Rovos Rail’s “Pride of Africa” — 30 Years of Luxury Adventure

16 Oct
IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy and Rovos Rail's Alicia Taljaard pose with the company's lavish

IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy and Rovos Rail’s Alicia Taljaard pose with the company’s lavish “Journeys” magazine. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

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.

South Africa's Garden Route is unbeatable for its scenery, which ranges from towering mountains to dramatic seashores. IRT Photo by John Fiorilla

South Africa’s Garden Route is unbeatable for its scenery, which ranges from towering mountains to dramatic seashores. IRT Photo by John Fiorilla

“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?

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The “Pride of the Pride of Africa:” the train’s last car, is the lounge, whose outdoor section offers incredible views. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

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 incomparable quality has made Rovos’ train, The Pride of Africa, one of the Society of IRT’s “World’s Top 25 Trains” since we began keeping track (hence the name, Track 25!).

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!

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon in Namibia. Rovos Rail photo by Alicia Taljaard

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.

Namibia's famous quiver trees.

Namibia’s famous quiver trees.

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.

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The humongous “Big Daddy” sand dune at Sossusvlei. Rovos Rail photo.

“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.

Big game, up close and personal, at Tau Game Lodge, in Madikwe, near the Botswana border. IRT Photo.

Big game, up close and personal, at Tau Game Lodge, in Madikwe, near the Botswana border. IRT Photo.

“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.

IRT traveler Jeff Grinspoon is welcomed by local schoolchildren during a stop on the Cape-Dar route in Mliba, Zambia. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

IRT traveler Jeff Grinspoon is welcomed by local schoolchildren during a stop on the Cape-Dar route in Mlimba, Tanzania. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy

“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.

rovos-postcard1 copyWe at IRT consider ourselves “extended family,” such has our commitment been with this wonderful luxury train over the years.

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.

For the latest on Rovos Rail and other luxury rail providers — sign up to receive our weekly email, IRT Extra, by clicking here.

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 tourdesk@irtsociety.com.

2 Responses to “Rovos Rail’s “Pride of Africa” — 30 Years of Luxury Adventure”

  1. Florence Elizabeth Egan November 11, 2015 at 6:21 PM #

    This is a trip I would really like to experience. Regards Betty Egan

  2. chantelle February 19, 2016 at 7:11 PM #

    I’m doing research on a Tourism project for school, this information really helped me a lot. Sounds like an amazing experiance.

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