Not far from our rhino, blackened earth marks the spot where last April, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta torched more than a hundred tonnes of elephant ivory and rhino horn seized from poachers. Although it covers just 12, hectares, Nairobi National Park does its bit for conservation. It is one of only two Kenyan parks that export young black rhinos to other parks.
In the course of my day I see lions finishing off a hapless zebra, an ostrich couple shepherding two tall, fuzzy offspring and a little serval on a rare daytime hunt. And through it all the urban skyline of Nairobi loomed on a ridiculously nearby horizon. The city is booming. In , the park lost 60 hectares from its northern edge to make way for a new ring road. The line from the coast has reached the Nairobi terminal southeast of the city. It must now head west to meet the line from Uganda. Last year Kenya Railways said it would cost too much to appropriate built-up urban land in the south of the city for the new line.
Instead it released plans to build the line through the park, in a large loop to take account of gradients. To level the track further, some of it would be elevated on pillars up to 40 metres tall.
Railway expansion project increases threat to wildlife in Bengal sanctuaries
Conservationists charged that the route means losing or cutting off 90 hectares from the park. And not all of the proposed line through the park can be raised on pillars, says Steve Itela, head of an alliance of Kenyan conservation groups. We received the below from Chris Hammond who, in his own words, could imagine himself as a history professor wearing a tweed blazer with leather elbow patches!
Chris travelled from Cape Town to Pretoria on the train with his wife, Robyn, and when met on arrival at Rovos Rail Station they said that it surprised them how long it took them to relax and do nothing but eat, drink, sleep and mingle. The furious pace of our modern lives has sadly distorted our opinion of travel.
The goal these days, largely, is to get from Place A to Place B in the least possible time, with as little inconvenience as possible. The journey has become a means to an end, the objective to will the time away with distraction after distraction so that we can reach the destination and carry on with our frantic lives.
A century ago there were fewer options. A trip then necessitated an understanding of the journey and an appreciation of the time that it would take to cover that distance, invariably, by train. The traveler was forced to seek ways of extracting pleasure from the journey itself, a notion that Rovos Rail has revisited and refined into something of an art form. From the moment you set foot in the Rovos departure lounge, you are transported to a time that exists now only in books and in memories we hold of stories passed down to us from generations that have gone before. Vaulted, high ceilinged corridors and a rolling, red carpet lead to an elegantly appointed lounge, where the soothing chords of a string quartet float through the air and the sparkle of a glass of champagne on a silver tray welcome the guest to the Rovos experience.
There is no option other than to exhale, relax and allow yourself to be transported back in time. Nothing is rushed.
Tracking death - Environment News - Issue Date: Jun 25,
The train departs when it is ready, and the landscapes pass lazily by as passengers are encouraged to unwind, to mingle and to enjoy the scenery. It is easy to forget how vast and beautiful this country is, and to watch through the windows as the space unfolds into the Karoo in front of your eyes is restorative. Exquisite attention to detail allows for fascinating interactions with the train, as the story and history of each carriage and indeed of Rovos Rail itself is discovered to those intent on finding it.
The history revealed is remarkable and enchanting, so much so that had Barney Barnato himself walked into the dining carriage it would not have felt surreal. Undeniably the sensation of not being rushed, or of having time to spare, has become so unfamiliar to us that it takes some getting used to. Of course, it helps immensely that your every need is catered to. Magnificent meals that seem to emanate from invisible kitchens are sumptuously stretched out into the evening, paired with the finest selection of wines that the country can offer.
Guests are left wondering what kind of sorcery enables the waiters to deliver such exceptional fare in such style from within the restrictions of the train environment. Questions of service logistics are quickly forgotten though, as the combination of the dessert wine and the soothing, rhythmical motion of the train draws one into a deep sleep in the surprisingly generous double bed. Much of the same is to be expected in the days to come, and before long the cycle of eating indulgently followed by prolonged sessions of staring into the vast expanses that present themselves has become second nature.
Guests are left feeling revived and invigorated as the train pulls slowly into the Private Rovos station in Pretoria.
