Consultant Janelle Thirsk Chats to Us About Her Rovos Rail Trip

Our consultants cleverly craft itineraries for potential holidaymakers based on their budget and personal needs. The only real way to recommend a destination is to have first-hand experience of the suggested activity or destination. One of our consultants, Janelle, enjoyed a trip aboard the luxury Rovos Rail train. Her family joined her on the intrepid journey through the Cape Winelands, and it seems that it was a once-in-a-lifetime journey. We will share a few of her photos at a later stage, but in the meantime – here is her interview. 

1. What was your favourite part of the journey?

 Being in absolute comfort and luxury for 3 days!

2. How many different carriages are there?

 There were 3 rooms per carriage, and we had 5 carriages on our trip.  There was a dining car, a lounge area and then a bar/observation car.  This had an open area at the back of the train where you could sit and enjoy the fresh air.  Not many trains have windows that open, so we were very thankful that this train still has windows that open.  It was a highlight for most of the guests we spoke to.

3. What was your kids’ favourite part of the journey?

 I asked them this question, and their response was EVERYTHING!  However, I do believe that the dressing up for dinner would probably be a highlight for them.

4. Which route did you go?

 We went from Pretoria to Cape Town.

5. Does it stop at stations, and can you disembark?

We did stop a lot along the way, waiting for signals for us to pass through.  We could not disembark at this point.  However, we stopped in Kimberley where we did a tour of the Big Hole.  We were met at the station and got into Vans and they took us on the tour.  It was very interesting and we all loved it.  Another stop was about 5km outside Matjiesfontein and then we had the choice to walk into the town (the 5km) or we could stay on the train.  It is a very small town which has a hotel called Lord Milner.  It is an interesting hotel with many stories to it.  We got to meet the piano man who sang for us and showed us around.  What a treat he was!

6. Did your family all sleep in one cabin?

 No, we had 2 cabins, next door to each other.

7. What’s the food like?

 Gourmet. 4-course menu at lunch and dinner.  Breakfast was more low key, but they had everything you could want.  They made special meals for the kids.  Whilst on the train the chef found them daily to ask what they would want for their next meal.  Lucky kids!

There were 3 birthdays on the train, and on their night they received a cake with a sparkler as well as the staff (and all of us) singing happy birthday to them.  It was special for them.

8. Is there “room service”?

 Yes, there is, we did not use it but there is.

9. Anything you think could be improved upon?

 Perhaps a little more time in Matjiesfontein and Kimberley respectively.

10. What was the scenery like?

Looking out of the window, the scenery changed quite a bit through the journey.  Going through the Karoo was very dry, we got to go past a dam where there were thousands of Flamingos which was a treat!  They were gorgeous!!!  Coming into Cape Town was much prettier, the greenery in the Winelands was spectacular!

Rovos Rail Carriage

Rovos Rail Night Time

Rovos Winelands