This 1 600-kilometre meander is a perfect illustration of South Africa as a world in one country. Travel the grasslands of the gold-rich Highveld to the haunting barrenness of the Great Karoo; trundle through the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic winelands of the Cape.
Rail Journeys end is Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, cradled by the imposing bulk of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. Highlights of the north- and southbound routes include a visit to the historic village of Matjiesfontein; this authentic perfectly preserved Victorian Village – founded by Mr Logan as a refreshment stop in 1890 – also boasts an impressive museum on the platform.
Another stop is made in Kimberley providing an opportunity to enjoy a city tour and a visit to the Diamond Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole.
This three-night adventure begins with the train’s departure from Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. It then winds its way north through Warmbaths, so named for its mineral waters, and Nylstroom, christened by the Voortrekkers as the source of the Nile River as the town’s river happened to be north flowing. The train then passes the edge of the escarpment and crosses the Tropic of Capricorn en route to the border with Zimbabwe.
After formalities at Beitbridge the next morning, the train travels towards Bulawayo, second city of Zimbabwe, capital of Matabeleland and industrial capital of the country.
The following day sees the train travelling along one of the world’s longest stretches of straight railway line – 114 kilometres – before traversing Hwange National Park, a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary where animals can be spotted from the train and a game drive excursion is enjoyed. After a service stop at Thompsons Junction, the sojourn ends at the incomparable Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River. The surrounding areas offer travellers many recreational opportunities including cruises, whitewater rafting as well as superb game viewing and photo safaris.
This epic 15-day train journey travels through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and is one of the most famous in the world. The sojourn begins in Cape Town taking guests to the historic village of Matjiesfontein, the diamond town of Kimberley and the capital city of Pretoria for short tours followed by two nights in the Madikwe Game Reserve*.
Continue through Botswana into Zimbabwe where guests overnight at the Victoria Falls Hotel. After crossing the mighty Zambezi River, the train joins the Tazara line in Zambia and continues to Chisimba Falls where guests enjoy a bush walk. The train climbs to the Tanzanian border then descends into the Great Rift Valley negotiating the tunnels, switchbacks and viaducts of the spectacular escarpment.
Climbing again, it traverses the Selous Game Reserve – the largest on the continent and a vision
of timeless Africa – before the bustling arrival in Dar es Salaam the following day.
The Blue Train rail journeys between Pretoria and Cape Town is a 27-hour journey of 1 600 kilometres (994 miles), through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent.
On the Southbound trip, the train departs from Pretoria Station at 8:30 and arrives in Cape Town at the Cape Town Station at 15:00 the following day.
En-route to Cape Town there is a stop-over and an excursion in Kimberley, where we take a step back in time to the days of the diamond rush.
On the Northbound journey, the train leaves Cape Town at 08:30 and arrives in Pretoria at the Pretoria Station at 15:00. The off-the-train excursion includes a stop at the Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. On arrival at Matjiesfontein guests are invited for a glass of sherry at the bar.
The Victorian buildings and original nineteenth century London lampposts impart to the traveller, the uncanny sense of entering a colonial time warp – an oasis suspended in a different age.
Guests are reminded that check-in time at the Pre-departure Lounges at both the Pretoria and Cape Town Stations is an hour prior to departure.
South Africa is synonymous with a number of things, including amongst others; Cape Town with Table Mountain, Robben Island, The Blue Train, Kruger National Park, to name but a few.
The Blue Train, which already traverses to and from Cape Town on a weekly basis, will be adding a new route to another South African iconic site, the Kruger National Park in the Hoedspruit area. The Hoedspruit / Kruger National Park route, which is currently available on charter, will be added to The Blue Train's 2016 schedule and will happen bi-annually. The Blue Train will travel from Pretoria and stop at Hoedspruit Station, where guests will then be transferred to their preferred Lodges in and around the Kruger National Park, as per their chosen itineraries organised with their tour operators.