The last word in elegant travel, the Blue Train – which traverses the spectacular landscapes between Cape Town and Pretoria – is one of the world’s great train journeys.
There are few travel experiences to beat that of gliding through South Africa’s spectacularly beautiful and diverse landscapes cocooned in the timeless elegance and luxury of the Blue Train. The nearly 1 600km (994m) journey – from Cape Town in the southwest of the country to Pretoria in the north, or vice versa – takes 27 hours. This is a special experience – time is suspended as you roll in the lap of luxury through some of the most striking and spectacular scenery in the African sub-continent.
This private train has a long history, dating from the discovery of gold and diamonds in the country’s interior. By the 1920s the beneficiaries of this burgeoning mineral wealth demanded a more opulent mode of transport to ferry them between the arrival port of Cape Town and the bustling, buzzing mining towns of the Witwatersrand. The result? Two luxurious, royal-blue-and-cream liveried trains known as the Union Limited and the Union Express – the forebears of what became known as the Blue Train. These Union carriages typified the easy-living heyday of the 1920s, boasting everything from card tables and ceiling fans to hot and cold water on tap. Eventually, these trains were combined to form today’s Blue Train, which retains the romance and glittering allure of its history combined with shamelessly luxurious contemporary updates.
You are welcomed on board by your personal butler, who will ensure that every minute of your trip is perfect. Choose from a De Luxe or Luxury Suite. By day a private and elegant lounge, at night your suite converts into a romantic, deeply comfortable sanctuary – subtle lighting, goose-down and 100% cotton percale bedding, air conditioning, underfloor heating, an opulent marble and gold-fitted bathroom with scented bath salts and plush monogrammed towels evoke a bygone era, while a private digital interactive entertainment system, with a selection of music CDs and big-screen movies on Blue-Ray DVD and complimentary WiFi add contemporary comforts that guarantee to keep you thoroughly entertained.
The Blue Train offers convivial communal spaces. Enjoy a cognac or after-dinner Cuban cigar in the Club Car – with the elegant ambience of a gentleman’s club – or settle down to a game of backgammon, chess or cards. The beautifully designed Lounge Car has windows that perfectly frame the ever-changing panoramas. This is a wonderful spot to enjoy afternoon high tea or another glass of award-winning wine or port after your five-star dinner banquet. In the very elegant Dining Car, the Blue Train’s chefs strive to tantalise your taste buds with fine dining and signature dishes using the freshest of local ingredients. This is your opportunity to enjoy dressing for dinner in time-honoured style: dinner is an elegant affair and gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie and ladies elegant eveningwear. This is a travel experience you will never forget.
• On the southbound trip from Pretoria Station to Cape Town there is a stop-over in Kimberley, which includes an excursion to explore the history of the diamond rush.
• On the northbound journey from Cape Town to Pretoria the off-train excursion includes a stop at the charming Lord Milner Hotel in the quaint historic village of Matjiesfontein.
Cabin facilities include:
• Air conditioning
• Underfloor heating
• Clothes press
• Complimentary WiFi
• Dressing gowns
• En-suite bathroom with shower
• Lounge area
• Tea- & coffee-making facilities
• Snacks and beverages served in your private suite on request
• A limited on-board laundry and valet service
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