Life on The Rovos Rail
General make-up of the train Locomotive, generator car, staff car, guest sleepers, a non-smoking lounge car (26 guests), two non-smoking 42-seat dining cars (if required, plenty of space for the maximum of 72 guests carried), kitchen car, guest sleepers, smoking lounge and Observation Car (32 guests) at the tail.
Cuisine Meals are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the dining cars and are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines.
An enthusiastic team of chefs is responsible for overseeing the very important task of ensuring guests’ every need is catered for. There’s an accent on fresh local ingredients and traditional dishes such as game are a specialty. Breakfast is between 07h00 and 10h00, lunch at 13h00, tea at 16h30 and a formal dinner at 19h30.
Dress For days on the train dress is smart casual. Evening attire is more formal – for the gentlemen a jacket and tie is a minimum requirement while for ladies we suggest cocktail/evening dresses or suits. Please include warm clothing for cold mornings and evenings.
Mobile Devices and Internet In maintaining the spirit of travel of a bygone era, there are no radios or television sets on board. The use of mobile phones, laptops and essentially anything that has the ability to disturb other passengers is confined to the privacy of your suites.
Smoking is only allowed in the privacy of your suite and in the Club Lounge.
The Observation Cars were originally A-28 dining cars built to drawings by Mr W Day. Permission was granted by SAR to run Rovos Rail’s observation cars at the back of the trains, enabling the enlargement of the windows and the construction of unique open-air balconies. Coaches 225 NILE, 226 MODDER and 220 KEI entered service between 1935 and 1938 and stayed with SAR until 1983 when they were sold to Mr S Krok of Johannesburg. They were transported to the Jewish Guild Sports Club grounds in Morningside, Sandton, to become the nucleus of a novel restaurant. Rovos Rail purchased them in 1988 and restored them to service as observation cars. During 2010, a 1960 third-class sleeper 6320 was rebuilt as an observation car and has proved a great success. The ride is also a little better than its counterparts as the bogies are the more modern, commonwealth type.