Text and photography: Leilani Basson
I’ve had the pleasure of working at a variety of publications in the past. I attended many launches in the process – a new hotel, a new show, new lipstick, hair product, a wine or a designer range of clothing.
So it was with much anticipation and excitement that I arrived at Pretoria’s Central Park Station for my first car launch. Now, this is not just an afternoon or evening thingimagig at a hotel or a fancy venue, lasting a few hours. This was a two-day excursion. Two… DAYS.
The car in question? The new Hyundai iX35, formerly known as the Tucson. Destination? Legend Golf and Safari Resort, in Mookgophong (formerly known as Naboomspruit). Transport? The legendary and luxurious Rovos Rail train.
Entering the Rovos Rail station area reminded me of everything I loved about the classic movie Out of Africa – old English grandeur, with a generous dose of stiff upperlip. Real gin and tonic territory. And blade fans whif-whif-whiffing under unusually high ceilings that rests on double thick walls.
I greeted all the regular journos, introducing myself to all the assembled circles, one by one.
But with journalists flying up to Johannesburg from across the country, our departure on the train was delayed by about three hours, due to heavy fog in the OR Tambo airport area. So, sipping on champagne and making small talk with my three new friends.