The Blue Train has an aura of mystique about it. Kings and presidents have travelled on this magnificent moving five-star hotel. Its very name has become synonymous with the ultimate in luxury and personal service.
The routes of The Blue Train - both scheduled and chartered - take guests through some of the most breathtaking countryside to be found anywhere in the world.
Two luxurious trains make the 27-hour (994 mile) journey between Pretoria and Cape Town, sleeping up to 82 guests in 41 suites. Each suite has its own bathroom with either a shower or bath. There are two Luxury Coaches which have three suites each with bathrooms fitted with baths. The Deluxe Coaches have four suites per coach. One of the four suites has a bathroom with a bath, while the other three have showers.The beds have been custom-designed for The Blue Train. A butler pulls them out, already made, from a space in the suite wall, converting the lounge into a comfortable bedroom. White cotton sheets and down duvets are the standard linen throughout the train. 10 of the suites feature double beds on the first train, while there are nine on the second.The luxury suites have hi-fi, audio CD and VHS video systems.
The dining car provides seating for 42 people. There are two sittings for lunch and dinner. Lunch is smart-casual, dinner is jacket and tie for the men and elegant wear for the ladies, while breakfast is casual. Each of the trains has two lounges: the main lounge car in which high tea is served each afternoon, and the club car where guests can relax over a post-prandial cognac. The club car is the only public area available for smoking.
There are two trains, the first train accommodates 74 guests in 37 suites. The second accommodates 58 guests in 29 suites and features a conference or observation car at the back of the train.
Each suite has its own bathroom with either a shower or bath. There are two luxury coaches which both have three suites with bathrooms fitted with tubs. The other nine De Luxe coaches have four suites per coach. One of the four suites has a bathroom with a bath, while the other three have showers.
The beds have been custom-designed for The Blue Train. A butler pulls them out, already made, from a space in the suite wall, converting the lounge into a comfortable bedroom. White cotton sheets and down duvets are the standard linen throughout the train
There are no specific child care facilities available but children of all ages are most welcome on board the Blue Train.
Facilities on board include a dining car and two lounges. There is a camera mounted on the front of both trains giving guests a driver's-eye-view of the scenery ahead. The unfolding journey is shown on a TV screen in the club car and on one of the TV channels so guests can view it in their suites.
Each suite is also equipped with a cellular communication telephone which can be used for phone calls and to reach train staff.
The Blue Train has a jewellery boutique selling lovely African gems.
Each coach has a butler on call to attend to guests' every need. The butlers serve a maximum of four suites and are there to ensure that your experience is as memorable and comfortable as possible.
The train manager is also on call at all times. Guests can contact him whenever they require assistance or if they would like information pertaining to their journey.
When to travel
Year-round destination. The summers are generally warm and dry, while winters tend to be wet and cool, the rains brought on by fierce north westerly gales. Neither season experiences extremes of temperature, thanks to prevailing winds. Summer (Nov-Mar) is the hottest with temperatures 20-40°C. Mid season (Apr, May, Sep, Oct) temps between 10-30°C. Winter (from June- Aug) is the low season with temps 0-25°C.
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Location and directions
Cape Town, South Africa
The trains runs from Pretoria to Cape Town and vice versa. The route between Pretoria and Cape Town 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.
How to get there
On the Southbound trip, the train departs from Pretoria main train station at 8:50 and arrives in Cape Town train station at 12:00 the following day.
On the Northbound journey, the train leaves Cape Town at 08:50 and arrives in Pretoria at 12:30, in time for high tea the following day. It stops at Matjiesfontein for an off-the-train excursion.