Luxury Train Journey Through South Africa
South Africa is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries in the world. It is a nation of contrasts from stunning coastlines, breathtaking mountains, amazing safaris to beautiful vineyards and cosmopolitan cities. South Africa was high on my bucket list and when I finally decided to visit this diverse country, I was more than surprised with its beauties and I have to say that South African journey was definitely one of my best trips ever. You can read all about my experiences in my South African posts, from my first time on a safari, to vine tasting in breathtaking vinelands, playing on the beach with South African penguins, and flying around Cape Town on a helicopter.
But one of the best times I had in South Africa was onboard the world’s most luxurious train called Rovos Rail. A luxury train journey through South Africa is an experience that you can not miss when visiting this country. So, make sure you put it on your itinerary.
Rovos Rail is one of the most luxurious and extravagant trains in the world. A luxury train journey with Rovos Rail will take you back to a world of glamor and elegance and you will feel like a true royalty every step of the way. We started our journey from the main station in Pretoria. We arrived to Pretoria a day before and stayed at lovely Illirya House estate. Illirya House is full of history and our stay there was a lovely start of our journey. The next day we drove just a few minutes to Rovos Rail station and when we arrived the friendly staff already waited for us.
It was pure luxury and perfection from the moment we started our journey with Rovos Rail. We were nicely greeted on our arrival and welcomed with a glass of champagne and delicious snacks at a private Rovos Rail station. After a brief introduction and a few details about our journey, from Mr. Rohan Vos himself, we were escorted to board the train and our fairytale journey began.
History of Rovos Rail
Rovos Rail was established in 1989 and since its establishment, it has become known for a world-class travel experience with unique and diverse travel journeys. It offers a glamorous and luxurious way to see South Africa and nearby countries.
Rovos Rail offers different journeys around South Africa and to nearby countries Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. In South Africa, you can visit Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Durban, and Pretoria. Journeys can last anything between a couple of days to a month and they link together some of Africa’s greatest destinations.
You can easily say that Rovos Rail is the pride of South Africa and there is no better way to enjoy the countryside, then boarding this fabulous train.
Pretoria to Durban
Our journey lasted three days and they were fully packed with activities, amazing sights, delicious food and the best staff (like family) we could wish for. We traveled southeast towards Heidelberg, Drakensberg Mountains, Majuba Hill and Glencoe, with the overnight stop at Elandslaagte. Next morning we went on the exciting drive to the Nambiti Big Five Game Reserve. And in the afternoon we had another fascinating excursion to the Spionkop Lodge, where we had an interesting lecture about the historic battlefields. On our last day the train took us to the famous Ardmore Ceramics Gallery and in the late afternoon we arrived at our final stop, the city of Durban.
The train carries a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 suites. There are three types of suites: Royal Suites, Deluxe Suites, and Pullman Suites. The coaches are beautifully restored and each of them has their own unique story. Mr. Vos himself searched for suitable coaches from vandalized dining cars to the ones that have serviced royalty. So, each of them has its own history. Interesting information that I found out was that all of the locomotives have been named after his children.
We stayed in the Deluxe Suite and enjoyed our time spent at this spacious and elegantly designed suite. The suite had a comfortable bed, en-suite bathroom with all necessary things and lounge area with a small table and two chairs.
The meals were served at beautiful Dining Car which was tastefully decorated and had large windows so that you could see all the nature when the train was on the go. Usually, after the meal, we gathered and chatted with other passengers at the Observation Car. We sipped our drinks and watched beautiful scenery pass us by. If you wanted some privacy you could go to the Club Car and read a book or just relax, but mostly we enjoyed hanging out with our newly acquired friends. There was also a small Gift Shop on the train, where we bought a few souvenirs to remember our journey.
Meals are served in a charming Dining Car. All the dishes were delicious and always accompanied by the finest South African Wines. We enjoyed our four-course meals which included different cheeses, soups, fish, duck, springbok, selection of desserts, fruits, and vegetables. The dishes were beautifully presented on the plates and the selected vines perfectly complemented the food. There was always an interesting selection of fresh food, traditional dishes and different drinks on the train and on our excursions.
The waiters were very friendly, competent and polite. While they were presenting the menu, taking different orders and serving drinks, they were still able to cater guests every need. We all became very close and they were like family at the end of the trip.
Excursions were amazing! We saw a lot of animals on our first safari visit to the Nambiti Game Reserve. It was so exciting to see giraffes, zebras, lions and other animals in their natural habitat. Our first game drive was unforgettable!
Our second excursion was the stop over at Spioenkop, where we had very interesting history lecture about the Anglo-Boer War. We could choose between two excursions, the first was the history lecture and the second was another game drive. We wanted to know more about the history so we went on the first excursion.
On our third day, we went to the Ardmore Ceramics Gallery, where we spend a nice and educational morning. They showed us their gallery, how they make the ceramics, explained us more about the artists and showed us the finished products. It was a really nice excursion.
All the trips were so wonderful and perfectly organized that we would recommend them to anyone.
Why You Should Book…
If you are planning to visit South Africa, we would warmly recommend you to include a luxury train journey with Rovos Rail to your itinerary. This is a trip like no other and it will definitely be one of the highlights of your South African journey. While the train moves you can enjoy amazing scenery, first class service, delicious five-star cuisine and the best wines South Africa has to offer. If you enjoy luxury, elegance and if you would like to be swept away by the romance of the time long passed, then this is the journey for you. This spectacular train ride will take you back to a world of glamor and elegance. And don’t forget that you will be spoiled every minute of this amazing journey to South Africa’s most treasured landmarks.
We had an unforgettable time with Rovos Rail, the experience itself was exceptional and we would be more than happy to do it again.
Did you enjoy the review? Have you been on a luxury train journey? What are your thoughts?
This article first appeared on Our World Travel Selfies. Thank you for reading: Luxury Train Journey Through South Africa.
OurWorldTravelSelfies would like to thank Rovos Rail for welcoming this review. The opinion is as always, my own. Photos are courtesy of Our World Travel Selfies and Rovos Rail.