Last spring I took the luxurious Rovos Rail from Cape Town to Pretoria, traveling across the Karoo with pitstops in Matjiesfontein and Kimberley. The trip took two days, slowly traversing the vast and varied land that is South Africa. We embarked from the station in Cape Town midday and made it to Matjiesfontein by sunset, which created a pretty stunning backdrop for the train! Matjiesfontein is a random little town without much going on, but it was fun to explore and get a drink at the local pub.
The next day we woke up to rain in the Karoo – which felt like the perfect excuse for a languid low-key morning while we rode out the rest of the journey to Kimberley to see the Big Hole. The Big Hole is the biggest man-made hole, where miners were searching for diamonds in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Impressive!
The food, the service, the sights were all so amazing – Rovos Rail is an experience of a lifetime!
Rovos Rail – www.rovos.com
Upon boarding the train in Cape Town we were given a sheet that listed all of the passengers and their room numbers, probably so that you could find anyone you’re traveling with/want to meet later… My travel partner & I scanned the list, as if we might know someone?!, and found that the couple in the room next to mine was listed as “M. Creighton” !! Michael Creighton! What luck! We love to read! (Though I’ve never read any of his books…) So we ventured out onto the social scene trying to guess which man was Michael Creighton and judged everyone based on their demeanor as to whether they could be him or not. I love detective work!
We narrowed it down to one person – intellectual type, roughly the same age range, etc, so I sat next to him on the bus to The Big Hole in Kimberley but never had enough courage to ask him if he was who we thought he was. While I was on the tour, my friend went off to find internet to do some work and while there he found that the real Michael Crichton spells his name differently and died in 2008… We had a hilarious laugh at ourselves for being so wrong. All of that sleuthing for naught! What’s really mysterious though, is that the person we thought was Michael Crichton was also Michael Creighton. Riddle me that!
Cape Town Rail Yard:
Leaving Cape Town:
Tour around the cabin:
Evening in Matjiesfontein:
Waking up in the Karoo:
The Big Hole, Kimberley, South Africa:
Lunch – Bobotie! and Starfruit cookie: