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IIf you’re an adventurer at heart, rail travel provides an exciting way to soak up South Africa’s scenic beauty without having to drive yourself around. If your ideal adventure includes being able to sit back and relax, letting beautiful landscapes roll on by with magical pitstops along the way, then consider travelling South Africa by train.
Whether you're looking for cost-effective options or opulent multi-day luxury experiences you can choose from economy class, luxury coaches or the ultimate opulent rail safari on the Blue Train or Rovos Rail. Steam enthusiasts can also enjoy rail journeys of old, on restored steam trains.
South African train travel covers some of the most beautiful parts of the country, taking visitors from cities like Johannesburg and Bloemfontein to prime destinations like Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth.
On a budget: The Shosholoza Meyl is a passenger train that runs between all major cities. An economy-class ticket will buy you a reclining seat with sufficient legroom on routes that include 11 major cities across the country, but be prepared for the unconventional. The energy on the train is always electrifying especially during summer (December to February) as there are people from different parts of the country travelling.
You can purchase an upgraded ticket that can get you a two-bed coupe or four-bed compartment. These are transformed into suites during the day and bedrooms at night. Each Shosholoza Meyl train contains several communal showers and bedrooms for passengers to freshen up.
Mid-range: The Premier Classe is a luxury passenger liner that accommodates guests in spacious single bed, double bed or family compartments. It’s complete with beautifully designed bathrooms and complimentary toiletries, gowns and room service. Yes, that’s right, room service on a train. The Premier Classe line operates between Johannesburg and Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town as well as Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
Luxury: South Africa's most glorious train is undoubtedly the Blue Train. The Blue Train pulls out all the stops to guarantee a state-of-the-art South African rail safari. It comprises a baggage van, personnel car, club car for smokers, deluxe suites, kitchen, dining car and lounge.
The Blue Train operates between Pretoria and Cape Town, and Pretoria and Durban. A special trip to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is also available.
There is also Rovos Rail, defining itself as "the most luxurious train in the world". Begin a journey with Rovos Rail and experience the extravagance of rail travel to Southern Africa’s most spectacular destinations. The beautifully rebuilt trains carry a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 superbly appointed suites and are also available for charter, while the Events Train caters for up to 250 guests and is suitable for daytime journeys. Rovos Rail has also established three stately seaside retreats in St James, Cape Town
WHO TO CONTACT
The Shosholoza Meyl
Tel: +27 11 774 5244
Tel: +27 87 802 6674
The Blue Train
Tel: +27 12 334 8459
Tel: +27 12 315 8242
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