Monday morning started off with a touch of old colonial style and class in the midst of Cape Town’s train station, with an invitation to view the Pride of Africa courtesy of the team at Rovos Rail.
We were welcomed into the departure lounge with warm smiles and offered some refreshments while we waited for the rest of the group. The lounge is large and airy with maps and reading material to keep occupied till departure time. The staff walked us across to the stations’ main terminal and over to platform 23 where the gleaming dark green, charming looking train awaited our arrival.
Inside the Pride of Africa
I’d seen the brochures and even watched a promo video on the web’s popular YouTube channel in the past - but nothing prepared me for the real thing. They claim to be the world’s most luxurious train and the moment you step on board you realise exactly why. Each of the carriages has been completely rebuilt and restyled so there are plush carpets, wood panelled walls, soft lighting and elegant, comfortable lounges to recline into for the journey.
There is a choice of suites available to cater for varying budgets, each with an en-suite bathroom. The entry level is the Pullman suite - the only option that offers a fold away bed for the day which is then made up by the staff in the evening into either a double or twin bunk option. The Deluxe Suites are slightly larger than the Pullman Suites and offer a double or twin configuration along with a small table and chairs to sit at during the day. The Royal Suites are the largest option and also include a great big bath tub for soaking away the day’s travel stresses (not that you’ll have anything more stressful to do than decide what to wear for dinner).
Food and view aboard the train
Food is expertly prepared by the chefs and the menu offered includes a full four courses all expertly paired with the best South African wines. Dinner is a dressed affair with a jacket and tie for gentlemen and cocktail dress for ladies in keeping with the old colonial ambiance. The dining carriage allows for one dinner sitting so everyone can enjoy their meal experience together. Your stay includes meals and South African beverages so you can sit back and enjoy being wined and dined by the experts.
The day is spent enjoying the views from the lounge carriage or on off-train excursions where offered. There’s an outdoor observation area on the end of the last carriage that makes the ideal spot to get out into the fresh air during the day. There are books, games and the age old art of chatting to fellow like-minded travellers to entertain.
Rovos Rail offer a variety of routes to choose from including the popular Cape Town to Pretoria (it also runs in reverse); a Namibia route departing from Johannesburg that includes viewing the Fish River Canyon, a night at Etosha National Park and the seaside town of Swakopmund; the Swaziland and Kwazulu Natal route to Durban; the Botswana and Zimbabwe route to Victoria Falls; a bespoke golf route that visits sought after courses with a golf expert on board; and the ultimate bucket list route through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania to Dar es Salaam.
They’ve thought of everything on board the Rovos Rail. Each suite even comes complete with a set of safety goggles for those daredevils who need to feel the thrill of sticking their head out the window to feel the warm African wind on their faces. The Rovos experience is certainly for those who wish to disconnect, relax with like-minded travellers and enjoy comfort in their travels. There are other ways to see the the countryside but none as luxurious as spending time on board the Pride of Africa with the team of the Rovos Rail.
To book your Rovos Rail adventure contact our sales experts at 020 7843 3500.
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