Oh, to be treated like a millionaire everyday

[caption id="attachment_359" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Ready to depart from the station"]Ready to depart from the station[/caption]

How you ask? Well, either you have the bank balance, or you have the connections.

For the moment, it’s the latter for me.

Thanks to Red Pepper Books being a member of the esteemed ABSA Rewards loyalty program, we were invited to be part of a, for many, once in a lifetime experience and total treat.

This exclusive occasion was only open to a select 72 people for the day (we were two of those).

It all begins…

08h30, we met at the Capital Park Station in Pretoria, the home of Rovos Rail and it’s departure point. Here we enjoyed champagne, canapés, great company and the opportunity to take some spectacular pictures. Next thing we knew, we were boarding this illustrious transportation device.

The train itself is beautiful and furnished with only the best. After about 30 minutes of exploring the train, we stumbled upon the bar, which was the last carriage, and also where the real party seemed to be under way. We found ourselves two seats at the bar, joined in the festivities and met some amazing characters. The drinks flowed, the conversation progressed and the laughter

[caption id="attachment_360" align="alignright" width="199" caption="Standing proud at the window"]Standing proud at the window[/caption]


Next thing we knew, we were being ushered though for lunch. We were seated in the dining hall where everything was in it’s place and immaculate. The waiters came and took our orders and the wine began to flow. This was not just any wine, but rather some of this country’s finest, and the selection was endless.

Lunch was enjoy over a slow 2 hour stretch of five courses that exploded into a variety of tastes and the whole experience was enjoyed in the company of Rani from ABSA and her husband Ruben, who is about as passionate about photography as I am.

2 hours later, just as we were halfway though our 2nd black coffee and cognac, the train came to a holt, and we were informed the we were now at our next destination. This being Makgopong Station in Naboomspruit. We then boarded two coaches and made our way to Legend Golf and Safari Estate. The ride took about 45 minutes, and as we drove into the estate, we were all in total awe of our surroundings. If the entrance was anything to go by, we could all guess that we were in for even more of a treat. Lined up in a row, were 7 game-viewing vehicles waiting for us to climb onto and ride off into the bush.

[caption id="attachment_362" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="White rhino"]White rhino[/caption]

As we entered the game viewing area, we were surrounded by a huge selection of game species. We saw Wildebeest, Springbok, Blesbok, Warthog, Zebra, and Rhino. We were then taken to Entabeni (place of the mountain), where a series of lions were being reared and rehabilitated to be put back into the wild.  This was a truly humbling experience. On our departure out of the park, we were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of some Cheetahs, just before they ran for cover.

Thinking the day was coming to an end, we were then taken deeper into the bush to a Pedi cultural village, for a further experience, where we were greeted by the sound of drums, clapping and singing. Not to mention another assortment of food platters and deserts, and a series of wines and malts to round off the day. We sat and socialized to the sounds of traditional music as we relaxed and unwound, even further.

At around Six o’ clock, we climbed back onto the game vehicles and headed back to where the coaches waited for our return to Capital Park Station in Pretoria. Sadly, this was the least enjoyable part of the trip, with a 2-hour bus ride to allow each of us to

[caption id="attachment_363" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Pedi drummers & singers"]Pedi drummers & singers[/caption]

recover from all the overindulgence of the day.  After what seemed like a trip that would never come to an end, we finally reached the station, where we disembarked, said our farewells to each other, and climbed into the comfort of our own vehicles, as we headed for the highway and made our way home.

I would really recommend, that should you get the chance to experience the Rovos Rail, then take to opportunity to do so.

In closing, I would like to say a really special thank you to Red Pepper Books, ABSA Rewards and Rovos Rail.

(Additional photos available here)

Ceri is the Sales and Marketing Director at Talooma. Over about 15 years, Ceri has developed his passion for meeting people and selling, during which time he has mastered the art of networking and consulting. Ceri has enjoyed watching the Internet industry grow over the past 10 years in South Africa and has been very fortunate to have been a part of it.
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