Image via South African Railways
Image via South African Railways
Combining the luxury of the world’s leading hotels with the charm of train travel, the Blue Train offers an unrivalled experience.
The train has two routes: The first of which travels some of the country’s most spectacular scenery between Pretoria and Cape Town, and the second travels to South Africa’s Limpopo province, which is home to the world-renowned Kruger National Park.
The Pretoria-to-Cape Town route departs once or twice a week and includes a stop in Kimberley where travellers can explore the once-famous diamond mining town.
The Limpopo province journey takes place on selected months of the year and offers some amazing rail-safari combination packages in partnership with several private safari lodges in the park.
The journey will cover the same ground, but with new hygiene protocols in place as per post-lockdown travel regulations. Strict measures have been put in place to account for every element of the exclusive Blue Train experience, from booking to boarding.
According to the new regulations, guests will be contacted several days before travel and be pre-screened numerous times. They will have to complete a pre-screening questionnaire that includes a declaration of COVID-19 symptoms, and if all requirements are met, confirmation of the booking will proceed.
During check-in at the pre-departure lounge, each guest will undergo temperature scanning and if cleared will be allowed to board. An on-board medical practitioner will attend to the guest if the temperature is above the required 37.5 degrees Celsius.
All guests will be required to wear a cloth mask at all time, as well as sanitise their hands regularly at sanitiser stations placed throughout the lounge. Once registered, guests will receive a safety kit, which will contain three pairs of latex gloves, wet wipes, a bottle of sanitizer, and three cloth masks, which must be used throughout the journey.
On board, measures to ensure social distancing in the dining and public areas have been put in place and an isolation car with two suites will be available to guests who present symptoms during the journey.
Executive Manager, Vincent Monyake says that guests must be able to travel with an absolute peace of mind that every precaution has been taken to ensure their safety.
“A key part of The Blue Train experience is the social interaction between guests and, unfortunately, we are forced to a new set of rules for the new normal. For as long as we are dealing with COVID-19, some elements of The Blue Train experience will have to evolve for the health and safety of our guests and crew,” he said.
From beginning to end of this incredible journey, guests experience the ultimate in five-star travel. Luxury suites have plush beds with designer linens and goose down duvets, marble and gold-appointed bathrooms with showers and soaking tubs, and a private digital interactive entertainment system, with a curated selection of music big-screen movies on Blue-Ray DVD. A personal butler is on hand to take care of every need.
Guests are treated to world-class cuisine in the dining car where on-board chefs create seasonal menus with signature dishes prepared with the freshest of local ingredients from Knysna oysters to Karoo lamb. The cuisine is accompanied by some of South Africa’s finest wines and served in a sophisticated and timeless setting.
The beautifully appointed, wood-panelled Club Car offers an elegant and refined place to enjoy a drink and a Cuban cigar after dinner, or a game of backgammon, chess or cards. An onboard library boasts a curated selection of literature and magazines to enjoy in plush leather chairs.
A trip like this may a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but undoubtedly one that will leave lasting memories.