“Welcome Mr. Bul, you will be staying in the Livingstone Suite for your journey”.
It seems fitting that I am following in the footsteps of this great explorer on my upcoming Rovos Rail train journey.
As the train eases forward, my journey begins, and with each kilometer, I am drawn further back in time to a long gone era. I can picture this time in history where the hardships of toiling under the African sun were contrasted by the clinking of crystal glasses, the best wines and most decadent meals.
Constance, with her ever ready smile, is our butler for the next three days. As we depart, leaving the roaring thunder of the Victoria Falls behind us, she presents me with a gin & tonic. Condensation drops slide leisurely down the side of the glass as the slice of lemon dances slowly to the rhythm of the tracks. “Shall I press your shirts for tonight’s supper gentlemen?” she enquires of us as we settle back in luxury. We eagerly accept her offer as we are determined to look distinguished while we dine in our Royal surroundings.
While the gentle rocking of the train along the tracks will lull even the most difficult sleeper to slumber, it does not always bode well when performing the basic tasks of shaving and showering in a relatively small space. It made for some humorous moments the first time we tackled these tasks. So with a slight delay, but dressed to impress, we make our way to the dining wagon. A four course meal fit for a king and true gastronomic delights are revealed to us, naturally accompanied by the best wines and laid out on crockery delicately embossed with the Rovos Rail logo.
After dinner we make our way to the lounge wagon at the back of the train only to continue the experience of decadence. A toast with newly acquired friends to the great journey ahead, a waft of pipe tobacco twirls around the balcony before it disappears in the air of the old Rhodesian country rolling past. My thoughts wonder to the adventurers of yesteryear. Those brave men and women who conquered these lands by wagon and I can only imagine their sense of achievement and the stories they shared.
After a peaceful night’s sleep, soothed by the rocking and swaying of our train, we awaken early the next morning, to be on time for a game-drive in the Hwange concession. Jackals sunbathe, totally unperturbed by our presence, while a graceful Kori Bastard elegantly makes his way through a field. We are greeted by some inquisitive giraffe and relaxing hippo eyes us lazily before we disembark the vehicles for a scrumptious breakfast in the bush.
The whistle blows, signalling the start of the next part of our journey. Our bodies now move in sync with the dance of the train and as kilometers of track slowly disappear behind us, they take with them, our worries and stresses. Life on board Rovos Rail is treating us to a new level of holiday bliss. Diverse landscapes pass our windows as we relish the luxurious treatment on board. Conversation and reading deepen our experience aboard our travelling hotel while we watch a giant herd of wildebeest and zebra scatter for safety as we meander past them.
The first baobabs start to appear, these magnificent trees dot the landscape and one can understand the spiritual powers attributed to these enormous trees that have been dominating their surroundings for thousands of years. The sheer size and majesty of these icons of nature never cease to amaze me. On the last day and on a side track the grand machine that has been pulling us tirelessly gets replaced by a stately shiny steam locomotive, so that we literally can do the home stretch under our own steam. It’s with a heavy heart that we depart the train and the station, leaving our 3 days of extra-ordinary luxury behind us, and hopefully, one day, Rovos and I shall meet again for another journey and unforgettable adventure.
Step aboard Rovos Rail's unique train safaris through the heart of Africa, venture back in time and experience the luxury of a bygone era - Speak to your Flight Centre Consultant today to find out more