Rhino Super Nav
Travel adventures are just some of the beautiful experiences Stacie Flinner shares on her exceptional blog. Stacie and her husband joined us on our gorgeous little Durban Safari , travelling from Durban to Pretoria, and her words and images are so lovely that we feel we need to spread the joy! KwaZulu Natal , with Durban at its helm, is in our opinion one of the most under-rated and under-valued provinces in South Africa.
It is incredible to us that just one short flight away one lands in a lush, tropical and humid paradise full of cultural diversity and history, a sea in which one can actually swim your limbs just about fall off in Cape Town as the water is freezing , some of the best game viewing and lodges the country has to offer and a near-perfect year-round climate! Winter in some parts of Natal is a treat as you can still walk around in shorts and flip flops unlike most other parts of the country.
The Midlands Meander is a region in beautiful KwaZulu Natal that stretches from just beyond Mooi River in the north, Hilton in the south, Karkloof in the east and the foothills of the Drakensberg in the west. Suffice to say that the scenery is breathtaking and with the train meandering its way slowly through the heart of it, also travelling across The Valley of a Thousand Hills, the Durban Safari has to be one of the most beautiful journeys we offer.
We digress. Back to Stacie and her lovely review on her trip with us. Click on the link to read all about her sojourn with us and to see her gorgeous images. There are many attributes to South Africa. For visitors, it offers a kaleidoscope of colour and experiences that have left many with poignant and special memories. Or not. We offer separate itineraries for those playing and for those not. Golfing the Garden Route has become a favourite pastime for travellers coming to South Africa to play this temperamental game and the Shongololo Express offers an adventure for those mad enough to play this game called golf and for leisure guests wanting to take it easy.
The day Good Hope Golf journey on board the newly acquired and renovated Shongololo Express is the ultimate holiday as it incorporates some of the best scenery, cultural and historical activities, safari experiences and golf that South Africa has to offer. In addition to this, guests are in the safe and experienced hands of Rovos Rail, a company who has 29 years in the hospitality industry and one who has crafted each itinerary to near perfection.
There is after all always room for improvement! As you can see, there is something for everyone and more than enough golf at beautiful courses to frustrate and excite those opting to play! This day sojourn rivals that of any train adventure across the world and we hope you join us for a trip of a lifetime. If you would like to receive any further information then please do get in touch by e-mailing querida rovos. Watch the Shongololo Express video by clicking here. We recently received a lovely letter from a Dad who decided to treat his year old daughter to a train trip.
What fun and what a special Dad and and daughter date! It was just a blast! It was a dream of mine for several years to do that — but I had to wait, until my oldest daughter was old enough to realize all of it and enjoy it. I attached a few photos of us ;-D. From the Pretoria station, the train, the stops, the great crew on board with Heinrich — our favorite in the restaurant ;-D and the great welcome speech of your father.
The most impressive part — beside of all the overwhelming rest — was, that your father even made it to Cape Town to say Good Bye with a handshake and some nice words. I was stunned and the journey was worth every Rand we spent — even much more! Thanks to the whole team — in the front and in the back to make something like that possible! I really hope that I can come back very very soon to show this to the rest of my family — my other two daughters and my wife. Thank you all so much and keep everything as it is!
But please hug your father from our side — as well from my daughter! Next time, if we see him, we will do it personally! Here you find a little trip report video from us, which I just created with my iPhone together with a little soundtrack, which I created together with a good friend back in Kingston, Jamaica.
I had and I will spread this great experience with many others! And Dad of the month goes to you Mr Pflaum! Thank you for your kind words, they certainly brightened up our Monday and made us feel very content with the work we do here at Rovos Rail.
With large quantities of Avgas difficult to come by in some locations, this could be one of the last ocean-spanning ferries for an aircraft entering preservation. In our last newsletter we wrote about the sale and donation of our three aircraft. The flight path was challenging as cities with Avgas supplies had to be located for the fuel-heavy Convair.
Isa, Dubbo and finally into Albion Park, the crew arrived excited and safely on August 21 st. The historic flight was even featured on Win News and the clip can be watched on YouTube by clicking here. The tale of our Rovos Rail teddies began 19 years ago with our journey finding us in the capable and talented hands of Taunina. On an early Dar es Salaam trip we had two delightful Australian ladies, Dawn and Annike, who travelled everywhere accompanied by teddies they collected the world over. This chance encounter spanned a year friendship with Bev painstakingly producing 20 collections 50 to a set of customised, handmade Rovos teddies and kiddies bears.
