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The Blue Train

Madikwe & the North West

Rating: Deluxe    

The Blue Train overview

The Blue Train started in 1946 and has become an icon in the South African safari business as a luxury way to traverse the country.

The route runs between Cape Town and Pretoria in either direction and the journey is a leisurely one spanning two nights, arriving at your destination after breakfast on the third morning. The journey allows time for a stop at the Kimberley Hole Diamond mine for a guided tour.  The train has a set schedule so please check with us for departure dates. In addition to this main route there are occasional journeys to Kruger National Park, and the train can be chartered for company functions or incentives.

This train can be compared to a fine 5 star luxury hotel, offering fine cuisine and selection of South African wines from local vineyards. This is an incredible journey as the train winds its way through the scenic landscape across the country. 

The Blue Train has deluxe and luxury suites, the luxury suites are slightly bigger and have a full size bath tub instead of a three quarter. The deluxe suites have a choice of either a shower or bath. All suites have remote controlled facilities such as blinds, are soundproofed and have air conditioning, safe and TV. 24 hour room service with a butler on call. There are lounge and club cars as well as an elegant dining car. Dress on board is smart casual during the day and jacket and tie in the evening, ladies to dress accordingly.


Operates: The Blue Train operates all year. Low season runs from 1st January to 31st August & 16th November to 31st December. High season is 1st September to 15th November.

Location: The Blue Train operates between Pretoria and Cape Town and vice versa, a two night-three day journey. There are occasional services between Pretoria and Kruger National Park, a two day ride. The train can also be chartered and routes tailored accordingly. 

Rooms: There are deluxe and luxury suites. Deluxe carriages have 4 suites, one with a double bed and a ¾ size bath as well as a shower in the bathroom, and the others with twin beds and showers. Each suite measures 4 x 2 metres. The luxury sites are slightly larger (5 x 2 metres) and there are 3 per carriage. All have double or twin beds and a full size bathtub in the bathroom. By day your suite has 2 cushioned are chairs or a sofa and a table by the window. At night this space is transformed into your bedroom. All luxury bedding is provided. There is air conditioning and underfloor heating and you have an in-suite music and entertainment system. There is a safe for storing valuables. The large window lets you enjoy the scenery as you travel. Toiletries and fluffy towels are provided in the bathrooms which have marble surfaces and gold fittings. Each carriage has a butler, who looks after the passengers and has his or her own cabin and is just a phone call away. A corridor runs the length of the carriage.

Activities: You are welcome to spend the duration of the journey on board, enjoying the changing scenery, fine food and company. If travelling between Pretoria and Durban you are whisked from once city to another, non-stop. Travelling from Pretoria to Cape Town you have time to explore the diamond rush town of Kimberley. Travelling northbound the train stops at Matjiesfontein to see the Victorian buildings and enjoy a glass of sherry at the bar.

Facilities: Each train has a lounge car and a club car, both areas where you can sit back and enjoy the company of fellow travellers. The lounge car is positioned in the middle of the train and has comfy seating and large windows. There is an attentive barman to make sure your cup or glass never runs dry. This is the venue for high tea each afternoon. The dark wood panelling of the club car recalls the gentleman's club of yesteryear. Drinks, cigars, chess, backgammon and cards are all available. There is a TV, too and a selection of reading matter. There is a limited on-board laundry service. There is a baggage van where you can store any luggage you do not need for the journey. Train layouts can vary, but the usual one accommodates up to 80 passengers in 11 suite carriages, with a club car, lounge car, dining car, conference car and baggage van. Other carriages are predominantly for staff use.

Dining: Meals are served in the light, elegant dining car. All meals are freshly prepared on board using local ingredients and the chefs take great pride in their work. You can eat with other passengers or enjoy intimate meals a deux. Fine quality china and glittering cut crystal add to the air of opulent luxury. The dining car accommodates 42 people. If there are more passengers on the train meals are served in two sittings. You can also dine in the privacy of your own suite.

Children: Children can travel on The Blue Train on request only.

Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access.

Map for The Blue Train

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Tracy Edwards
Dave Lock
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customer rating

100% from
3 reviews











client reviews

Ms Julia Vetromile

"The staff were amazing. The food was outstanding and wine selection was wonderful. We felt totally indulged for the entire trip!"

Sarah Jane
"Outstanding, amazing, fantastic, out of this world! Far superior to the European orient express experience. Service and attention to detail was second to none. The cabins were extremely comfortable, both during the day and at night. The food and range of drinks were superb. 36 hours of indulgence!"
George & Jaki Kennedy-Copeland
"What can we say - a fabulous experience all round. Well designed and operated suites that magically change from day room to bed room during dinner time - and back again at breakfast. A double bed and a bath...on a train...Fantastic! Super service and some lovely travel companions. Not quite so au fait with Vegetarian cooking but were keen to please and provide what we asked for. "



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