Rovos Rail

Step on board of Rovos Rail and be pampered in 5-star luxury while you slowly move through the beautiful landscape. There is everything from shorter journeys between Pretoria and Cape Town to longer trips that depart once a year. Why not take the train from Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam?

deluxe

Since 1989, Rovos Rail has become known as the world’s most luxurious train. The adventure often begins at Capital Park just north of Pretoria, where Rovos Rail’s private station is built in colonial style. This is the point of most of the departures and arrivals.

Rovos Rail has the most spacious compartments in the world, with all the luxury and comfort you can imagine. With beautiful wood panelling and furniture in Edwardian style, the compartments accommodate two people and you can choose between two single beds or a spacious double bed. There is a safe, room service around the clock and a mini bar stocked with the beverages you want, all included in the price.

Rovos Rail offers three types of accommodation:

pullmandaycutawayThe Pullman Suite has a size of 7 square metres with private bathroom with a shower. You can choose between an upper and a lower bed or a double bed which during the day is converted into a sofa. This is the smallest compartment on offer.

deluxecutawayThe Deluxe Suite is a slightly larger option at 11 square meters. You get a small lounge and a private bathroom with a shower and you can choose if you want two single beds or one double bed.

royalcutawayThe Royal Suite is a full 16 square metres big and is very spacious and elegant. The compartment personifies opulence. It takes up half a carriage, with its own lounge and bathroom with Victorian bath and separate shower.

All meals are served in one sitting in the charming Victorian design restaurant carriages. Every morning a breakfast buffet with a wide selection of croissants, cold meats, jams, pastries, yoghurt, cereal and fresh fruit is served.

shangani

Lunch and dinner begins with a starter and then your choice of fish, meat or a vegetarian dish, followed by a tempting dessert. And of course you will have excellent South African wines to choose from.

During the day the dress code is casual, while more formal attire is worn in the evening. A jacket and tie is a minimum requirement.

Doesn’t this sound lovely…?

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10 drinks to try out when you visit South Africa

A large part of travelling certainly revolves around eating and drinking, and travelling to South Africa is no exception. And rightly so – South Africa has so many tasty things to offer, so try them out!

Here we’re taking a closer look at some of the drinks…

Wine
This one is a given. You can drink wine every day without getting to excperience a small part of all the wonderful wines available in South Africa.

Two local specialties that you should definitely try is Jerepigo or Cape Ruby, sweet wines that go well with dessert, and Pinotage, which is a blend of the grape varieties Cinsaut and Pinot Noir.

Du-Toitskloof-Hanepoot-Jerepigo

Beer
Everyone drinks beer, regardless of social status and it’s somewhat of South Africa’s unofficial national drink – especially during summer and sports season. The most popular beer, Castle Lager, is produced by South African Breweries, but they also produce brands such as Carling Black Label and Grolsch. Windhoek Lager from Namibia is also popular.

Cider
These are much less sweet and less fruity than the ciders sold in Sweden (I’m not sure about the rest of the world). They have a more adult taste and with hints of wine.

Try Hunter’s, Redds or Savannah – with or without lemon.

Amarula
I’m sure many of you have already tried this sweet and creamy liqueur. Add it to your coffee or ice cream – yummy! –  or as is with ice. Amarula is made from the fruit of the Marula tree, a fruit that’s also a favourite among monkeys and elephants.

Van Der Hum liqueur
This citrus liqueur from The Cape combine spices, herbs, sugar, tangerines, brandy and diluted wine. It’s named after its original creator, and is a favourite among South Africans.

Witblits
Witblits is Afrikaans for “white lightning”, and is a home-made brandy that packs a punch. It’s mostly produced and consumed in the Western Cape, so keep an eye out for it at the farmstalls dotted along the roads there. Witblits is also the name of my car. Vroom vroom! 🙂

Mampoer
Mampoer is a fruitier alternative to witblits, made from peach, apricot, litchi and other fruits. Also, a drink that packs a punch… Mampoer is most common in the northern parts of South Africa.

Springbok (Springbokkies)
A springbok is a popular shooter named after the antelope and it also has the same name as the South African rugby team, wearing gold and green. The drink reflects these colours (or of a springbok and green grass) by layering creamy Amarula with green peppermint liqueur. It’s served in bars around the country and is very popular and insanely nice!

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
South Africa is widely known as a country that produces a lot of wonderful wines. Most people know that. But there’s also an award-winning whisky produced here.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is distilled and matured at The James Sedgwick Distillery in the beautiful Bainskloof Pass in the Western Cape. Bain’s was named “The World’s Best Grain Whisky” at the annual World Whisky Awards in London in 2013.

Rooibos
I’m sure most of you have tried rooibos tea. Right? Rooibos is unique because it’s only grown in two specific valleys in South Africa, in the Western and Northern Cape. This slightly reddish tea is full of antioxidants and is often added to other teas to improve the taste, such as Honeybush, Hoodia and Buchu.

The elephants of Mfuwe Lodge

We would love to experience this… 🙂

Every year when the mangoes are ripe a family of wild elephants visit Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Led by their matriarch Wonky Tusk they carefully make their way through the lodge’s reception area and onto the the grounds where the mango tree stands.

Once they’re done they simply walk back…

Go see the spring flowers of The West Coast

I love my Johannesburg, and right now we are experiencing summer temperatures that are very welcome after the cold winter. However, I wish I could visit Cape Town, or rather the West Coast, now…

weast coast flowers 3

Between July/August and September/October each year this part of South Africa explodes. The first spring rain falls and turns the dry and rather barren landscape into a display of bright colours when the ground becomes covered in flowers of thousands of species.

It is impossible to predict exactly when this annual flower parade will occur, but the safest bet is probably from August to September. The key is of course the arrival of the first rains, but the temperature is also important and the flowers will only open up until later in the morning and hardly at all on cloudy days.

The Namaqualand region is located in the northern part of the west coast and is divided into two parts either side of the Orange River – Greater Namaqualand in Namibia and Little Namaqualand in South Africa. It’s in this region that the flowers of west coast reaches its full strength.

But you don’t have to travel all the way up there to experience this magical spectacle. Spring flowers are abound from Darling and Yzerfontein up to the West Coast National Park, so if you are visiting Cape Town during this period – take a day to visit this beautiful area.

Before you dash off on your way, I advise you to call Flower Line on +27 (0)71 320 7146 in order to find out which area has the best show of the day.