Our guide to
Luxury Train Journeys in Africa
Great rail journeys help you explore Africa’s wealth of natural highlights like the spectacular Victoria Falls, Namib Desert’s Sossusvlei sand dunes and Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain. You will travel in style from the moment you arrive at the platform with pre departure drinks and canapes.
Once on board, your private butler will escort you to your cabin, show you where everything can be found before you have time to settle in. It’s then time to enjoy Africa’s train journey, watching landscapes through enormous glass windows and the changing colours in Africa’s sky.
Few people have the opportunity to experience luxury train journeys in Africa. It is a phenomenal feeling to be a pampered passenger on a luxury train that travels through such beautiful scenery and halting at various iconic destinations along the way.
Comfortable cabins, delightful cuisine served in elegant dining rooms and cocktails savoured at sunset in the bar car. Here is the collection of luxury train journeys in Africa, and we can incorporate any of them into your tailor-made safari holiday itinerary.
The Blue Train
The Blue Train is South Africa’s iconic luxury train and can trace its origins to 1923. With ample carriages, the company has enough to make up two trains which means a more impressive schedule than ever before. The Blue Train traverses South Africa and its stunning scenery in a manner that befits royalty. In fact kings and presidents have indulged on this sensational moving five star hotel on wheels. It is hugely popular with honeymooners and many people who romanticise about luxury train travel in Africa.
There is a Cape Town to Pretoria route and vice versa with one night on the train and a stop enroute. It’s 27 hours of luxury travelling 1,600 kilometres through some lovely scenery. Southbound (Pretoria to Cape Town) you stop at Kimberley and step back in time to the diamond rush days. Northbound (Cape Town to Pretoria) you stop at Matjiesfontein to admire the Victorian buildings and original nineteenth century Longon lampposts in an uncanny colonial time warp.
With panoramic views, lovely service, fine dining and outstanding cabins you will truly enjoy the Blue Train experience. Itineraries, dates and rates available on request.
Rovos Rail is known as the Pride of Africa and was created in 1989 by Rohan Vos. This train offers a real sense of extravagance and elegant rail travel through Africa. Just 72 passengers in 36 suites travel by train that is hauled by diesel or electric locomotives at various stages of the journey. The suites are stunning with wood panelling and period Edwardian features. Every comfort is provided like air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms and a 24 hour room service. With three lounges and a dining area you have ample opportunity to wander about. Our favourite is the observation car at the rear with deep sofas, wing back and extremely comfortable chairs. Sit back and enjoy the luxury of a bygone era.
There are a series of luxury train journeys in Africa with Rovos Rail, from 48 hours Cape Town to Pretoria (or vice versa) to a month exploring much more of this magical continent. The most popular route is Cape Town to Pretoria or in reverse and it is a two night journey through breathtaking landscapes like grasslands, mountain ranges and Victorian towns.
Another popular route is two night Victoria Falls to Pretoria and vice versa. This takes you through South Africa, Botswana and into Zimbabwe.
Zulu for millipede, The Shongololo is certainly a long and impressive train as it travels across the plains of Southern Africa. It began operation back in 1995 and continues to offer wonderful train journeys in Africa. Whilst not quite the luxury of its counterparts, it makes up it with its epic adventures of 12 to 15 days traversing South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
There are comfortable cabins in two categories for 72 guests in total, two historically appointed dining cars where traditional local cuisine is on offer along with a selection of wonderful South African wines. There is the bar car, small smoking lounge and observation car with an open air balcony – very good spot for admiring the outlook.
A point of difference is that excursion vehicles are transported with the train so it is totally effortless.
The grand fifteen day journey weaves its way through South Africa from Pretoria to Cape Town. The first few days sees you travel through the Drakensberg Mountains to the Kruger region. Visit the famous Panorama Route and of course enjoy a safari. From here you head to the Kingdom of Swaziland and Hluhluwe wildlife reserve for more safari time.
World heritage site St Lucia Wetlands is worth a visit before arriving at the coastline and Durban. South bound now you travel through Bloemfontein, Kimberley and Graaff Reinet. In Oudtshoorn you’ll visit an ostrich farm and the Congo Caves plus traverse the Outeniqua Mountains. Knysna is a highlight with a stop, lagoon ferry ride to Featherbed Nature Reserve and then the garden route meander. The final day sees you arrive in Cape Town.