rovos rail station pretoria
It still feels like an unbelievable dream to me, when I review the last week. Today, 7 days ago, I was not only celebrating my 23rd birthday, but had even better the chance to celebrate it with Rovos rail on a 1600 km journey from Pretoria to Cape Town..

cape town travel

Rovos rail is the most luxurious train in the world and honestly, I couldn´t have wished for a better location to celebrate. The 2-day trip was pure magic and definitely on top of my recent travels. While I just hit 200 days on travel on my departure date I dare to claim this even the best train travel in the world.

Arriving in Johannesburg I made my way to Pretoria. Within Pretoria Rovos rail has its own train station, that is a little bit apart the center. Arriving at the station one will not only find a train station, it is a station with a huge villa and a museum, telling the story of Rovos. Rohan Rovos, the founder, greeted every guest with a handshake and a few lovely words, after explaining some more of the train. By 3 pm it was finally time to enter the train and I was more than excited, as this was my first train journey with an overnight, in this case even two-night stay.

train travel rovos luxury

Very exciting was the check in into my deluxe suit. Each guest gets an own room and one coach of the train has a few rooms for the train travelers. The room as an own bathroom, so as a double bed and a minibar, along with some amenities. The space might be a little restricted but the room honestly offers everything needed. A huge bonus of staying on a train are the lush views. I can tell I saw some of the most beautiful sceneries, including a crystal-clear sky full of stars.

shower bathroom train travel

As mentioned it was my birthday and Rovos made it more than special to me. After not celebrating for years and doing the train journey on my own I have been surprised with a cute birthday cake and the staff sing “happy birthday” for me.

jasmin fatschild shooting blogger travel

I guess a part of making Rovos the most luxurious train in the world has to do with the dress code. While the guests are allowed to dress casual for the day time as there are smaller trips and stops schedules, one is supposed to wear evening gear and dress up for dinner time. 

birthday party cake hotel

The dinner is รก la cart and served as a 4-course menu. As a vegan I already informed the kitchen about my preferences and also other dietary requests are no problem. The whole atmosphere is a high fine dining and with a dimmed light and the most charming staff one will feel absolutely pampered while enjoying the delicious dishes.

dinner kulinarik essen

Meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. An enthusiastic team of chefs is responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every need is catered for. There’s an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty.  Breakfast is between 07h00 and 10h00, lunch at 13h00, tea at 16h30 and a formal dinner at 19h30. A gong heralds lunch and dinner.

train safari south africa

After a long first day and a happy birthday party on the train, I had a very calming sleep in my room. It has never been that easy to me to get up early in the morning. Before I headed to breakfast I took a walk to the last coach which had an open are where one could snap beautiful photos of the rich South African landscape and feel the soft breeze while leaving stunning landscapes behind.

rovos rail food pretoria capetown

After enjoying some outdoor time, I made my way back to the dining coach, where breakfast was served. The usual breakfast offers a small buffet of fresh fruits and muesli, so as a la carte orders. All foods and drinks served on the train are by the way included in the price. Also for breakfast the kitchen was more than prepared for my special needs and even had some vegan sausages prepared for me.

diamond museum travel

After the breakfast we guests had some time to relax before arriving for our first stop in Kimberley. Our train had a private guide tour at the diamond museum and Big Hole. As South Africa is very famous for its occurrence of diamonds, it has been a kind of travel in history as well. 

reiseblog travel

After our excursion to the diamond museum we got our shuttle ready to bring us back to Kimberley station where there was a reception, organized by the drain, with cold towels and refreshing drinks, before entering back the train and departing. I enjoyed some time in the lounge after getting back on the train, before my first lunch on the train got served.

rovos rail travel blogger press trip

Besides dinner, also for lunch guests will be greeted with a 4v course menu. The menu includes a starter, a main course, a cheese platter and a dessert. I must admit that I have been most surprised by the authentic and still so creative way of the kitchen to set up my dishes, no matter if it was for lunch, breakfast or dinner. Also, the chosen dishes have been all light and perfectly fitted to my food requests. While I understand that it can be sometimes hard for the chefs to set up vegan menus I couldn´t spot any trace on the train. It has all round been a perfect food experience.

fine dining lunch

Generally, I want to spread to share some more words about the excellent service on board. The whole team works extremely smooth and there has never been any troubles or mistakes. Each guest was treated the same way and the staff kindly interacted with the guests in a charming but still very professional attitude. 

drink champagen luxury life

On the 3rd day there has been an additional offer of joining a guided 5km walk from Whitehill Siding to Matjiesfontein station, a small valley that one can walk through in less than 5 minutes and which is basically made out of museums only.

luxury travel on a train

As at this point have been no animals around I can guarantee it´s a safe walk through beautiful landscapes with views on the mountains and other parts of the landscape. It is a casual walk which speed is set by the group and there is no need to rush.

Matjiesfontein station south africa

After getting back on the train it was time to enjoy the incoming landscapes. As soon as we departed from Matjiesfontein station we got even closer to cape town and were only few more hours away from our final destination. A true highlight in the end has been the huge wine fields that we crossed in the last hours of our journey, so as the tunnels.

trave train south africa

It was an absolutely magical and outstanding experience to travel on a train but traveling with a partner like Rovos even enhances this spectacular experience. The high standard and the private atmosphere were one of the main reasons why I wanted to travel with Rovos rail. It is also a safe way to explore south Africa and still enjoy its best. Rovos is shaping the train travel all over the world. Beside the travel from Pretoria to Cape town there are also other tours with the train offered, which last up to 15 days. Beside South Africa Rovos is also operating in other countries. As a regular traveler I can tell that this travel has not comparable with any trip I ever had. For me it is the perfect getaway and I´m most keen to travel again with Rovos rail.