As so often happens, it was a combination of influences and events that led to the purchase of the first coach, the start of what would become Rovos Rail. A Wilbur Smith heroine with her own private railway coach, a man called Phil Acutt with a passion for trains and the presence of the Witbank Steam Railway in the coal-mining town where Rohan Vos ran his successful auto spares business, all played a part.
“Rohan has always been obsessed with things mechanical,” remembers Anthea Vos, who has been at his side throughout and has raised a family in and around developing the railway business. “In fact, he started his first business with the capital derived from the sale of a 1940 Packard and a 1928 Austin that he had rebuilt. Rohan was involved in so many ventures, but I didn’t see this one coming.”
In 1985, Rohan and Anthea took up a last-minute invitation on a Magaliesberg train trip for business suppliers. “I became a train widow on that day,” says Anthea. “I sat all dressed up by myself; Rohan spent most of the time in the engine with the driver. The irony was that we should have seen then how difficult it would be – the train broke down and we were bussed back to town.”
The same year, influenced by his friend Phil Acutt’s love of trains and the work done by the Railway Preservation Society in Witbank, Rohan attended an auction to buy a coach or two – the intention was to restore four carriages and hitch them to a South African Railways train as a family caravan. Steam-train enthusiast, Geoff Pethick, was present at the auction and assisted him. “It was the 26th of September – a cold day with rain in the air – and I’d hoped Rohan wasn’t another penniless lunatic with grand ideas,” he recalls. “As we chatted, I quickly realised that here was a man of vision.”
Location: Rovos Rail Hunting Safaris is a unique hunting company based in Pretoria which offers hunting safaris and other expeditions via railways.
About your host at Rovos Rail Hunting Safaris: Team, Rovos Rail Hunting Safaris. From a staff of one and then four, the team at Rovos Rail has grown to 250. Asked to describe what it’s like to be part of this hotel-on-wheels operation, several staff members have likened it to a family, with all the usual stresses and tensions but with a common identity, loyalty and above all, a desire to provide really world-class service. Keeping the guests happy and making their trips memorable is the ultimate goal and, judging from the letters received from around the world, the staff are succeeding in this. For many travellers, the friendly interaction with the people who make up the Pride of Africa staff is as much a highlight as the magnificent scenery and the train itself. We sincerely wish to thank all the staff who have been involved in building the company into what it is today.
Hunting experience at Rovos Rail Hunting Safaris: We offer an incredible eight-day hunting and non-hunting tour that begins in Pretoria and meanders its way to the western plains of South Africa. Destinations include Mareetsane, Vryburg, Warrenton, Kimberley and Bloemfontein. Hunters enjoy five days of shooting a variety of gamebirds or plains game, while one day is spent with the non-hunters in Kimberley. Here there is an opportunity to visit the Diamond Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole. Guests can also visit natural history and literature museums followed by a traditional South African barbeque. Non-hunters learn of past and present Africa with visits to Anglo Boer War sites, art galleries and museums set in magnificent city gardens. Lunch is sometimes enjoyed at hotels and spas or in the field with the guns. Also on offer are game drives in the surrounding reserves and a visit to a prominent breeding facility for cheetahs. Journey’s end is at Rovos Rail’s beautifully appointed private station in Pretoria. Click here for quick link country guide.
Upcoming availability: Please contact the host for more information.
Terms and Pricing: Please contact the host for current rates and hunting terms.
Accommodation: To select and book the top suggested hotels and accommodation in the area when hunting at Rovos Rail Hunting Safaris, click here.
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Directions by car or public transport to Rovos Rail Hunting Safaris.
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