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Into the wild

Journeys to the soul of South Africa

Clive Wedderburn May 8, 2015

The Blue Train

This month sees the release of our latest digital magazine Footprints, all about the wonderfully diverse country South Africa. It’s an absorbing and colourful read, especially if you’re interested in wildlife, culture and magnificent landscapes. If there is one way of exploring the sights of this rainbow nation then allow Hayes and Jarvis to present a unique opportunity to explore  South Africa aboard one of the world’s foremost premier travel experiences: the Blue Train and Rovos Rail.

Experience a quality of life almost forgotten as these great trains gently wind through the landscape of South Africa while you are encased in a world of luxury. As such they offer a privileged position from which to glimpse the soul of this beautiful country from the comfort of your carriage window. 


As a passenger aboard these luxury trains you are invited to an exclusive feast of the senses. Surely there is no better way to experience the sweeping grandeur of this country than with a glass of champagne permanently to hand. 

From the wood panelling in your private berth and gold-plumbed bathrooms there is no more beautifully considered manner to traverse South Africa, totally befitting the landscape that passes by your carriage window.


Although refined and relaxed, every attention to detail is present and high standards are always well-observed, particularly when dress codes change with the passing of the hours from casual to elegant evening wear in the dining car. This is where Sheffield steel and crystal glassware grace crisp white linen tablecloth. The past, as they say, is a foreign country and aboard these luxury trains they still do things differently; cigars are always well-stocked and welcome in the club car.  

The opulent theme continues throughout, from gilded bathrooms to personal butler service. When you factor in the amazing scenery it is as though you have entered a time capsule and are being transported into your very own Agatha Christie novel.


The only mystery on offer here is the suspense that awaits every meal to see what culinary wonders the galley will produce next. You will be intrigued by fillet of Ostrich or Karoo lamb while a string quartet serenades your progress as your train trundle through game reserves. An extensive wine list will also reflect the fact that your journey takes you through some of the greatest vineyards in the world.


Rovos Rail and the Blue Train both run excursions between Cape Town and Pretoria, but also offer extensive expeditions to the mystical Zambezi River and Victoria Falls and across the great wildernesses of Namibia, providing you with a taste of the pioneer spirit that calls on a time when these trains were the most expedient way to cross such this immense continent. 

Just as the first railways brought prospectors and settlers, you will feel you are participating in a legacy that has been instrumental in crafting the modern history of South Africa.


As such, South Africa is also defined by its relationship with precious metals and stones and aboard both the Blue Train and Rovos Rail you have the opportunity to visit one of the world’s largest man-made excavations: the Big Hole at Kimberly and Diamond Mine Museum. From a special viewing platform you are able to appreciate how, at a shade less than six hundred feet deep and just over a mile wide, this landmark typifies the potential of South Africa to amaze visitors. 

There are also specialist train journeys that present incredible opportunities to take advantage of the best golf courses in the country. Rovos Rail provides a 9 day golf safari packed with highlights such as the Royal Swazi Golf Club, Kruger Park and the renowned Leopards Creek. This is one golf tour that you will find hard to beat – anywhere in the world. 

And if this is a romantic treat for you and your loved-one the Blue Train has a specialist jewellery store on board for that special gift and souvenir of your journey. 

The Blue Train and Rovos Rail will provide a unique way to access this astonishing country, from the vineyards of the cape, to the expanse of the Great Karoo. When you gaze out through carriage windows to the soul of South Africa you will realise that great train journeys, like diamonds, certainly stand the test of time.  

To find out more about luxury rail travel in South Africa take a look at the latest edition of our digital magazine, Footprints