When you think about Africa you are likely to conjure up images of pristine wilderness areas, safari, dessert, expansive landscape helmed with Acacia trees; making African travel getaway a must on everybody’s bucket-list. And what could be more memorable way to travel than by the slow, smooth train ride that allows you plenty of time to soak in the breathtaking panoramic views.
Travelling by train has own charm. The joy of overlooking the changing landscape through the sepia-tinged windows, more space than bus and flight, interacting with locals onboard, train rides are decorous adventure. Whether you are looking for great rail rides or just to explore the country by train, our series of world’s greatest train journeys will make you travel all the way just to experience them. This week: Africa.
The Rovos Rail
Routes: Various routes through Cape Town, Pretoria, Victoria Falls and Durban, with four or five departures every month. There are also special annual trips to Dar Es Salaam, Namibia, African Collage and Golf Safari.
Cost: For a round trip from Cape Town-Cairo-Cape Town, on an average Pullman Suite costs $48,500, Deluxe Suite ($52, 000) and Royal Suites ($56, 000).
Coined as the most luxurious train in the world, Pride of Africa or The Rovos Rail links some of the Africa’s greatest destinations from Cape Town at the tip of Africa to Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania. In a series of journeys lasting from 48 hours to a month, the Pride of Africa offers three types of accommodation: Pullman Suites, Deluxe Suites and Royal Suites. The train usually accommodates 72 people. All are equipped with a writing surface and a personal safe for valuables. There is also a bar fridge filled with beverages of the passengers’ choice and room service is available 24 hours a day.
The Pullman Suites are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat during the day with a conversion to double or twin beds for the evening, and also have an en-suite bathroom with shower. In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hair dryers and shaver plugs.
The Deluxe Suites accommodate two passengers in either twin or double beds and have a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower. In the en-suite bathrooms, original fittings combine with the modern technology of hot showers, hair dryers and shaver plugs.
The Royal Suites, each of which take up half a carriage, are spacious and elegant measuring ±16 sq metres in size. Each has its own private lounge area and full bathroom with Victorian bath and separate shower. The epitome of luxury with handsome wood panelling and period Edwardian features, the air-conditioned suites accommodate two people offering the option of side-by-side twin or spacious double beds.
Each suite has a luggage rack that runs its length providing ample space for storage. There is a limited laundry service on board comprising household washers, dryers and steam irons.
Meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines.
There is a small gift shop on the train and at Rovos Rail Station. In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops is confined to the privacy of your suites only.
For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for the gentlemen a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies it is cocktail/evening dresses or suits.
For routes and fare information, visit www.rovos.com