Sunday, August 23, 2009
Rovos Rail through SOUTH AFRICA --- What a Fantastic Trip!
ROVOS RAIL --- It is known as
"THE MOST LUXURIOUS TRAIN IN THE WORLD"!
For seven weeks I travelled through South Africa visiting family and friends and then the cherry on top was the Rovos Rail train trip back to Cape Town. If you ever have the money, book it through me it is worth all of it and I can give you some deduction on the price.
We left Pretoria with a steam engine in the afternoon on Friday and traveled very slowly through the cities of Pretoria, Germiston, Johannesburg and Krugersdorp. The steam engine was changed to electricity somewhere on route, but it still was traveling slowly
through our lovely country. The city houses seem not to end too quickly, but if you find nice people on the train and start drinking and chatting to them, time flies. Before dark we got into the lovely Savanna fields (grass and thorntrees) of the Old Transvaal! Until dark we were all sitting in the lounge, wagon at the end of the train with tea, coffee and cakes or later anything from the bar.
Then we had to go and dress up smartly for the evening supper. The dining room was really special with all the lovely woodwork of the days gone by, the old colonial times.
We met new people and the food was absolutely exquisite. In French style and a four course meal was something special. At night one could sleep well with the rocking of the train through the country-side. If you do not sleep well like that the train also stands still for 4 to 5 hours (I could not sleep again once it was standing). The rocking train puts one to sleep, I found.
The next morning, (Saturday) after a too large breakfast, we stopped in Kimberley and spend about three hours with a good guide at The Big Hole of the Kimberley diamond mines. Very interesting Video of 20 minutes showed us also more of times gone by a long time ago. Back on the train we could sit down for a lovely lunch and perhaps a little sleep afterwards in our cabins or rather suites. Each suite has a specific name. We were in the Umkomaas suite, just next to Tutu. Some others had animal names like Kudu, Impala and Springbok. Now we were traveling through the Groot Karoo. A lovely way to see the Karoo. Right at the back of the train was an open area to sit and take photos. The Karoo had so much rain that it is very green at the moment. At sunset there were thunder clouds coming up and some heavy rain came down for a while and we had to go back inside to rather have a drink and a chat at the bar.
For supper it was dressing up again. I do not know if it was for woman's day or always done, but when we arrived in the dining room, a red rose for the men and a pink rose for the ladies where put onto our dress to beautify the occasion of the last night on the train. There were people from the UK, US, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland and of course many from South Africa (mainly Jo'burg, one lady from Rustenburg) on this train.
The Sunday morning the train stopped at 8h00 at about 5km before Matjiesfontein. It was fantastic sunshine weather after the rain in the previous night. Those that wanted to walk could take a walk of 5km into Matjiesfontein, while'st the train carried on. We were about 20, (half of the tourists) getting out to do that walk. After all that eating for two days it was really good to do such a walk. I really enjoyed that. We took about one hour to do this walk.
In Mastjiesfontein there is the Museum at the station and also a car and train museum to look at and the whole village is really a museum of bygone colonial times. The train started moving again towards Cape Town at 11h00.
Now we started entering one of the most beautiful areas of the Cape. The high mountains started to appear in the distance. The Hexriver Mountains, then the highest peak of the Boland, Matroosberg, full of snow, the Drakenstein Mountains and then the Bainskloof Mountains as we were traveling passed Worcester, Ceres, Thulbach and Wellington. As it was getting dark we also came passed Paarl with the Paarlberg and soon after this the icon of Cape Town, Table Mountain, became visible. We arrived on the Sunday at 18h00 at the Cape Town Station and were kind of sad that this lovely train trip came to and end.