Africa is one of the great frontiers for travellers – add the romance of rail and you have bucket list material.
This fascinating, diverse and ever-changing continent happens to offer three of the world’s most luxurious trains to transport you into the trip of a lifetime.
1. The Blue Train
From its base in Pretoria, South Africa, The Blue Train (feature image above) offers two routes – Pretoria to Cape Town and Pretoria to Hoedspruit (Kruger National Park).
This famous luxury rail journey winds its way over mountains and across savannahs, covering over 1,600 kilometres in about 31 hours.
The routes take in some of Africa’s most stunning scenery.
Meals and drinks, including alcoholic beverages are included in the fare, along with high-tea and an off-train excursion in Kimberley.
The return journey from Cape Town stops in Matjiesfonein Village; a quaint respite renowned for its Victorian history and architecture.
Pretoria to Hoedspruit is a 19-hour overnight journey that includes all meals and beverages.
Two luxurious cabin types provide plenty of personal space with quality amenities throughout. Luxury Suite passengers will enjoy the indulgence of soaking in a full-size bathtub. A separate lounge area with oversized picture windows and a personal butler are all part of The Blue Train experience.
At over 5 x 2 metres, The Luxury Suite is one of the largest cabins on rails.
The Deluxe Suite is 4 x 2 metres and both cabin types feature underfloor heating, elegant wood panelling, goose-down duvets, climate-control, marble bathrooms and Wi-Fi.
More information: http://www.bluetrain.co.za/
2. The Shongololo Express
Transporting passengers in style across Africa, the Shongololo Express offers a unique selection of routes and itineraries. From South Africa to Mozambique, guests can experience the diversity of up to seven different countries.
The Southern Cross (12-days; South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe), the Dune Express (12-days across Southern Africa) and the flagship 15-day Good Hope Golf (the highlights of Africa – non golf options provided) journeys all offer a different take on this captivating continent.
Dining on board showcases the best of African cuisine and dishes are paired with premium South African wines.
Cabin options include the spacious Emerald Suite with double bed, small lounge area and en-suite bathroom, while Gold Suites feature double or twin beds and en-suite bathroom.
More information: http://www.shongololo.com/
3. Pride of Africa – Rovos Rail
You’ll take a step back in time when you board Pride of Africa.
Victorian elegance sets the scene on Rovos Rail where ornate dining cars and wood panelled suites with period antiques create a sumptuous atmosphere.
With eight different itineraries, Pride of Africa offers inclusions such as safaris in Durban and Namibia, stops at the majestic Victoria Falls and the ultimate African rail crossing between Cape Town and Egypt.
On this train you won’t find high-tech, by design. Guests are encouraged to switch off and live in the moment.
Suites are divided into three categories – Royal Suites, Deluxe Suites and Pullman Suites.
Each of the four Royal Suites measures half-a-carriage in length and features large double beds, a private lounge area and full bathroom with Victorian style bathtub.
Deluxe Suites include double beds, lounge area and en-suite bathrooms with full showers.
Pullman Suites are equipped with the traditional sofa-seat by day, which transforms into a bed in the evening and private en-suite bathrooms and showers.
Dining options include local game delicacies with an emphasis on fresh and seasonal produce. Meals are complemented by South Africa’s finest wines. The dining room itself is, as you’d expect, Victorian in style with dark timber beams, plush leather chairs and crisp white linens.
Adjacent to the dining car you will find a large observation deck that brings the outdoors inside.
More information: https://www.rovos.com/
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