Pride of Africa Visits Kimberley

The second day of our journey  from Pretoria to Cape Town found us enjoying a leisurely breakfast on board this genteel old lady called Rovos.

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Gazing out over the dry hinterland of South Africa while the scenery slowly slips by….. This is what Rovos Rail is all about. Going back to a time when people were not so rushed.

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The staff produce gourmet food from this small kitchen.

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After breakfast we joined fellow passengers on the observation deck at the end of the train. 

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We have met people from Denmark,  Finland,  Germany,  Yorkshire, Portugal, Japan as well as a few South Africans. 

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We passed several small towns on our way to Kimberley, the city in the Northern Cape that is famous for its diamonds.

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Just before Kimberley we passed tens of thousands of flamingoes.

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We stopped at Kimberley station and disembarked for a tour of the Big Hole.

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Frank our tour guide was very informative.

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Kimberley has lots of restored buildings and is preserving its Colonial past.

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After a short drive we were taken into the village museum and the Big Hole.

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All the kimberlite (rock that contains diamonds) was removed by the miners.  The granite ring, that is now full of water, is the remains of the volcano that created the diamonds and spewed them out of the earth.  Many of these diamonds were washed as far as the shores of Namibia by the Orange River.

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The building with the green roof is still the head office of the De Beers Mining Company and the AGM is held there each year for sentimental reasons.

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This gear was manufactured in Glasgow and brought by boat to Cape Town  and then taken across the vast interior by ox wagon to Kimberley.

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We went inside a replica of a mine.

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We explored the village museum.

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We were greeted by the staff of the Rovos Rail.

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We boarded the Pride of Africa.

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We were served a world class meal.  Each course was accompanied by a South African wine or port.

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All the staff on the Rovos Rail are well trained  and make sure you are cosseted and made to feel at home.

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After watching a beautiful Karoo sunset we went to the 1939 dining car for a four course dinner.

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We went to sleep knowing that we were in good hands.

On board Rovos Rail

Yesterday we took our first trip on the world class Gautrain.  We left from Sandton, the main economic hub of Johannesburg.   After 30 minutes of gliding above the busy traffic and watching the heart of the economic machine that drives our country, we arrived at Pretoria Station.

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From there we took an Uber taxi to the private railway station of Rovos Rail.

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Outside the Rovos Station.

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Inside the lounge.

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The Rovos Rail is a private company run Rohan Vos. He has named each engine after one of his children.  This one is Brenda.

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A visit to the Rovos Museum is a must.

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We appreciated seeing the animals that Rohan cares for at Rovos. Too old to work, he has given them a home.

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An old steam train was brought for the guests to explore and enjoy. This one is called Shaun, named after the eldest Vos son.

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After a lovely tea and welcome by Rohan, we started to board.

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All aboard for Cape Town!  Next stop Kimberley to visit the Big Hole and Diamond Museum.

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This coach is a restored one from 1939.

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The viewing deck at the end of the train is open.

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It is wonderful to relax in a lounge, watching the lovely Highveld vista’s move slowly by. One reason we chose the Rovos is because it travels slowly and one can enjoy the countryside.

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Guests can enjoy a drink before dinner. All drinks are included in the price.

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There are two dining cars. This one is a replica of one from 1928. The attention to detail and comfort is amazing.

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The delicious four course meal was produced in a small kitchen attached to the dining car. A wonderful first day….

Pretoria to Cape Town

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Table Mountain from Cape Town harbour

Today is Thursday 26 November 2015.  Tomorrow at 15:00 we are due to leave Pretoria station on the famous Rovos Rail which will wind its way for 1600 km from Pretoria to Cape Town.

This trip showcases the diverse regions of our lovely country.  We will travel through the Highveld, Great Karoo as well as the mountainous region and winelands of the Western Cape.

Day 1:  Travel through the Highveld region of Gauteng and the Free State.

Day 2: On the second day we stop at Kimberley to visit the Big Hole and the Diamond Mine Museum.  We then travel overnight via De Aar and Beaufort West to Matjiesfontein.

Day 3: We spend part of the morning exploring the preserved Victorian village of Matjiesfontein and then travel via the Touws River and Worcester to Cape Town.  We are due to arrive at 18:00 local time.