The Blue Train: The Lowdown

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Taking a ride on the Blue Train is like taking a step back in time. You could easily imagine yourself in an Agatha Christie novel, with Hercule Poirot hovering in the sidings.

What’s the Blue Train really like?

Inside the train is beautiful, with gleaming polished wood, burnished brass fittings and silver sparkling on the dining tables. In the evenings the bar is a hub of jolly conversations, and your reviewer is delighted to report there was an excellent selection of South African wines on board. There’s also a lounge car for afternoon tea, and most departures include an observation car, with a large rear-facing window to look out at the scenery behind you (this isn’t on every departure, so please ask if this is important to you). The dining car serves traditional fare on pristine white linen tablecloths- we thought the food was pretty reasonable, though understandably as you’re on a train, probably not quite up to the standards of Cape Town or Jozi’s finest restaurants. Please make sure to let us know if you have any dietary requirements so the chef can plan for you in advance.

Depending on the departure you’re on, the Blue Train sleeps between 50 and 80 guests. We stayed in the Deluxe Suite, which is set up with two chairs (turning into twin beds), a little table by the window, and a wardrobe to hide your treasures in. Behind this is the bathroom which has a flush loo and a shower. Some of the deluxe suites have a double bed and a three-quarter bath instead of a shower (these are the minority)- reports are generally good, however we were advised not to overfill the tub! Luxury suites are a little larger, with a full-sized bath. Each cabin has its own butler, and there’s also wifi, though as we found this to be rather patchy, it seemed to be far more fun to sit back and enjoy the journey instead.

What can I do on the Blue Train?

Honestly, relax, and watch the world go by. Most of the Blue Train journeys do include an excursion off the train- however it’s important to know these are not guaranteed- the Blue Train gives way to regular train traffic, so delays do happen, meaning at times the excursion needs to be missed to keep your timings on track. The typical Blue Train journey is for two nights- easily the most civilised way to travel between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Occasionally though, it’s possible to join the train on other routes, for example down to the Kruger National Park– perhaps the most elegant way to start your safari!

Want to know more? We’ve travelled on it, so just

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