My wife and I were celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary and decided to travel on the Rovos Rail for two and a half days from Cape Town to Pretoria it was very expensive but we thought it would be a great way of ending our tour of South Africa. My wife had always wanted to travel in style on a train and we did think of the Orient Express but after reading that the Rovos Rail is the worlds most luxurious train we thought this would be perfect. I retired last year after spending almost all of my working life working with steam and especially liked the thought of being on a train being pulled by a steam engine even though it was going to be for a very small part of thr journey. The service and food on the train were exceptional but the journey itself was at times violently jerky and the brakes on our carriage screamed every time they were applied which lasted several minutes at a time day and night. As we neared the end of the journey the train stopped and we waited for the Steam Engine to arrive and pull us to our last stop, the steam engine never appeared, we were puled by a diesel train. When we got off I asked where the steam engine was and was told that it had broken down and was unavailable. We were also supposed to meet Mr Rowan Vos the owner of Rovos Rail and drink champagne with him but this didn't happen either. We did meet Mr Vos by chance walking around whilst we were on a guided tour of the station and I managed to catch up with him and ask him what had gone wrong and he just said it was operator error. I attempted to tell Mr Vos how upset I was but he just said there was nothing that could be done, I asked him why there was no back up and he just shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Not being pulled by the train was bad enough but to not even get sight of it or get a picture of it was frustrating. I cannot for one minute believe the Orient Express would have been so violently jerky or as noisy as the Rovos Rail. I wrote a letter to Mr Vos a couple of months ago telling him of my displeasure but neither he or his company have had the decency to acknowledge or reply to me.
This was a very expensive two and a half days on Rovos Rail and certainly not worth the money, it's such a shame as this was meant to be a very beautiful memory celebrating our 40th Wedding Anniversary but instead it is tainted with the memory of noisy brakes a very jerky ride and no steam engine. What a shame, this could have been so much better.
Review by Methé DiPalma1 year ago
Rovos Rail has a wonderful, attentive staff and provides a genuine 1920's train trip experience. The dining cars are luxurious and the meals are way above average. Lunch and dinner is 4 course and includes fine South African wines. The train is all inclusive including the mini bar in the suites. Caution number 1 is that smart casual is anything you care to wear except for dinner. Anyone who can afford this train doesn't have any clothes that will offend. A jacket and tie are mandatory for dinner but any suit will do. Caution number 2 is that the train cars are rebuilt to the exact standards of a 1920's train. No modern suspensions or modern sound deadening. You get the genuine experience. My wife and I had a wonderful time on the trip and would recommend it to our friends,
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1 Transnet Avenue, Capital Park