The thought of sleeping in the same suite as Naomi Campbell, Mia Farrow, Elton John or Aussie starlet Kylie Minogue would certainly be a talking point but could only be eclipsed by the promise of a rail journey fit for royalty on South Africa’s Blue train.
The list of celebrities who have enjoyed the iconic Blue Train journeys between Cape Town and Pretoria is a who’s who of the entertainment world.
The hype, pomp and ceremony and testimonials surrounding the approx. 30 hour, 1600 kilometre journey of a lifetime sounds so good I can’t wait for the all aboard call in Cape Town next month.
The Blue Train route snakes through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent. The train departs Pretoria at 8.30am arriving in Cape Town the next day at 3pm. The return journey departs also at 8.30 and arrives in Pretoria at 3pm a day later. The Blue Train runs in both directions 2-3 times per week. All meals, a high tea, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well as off-train excursions are included.
The train travels at a maximum speed of 90 kph, is 380 metres long with 18 carriages,14 housing guests. The origins date back to 1923 when the train took passengers from Johannesburg to Cape Town to catch the ships back to England. It was colloquially called the Blue Train as a reference to the blue painted steel carriages introduced in 1937.
On board chefs regularly refresh their menus to intrigue and tantalise your palate, as they prepare their signature dishes using the freshest of local ingredients. From Karoo lamb, ostrich and venison, to Knysna oysters and other award-winning Cape fare. All dishes are artfully presented in delicate crystal or on fine china, contributing to the ultimate experience.
Highlighting the dining car’s atmosphere is a delightful selection of tasteful background music, ranging from smooth jazz to light classical to the mellow tones of the Soweto String Quartet.
Tuxedos, dinner suits or at least jackets and ties are compulsory for dinner, setting the scene for a really decadent and interesting once in a lifetime involvement.
The Blue Train has a value added promotion for guests in 2016-17 offering one night complimentary B & B accommodation in a five star hotel either pre or post journey in Pretoria or Cape Town including transfers.
Prices range from AUD$1330 in low season.
Gourmet meals and alcoholic drinks and even Montecristo Havana cigars are included in the fare. There is an extensive list of fine South African wines available. You probably won’t be able to get through $1300 worth of alcohol and cigars in 19 hours (French Champagne not included), but I bet some passengers try hard!!
Certainly a journey high on the bucket list, even happy to wear a tie. I will report back following the experience.
Contact your travel agent for bookings
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Written by: John Savage