Rovos Rail’s 15-day Cape Town – Dar es Salaam “luxury adventure” ranks among the top 5 rail trips for many IRT travelers.
But for Alicia Taljaard, Rovos’ Sales and Marketing executive, the best trip bar none is the African Collage – and starting in 2017, she tells us, the trip will be extended “from nine to ten days to enhance guests’ experience.”
“It’s our most scenic trip,” says the 11-year Rovos Rail veteran, who visited the IRT offices recently.
“It’s perfect for the safari enthusiast, and the scenery on that trip is unbeatable.
“You have the mountain passes and the Garden Route, a very lush, beautiful area along the coastline of the eastern to western Cape.
“Then there’s the vineyards and the ocean…”
And how best to experience these natural wonders?
By direct contact with the outside world: all the train’s windows open. “We love the fresh air,” she says, adding that one of the prime viewing locations is “our beautiful, outdoor balcony” at the end of the train. “It’s the best place to enjoy a “Sundowner” or get that perfect photo shot.”
That famous Rovos Rail quality – along with its popularity and extremely limited availability – results in departures selling out in the blink of an eye. We recommend our clients book their African “rail safari” well in advance of their desired date of travel. At the time of this writing, departures more than a year from now are sold out. Our best advice: avoid the disappointment of missing your “trip of a lifetime” and book sooner rather than later!
Ms. Taljaard also gives high marks to Rovos Rail’s Wild Namibia journey. The trip begins in Pretoria, stopping in Kimberley and Upington before crossing the border.
Namibia is a wild, sparsely populated place with wide-open spaces and eerie, desolate landscapes.
One stop on the itinerary is in Keetmanshoop, home to the giant “Quiver Trees.” The spongy trees store water in their trunks, can reach an age of 300 years and are so named because they were used as quivers by the bushmen who used to inhabit the area.
Another Namibia highlight is the visit to Sossusvlei, located in the the African continent’s largest conservation area. Its gigantic, red dunes are world-famous.
“Guests have the opportunity to actually climb up the dunes — if they think they can make it,” Ms. Taljaard says. “Big Daddy — that is not for everybody. But it is a beautiful view from up there.”
Meanwhile, The Pride of Africa’s 2-week, 5-country sojourn from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam is unbeatable for experiencing remote areas seldom visited by western travelers, Ms. Taljaard says.
“Well, it’s 15 days crossing five countries. That in itself is already spectacular,” she says. “Traveling from Cape Town through South Africa, you visit Matjiesfontein, Kimberley, Pretoria, then two nights at a game lodge in Madikwe,” where guests have the chance to see the “Big Five” while on safari.
“Then you travel through Botswana and Zimbabwe, stopping at the Victoria Falls, which you have ample opportunity to explore, and then Zambia and Chisimba Falls, – great scenery again – and the beautiful switchbacks all along through Tanzania, ending in Dar.”
Ms. Taljaard has worked for Rovos Rail for 11 years, she says, “so I’m part of the family.”
Indeed, Rovos Rail is a family business, started by Rohan Vos 30 years ago. Vos’ two daughters work in the marketing department, and many of the other employees are also long-time veterans.
In other news, the company is upgrading its sleeping cars and has purchased additional engines. They’ve also added an extra night on the train to this already great itinerary: 14 nights/15 days.
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For more information on Rovos Rail, or to book, please contact The Society of International Railway Travelers®: (502) 897-1725 or (800) 478-4881; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.