Pretoria, South Africa
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ROVOS RAIL -
FIRST CLASS TRAVEL
Step aboard the Pride of Africa, the world's most luxurious train,
and begin a journey to Southern Africa's most spectacular destinations.
Since its establishment more than 10 years ago, 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. Recapture the romance and atmosphere
of a by-gone era, when privileged travellers experienced the magic
and mystery of Africa in a relaxed and elegant fashion.
In a series of journeys lasting from 24 hours to a fortnight, the Pride
of Africa links some of Africa's greatest destinations from Cape Town
at the tip of Africa to Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania, from scenic splendours
as diverse as the game reserves of Mpumalanga to the Victoria Falls,
from the desert landscapes of Namibia and the stark beauty of the Karoo
to the lush canefields of KwaZulu-Natal and the magnificent Garden Route
along the Cape South Coast.
The new headquarters and the heart of this superb private railway company
is the historic and newly built Capital park Station and Locomotive yard
which is situated on the outskirts of Pretoria.
Complete Rovos Rail Route Details, click Rovos
A superb collection of rebuilt& refurbished coaches that offer
World-class comfort & style
Rovos Rail operates two classic trains of 20 superbly restored coaches,
half of which date back to the 1920s. Each train can accommodate up to
72 passengers in unrivalled spaciousness. A third 13-coach, 42-berth
Edwardian train is available year round for charter. The coaches - which
have been collected from the far corners of the country - have been painstakingly
rebuilt and refurbished to offer discerning travellers the last word
in comfort and style.
The use of traditional furnishings and
period decor, with top-class craftsmanship evident in fine wood panelling,
has ensured an atmosphere
of elegance and grandeur. Each one of these carriages, from kitchen cars
to sleeper coaches and guards vans, has its own story. A few dating back
to 1911 were constructed in Europe and shipped to South Africa in the
first half of this century. Some have carried royalty, others have ended
up serving as restaurants or lying derelict and forgotten in sidings
for decades. All are now cherished members of the Rovos Rail fleet of
At Capital Park, the new headquarters
of Rovos Rail, a team of craftsmen and engineers ensure that the coaches
are up to standard
and that their gleaming green paintwork is immaculate. Exquisite pillared
dining cars are a signature feature of the Rovos Rail trains. Each
one has a proud history and has been meticulously restored from a derelict
state. For example, No 195 Shangani, which was built in 1924, was found
parked in a siding in Alberton and acquired by Rovos Rail in 1986.
of the magnificent teak pillars had been removed and her severely dilapidated
condition required 18 months of painstaking restoration.
The pillars were faithfully recreated, restoring the Victorian atmosphere.
Shangani ran on the inaugural trip in April 1989. Each of the trains
has two 42-seater dining cars to accommodate the maximum complement of
72 passengers in total comfort at one sitting. One of the dining cars
is a refurbished Edwardian pillared dining car dating from the 1920s,
while the other is a classic luxury dining car of 1936 vintage. The latter
is a favourite venue for lunch and offers a superb view from the larger
picture windows. Service is friendly and discreet. Each train has one
or two lounge cars. Permission was sought and granted by South African
Railways to run the Observation Cars at the back of the Trains, enabling
enlargement of the windows and the construction of unique open-air balconies.
These classic coaches are the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely drink
or a cup of tea, get to know the friendly hostesses and fellow travellers
and read up more about the route and the many fascinating attractions.
The lounge car and onboard gift shop is in the centre of the train.
Five superbly reconditioned locomotives are the soul of Rovos Rail
and a sight to gladden the heart of any rail enthusiast
There's a story behind all of the Rovos Rail locomotives, their acquisition
and restoration. Each one has a distinctive character and charm and all
are named after members of owner Rohan Vos' family. The first engine
acquired was No 2702 Bianca, a Class 19D locomotive built by Borsig in
1938. It was purchased in 1986 from Loewenthal's Scrap Metal. Dunn's
Locomotive in Witbank was commissioned to return the 50-year old workhorse
to running condition. The Rovos Rail staff then carried out cosmetic
improvements, including a superb paint job, making Rovos Rail's first
loco a beautiful sight. No 2701 'Brenda', a Class 19D locomotive with
coincidentally a number just one digit away from Bianca, was bought from
Chick's Scrap Metal while staged at Volksrust in Natal and restored at
the workshops in Witbank.
Rohan Vos had had his eye on No
3360 Shaun since he first saw it standing on the scrap line at Witbank,
way back in 1986.
