Two African train trips that must be in your travel bucket list

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The Blue Train
Routes:
Pretoria-Cape Town-Pretoria
Pretoria-Durban Routes

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Cost: Tickets start from R 13,015 (or $1,255) for a De Luxe double cabin during low season going up to around R 26,240 (or $ 2,531) for Luxury Suite in high season on Pretoria-Capetown Route.

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The Blue Train is a travelling five-star hotel that has retained its charm since it came into being in 1923. There are two Blue Train sets. While the former can former can accommodate a maximum of 52 guests and is available for use during charters. Train Set 2 is the weekly “schedule” train running between Pretoria and Cape Town. It accommodates a maximum of 80 guests and includes a paraplegic suite and a Conference Car. Each of the two trains consist of a Baggage Van, Power Car, Personnel Car, Club and Lounge Cars, Kitchen and De Luxe and Luxury accommodation coaches.

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The train boasts private en suite bathrooms; an air cushion suspension system which ensures a remarkably smooth ride; a driver’s eye-view camera, an advanced, independent braking system, an interactive entertainment system in each suite, Wi-Fi, amongst other advanced technological features.

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The Blue Train is home to an exclusive boutique, showcasing diamonds and gemstones, gold and platinum, hewn from Africa’s very core. Its covetable collection includes the rare and valuable Tanzanite, which ranges in hues from those of the train itself to deepest indigo and royal purple. Each piece is unique, exquisite, and ultimately personal.

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On board chefs regularly refresh their menus to intrigue and tantalize your palate, as they prepare their signature dishes using the freshest of local ingredients. From Karoo lamb, ostrich and venison, to Knysna oysters and other award-winning Cape cultivars. All artfully presented in delicate crystal or on fine china, all contributing to the ultimate experience.

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The Blue Train offers two convivial spaces in which to build friendships over a beverage of choice. The Club Car, ideally situated behind the train’s engines offers the feel of a burnished, wood-panelled gentleman’s club where you can enjoy a Cuban cigar that is served after dinner, a game of backgammon, chess or cards. Whereas, the Lounge Car is an ideal venue to enjoy the charming view of the countryside, with its windows perfectly framing the ever-changing panoramas and interrupted only by rare works from some of Southern Africa’s finest artists.

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Cabins on the Blue Train are offered as either De Luxe or Luxury Suites. The first train has nine deluxe coaches, with eight on the train with the conference car.

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The De Luxe coaches each have four suites, one suite with a double bed and bath and the others with twin beds and showers. From individually controlled air-conditioning system, under-floor heating, opulent marble and gold-fitted bathroom, its scented bath salts and plush monogrammed towels, to the electronic entertainment options are on offer.

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The Luxury Suites extends the offering from a De Luxe suite with twin or double bedded suites that offer you long and luxurious bathtubs and a private digital interactive entertainment system, with an inviting selection of music CDs and big-screen movies on Blue-Ray. Luxury coaches have three Luxury Suites and give you the option of twin beds or a double bed. There is also complementary Wi-Fi service.

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For routes and fare information, visit www.bluetrain.thetank.co.za