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train travel in south africa

Blue Train announces new dates for 2017

The Blue Train has announced its new departure dates for next year to and from Hoedspruit and has updated its 2017 schedule to include them.

The train will depart Pretoria at 15h00 on March 17, July 7, and August 11, arriving in Hoedspruit at 10h00 the following morning.

Departure time from Hoedspruit on March 18, July 8, and August 12 is 15h00. The train will arrive in Pretoria at 10h00 the following morning.

On March 17 and July 7 capacity from Pretoria to Hoedspruit, and also for the return service, is a maximum of 52 guests.

There is no paraplegic suite, meaning it is not wheelchair friendly.

The train will be able to accommodate a maximum of 80 guests on August 11, and also on the return service on August 12, and is partially wheelchair friendly, with a conference car and paraplegic suite.

The Blue Train will also offer tailor-made charters for strategic meetings, product launches, VIP cocktail parties, VIP breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and weddings. Charters are not limited to the options mentioned and are dependent on rail networks’ compatibility with the Blue Train’s technology.

History of the Blue Train

The Blue Train of South Africa can easily lay claim to being one of the top three luxury trains in the world, but a lot of its allure lies in its past history.

‘Aah, the Blue Train,’ South Africans will sigh at the sight of this elegant five-star experience trundling across the landscape, its passengers enthralled by the world outside and utterly spoilt by the staff inside. It stands for excellence in South Africa and we’re justifiably proud of this luxury train and its image.

Back in the early 1940s, the Union Limited-Union Express line had distinctive sapphire blue carriages. Thus people started referring to the South African luxury train as ‘those blue trains’.

And now, even in its third reincarnation, the luxury Blue Train of South Africa still speaks of Irish linen, quality silver in the dining car, marble floors, plush white towels and fluffy eiderdown duvets. You can watch your favourite TV show, then let your eyes drift out of the window at the landscapes outside.

The cuisine? Simply marvellous: classic Karoo lamb, Knysna oysters, snoek, crayfish and impala (vegetarian, Kosher and Halaal available on request).

Business services? One of the two Blue Trains has an extra lounge that can double up as a 22-seater conference venue. They can also turn this lounge into an observation car.

Onboard shopping? The Blue Train Boutique offers fine jewellery and all manner of Blue Train mementos.

The routes? Scheduled and chartered tours include: Pretoria to Victoria Falls; Pretoria to Cape Town; Pretoria to Hoedspruit and Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Depending on route, stops include Kimberley, Matjiesfontein, Durban, De Aar, Johannesburg, Rustenburg and Pietermaritzburg.

But it’s the romance of the journey, the stunning views, the feeling of being part of the landscape that makes the experience so special.

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