Our last morning with Rovos Rail started with another decadent and delicious breakfast before disembarking for our last trip to Ardmore Ceramics, an amazing art centre that creates beautiful ceramics from artwork to teapots handmade and painted by local artists with a huge community support network and emphasis on charity work.
Beyond creating beautiful ceramics, Ardmore likes to help develop creative talent and assists the artists by giving them lunch every day and providing healthcare. They also offer training programmes such as financial planning and HIV awareness. Sadly, more than a few of the artists have passed away due to HIV, so there is a huge push towards awareness and education from Ardmore.
Besides the ceramics, the Ardmore estate is beautiful. They have stunning stables and gorgeous horses that are trained in Dressage and shampooed daily so have the glossiest fur.
A delicious tea was laid out for us, complete with cucumber sandwiches, shortbread and cake and we also had a little friend to accompany us!
When we arrived back at the train we hit the tracks once more towards our final destination, although we were informed that sadly a train had derailed further along the track so the very last part of the leg would have to be completed via bus. It didn’t dampen our spirits though as Ben and I had a final few drinks in the viewing carriage, pleased to have it to ourselves while everyone was packing (we had made sure we were packed up in the morning).
It was the perfect time to take pictures of the train and relax just the two of us.
Through the viewing and bar carriage, is a specially designed smoking carriage, well vented to prevent each carriage fuming up. Throughout the three day trip, having no wifi or internet access only enhanced the whole experience. It threw us, slightly unwillingly at first, into a completely uncommunicative state, that by the end we welcomed with open arms. Being completely closed off from the outside world was something we hadn’t experienced in a long time and it was bliss. In honour of the age of the train, I thought during the last day that I should dress accordingly. The only item that would be appropriate was my great-grandmother’s dress from the 1920’s.
The food bell rang and we made our way through all the carriages right to the end of the train where the dining cart was. Our last meal aboard Rovos Rail was not a disappointment. We arrived to lunch in total darkness, although the day wasn’t playing tricks on us, we just passed through a huge tunnel.
The courses started with a prawn and avocado mousse with bacon shards.
The most succulent roasted duck breast served with a potato galette and vegetables.
Kilimanjaro cheese with salad greens, sour fig preserve, diced apples, red grapes and toasted ciabatta.
Baby pears poached in a sweet red-wine reduction served with vanilla-bean ice cream and mint garnish.
Every course was once-again paired with the most delicious wines and we ooh’d and aah’d over each as they came out, not really wanting the stream of food to end. When it ended, it was time to disembark the train.
We took one final look around, re-living the incredible last three days we had had and stepped onto the platform, waving off the most amazing journey and people.
It definitely won’t be the last Rovos Rail journey we do and is something I have already and will continue to recommend to everyone and anyone that will listen. To book, head over to the Rovos Rail website – we would LOVE to do the Dar Es Salaam journey. Which one would you do?