Africa boasts a wealth of luxurious experiences. From elegant boutique hotels and wine tastings to Michelin-starred restaurants and world-class cruises, we really have it all. In a new miniseries inspired by the November 2017 issue of House and Leisure, we reveal a few of our favourite spoils. We’ve already explored hot-air ballooning over the Okavango Delta, a luxury spa experience at The Silo Hotel and a magical stay at the Manta Resort on Pemba Island. In the last instalment of the series, we travel in Africa’s most opulent train.
go on a rail journey with rovos
Rovos Rail, started in 1989 by Rohan Vos, is Africa’s equivalent to the Orient Express. The luxury train offers a multitude of journeys across Southern Africa, from a three-night adventure to Victoria Falls to the world famous 15-day epic trip from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. From the moment you embark, you can expect the epitome of sumptousness: a red carpet, champagne, appetisers and violin players to greet you at the station – and, yes, everything is complimentary.
Boarding the train is like being whisked away into the past. Mahogany panelling, opulent decor and plush furnishings exude the romance of an era of ultimate luxury. But the most decadent aspect of the train is the space: ‘The train is an expression of my own taste,’ says Vos. ‘I am very tall, so I wanted everything to be roomy, from the king-size beds to the claw-foot full-length baths in the royal suites.’ There are a maximum of three cabins per carriage and, in the royal carriages, only two.
The royal suites are the obvious first choice for accommodation. Each taking up half a carriage, the spacious suites are each 16m² in size, with their own private lounge area, full en-suite bathroom and twin or double beds. Handsome wood panelling and period Edwardian features are the finishing touch on these stylish sleeping quarters.
Dressing for dinner is the done thing on Rovos Rail. While smart-casual dress is permitted during the day, dinner calls for more formal attire. Think crisp suits and elegant evening gowns that complement the Edwardian atmosphere of the dining cars and match the fine cuisine and equally palatable South African wines. Meal times are strict – they would have to be to maintain perfection – so ensure you’re ready for breakfast between 7am and 10am, lunch at 1pm, tea at 4.30pm and a formal dinner at 7.30pm. But if you happen to miss a meal, not to worry: there’s room service 24 hours a day, making the train feel like a five-star hotel on wheels.
Fine details such as origami rosebuds, champagne, and chocolates on your bed in the evening ups the ante and makes this experience one of the most luxurious in Africa, if not the world.
Visit rovos.com for more information or to make a booking.