Pull and sway, pull and sway, pull and sway. The gentle rhythm of the train over the tracks was hypnotic as Mike and I recently spent four days crossing Southern Africa, from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, back home (almost) to Pretoria in South Africa.
Simply put, there is nothing quite as romantic as train travel — it speaks to an era of quiet sophistication that is still attainable, even today. As a little girl I didn’t spend hours dreaming about my wedding, no, I spent hours dreaming about what it must be like to cross the glossy mahogany threshold of the luxurious Rovos Rail and watch beloved Africa fly past the window. I guess this is what happens when you are a child born into travel, especially to a father who loved travelling by train.
This past Easter holiday saw family 'FitzBoyd' exploring The Zambezi (more on that in another story) just north of Victoria Falls. So, when my mother surprised my husband, Mike, and me with the offer to fly back with our children while we took the train, we jumped at the opportunity. Needless to say, I spent the next six months in high anticipation that a bucket-list dream was about to come true.
Was it everything I had dreamed of? It was better. It was luxury on another level. Yes, there was deep mahogany panelling, silverware that stretched for miles, thoughtful design and elegant detail at every turn and an exquisitely professional and polite team. But the real luxury for us was.....
Wine and food that seemed never to stop the entire time we were on board — four-course menus for lunch and dinner paired perfectly with beautiful South African wines which filled our tummies and made our siestas and night’s sleeps all the more restful. (The gentle rocking of the train helped, too.)
Beautiful places we were able to experience, both through the window — elephants, zebras, buffalos, baobab-land and more — and on excursions, with the Motobos National Park being a firm favourite. Standing looking out onto what Cecil John Rhodes called 'World’s View' reminded me of that same Big-Sky-Montana feeling you get standing on the decks at Angama Mara.
Quiet time to ourselves, watching the sun set as we made our way across Southern Africa. Four uninterrupted days of time with each other — something we have not had since our son was born six years ago. The luxury of reading (me) and editing (Mike, his first novel) without the distractions of work or family.
Talking, laughing and celebrating the occasion together.
Out of everything, the simple luxury of placing our pillows up against that mahogany-panelled cabin wall so that we could face the windows, side by side, watching Africa roll past our window from the early morning, through the heat of the day, into the purple-hued evening and then finally, watching the stars do the same, will never be replaced in our hearts.
It was pure luxury. My kind of luxury.
Filed under: Safari Style
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