Slicing across the country from Cape Town to Pretoria and beyond, a number of superb rail journeys allow guests to travel in unrivalled style and comfort across South Africa’s most spectacular rural swathes.
Rovos Rail is Africa’s most luxurious train. The Edwardian dining cars feature button-leather seats, the lounge car hosts wingback chairs and the berths are immaculate in darkwood elegance, complete with tiled en suites and a mini-bar stocked with beverages of your choosing. The Royal Suites are particularly extravagant, taking up half a carriage each and home to rolltop baths and a private lounge packed full of period furnishings. Of course, you can also expect only the finest in regional dining, paired, of course, with the best South Africam wines. In terms of routes, Rovos Rail slows things down, taking two nights to wind between Cape Town and Pretoria. You’ll therefore have more time both on the train and on excursions. For something extra special, there’s even the option for journeys up to Victoria Falls, Namibia and Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam.
The Blue Train
Having begun life in the 1920s, the Blue Train is South Africa’s oldest-running luxury rail service. It’s a unique heritage carried on to this day, with private berths dressed in polished wood panelling, marble-and-gold en suites and goose-down beds, available as doubles or twins. Upgrades even feature a butler service and soaking bathtubs. It’s an elegant aesthetic that continues into the train’s pair of lounges, where afternoon tea and fine South African sherries are served up to picture-window views. However, it’s the dining that impresses most, with five-course banquets spanning from Karoo lamb to Knysna oysters. It’s all informed by the train’s route – an overnight journey between Pretoria to Cape Town with stops for expert-led excursions. Expect wine tastings, pauses at pretty colonial towns and diamond-rush landscapes. It really is superb value.
Blue Train, South Africa