Deluxe train runs across Africa

By Bob Schulman

Train ride across Africa takes 15 days.

You don’t get too many chances to buy a “I (heart) Matjiesfontein” tee-shirt. Nor one proclaiming your affection for Madikwe. Or your ardor for Chisimba.

What’s billed as the world’s most luxurious train stops at these and other tongue-twisting spots on a 3,000-mile trip across southeast Africa this summer. It starts at Cape Town, South Africa, and 15 days later ends up on in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and the ninth fastest growing metropolis in the world.

Cars are decked out in Edwardian splendor.

Operated by Rovos Rail, the train – called “The Pride of Africa” – gives its passengers a taste of the romance of a bygone era as it clickety-clacks across South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. The trip is marketed by Gibsonia, Pa.-based Frontiers International Travel.

Along the way, passengers riding in the train’s posh, wood-paneled coaches  enjoy fine cuisine in five-star luxury when not dickering for diamonds in Kimberley, moseying around the Madikwe Game Reserve, oohing and aahing at the breathtaking splendor of Victoria Falls, crossing the mighty Zambezi River, taking a bush walk at Chisimba Falls, zipping across the tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the spectacular escarpment on the descent into the Great Rift Valley and traversing the Selous Game Reserve (the largest reserve on the continent).

Passengers get spectacular views of waterfalls.

You wouldn’t expect an adventure like this would come cheap, and it doesn’t. The tab for a deluxe suite starts at $16,500 per person, based on double occupancy. Trip dates this year are July 1-15 (for Cape Town to Dar es Salaam) and July 18- Aug.1 for Dar es Salaam to Cape Town. You can get more information by visiting Frontiers International Travel’s website http://www.frontiersej.com or by calling the company at 800-245-1950 or 724-935-1577.

Founded in 1969, Frontiers caters to discerning travelers and specializes in worldwide fly fishing and shooting destinations, photographic safaris and posh, customized tours called Elegant Journeys. The company has a staff of over 50 travel experts in its Pennsylvania headquarters and at a branch office in the United Kingdom.

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Photos courtesy of Rovos Rail.

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