Bev took great delight at the thought of her teddies living worldwide. Very sadly, Bev developed a brain tumour in December and after a long, hard-fought battle we lost her in April The Taunina story is one of great courage and compassion for the commerce lies intertwined with community upliftment.
The company focuses on improving lives of disadvantaged people who operate in communities where opportunities may be limited but where creativity and passion are abundant. And we actively involve them, sharing in the success of the business. Artists receive a steady income vs. To date, Taunina have created 10 bespoke teddies for us each in the Rovos green, old gold and maroon in keeping with our corporate colours and each with a paw pad and ear in leopard print. The other paw pad carries with it a little Rovos Rail charm. Our first three bears went out on the Dar es Salaam train in August last year with Thebolo, Munaki and Nyenyedzi finding homes in Germany!
All the teddies carry the initials of the women who make them, symbolic of their sense of dignity and pride. Each bear travels in a handcrafted hatbox with his or her very own bespoke passport. Taunina gives women who were once without income and assets the power to become lions of their own destinies. For many, living in South Africa simply means surviving so for women to stare such adversity in the face and create gorgeous teddies that live across the world is just remarkable.
Click here to watch the Taunina video. Brandon named her Mia Bella, meaning my beautiful one, and told us that she was a heifer — pregnant with her first calf — and due in February. Well, February became March, which became April and finally the vet told us to expect the little one in September! Her calf, Alfie, was born in June and he is growing into a handsome and quite randy little fella! So all our fingers were crossed that Mia would have a little girl.
Eventually, on September 24th Heritage Day in South Africa , a calf arrived looking very gangly but very sweet — a girl who we called Tulip. As some of you may know we purchased the three-star Shongololo Express train in January of this year and for the past few months the train has undergone quite a substantial renovation. On Tuesday, 16th August, we walked Gauteng-based tour operators and travel agents through our brand new spruced up train and celebrated with a few bottles of bubbly afterwards!
In true Rovos fashion, the timeline for the renovation was tight but our incredible team pulled off miracles. The brief was to gut all existing bathrooms so that new shower and bathroom floors could be laid down, wooden shower door frames were built with better shower heads, new loos have been installed as well as bathroom cabinets, hair-dryers and some cabins received new sinks!
Our plumbing team also worked hard at improving the water pressure in each cabin. The layout of the Gold cabins was overhauled to allow for more space and there are now twin, double and fixed double options.
The more spacious Emerald cabins have also been tweaked to allow for more space and all rooms have been fitted with new wood-panelling, linen, day covers, curtains, paintings, carpets, towels and the Shongololo Express now comes with full amenities kits too. To be able to walk some of our biggest supporters through our lovely new train was a privilege and our team felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
Our wildlife is under siege in Africa and has been for many years. Too many. One of the largest contributors to the massacre of rhinos it seems is a few powerful influencers in Asia who decided that rhino horn carries curative properties that can treat an array of illnesses, some of them being as minor as nosebleeds and fevers.
Please, get a tissue or take an Asprin like the rest of us. We are sure that there are claims that the keratin in the horns can cure cancer and other terminal illnesses but there is no medical proof whatsoever to support these theories.
The Red Star Train
African, and in fact wildlife the world over, is being obliterated due to obscene medical propaganda, high-end fashion, political unrest and loss of habitat. In partnership with Great Plains Foundation , they formed Rhinos Without Borders , an initiative so bold and brave that it almost seems impossible. They have undertaken to relocate rhinos on a scale never done before — to move no less than rhino from South Africa to safe havens in Botswana.
In mid a large team safely darted and transported these rhino, this being their first successful mission. The incredible footage captured by Dereck and Beverly Joubert can be viewed by clicking here. You really do want to watch this video as it highlights the enormity of this initiative.
Dereck Joubert is the Chairman of Great Plains Foundation and together with his wife, Beverly, has been on a mission for years to protect African wildlife. With a rhino being killed every seven and a half hours, the heroic efforts of Rhinos Without Borders are essential to the survival of this endangered species.
