All Aboard The Romance Express – Reed Family Linen

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All Aboard The Romance Express

The Rovos Rail has a style all of its own.

We were recently privileged to shoot our linens on the exquisite Rovos Rail in South Africa. The story of this remarkable company is one of family and dedication to preserving a bygone era of travel. The Rovos Rail has a style all of its own, offering a unique blend of African safari style and traditional luxury including the option of an extended soak in a full-sized bath tub, which is rare, even for the world’s most luxurious trains.

The Pride of Africa trains by Rovos Rail are so much more than transportation, they are a labour of love, with everything from the furniture to the carriages themselves being masterfully restored and furbished by the team of Rovos craftsmen and women.

There is no more romantic way of experiencing the richness of Southern Africa with her endless bounty including ocean, bush and mountains. Combine the golden age of rail travel with modern conveniences and indulge in an unforgettable African experience.

From the Edwardian styled station where you are met with Lala palms and smiling faces, your epic adventure awaits.

Your luggage will be deposited in one of the luxurious suites, which are air-conditioned and decorated in beautiful wood panelling and period Edwardian features. An extra perk is that the owner of Rovos Rail, Rohan Vos, is 6ft 2ins in height, and as such all the mattresses are extra length. The Rovos experience won’t leave your feet dangling, just your heart yearning to return.

Fine linens, endless vistas and wonderful 24 hour hospitality are now your reality for the next few days. Slippers and gowns are provided, it’s time to relax!

We were in one of the four Royal suites which have their own private lounge areas and feature a full bathroom with that Victorian bath we mentioned.

The dining car provides a wonderful range of delicious meals that include local delicacies with an emphasis placed on fresh and seasonal ingredients, all complemented by an excellent selection of South African wines.The Victorian setting, with crisp linens, sparkling glassware and silver, is matched with seamless service, and creativity in the kitchen.

There is no more romantic way of experiencing the richness of Southern Africa with her endless bounty including ocean, bush and mountains.

Sitting in the one of the Rovos lounge cars, you quickly realise that relaxation is the only option as you watch the scenery gently change and settle in with Backgammon and a glass of Pinotage. At the rear of the Rovos is the Observation Car, which affords you, your ‘Darjeeling Limited’ moment. We were so tempted to sit there wistfully clutching a cocktail with gloved hands. The experience of being outside whilst the train is moving, makes for an extra special memory , especially in the balmy darkness of the African night.

During the day on the train, attire is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal with cocktail dresses, evening dresses and suits required. What a rare opportunity to get all dressed up, it plays an integral part in the overall experience.

Travel from the grasslands of the golden Highveld to the haunting barrenness of the Great Karoo. Weave through the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic wine lands of the Cape and arrive in South Africa’s gem, Cape Town.

Highlights of the north and southbound routes include a visit to the historic village of Matjiesfontein,  this perfectly preserved Victorian Village, was founded as a refreshment stop in 1890.

Hwange Game Reserve in Zimbabwe offers wonderful game spotting and the ferocious Victoria Falls complete high tea at the elegant Victoria Falls Hotel is not to be missed.

Or choose to experience the splendour of KwaZulu-Natal, take in the Big Five and a battlefields tour with a world-class historian. Experience the Nambiti Conservancy, a big five private bush retreat.

You could also enjoy a tour of Bloemfontein then continue overnight along the imposing Drakensberg Mountains and eventually Addo Elephant Park. Followed by Oudtshoorn for an ostrich-farm and an impressive rail descent through the Outeniqua Mountains to George. After visiting the natural paradise of Knysna, the train traverses the spectacular Garden Route to the winelands for a brandy distillery visit and across the Cape Fold Mountains before this magnificent expedition ends in Cape Town. This particular trip is a personal favourite of ours.

Sitting in the one of the Rovos lounge cars, you quickly realise that relaxation is the only option as you watch the scenery gently change and settle in with Backgammon and a glass of Pinotage.

The Rovos team offer intrepid explorers an epic 15 day journey, taking you across the vast continent, starting from South Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, traversing Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and arriving in Tanzania on the Indian Ocean.

As well as the piece de resistance, Cape Town to Dar Es Salam, this famous trip is a bucket list extravaganza. It departs from Cape Town and heads to Matjiesfontein, then the diamond town of Kimberley and the capital city of Pretoria, one has a tour of both areas, before passing lakes with flocks of flamingos as one arrives for a two-night stay at the Madikwe Game Reserve.

Passing through Botswana into Zimbabwe, guests overnight at the Victoria Falls Hotel. After crossing the mighty Zambezi River following a sunset river cruise, the train travels northeast through Zambia where guests can enjoy a bush walk at Chisimba Falls.

The train continues the climb towards the Zambian/Tanzanian border, almost the midpoint between Africa’s two Great Rift Valley lakes. Descending into the Rift Valley itself and witnessing spectacular scenery, it then negotiates tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the escarpment.

Early on the last day, the train passes through the Selous Game Reserve – the largest on the continent and a vision of timeless Africa – shortly before arrival in Dar es Salaam.

This journey has a wonderful mixture of tours and some exotic overnight stays in various destinations. We love that there is plenty of time on board to gaze at the passing scenery and on-board historians giving interesting talks.

We would personally recommend adding on a few days in Dar es Salaam. One of our favourite places in the world.

It is going to be incredibly important to support the travel industry both locally and internationally over the next few years, as and when it’s safe to do so.

So many peoples lives and livelihoods have been affected, and we can’t wait to get out there and chase new horizons and help support the brave souls who have been patiently awaiting our return. Many of whom are custodians of wildlife and precious corners of our planet.

Happy Exploring,

 

Karen Reed.

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