Monday, April 24, 2017

Rovos Rail from Durban to Pretoria.

It started in the lounge at Durban station...
It would have been great if there had been clear direction to this meeting point.
But that small inconvenience was soon forgotten thanks to the friendly staff
as well as the drinks and snacks on offer.

From the outside looking in...
The lounge car as viewed from the platform.

Time to head off towards our first destination...
Ardmore Ceramics, just outside Howick, KZN

Old school charm and comfort from an era of rail travel that has all but vanished.
Rovos Rail works hard to keep that style and class alive.

There are many tunnels of varying lengths along the line
from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.

An unexpected jewel.
One of a couple of waterfalls that were visible from the observation car.

Could this be viewed as wildlife?
A herd of cows heading where?

Our first excursion...
The train stopped at Lions River Station, where we climbed onto a coach and headed off to
Ardmore Ceramics.
Started by Fee Halstead, the imagination based creations of the sculptors 
and painters are now internationally recognized.
Aside from being able to purchase art pieces, tea/ coffee and cake were served for tea

The train stops overnight, usually from 10pm until breakfast time the following morning.
This might be for safety reasons, but I did miss falling asleep to the "clickety clack" 
of the wheels on the rails as the train sped through the night.
This was a very vivid memory from the many trips that I had done as a youngster.
Our first night was spent at the Ladysmith Station.
My previous visit had been here in 1971,
and nothing seems to have changed.

The following morning, after a scrumptious breakfast,we headed off to Spionkop Lodge.
Here host Raymond Heron enthralled and entertained with stories of the Spionkop Battle.
His wife Lynette serves the BIGGEST scones I have ever seen (and enjoyed)

Leaving Ladysmith behind, the train wound its way to Elandslaagte 
where we once again disembarked, climbed into game drive vehicles and headed off into 
 20000 acres of malaria free Big 5 country.
Our visit to Nambiti Game Reserve was cut short by a thunderstorm of note.
But we did get some good sightings before the rain came pouring down.

Back to our suite to change out of wet clothes and get ready for dinner.
Rovos do like guest to "dress" for dinner...
Collar and tie being the minimum acceptable dress code for gents.
I have to say that the International guests outdid themselves...
tuxs and suits had been packed and were brought out for both evening meals.

The VERY hot shower was most welcome...

Back to the lounge car for a pre (and post) dinner drink.

The dining all its splendour.
As a child, I often travelled by train and I have fond memories of meals eaten in similar carriages.
Heavy silverware and pristine crockery were the order of the day then,
and they are on this trip.
Service was impeccable and the staff friendly without being intrusive.

These are just some of the dishes that were served to us.
An interesting "twist", the cheese platter was served BEFORE the dessert.

Lots of beautiful Cosmos alongside the tracks.

Early, misty morning as we cross from KZN into Gauteng
and the final part of our journey

When this engine came into view, 
we knew that we were only a few minutes from the Rovos Rail private station in Pretoria.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of coal and water along the route,
the train set is now pulled by diesel engines for most of the journey.

The end of the journey for us.
The Rovos Rail station just outside Pretoria.

For more details of all the places we visited,
please use the official websites:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great summary of a wonderful trip!

It was a pleasure to meet you and Carolyn on Rovos, David.

Thanks for capturing the true essence of a truly magical journey.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this trip to your readers.

Christine Weston, Australia