Blue Train Luxury in South Africa

by The Library of Virginia

The Blue Train the route runs between Pretoria and Cape Town and 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. South Africa’s Blue Train is a luxurious service that takes travellers across the fascinating landscape that stretches between Pretoria and Cape Town that includes great food and spacious accommodation. The Blue Train has been operating since 1939 and derives its name from its blue locomotives, railroad cars, and leather seats. The Blue Train owes its origin to the Union Limited and the Union Express, which, from 1923, linked Johannesburg with the mail ships departing from Cape Town for England. 50 years ago, when your Union Castle liner docked at Cape Town, you might have taken the Blue Train to Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic powerhouse figuratively and literally built on gold. The new Blue Train is the most luxury train in the world and the best way to travel. The three month long British Royal Family tour of South Africa in 1947 saw the ordering of eight ivory-painted air-conditioned saloons from Britain, three of which were built to Blue Train sleeping car standards, while the remaining five were special saloons for use by the Royal Family and Field Marshal Jan Smuts, the South African Prime Minister. It is little wonder these distinguished passengers chose the Blue Train. What can beat that feeling of going to sleep with a Karoo moon in the sky outside, and waking up to a pot of fresh coffee, surrounded by Cape vineyards as the Blue Train makes her stately way into the mother city?

The suites on the Blue Train live up to its reputation for magnificence and splendour. It takes you to a timeless world of elegant living, combining the romance of travel by rail with the luxury of a grand hotel. The newly refurbished Blue Train can easily lay claim to being one of the top 3 luxury trains in the world but a lot of its allure lies in its past. With interiors created by a leading interior architectural design company, the   Blue Train will rival many a five-star hotel in terms of elegance, grace, comfort and style. Luxury suites, butlers attending your every whim and an a la carte South African menu are all part of the service. The Blue Train glides from Cape Town to Pretoria or vice versa in just over two days.

A meal on the blue train is an experience in itself, with the menus featuring a selection of local cuisine – from Karoo lamb and ostrich fillet to Knysna oysters – accompanied by award-winning cultivars from the Cape Winelands. Menu cards are royal blue with a gold cord; a colour representation of the region through which guests are travelling is included for that extra blue train touch. The Blue Train is equipped with the finest bone china in white, cut-crystal and classic silver cutlery engraved with the familiar “B” insignia. A sophisticated, opulent atmosphere, gourmet menu and the finest South African wines make dining on the new Blue Train a magnificent experience. It is a showcase for South African wines which have been selected to compliment each course on the menu after meticulous consultation with top South African wine experts.

Guests are requested to check-in 1 hour prior to departure at the Blue Train lounges in Pretoria and Cape Town. The Blue Train management team is at your service to ensure that each guest has a memorable experience on the journey. Your private suite combines the needs and desires of a modern world with the romance and elegance of traditional luxury coach travel in Africa. By day your private Blue Train suite is a luxury lounge. At night, your Blue Train butler will convert your suite into a luxury bedroom. The suites on the Blue Train live up to its reputation for magnificence and splendour.

Todays Blue Train is aimed fairly and squarely at tourists, but it still links Cape Town with Johannesburg, or rather Pretoria, the safer administrative capital, once or twice a week. The Blue Train offers guests an out of the ordinary ride in luxurious comfort and style that they could reminisce over for years. The mystique, the aura of luxury and history attached to one of the world’s most famous trains is part of the attraction for first timers and repeat guests. The boutique on the Blue Train is a treasure trove of gems and minerals as rich as Africa itself. Guests on the Blue Train receive special branded gifts at the end of the journey. The sherry glass engraved with the Blue Train logo is a memento for guests to keep. A trip on South Africa’s famous the Blue Train is the dream of a lifetime for many.

You can book your trip on the Blue Train with Explorer Travel by calling 0208 816 8789 or visit their website

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