It was purchased a decade
later and restored by Rovos personnel. The oldest engine in the stable
is also the smallest. No 439 Tiffany a Class 6 locomotive, is one of
40 locomotives, the first of which was delivered in 1983, and was built
by Dubbs & Co. The Vos family first saw the dainty locomotive on
the platform at Winburg Station in the Eastern Free State, For Rohan
and Anthea Vos; it was love at first sight. The engine was purchased
in 1987 and returned to the rails by Dunn's of Witbank. The locomotive
is named for their youngest daughter.
The latest addition to Rovos Rail
is a Class 25 NC locomotive that has been converted from a coal burner
to an oil-fired engine. It completed an 18-month overhaul and refurbishment,
which brought a gleam to every bit of brass and a glow to the faces
of the team of people who had painstakingly restored her to her prime.
highlight of the official opening of the new Capital Park Station on
the 7th of May 1999 was the christening ceremony performed by Rohan's
mother, Mrs Marjorie Vos, as she cracked a bottle of champagne across
the bows of Class 25NC No 3484. Use of steam has become increasingly
difficult over the past years, as more and more water and coaling facilities
have been scrapped. Wherever practical the trains may be drawn by any
one of the five vintage steam locomotives. Where facilities no longer
exist, diesel or electric locomotives will be used. Rovos Rail will,
however, endeavour to ensure that arrivals and departures in Pretoria
are steam hauled.
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Click the cutaways
below to enlarge
A perfect blend of period ambience & modern features
The rebuilt sleeper coaches
contain the most spacious train suites in the wrold, offering every modern
convenience and comfort.
The epitome of luxury, with handsome wood panelling and period Edwardian
features, the air-conditioned Deluxe Suites accommodate two people,
offering the option of twin or spacious double beds.
TWIN SUITE |
DOUBLE SUITE |
Like all Rovos Rail carriages,
the rebuilt sleeper coaches contain the most spacious train suites
in the world and are the epitome of luxury.
With exquisite wood panelling and period Edwardian features as well
as every modern convenience and comfort, the air-conditioned
two people and offer the option of twin or spacious double beds.
Royal Suites, each of which takes up half a carriage, are named after
colourful characters of the Victorian era in South Africa, including
Cecil John Rhodes, Barney Barnato and Alfred Beit. Spacious and elegant,
the Royal Suites measure 16 sq metres in size (172 sq ft). Each one
has its own private lounge area and features a full en-suite
shower and Victorian bath.
The Deluxe Suites measure 11 sq metres (118sq ft) and each have a lounge
area and private bath with shower. The suites offer guests the space
to relax in privacy and the opportunity to travel in comfort and luxury,
with fittings and facilities that are of the highest standard. All are
equipped with a writing desk and, for valuables, a personal safe. There's
also a bar fridge filled with the drinks of the passengers' choice and
room service is available 24 hours a day. In the en-suite bathrooms,
original fittings are combined with the modern technology of hot showers,
hair dryers, heaters and shaver plugs. The train has an onboard water
and sewerage system, so showers and toilets may be used at any time.
The Observation Car seats 32 passengers
and is positioned at the rear of the train. At the center of the
train there is, when numbers dictate, a non-smoking Lounge Car
which seats 26 passengers in comfort. In maintaining the spirit
of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets
DINING & CUISINE
The superb cuisine served aboard the Pride of Africa is simple and
When you are catering for a full complement of 72 guests
within the limited space of a Rovos Rail kitchen car, achieving a
standard that rivals that of a top-class restaurant is a serious
challenge. An enthusiastic team of chefs is responsible for overseeing
the very important task of ensuring that guests indulge and that
all their favourite drinks are on board. Considerable thought and
meticulous planning goes into making up the menus. Unlike many of
the great trains of the world, travellers are on board the trains
for several days at a time, requiring a much wider selection of
There is an accent on fresh local
ingredients, and traditional dishes
such as game are a specialty. A full breakfast is served in the
morning with dishes cooked to order. A selection of cold
meats, croissants, pastries, fresh fruits, yogurts, cereals and preserves
make up a tempting breakfast buffet. For lunch and dinner, there
is a starter and a choice of fish, meat or vegetarian dish followed
by a tempting dessert. A selection of fine
wines from some of South Africa's most renowned cellars and estates complement
All meals are served in one sitting
only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the Dining Cars; however,
meals can be adapted to suit special requirements by prior arrangement.
the Pride of Africa enjoy
the formality of fine china, crisp linen and silver service and dress
accordingly. During the day, we like our guests to feel at home and
dress is casual. Cool, comfortable clothes and hats are recommended
especially in the game reserves where it can be very hot.
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