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Tea and cake in the Tea Lounge.

Tea and cake in the Tea Lounge.

Journey through South Africa on board the most luxurious train service

Five-star accommodation doesn’t have to be a hotel. Two luxury class hostelries on rails, which traverse South Africa, not only offer guests first-class accommodation but the beauties of an outstanding landscape as well.

Victorian claw-foot bathtub in the Royal Suite.
Rovos Rail trains, the most luxurious in the world, have been offering an ambience reminiscent of the so-called good old days since 1989. “I wanted to combine the romance of train travel with accommodation, cuisine and service of the highest standard”, explains founder and owner Rohan Vos.

Victorian claw-foot bathtub in the Royal Suite

Victorian claw-foot bathtub in the Royal Suite

Inside, the mahogany clad carriages are furnished in the style of the 1920s and 30s with leather, basket weave and rattan furniture from the colonial era, Art Deco lamps and, in the bathroom of the Royal Suites, freestanding claw-foot bathtubs from Victorian times.

View of a breathtaking African landscape from the Observation Car.
In the Royal and smaller Deluxe suites, both featuring a lounge area, and in the compact Pullman suites, attention has been paid to creating the atmosphere of a bygone era. Anthea Vos (Rohan Vos’s wife), who takes care of all the furnishings on the train, explains: “The fabrics are chosen from a variety of fabric houses, with the emphasis on dark, durable fabrics with an old fashioned feel to them. Due to the wear and tear on the train we have to refurbish the curtains, furniture and day covers approximately every 18 months. “

View of a breathtaking African landscape from the Observation Car

View of a breathtaking African landscape from the Observation Car

DeLuxe Suite during the day with a view of Africa.
This also applies to the Buffet Car and the last carriage of the train, the Observation Car, where passengers can enjoy a drink at the bar and, from the balcony, a view of the landscape the train is passing through.

The Blue Train has been running since 1946. The legend on rails has received a host of awards and has, for example, been named one of the ‘20 Best Experiences in the World’.

Lounge car with comfortable seating and panoramic windows.
Cynthia Ndaba, Executive Manager explains: “With a long-standing reputation of South African hospitality, The Blue Train symbolizes the very essence of luxury train travel. Exquisitely crafted and appointed to achieve a degree of unequalled luxury to satisfy the senses of every guest from all corners of South Africa and the world!”“

DeLuxe Suite during the day with a view of Africa

DeLuxe Suite during the day with a view of Africa

Two types of suite are available to choose from: DeLuxe or the slightly larger Luxury Suite. All the suites have two rooms, one serves as a lounge during the day and the other as a sleeping area at night. In the Lounge cars, panoramic windows afford a generous view of the passing landscape.
The Club Car with its cosy pub atmosphere, has tables for a game of bridge, a small library and a fully equipped bar.

This combination of remarkable stops like Cape Town, Kimberly and Matjiesfontein and luxury accommodation is available only rarely, so one can really say this is a unique way to travel.

Photo sources:
Photos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 © Rovos Rail

Wlad Leirich

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