Great Plains coined a new phrase, Conservation Tourism , as it is first and foremost a conservation organisation that uses eco-tourism as a tool to sustain conservation programmes. The relocation of the rhino could not have happened without the support of the government of Botswana but also the local communities as they are an intrinsic part of this initiative. Without their involvement, the rhino would be as vulnerable in Botswana as they are in South Africa. Growing up in this beautiful country some of us have been afforded the opportunity to go on safari and see wildlife up close.
Elephants, rhinos, lions and the rest of the Big Five have given us heart-warming and special memories. Being able to witness the raw, brutal and beautiful lives of these animals is humbling and humility is a quality greatly lacking in the general human population. Spending time in the bush proves that there are forces much larger than us at work. Donations , publicity, raising awareness and big hearts are all welcomed by Rhinos Without Borders so please visit their website and spread the word.
None of us should live in a world without wildlife. Needless to say the ambience and old world charm ensures a magic stay. Access to a shared the balcony and patio with stunning views of False Bay was most appreciated. Since day one our emails and requests were dealt with promptly and efficiently. The dinner gong sounds. Is it 7. Why did I pack so many?
Then I arrive at the table, take a seat and sigh in relief. My rushing thoughts are forced to quiet when I find myself captivated by the scene. This is the dining carriage of Rovos Rail, recently voted by Wired. My first impulse is to reach for my phone — not to distract myself with a podcast or an e-book, but to take photographs of the crystal wine glasses, the silverware and the rest of the luxurious scene.
The same impulse strikes when the first course arrives.
With no phones allowed at meals, all I can do is sit back and savour the highlights that never fail to impress. Balsamic and lemon-marinated slices of ostrich fillet served on a potato, beetroot, walnut, and watercress salad. Grilled Cape rock lobster tails with a haricot-flavoured bisque cream, Mediterranean vegetables, and lemon rice.
Garlic and lemon grilled prawn skewer on a green salad, with a julienne of peppers, mange tout, and cucumber, drizzled with coriander and ginger dressing. Alone with my thoughts, I wonder about our tendency to document every moment with our smartphones, instead of just experiencing them for what they are. Are we trying to make our Facebook friends jealous of what we remember or are we afraid of what we might forget? And are we, as Om Malik wrote in The New Yorker, a society that photographs everything, but looks at nothing?
At the end of the meal, as many jetlagged passengers retire to their suites with weary smiles and polite nods, I sip on mint tea, grateful that a single dinner seating on all Rovos Rail train trips means no rushing guests out to prepare for the next group. My thoughts turn to the nature of our journeys through life, which has been on my mind since my 30th birthday two days before.
I look out the window and see an airplane overhead, its lights flashing like a pulse against the night sky. And I reflect on the stress of my most recent flight: repacking bags at the counter, breathing artificial air that almost made one sick and experiencing turbulence so severe that all I could do was laugh. Of course, road journeys are no better when you consider that a bus is like a smaller, slower plane and a car is like a smaller, faster bus. You might not be next to the understandably frazzled mother and her screaming twins or the overweight man and his overpowering cologne, hogging the armrest and disturbing your nap every time he opens another bag of chips.
You might even remember to pack your own food, lest you waste money on stale petrol station pies. But with traffic jams causing delays and the physical stress of driving, you end up just as tense. But life is different on the train. All that matters to me and the 35 other passengers is using the journey as an opportunity to press pause. Cellular signal is back.
My phone spasms, tempting me to attend to it the way it always does. Why are we so afraid to be still, alone with nothing to distract us but our thoughts? To contact Eugene, visit his website or e-mail him on hello eugeneyiga. We are moving…new horizons beckon. Oh the magic of train journeys! It curves sinuously along the rails, through the African landscape —the sky bending like a blue bowl over the grassy veldt stretching to the distant horizon. The last couple of days have been memorable ones. Palatial homes line the seafront, vivid bougainvillea creepers showering down their whitewashed walls but I notice that many are topped with snarls of barbed wire.
The dining car tables glitter with fine china and silver cutlery set out on crisp linen tablecloths. This first dinner, like the rest of the meals throughout our day journey on the Sholongololo is five-star quality. Our breakfast buffets boast a variety of pastries, juices, cereals and fruit platters, riotous with color as a Cezanne still-life painting; our dinners consist of dainty appetizers, sumptuous veal, chicken or fish main courses, and rich desserts.
