Rovos Rail: The Lowdown

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If you’ve ever wished travel was a bit more… civilized, then Rovos Rail is the place to start. This beautiful vintage train makes getting from A to B a relaxed, peaceful journey, with a dose of old-world glamour.

What’s Rovos Rail really like?

Rovos is a passion project of the Vos family- built carriage by carriage over the last 30 years. It’s a nod to a gentler time, with gleaming wood and brass throughout, afternoon tea served daily and no tv on board.

Guests stay in one of Rovos’s lovely wood-panelled cabins. Pullman Suites have double or twin beds which convert to seats during the day and have a small, but perfectly formed, en suite shower room. A 10 square metres, the Deluxe Suites are a little larger and have a small sitting area. Lastly, the Royal Suites take up half a carriage each, with a lounge area and bathroom which remarkably, includes a bath as well as a shower.  Meals are eaten in the dining car, and there are jolly evenings curled in comfortable leather armchairs. In keeping with the elegant surroundings, the dress code is smart casual, with a jacket requested for men in the evening and suits/cocktail dresses for ladies. To the rear of the train there’s a club lounge for smokers and an observation car.

We should mention- this type of travel moves at a slower, more civilized pace. And while Rovos run a pretty spectacular train, they are not in command of the entire railway, so please be prepared for the odd delay- if in doubt, there is a lot of excellent South African wine to soothe troubled nerves!

Where can I go on Rovos Rail?

Most Rovos Rail journeys are within South Africa, and easily the most popular one is the two night trip between Cape Town and Pretoria. However, if you wish to travel further afield, you have plenty of options. You can head down to Durban or up to Victoria Falls, or into Namibia. For keen golfers there is a 9-night golf safari, and if you have even longer to spare, there’s a two week trip from Cape Town up to Dar es Salaam. The journey we are most intrigued by is the cross African journey from Dar es Salaam through Zambia and the DRC to Lobito in Angola, now if someone could just arrange a few weeks away from the office… 

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