Rovos Rail the most luxurious train in the world, South Africa


Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Friday, August 17, 2001

Since its establishment in 1989, Rovos Rail has earned an international reputation for its truly world class travel experiences. Step aboard the wood panelled coaches - classics remodelled and refurbished to mint condition - and enjoy fine cuisine in five-star luxury as some of the most varied scenery imaginable unfolds beyond the windows.

Rovos Rail, Observation CarRovos RailRovos Rail, The Big Hole, Kimberley
View from the Observation car of The Pride of Africa, Flamingos on Kamfers Lake, Kimberley, The Big Hole Kimberley

Recapture the romance and atmosphere of a bygone era, when privileged travellers experienced the magic and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and elegant fashion.The trains - which may be hauled by steam, diesel or electric locomotives at various stages of the journey - carry a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites. Pride of place in the Rovos stable goes to the historic and newly rebuilt Capital Park Station and locomotive yard, which is the heart and new headquarters of this private railway company.




The coaches have been painstakingly rebuilt and the use fine wood panelling, traditional furnishings and period décor has ensured an atmosphere of elegance and grandeur. Exquisite pillared dining cars are a signature of the Rovos Rail trains. Each one has a proud history and has been meticulously restored from a derelict state. For example Dining Car No 195 ‘ Shangani ‘, which was built in 1924, was found parked in a siding in Alberton near Johannesburg before its acquisition by Rohan Vos in 1986. Three of the magnificent teak pillars had been removed and these were faithfully crafted, restoring the Victorian atmosphere. Each of the trains has two 42-seater dining cars to accommodate the maximum complement of 72 passengers in total comfort at one sitting.
There's an accent on fresh local ingredients, and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty. Every morning there's a full breakfast with dishes cooked to order. A selection of cold meats, croissants, pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereals and preserves make up a tempting breakfast buffet.

Rovos Rail, Dining carRovos Rail, Nyanza suite
Dining Car, Rovos Rail, Nyanza suite

For lunch and dinner there is a starter and a choice of fish, meat or vegetarian dishes, followed by a tempting dessert and are complemented by a selection of excellent South African wines. All meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the Dining Cars. Many of the passengers aboard the Pride of Africa enjoy the formality of fine china, crisp linen and silver, and dress accordingly.During the day dress is more casual, with cool, comfortable clothes and hats recommended for the excursions, especially in the game reserves where it can be very hot.

Rovos Rail, Observation CarRovos Rail, Observation car
Green fields outside Cape Town, Observation Car Rovos Rail
On the Rovos Rail each train has a non-smoking Observation Car at the rear of the train, while the coach next to it contains a small smoking lounge. A unique feature of the Observation Cars is the enlarged windows and open-air balconies.

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