All served by our gracious, smiling African waitresses. At the end of our journey the chief chef and his kitchen staff get a well-deserved standing ovation from appreciative guests. The Sholongololo experience is more than just a train ride. I am lulled to sleep each night by the roll and rhythm of the wheels, but after breakfast we spill out onto station platforms and board coaches to be whisked off into day-long excursions accompanied by our fun-loving and knowledgeable driver-guides. And there is so much to see.
There are magnificent sunsets that set the sky is on fire, and fierce afternoons when the sun is at white heat. At the Cape of Good Hope , the wind is a hysterical banshee, and we watch gigantic rollers as high as twenty to thirty feet rushing madly to the rocky shore, and breaking into enormous clouds of spray that blot out the skyline. The unending roar and hiss of the primordial ocean—its fathomless depths and its furious and intense energy is like staring at eternity. These waters are the haunt of the legendary phantom ship, The Flying Dutchman, the sight of which is regarded by sailors as a harbinger of doom.
Leaving the heaving sea behind we visit Boulders, where a colony of hundreds of Cape Penguins waddle around on a beach some tending to their babies, others patiently sitting on eggs, or engaging in amorous couplings. A couple of days later, a wetlands river cruise reveals a pod of impassive hippos, their droopy-lidded eyes and flaring nostrils floating just above the water; upstream, a crocodile suns itself among shoreline reeds. At Kruger National Park, we drive dusty trails past thorn bushes and trees with branches that twist into macabre silhouettes again the sky.
Herds of antelopes, loping giraffes, Cape buffaloes, a lone leopard, and a group of rhinos wallowing gloriously in a mud hole are all subjects for our cameras. A baby Jumbo, ears flapping, breaks away from his group and makes a mock charge at us. A visit to a Zulu settlement is a popular tourist attraction and we sit bemused at the closing item — an energetic and vastly entertaining Zulu warrior dance.
In Durban the beaches bordering the placid Indian Ocean are thronged with holiday crowds, as are the shopping arcades where we gleefully buy curry spices from Indian merchants who have lived in the city for generations. Image via Eat Out. All good things must come to an end, and we bid a reluctant farewell to the hard working, efficient and hospitable staff on board the Sholongololo and our driver-guides who have made this holiday such a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Note: Having recently been acquired by Rovos Rail, the Sholongololo train carriages are to undergo a complete overhaul as many of the compartments are old and cramped and several fittings are in need of repair.
The train will be back in service in August and details of dates and prices are available on their website. By Brenda Vos. Rovos Rail hit the screens in Hollywood thanks to local documentary maker, Deon van Zyl. My Life on the Tracks — the Rohan Vos story is the tale of how Rovos Rail came to be and how Rohan has powered through monumental challenges to keep the business in operation. Deon worked as a Project Manager in the engineering arena but was retrenched in which prompted him to follow is passion in film-making. Deon contacted me last year to request permission to film the train at our private station.
Not too long after that Deon asked if he could interview my Dad Rohan and me to which we obliged and then off he went. A month or two ago an e-mail dropped into my inbox, from Deon, which gave me the link to the trailer for his movie. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather! I got a few goosebumps and a bit teary listening to my Pops talk about the struggles over the years but there was also an immense feeling of pride.
Not an easy process but we understand that negotiations are in the works with local television networks eTV and ED Although Klein Kaap is a small festival, it might prove to be just the perfect fit. Next on the agenda for Deon? He wants to make a documentary that looks at Pathogenic Parenting Attachment Based Parental Alienation and its prevalence not only in our society but also in a global context. Another idea manifesting is a short film on the consequential problems associated with the divergent perceptions of the rich and the poor groups in South Africa.
We have no doubt that both these documentaries will be made with the same determination and passion as My Life on the Tracks — the Rohan Vos story. We wish you all the very best with your next endeavours. Click here to watch the trailer for My Life on the Tracks. Image: the gorgeous garden view at Casa Labia. Written by thebleugoose. One of our lovely guests, thebleugoose, has travelled on the train and stayed at St James Manor a few times. A bagel, some art and a drink to end — a few of my favourite things to do in Kalk Bay ….
