The Rovos Rail journey from Pretoria to Cape Town covers 1 600 kilometres. It’s a slow ride and the trip is three days long (or short?) with forever changing landscape and two exciting stops along the way. The journey takes you from the Gauteng Highveld, to the dry Karoo land, through the Winelands and finally into Cape Town. It is the most beautiful journey I have ever embarked on and I’m going to tell you why in this post.
At about 3pm on a Friday afternoon we depart from Capital Park Station in Pretoria and head south towards Cape Town. We haven’t even been on the train for fifteen minutes, when the train starts moving and we head to the observation car. The observation car is at the back of the train and has larger windows and an open air balcony. It is the perfect spot to appreciate the views while breathing in all the fresh air. It was my favourite place to sit and relax and watch the world go by with a drink in hand.
We bid Gauteng farewell with a Bloody Mary or two and a gorgeous sunset before it was time for dinner in the dining cart at 7pm.
The next morning we woke up to the most beautiful change in scenery. We rolled down our shutters, made tea and watched the African savanna sail past our window. It was these kinds of moments that were truly magical and memorable. After laying in bed savoring our first morning on the train, it was time to get up and get ready for breakfast before our first scheduled stop in Kimberley.
After breakfast an announcement was made on the speaker. We were told to look out on the right hand side of the train as we were about to pass Kamfers Dam. Kamfers Dam is home to thousands of flamingos. The flamingos were a truly incredible sight – one I will remember forever!
Soon after the flamingo sighting we rolled in Kimberley Station. Kimberley is the first of two stops on the Pretoria to Cape Town route. Stopping in Kimberley was definitely a highlight of the trip as it was our vert first time visiting this historical city. Once we had disembarked there was a private shuttle bus waiting to take us to the Diamond Museum and the Big Hole.
We left Kimbereley just before lunch time and continued our journey towards De Aar. After lunch, we headed back to the observation car for an after lunch G+T and a game of Scrabble. It was really fascinating to look out the window and notice the drastic change in scenery. We were now in the dry and barren Karoo. Something I found rather interesting is that the town of De Aar is a major railway junction to Namibia.
The second stop on our journey was on Sunday morning in the historical town of Matjiesfontein. Arriving in Matjiesfontein to the most beautiful sunrise was another magical moment. Visiting this small little town was another first for us, so we were very excited! Matjiesfontein is a ridiculously small town with a very rich history. They also say this town is haunted but I will leave that to another blog post. Matjiesfontein is home to a Motor Museum, the Lord Milner Hotel, a coffee shop and a wedding chapel. We managed to explore everything this town has to offer in less than an hour – that’s how small the town is!
Hello Cape Town
We left Matjiesfontein just before lunch time and continued our journey to Cape Town. We enjoyed our very last lunch with most incredible views passing us by. The scenery started changing as we entered the winelands and the majestic Cape mountains started welcoming us. It was breathtakingly beautiful and we savored these views in the observation car after lunch. We finally pulled into Cape Town at about 6pm on Sunday evening with views of Table Mountain and Lions Head in the distance.
Thank you to the absolutely phenomenal Rovos Rail for a trip of a lifetime.
For more on Rovos Rail, read this post: All Aboard The World’s Most Luxurious Train: Rovos Rail
P: +27 (0) 12 315 8242