The hints enclosed are usually covered in the manager’s pre-departure announcements, but are listed here again for your relaxed perusal.
1. SECURITY. Please close shutters or preferably shutter and window if leaving your suite. If left open the temptation provided for anyone standing on the platform might be too great. Safes are provided in your suite for valuables.
2. The air conditioning unit in your suite is operated by a hand held remote control. Please ensure your host/ess demonstrates the operation of the unit. A setting of 22°'C or less is required for cooling and 23°C or more for heating. The function for cooling or for heating must be set with the temperature. This machine reverses cycle to change its function and this process will take a few minutes. You are best advised to use the automatic setting as per enclosed instruction. This will keep your suite at 22°C (75°F).
When the generators at the end of the train are switched for servicing, there is a momentary break in power and this is sufficient to turn your machine off. Press the start button and the unit will continue on its last setting.
3. Please do not remove anything from the Train. The staff are held responsible for their allocated areas and are obliged to report any shortages to the Manager.
4. There is a fire extinguisher in your suite. Please be quick to apply it if a fire should break out. If it cannot be controlled, please advise staff immediately. There are large extinguishers at the end of each carriage for application by staff. The train will be brought to a halt for the required action. Do not jump from a moving train.
5. It is advisable to open the cold-water tap a little before the hot water when wanting to shower, as the hot water can be very hot.
6. There are bar fridges and tea drawers beneath the table in your suite. Please ask your host/ess to fill them with your preference if not already included.
7. There is a hook outside your door on which to hang the provided red or white tags for room service. If you might need service between 24h00 and 06h00 please ask your host/ess to indicate where he/she is billeted and what his/her telephone number is. (They enjoy being woken around 04h00). Please check your rooming list for a list of all telephone numbers.
8. There is a LIMITED laundry service on board comprising of household washers, dryers and steam irons. The turn around is 48 hours so the staff are not able to handle a week’s worth of washing. Please complete the relevant laundry or pressing document and advise your host/ess if your clothing needs specialist attention. Please note that while we are providing a complimentary service we cannot be held responsible for items which may be damaged or lost in the process.
9. There are maps and itineraries in your suite denoting times of meals, arrivals, etc. We do endeavour to maintain an accurate schedule (logistical gymnastics most times).
If the maps supplied are not comprehensive enough you may purchase a detailed road map from the gift shop. Please find an envelope addressed to Rovos rail in your itinerary pack which may be used for the comment sheet. There is also an envelope addressed to the Train Manager which may, at your discretion, be used for gratuities for which Rovos rail thanks you in advance. Please do not leave these in your suite but be so kind as to hand directly to the Train Manager.
10. Plug in hairdryers, in addition to your bathroom unit, are available on board. Please ask your host/ess.
11. There are board games, playing cards, a card table and magazines available for your use in the Lounge and Observation Cars whilst on board the train.
12. The electricity on the train is as follows: 220V AC 50Hz • 3 point round pronged wall plug.
International adaptors are available – please ask your host/ess.
13. The make up of the train (generally) is as follows: Behind the locomotives there is a generator car, staff car, guest sleepers, a non-smoking lounge car, two non-smoking 42 seat dining cars (plenty of space for the maximum of 70 passengers carried) with the kitchen car in between (centre of the train), more guest sleepers and the observation car at the tail.
Smoking of cigarettes and cigars only is allowed in the privacy of the suites and in the back half of the Observation Car. We ask that smokers please be as considerate as possible of others and to smoke downwind or as far rearwards as is practical when in the Observation Car.
Please do not throw flammable items such as cigarette or cigar butts off the train, as bush fires in Africa are a constant and dangerous hazard.
Please note that the use of mobile telephones and laptop computers is forbidden in all the public areas. Please use your ‘phone and computer in the privacy of your suite.
14. Breakfast, lunch and a formal dinner, heralded by a gong, are served in one sitting only in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the Dining Cars – meals, carefully prepared, are complemented by a selection of fine South African wines. Meals can be adapted to suit special requirements by prior arrangement.
During the day, the dress is smart, casual and comfortable. Attire that is more formal is worn in the evening on the “Pride of Africa”. A collar & tie is a minimum requirement, please.
15. If passports are required your manager will provide the necessary forms to be filled in, and will endeavour to clear the borders without inconveniencing you (endeavour being the operative word).
16. If you are travelling with us from Cape Town to Victoria Falls or vice versa, we do have an overnight stop in Pretoria. You may leave most of your luggage on board if you wish, but this will be at your own risk. We do have to service the train and this entails electricians, plumbers, carpenters and cleaners working through the carriages. Every endeavour will be made however to protect your belongings.
17. There is a small gift shop on board and at our station premises at Capital Park in Pretoria. Due to the varying exchange rates, the use of credit cards is preferred.
The shop is situated in the centre lounge car and is open between meals. The host/ess on duty has a basic first aid kit and personal essentials (toothbrushes, razors, etc.). She will also fulfil any administrative requirements and check your onward arrangements.
18. Please note that off-train excursions cannot be guaranteed and will only be undertaken if time and circumstances permit. We do our best to fulfil our obligations, but it goes without saying that with many locomotive changes and other logistical permutations it is not uncommon to be delayed in Africa.
19. Lastly, the track over which we travel can be bumpy at times. We restrict the train to 60 kmph and over the rough areas reduce speed to as little as 20kmph. A sleeping tablet or a wee bit more of your favourite tipple might be appropriate. Earplugs are also provided in your amenity bag - not only for the train mind you!