Warning to Visitors

Some of the information below may be out of date as a result of changing timetables and services. Please double check the accuracy of all information before travelling.

The booking forms should be up to date however, so if tickets for a particular service are available, then the service should be operational.

Pretoria - Cape Town (Blue Train)

Rail

The Journey

The Blue Train is hard to beat in terms of luxury when it comes to a rail service. Two locomotive sets operate on the exclusive Blue Train routes, not travelling beyond 58.2mph to ensure that noise from the trains does not become distracting to the guests.

Guests travel in beautifully maintained and decorated suites, each of which has its own private bathroom with shower or bath. There are two luxury carriages for those wanting superior quality of service, with three suites in each. All these luxury suites have private bathrooms with full-sized baths. The beds in the train have been custom designed for the Blue Train, featuring white cotton sheets and duvets. Luxury suites all benefit from a hi-fi, audio, CD and VHS video systems.

In total, the trains have between 29 and 37 suites (depending on which specific train is in use). The train with fewer suites benefits from an observation/conference carriage.

Pretoria to Cape Town:

Early in the morning In Pretoria, guests are greeted at the Blue Train Lounge, where they are offered complimentary snacks and drinks, before boarding the train. After departure, guests are treated to brunch, followed by afternoon tea, before arriving in Kimberley for a tour of the Open Mine Museum. On return to the train, guests are given a glass of sherry before preparing for evening food and drinks. The following day, breakfast is served before the train arrives in Cape Town in time for lunch.

Cape Town to Pretoria:

Early in the morning in Cape Town, guests are greeted at the Blue Train Lounge, where they are offered complimentary snacks and drinks, before boarding the train. After departure, guests are treated to brunch. In the mid-afternoon, the train arrives in Matjiesfontein for a 45 minute excursion (including sherry!). Back on the train, high tea is served before pre-dinner drinks and dinner itself. The following day, breakfast is served before the train arrives in Pretoria in time for lunch.


The Blue Train

The Blue Train is a luxury train service that operates between Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa. It is often described as one of the most luxurious journeys in the world, thanks to the quality of its accommodation and service provision.

The service itself dates back to the early 20th Century, when the Union Limited and Union Express trains carried passengers between Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

The service is operted by Luxrail, which is a division of South Africa's national rail network, Transnet Freight Rail. The company currently operates two trains, which run in opposite directions along the single route, at speeds of up to 90km/hr. 

All parts of the train are air-conditioned, whilst each suite has an individual temperature control. Under-floor heating is also provided for colder termperatures.

Accommodation on-board the Blue Train is provided in the form of private suites, with either two or four suites in each carriage. Each has its own shower or bath, with one bathroom suite in each carriage (the other three are shower suites).

De Luxe Suites

The standard accommodation on-board the Blue Train are the De Luxe suites. These offer passengers either twin beds with a shower, or double beds with a bathtub. Each suite has an entertainment system and telephone for internal and external calls.

Luxury Suites

If the standard Blue Train suites are not luxurious enough for you, you can always choose to travel in a Luxury Suite instead. These offer a larger amount of space for passengers, with twin or double beds and a bathroom. Luxury accommodation also includes an enhanced entertainment/tv system (larger number of channels, movies and music).

There is no limit on the amount of luggage that can be carried. However, as space in each cabin is (to a degree) limited, passengers are recommended to not bring too much on-board with them. Additional luggage, not required during the journey, may be stored in the luggage van for the duration.

Food & Drink

The Blue Train has an on-board dining car, which provides seating for 42 passengers. Two sittings are held for both lunch and dinner. Passengers are expected to wear smart-casual clothing for lunch sittings, whilst dinner sittings are undertaken in a jacket and tie for men, and elegant-wear for women. Casual-wear may be worn for breakfast. Passengers may choose to take meals in their suite if preferred.

Each meal offers a selection of local cuisine, as well as wine to accompany. Meals are presented in true silver-service style, and dietary requirements can also be catered for (please specify during reservation).

Lounges

Two lounge carriages can be found on-board each train. Each is wood-panelled, and provide comfortable and civilised seating and socialising space. The main-lounge is where high tea is served in the afternoons. The club-car is a more relaxed, smoking area.

Communication

Fax facilities are available on-board, within the train manager's office. Hand-written post may also be sent via the train staff. Each suite has a telephone for out-bound calls, as well as internal calls to train staff.

Entertainment

Each suite has its own television set, which shows (among other things) a drivers-eye view of the track ahead as the train is travelling.

Timetable

The 27 hour journey, covering 1,600km is made three times a week in either direction.

For a full list of departure dates for this year, and to find out more, visit the Blue Train website.

Pretoria to Cape Town on the Blue Train - 2012:

Departure Dates:

January: 9, 16, 23, 30
February: 6, 13, 20, 27
March: 5, 12, 19, 26
April: 9, 16, 23
May: 7, 14, 21, 28
June: 4, 11, 18, 25
July: 2, 16, 23, 30
August: 6, 13, 20, 27
September: 3, 10, 17, 24
October: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
November: 5, 12, 19, 26
December: 3, 10, 17

Departs Pretoria: 08.50am
Arrives Cape Town: 12.00pm

Cape Town to Pretoria on the Blue Train - 2012:

Departure Dates:

January: 11, 18, 25
February: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
March: 7, 14, 21, 28
April: 11, 18, 25
May: 9, 16, 23, 30
June: 6, 13, 20, 27
July: 4, 18, 25
August: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
September: 5, 12, 19, 26
October: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
November: 7, 14, 21, 28
December: 5, 12, 19

Departs Cape Town: 08.50am
Arrives Pretoria: 12.30pm

Price

There is a maximum of two guests per suite, and all fares include meals, high tea, drinks and off-train excursions. Double beds are limited, so please request one on booking if you have a preference. You must check-in at least one hour prior to departure.

Prices vary depending on the season in which you are travelling.

Suite TypeLow SeasonHigh Season
1st Class (Luxury) per person SharingR 12,515 / €1,179R 15,570 / €1,467
1st Class (Luxury) per person Sole UseR 18,770 / €1,768R 23,140 / €2,180
2nd Class (De Luxe) per person SharingR 11,585 / €1,091R 14,295 / €1,347
2nd Class (De Luxe) per person Sole UseR 17,375 / €1,637R 21,430 / €2,019

Low Season: 1st January to 31st August 2012, 16th November to 31st December 2012
High Season: 1st September to 15th November 2012

If you would like to book a ticket for the Blue Train, please visit the operator's website direclty.

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