My husband I live in Cape Town but we try as often as we can to escape to the tranquility of Kalk Bay, an idyllic but eccentric sea side fishing village not too far from the beautiful wine estates of Constantia and the must-see Cape Point. We always stay at the St James Manor and as soon as we get out of the car and smell the crisp sea air and hear the ocean breaking on the rocks we know we have a relaxing few days ahead.
The coffee is freshly roasted and served in pottery bowls and the bagels are mouth-watering. And if it gets too busy inside you can always perch on one of the benches outside and admire the sea view. To complement the cosy atmosphere, there is a little pottery studio and gallery next door which house beautiful pieces that are all locally made.
It is a national monument and heritage site and my husband and I just love going there for lunch. The rooms are beautiful and look out over the Muizenberg coastline. Lunch is always a lovely affair as they often have a pianist or quartet playing in the background. The food is light and delicious and the wine list simple but perfectly suited. We often stay well into the afternoon enjoying the sounds of Bach and watching out for dolphins.
By now our tummies are full and after a much needed nap we venture out again where we always pop into the Octopus Garden. It is right on the railway track and although you cannot see the sea too well one can smell and hear the crashing of the waves on the rocks below. It is filled with a menagerie of odd bits and pieces with beautiful and somewhat strange quotes written over all the walls. I always order my Campari and soda and my husband a beer and we chatter late into the night — we just love this place!
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small, land-locked country within South Africa known for its impressive traditional Swazi arts and crafts. Aside from the allure of colourful beadwork, baobab batik cloths and delicate glass figurines, Swaziland has a wealth of natural and cultural attractions worth exploring too. Visitors can shop for these items either at shopping centres, established traders, or informal hawkers along the road. The art of Swaziland is colourful and vibrant, with there having been a rise in the contemporary art scene lately. The Yebo Gallery, which is located in Mantenga, promises art enthusiasts an extraordinary discovery of Swazi art where local fine artists, photographers and sculptors have their masterpieces proudly on display.
Yebo Gallery has contributed largely to the development of the art scene and in doing so, has provided a platform for artists to be discovered by international art buyers and private art collectors. The gallery also assists new artists to establish their name in the art industry. Support the local talent by buying yourself some beautiful and truly unique artwork to hang on your wall at home.
Baobab Batik specialises in batik work that celebrates Swazi design, colour and culture. Baobab Batik started as a small business in but today has a workforce of 35 employees that consists mainly of women. The Sweep1 command fits a surface through a series of profile curves that define the surface cross-sections and one curve that defines a surface edge. Your browser does not support the video tag. Selecting a curve or surface edge automatically selects all curve segments connected with the level of continuity set by the ChainContinuity option.
Controls the level of continuity required between segments to be selected with the AutoChain option. Selects curves in the positive curve direction. Selects curves in the negative curve direction. Selects curves in both the positive and negative curve direction. The Point option creates a surface that begins or ends at a point. Use this option only at the start or end of the curve series. The Freeform and Roadlike options determine how the frames along the rail are made.
In many cases, the resulting surface is the same with all options. The cross-section curve rotates to maintain its angle to the rail throughout the sweep. The Freeform option generally uses the rail-tangent cross-rail curvature direction. Sweep1 Roadlike options calculate the way cross-sections are propagated along the rail based on the tangent direction of the rail and a fixed direction specific to the option. Roadlike Top sets the fixed direction as world z, Front uses world y and Right uses world x.
To determine the movement of a cross-section, one frame is found at an existing cross-section location and another is calculated at the desired location along the rail. The difference between those frames defines the movement of the cross-section. A frame is a 3-D point and three direction vectors. It can be drawn as something that looks like the Rhino world axes icon. It describes a unique coordinate system in space. If the rail tangent and the arbitrary vector are parallel, they do not define a plane and the cross product does not produce a vector, so the frame is under-defined, and it will twist around the rail tangent since that is the only defined information.
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For the Right and Front options, the same orientation rules apply with respect to those construction planes. If the rail is a surface edge, the cross-section curve will twist with the surface edge. If the shapes are tangent to the surface, the new surface should also be tangent. The Closed sweep option creates a closed surface, continuing the surface past the last curve around to the first curve. Global shape blending. The sweep is linearly blended from one end to the other, creating sweeps that taper from one cross-section curve to the other.