Did you know that South Africa has some of the most luxurious trains on wheels that you could ever imagine? I did not for a long time. I was soon to experience the two most luxurious and popular trains that traverse parts of South Africa. On my journey, pictured here, the owner, Mr. Vos joined us.
The name, derived from a man of vision, Rohan Vos, was soon to be known as Rovos Rail, one of the most magnificent vintage railways in the world. The train began operation in 1990 with tracks opened to the travel industry, and the media. Described by the London Daily Mail “For those who want to discover Africa, in the wood-paneled, gleaming five-star luxury of a bygone era,” the train, known as The Pride of Africa is for you.
Officially Launched in 1991, scheduled routes from Pretoria to Cape Town was borne, with stops along the route, including a game drive which takes you on safari in one of the two remaining kingdoms in South Africa, Swaziland. The other country, still ruled by a King in South Africa is Lesotho. This trip was designed exclusively for travel agents, so there were only a few of us along to enjoy this luxury two night journey.
The most Luxurious Train in the World is a steam-powered locomotive, pulling the generator car, staff car, guest sleepers, a non-smoking lounge car (26 guests), two non-smoking 42-seat dining cars, kitchen car, guest sleepers, smoking lounge and Observation car. Today, smoking is now allowed only in the privacy of your suite and the Club Lounge.
Meals are served in a charming Victorian atmosphere with a fine selection of South African wines from which to select. Listen for the gong which signifies, ‘time to eat’
As on most luxurious trains, daytime attire is smart casual, while dinner requires a more formal attire, with jackets and ties for men.
THE BLUE TRAIN
“….A dream was born, a dream of harnessing steam technology to link Africa’s vast south to north, around the awe-inspiring mountain ranges that dot the continent, through the apparently arid desert landscapes, over untamed savannah grasslands teeming with wildlife”. It is from this dream that The Blue Train was born.
Kings and presidents have indulged on this magnificent, moving five-star “hotel-on-wheels”. And, on this occasion a group of eleven felt like the kings and queens, celebrities in their own right.
Romanticizing a life of luxury, today we were not ordinary, by any stretch of imagination. It was today, the reason for the trip, that we celebrated twenty years of marriage between two of the lucky travelers, my cousins.
And what a celebration it was. Many say it was the best trip of their life. A special itinerary, planned and organized completely by Destined To Travel, many saw a glimpse of Africa they thought, not possible. The trip on the Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria sealed the deal. It was extraordinary. I wanted something special and I believe everyone on this trip received something special. To this day the memories abound.
Welcome aboard The Blue Train. Your unforgettable experience is about to begin…
It began in an extravagant waiting area with wine and champagne served to whet your appetite for what was to come. We couldn’t wait.
As we boarded the train, we were led to our staterooms, where a bottle of champagne was poetically placed alongside our seated area. The seated area became our bed for the night, and what comfort we felt there. For most of us, we’d never been on an overnight train, let alone a luxury train, where someone was waiting on you hand and foot. You just could not ask for more.
ROOM, LOUNGE AND SHOPPING, WHAT MORE IS THERE
After the room tour, our group met in the lounge where gushing travelers shared the overwhelming joy of their rooms, their room stewards and the awaiting champagne. Yes, these two nights were to be a special celebration. As my cousin told me later, I outdid myself on this trip.
And not to be outdone, I too was celebrating something. It was my birthday – I could not think of a better way to celebrate, family, friends and riding the rails of the Luxury Blue Train. I was in heaven, along with everyone else. The birthday and anniversary celebration at dinner was awesome, along with the spectacular meal. Throughout the lavish dinner, the service with everyone wanting to do something for you, the entire experience was unforgettable.
Along the journey, we shopped, both on and off the train, at both stops we made along the route. The South African vineyards, provided our wandering and meandering backdrop. And when we weren’t shopping, we were enjoying a drink in the lounge car.
For this two-night journey, this was our life of luxury aboard THE BLUE TRAIN – All Aboard!!
Watch for more on the entire South Africa journey. You may decide you’ll want to join me for another trip. Are you game?
If you’re anxious to see East Africa join me in March 2016 and help me celebrate my seven years in business. Affordably priced, this safari is timed at the height of the migration. Or perhaps the November 2015 safari is more to your liking. Both of these safaris will operate in Tanzania. Are you a teacher? Only have the summer off? July 2016 is in the planning stages. Stay Tuned. Contact me for details, firstname.lastname@example.org • 951-898-6094 • destined-to-travel.com.