The Magnificent Rovos Rail at 35

A Journey Through Time, Triumph and Africa

Celebrating 35 years of unparalleled elegance and adventure, Rovos Rail stands as a testament to the enduring allure of luxury travel. From its humble beginnings to its current stature as a beacon of opulence on rails, this family-owned enterprise has crafted a narrative rich in history, resilience, and a passion for the extraordinary.

For those unacquainted with the Rovos Rail saga, it all began with a dream. On 29 April 1989, the inaugural overnight journey set forth, marking the start of a remarkable voyage that would capture the hearts of discerning travellers worldwide. Fast forward to 2019, when the company commemorated its 30th anniversary with a captivating short film, introducing the dedicated family and team members who breathe life into this grand endeavour. Today, five years later, Rovos Rail continues to add vibrant chapters to its illustrious story.

Emerging from the shadows of the pandemic, Rovos Rail has unveiled the African Trilogy, a 15-night odyssey that traverses the breathtaking landscapes of Southern Africa. This journey, meticulously curated to offer a panoramic view from the east coast to Namibia in the west, encapsulates the essence of the continent’s diverse beauty. The magic of this expedition has been immortalised by a film crew, capturing moments of awe and wonder that define the Rovos Rail experience.

Venturing even further, the Trail of Two Oceans and Copper Trail trips have extended the boundaries of luxury travel. These journeys, stretching all the way to Angola and back, are a testament to the indomitable spirit of exploration and adventure. Despite the challenges posed by limited water, electricity, and formal tourism infrastructure, Rovos Rail’s intrepid travellers have relished every moment, reaffirming the company’s commitment to delivering unforgettable experiences.

The journey, however, has not been without its hurdles. Infrastructure issues within South Africa, exacerbated by the struggles of Transnet and Eskom, have posed significant challenges. Yet, Rovos Rail’s visionary CEO, Rohan Vos, and his resourceful COO daughter, Tiffany, have risen to the occasion. In a bold move, they have equipped the company with combination electric and diesel locomotives, ensuring seamless transitions during power outages and other disruptions. This investment underscores their unwavering dedication to maintaining the highest standards of service and reliability for their passengers.

The past five years have also seen a dynamic shift within the Rovos Rail team. Long-serving staff members have bid farewell, making way for a new wave of talent in key departments such as human resources, sales, marketing, reservations, finance, and workshops. This infusion of fresh energy has revitalised the team, enabling the company to rebuild and reinforce its operations post-pandemic.

In a remarkable feat, the workshop team has constructed two new train sets, bringing the total to six. Witnessing an empty yard at Rovos Rail Station, with all carriages out on various journeys, has been a source of immense pride and satisfaction. These moments of accomplishment are a far cry from the early days in 1988, when many doubted the viability of launching a vintage luxury train in South Africa. Yet, Rohan Vos, with the unwavering support of his wife, Anthea, defied the sceptics and turned a seemingly impossible dream into a thriving reality.

Working at Rovos Rail is a unique adventure in itself, where no two days are alike. The eclectic and dedicated team, bound by a shared love for these magnificent trains, navigates the challenges and triumphs with an unwavering spirit. The journey is indeed a wild ride, filled with stress and exhilaration, but the absence of monotony and the constant thrill of the unexpected are gifts that the team cherishes.

As Rovos Rail celebrates its 35th anniversary, it invites luxury travellers to embark on a voyage that transcends mere travel. It is an invitation to immerse oneself in a world where history, elegance, and adventure converge, creating memories that linger long after the journey ends. Here’s to 35 years of Rovos Rail – and to many more miles of timeless splendour.

For further information please visit http://www.rovos.com/

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