TransNamib revives rail tourism
TransNamib’s vintage Rovos Rail, for the first time since 2019, resumed its first ten-day bi-annual Namibian safari roundtrip through the country, reviving the rail tourism sector after the massive impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector.
The ten-day Namibian Safari is scheduled from 16 February- 01 March 2022 and covers towns such as; Lüderitz, Keetmanshoop, Windhoek, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb, and Swakopmund. The trip consisted of visits to some of Namibia’s most impressive tourist attractions including; Fish River Canyon, Diaz Point, Mokuti Lodge and Sossusvlei.
The vintage train with 18 coaches is considered as the pride of Africa on wheels. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Rovos Rail came to Namibia for its safari round trips five-six times a year, bringing in revenue for TransNamib as well as creating immense value for the Namibian tourism sector. Rovos Rail customers are typically from foreign countries, and have a high LSM ranking, thus driving the revenue generated by the tourism industry in Namibia with their visits. In essence, the safari excursion benefits rail transportation and the tourism industry at the same time.
The Society of International Railway Travellers (IRT) has consistently rated Rovos amongst the top five luxury trains in the world. It is owned by Rohan Vos and its headquarters is at the Capital Park Station in Pretoria, South Africa. That is where the ten-day journey starts.
“Upon arrival in Namibia, TransNamib’s locomotive hauls the train from the Ariamsvlei border in the south into the rest of the country. In addition, we render services such as providing fuel, refill of water tanks, train operating inspection, platform arrangement, safety, and security advice,” said TransNamib’s Acting Manager: Operations, Gideon Eiseb.
Rovos Rail travels to most areas of Namibia where there is rail. With COVID-19 having impacted their ability to conduct tours in the past, they are now looking at sending four more trains to Namibia this year.
There is no radio or television on board. The purpose is to unplug from the rat race for the duration of the trip. All accommodations, meals, alcohol (onboard), and off-train excursions are included. The slow gentle pace of the Rovos Rail is intended to give its passengers a sense of calm and relaxation with no distraction from the outside world – just plain old fashion travel.