As it was my 60th birthday my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to the 10 night Rovos Rail African Collage train trip and what a treat it was!
From the moment we were greeted at the Rovos Rail private train station in Capital Park, Pretoria with a glass of bubbly to the moment we stepped off the train 11 days later in Cape Town.


After we had finished our glass of Cap Classique we were given a tour of the unique train station that Rohan Vos, the owner of Rovos Rail has created.

Here they refurbish and restore carriages to the standard that has earned them the Most Luxurious Train in the World. Yet the station is uniquely South African, with donkeys on the track and peacocks on the wires! Our first stop was Leopard Creek. And it was instantly obvious why this course has continually been rated best in South Africa.

The course was beautifully manicured and what was unique, and intriguing, was the leopard statues on each tee box. The leopard starts off languishing then slowly wakes up, grooms herself then goes on the hunt.

Their signature 13th par 5 hole can be quite distracting as one is putting on the green it is difficult to ignore the hippos frolicking in the Crocodile River below and the elephants chomping in the bush across the river in the Kruger Park!

Our second stop was the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park which is the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa and the only state-run park in Kwazulu-Natal. Here we were fortunate to spot Buffalo, Elephants and Rhino from our open-air game vehicle despite the bush being so lush and verdant following their recent rains.


Our next golf venue was meant to be Durban Country Club but unfortunately the course was closed due to renovations, so we set off for Durban Beachwood with its narrow fairways, mangrove swamps and indigenous trees. I must say the course was rather a different experience after the immaculate and prestigious Leopard Creek, however we still had lots of fun as the Durban weather played along – sunny, wind free and warm!

Each day our cute young Golf Manager would arrange a competition amongst all the golfers, so it was always great fun having our prize giving on the verandah of each clubhouse with a glass of wine in our hands and of course a table full of food!


Our third golf location was Champagne Sports Resort in the exquisite Northern Drakensberg. This Hugh Baiocchi and Kevin Curren designed course must be one of South Africa’s most scenically memorable courses with the dramatic Champagne and Cathkin peaks towering in the background. The course and resort were both in immaculate condition and we were once again blessed to have the most perfect weather, warm, sunny and once again wind free!

Our next day was at leisure on board the train wining and dining whilst traversing the diverse landscapes of South Africa. Meals on board the train were outstanding. Each beautifully presented meal was four courses and was paired with a special wine. We personally had great fun trying to guess the cultivar of each wine which was very challenging as they served a wonderful array of wines, single varieties and blends from numerous different Estates and wineries. It was also fantastic to see everyone so beautifully attired.

Every evening the gentlemen had to wear jackets and ties and the ladies were all gorgeous in their sparkly cocktail wear. The day on the train also allowed us to get to know some of our fellow passengers better. We were the only South African couple aboard with the remaining 50 other guests coming from afar as Finland, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, UK and the US.


Our fourth golf venue was Humewood in Port Elizabeth. Humewood Golf Course is situated on the sand dunes of Algoa Bay which is a true links course characterised by thick coastal bush, humps and hollows and tough steep bunkers.

And of course, the wind was pumping, P.E. living up to its image as the Windy City!

The first nine holes was extremely challenging for me as I am a fair-weather golfer rarely ever playing in such conditions but after a warming sherry and a mind shift at halfway, I modified my game for the wind and ended up playing well. In fact, our 4 ball won the day!