Ffestiniog Travel is delighted to offer an escorted tour to South Africa in March 2017 that combines our expertise as a holiday provider and rail travel specialist – a tour that guarantees scenery, safari and steam! The tourist attractions along South Africa’s southern tip are well-documented and this tour includes visits to Cape Town’s famous landmarks, journeys along the Cape Peninsula and the chance to observe wonderful wildlife at first hand. But is the railway content as good as the tourist appeal? Tour leader Dave Kent, who will be escorting travellers to South Africa, gives a taste of what the rail enthusiast can expect from this tour, having travelled the same route previously and enjoyed the country’s many railway gems.
Dave Kent is a narrow gauge enthusiast and has been involved in the rebuilding and operating of the Welsh Highland Railway over the last 20 years. His first job, many years ago in finance was as a Bank Cashier for the National Provincial Bank. After many years in a career in finance and life assurance, he finished up as Marketing Manager for an Ame...rican Bank before early retirement. This change of circumstances allowed him to not only restore the 16th Century home he and his wife Gina bought over looking the Welsh Highland railway line but also allowed him to become, firstly a board member of the support society and its Treasurer and then to become Chairman for the entire rebuilding of the line over the next 14 years. He is now President of the Welsh Highland Railway Society. During the rebuilding of the line he met many people who came to view construction progress including Mr Wilf Mole, owner of Sandstone Estates and patron of Sandstone Heritage Trust. Sandstone is twinned with the WHR and Dave has taken footplate staff from the FFR/WHR out to Sandstone on 3 occasions and helped them operate the museum line for their public festivals on the wide range of steam loco’s in the collection. On the fourth occasion the visit was a unique opportunity when the “crews” went out to help Reefsteamers of Germiston operate on the South African Main Line, a never to be forgotten experience with 4-8-2’s bigger that 9 F’s, and that’s on 3’6” gauge, one trip that can never be repeated as the rules have now changed. The South African Adventure Ffestiniog travel are arranging gives travellers an opportunity to experience many of the places Dave has visited, but most importantly it will give members of our party the chance to experience Sandstone as a real hands on visit. The chance to be involved in the action takes this trip to a new level, so although overalls are not obligatory but you might like to find room at the bottom of your case, you never know what you might be offered a chance to get your hands on! Dave is 72 and now lives on the west coast of Scotland where he and his wife Gina have built their eco friendly home. More