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Great train journeys in South Africa
One of the best ways to take in the spectacular scenery that South Africa has to offer, rail travel couldn’t be further from a daily commute in the luxurious surroundings of Rovos Rail and the Blue Train. Here we give you the lowdown on what to expect and what separates these two outstanding experiences.
Whenever we catch our first glimpse of Table Mountain as the plane touches down at Cape Town airport we know we have arrived back in one of our favourite places in the whole world. Imagine then that you can get this same view but from the comfort of your own private compartment whilst being served drinks by your very own butler. Hard to beat, eh? That is just one of the experiences that you can expect to have when travelling on the luxurious Blue Train – one of South Africa’s premier rail options.
Described as a five star hotel on wheels, the Blue Train’s standard journey is between Cape Town and Pretoria (and vice versa) and takes 27 hours traversing 1,600km and show-casing the diversity of South Africa’s landscapes. Stopping en route at the home of the diamond mining rush in Kimberley on the southbound journey or step back in time with an off-train excursion to Matjiesfontein when travelling north to Pretoria. Your night on the train will be in the lap of luxury with the aforementioned butler service and a gastronomic dinner themed around the golden age of rail travel. My top tip to really make the most of the journey and exquisite scenery that you pass through is to spend time in the observation car at the back of the train – a truly memorable experience!
Widely-regarded as the most luxurious train in the world, Rovos Rail aims to recapture the romance and glamour of a bygone era when train travel was the way to travel. The most popular journey from Cape Town to Pretoria (or in reverse) takes 48 hours with off-train excursions at both Kimberly to visit the Diamond Museum and the ‘Big Hole’ and the perfectly preserved Victorian village of Matjiesfontein.
For those looking for added wow factor, how about traversing Botswana on a two night journey ending at one of the natural wonders of the world – Victoria Falls? Or for those with more time to spare (and an even healthier budget) there are longer trips through Namibia and up to Dar es Salaam – irregular in frequency, these are real once-in-a-lifetime trips all characterised by Rovos Rail’s famous luxury and flawless service!
Experience the grandeur of the Blue Train yourself...
Please check out our Kruger, Blue Train and Cape Town itinerary.