South Africa Blue Train
The perfect blend of first class service, luxury dining and breathtaking, ever changing surroundings, rightly gives the Blue Train its place in the great rail journeys of the world.
Originating from the fast service between Cape Town and Pretoria introduced in 1923, blue painted, luxury carriages were added in the 1930’s, giving the train its name.
Yesterday’s ‘fast’ is today’s ‘slow’, but that is all part of the charm of the Blue Train, allowing you more time to enjoy the luxurious life on board.
Cape Town to Pretoria
The 1,600 km journey between South Africa’s most southerly city and its legislative capital, is one to behold.
If travelling north, Table Mountain will slowly disappear from view as you leave Cape Town and head past Paarl and through the Western Cape wineries. Make sure to capture a photograph of the curvature of the train as it then winds through the mountains, traversing the Hex River Pass.
The train continues through the night, entering the great Karoo, a semi-arid region covering around one third of the total area of South Africa. It is a mesmerising landscape characterised by succulents and other low lying flora and darting herds of springbok.
The Blue Train stops in Kimberley for an excursion to the open air Mine Museum and the Big Hole, a 240 metre deep pit dug by hand during the diamond mining frenzy of the late 19th Century.
The spectacular scenery continues that evening and the next morning as the Blue Train approaches Johannesburg, then travels through the city for a midday day arrival in Pretoria.
The Blue Train Cape Town to Pretoria route also operates in reverse or can be incorporated into a longer South African holiday. A popular 10 day itinerary combines the luxury rail journey with a Cape Town city stay and a three night safari.
Pretoria to Kruger National Park
Once or twice a year the Blue Train operates a special 3 day return service, from Pretoria to Kruger National Park. As well as the fine dining and exquisite service received on all Blue Train routes, the package includes sunrise and sunset game drives in South Africa’s largest national reserve.
In open safari vehicles, to afford excellent viewing for all guests, your driver and tracker will seek out the incredible range of wildlife in Kruger National Park, including the ‘Big Five’. In particular, it is a fantastic opportunity to see southern white rhino; the reserve is home to the largest population in Africa.
The morning game drive is followed by a bush breakfast and the afternoon excursion by a traditional boma dinner and cultural show at Nkambeni Safari Camp.
Life on Board the Blue Train
A journey on the Blue Train is one you will never forget. From your arrival at the VIP Lounge in either Cape Town or Pretoria Station, you can expect first class service from the train’s friendly and experienced crew.
Whilst travelling you are free to enjoy the space of your own suite or meet your fellow explorers in the Lounge Car, where high tea is also served, or the Observation Car with its over-sized windows providing panoramic views.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining car, though you could be excused for thinking you are in a luxury hotel. Lunch is a gourmet, five course experience and dinner, in the Blue Train’s own words, “is an elegant affair.” Guests change into evening wear or traditional attire, to enjoy an exquisite menu, crafted by highly trained chefs, using fresh, local ingredients. Impala, Karoo lamb, and Knysna oysters are often served, accompanied by award-winning South African wine.
Meals, drinks and refreshments are all included in your Blue Train fare, with staff ensuring your glass is never empty for long!
Deluxe & Luxury Suites
Blue Train cabins were designed with maximum comfort in mind. Elegantly wood panelled, in keeping with the rest of the train, they have air-conditioning, underfloor heating and a digital entertainment system. Luxury Suites are slightly larger than Deluxe Suites and have a full size bath.
Air suspension helps provide a smooth ride day and night and there is complimentary WiFi throughout the train, should you need to reconnect with the outside world.
Blue Train 2021 Bookings
A benefit of arranging your rail holiday with Freedom Destinations is that you can book your train journey, flights, hotels and any extras as one tailor made, ATOL protected package.
If you are planning to travel in 2021, it is worth booking as far in advance as possible, to secure your preferred Blue Train cabin and departure date. Kruger National Park safaris, Cape Town hotels and Eastern Cape safari lodges also sell out quickly, if you are planning a wider South Africa holiday.
Our friendly team can check availability and put everything in place for you, just give them a call.
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