• Blue Train South Africa

A South African Journey by Blue Train

Experience South Africa on this multi-centred holiday that takes in some of the country’s most breath-taking natural wonders, important cities, and fascinating places steeped in history.

What better place to start your holiday than in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city. From marvelling at the gracious architecture of the Union Buildings to learning about the Grand Trek at the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria is a great introduction to South Africa’s past and present. 

After visiting its interesting museums, or wandering through its beautiful botanical gardens, you’ll wave goodbye to Pretoria as you board the Blue Train and begin your journey to Cape Town. Aboard the Blue Train, you’ll experience five-star luxury accommodation and fine dining. The spacious cabins are decked out with the latest mod-cons, while the decor has an olde world charm. Think dark mahogany wood and sumptuous leather seats, not to mention the stunning vistas that you will enjoy along the way. 

Stopping in Kimberley, you will visit Kimberley Mine and the Big Hole. This strikingly beautiful place is a wonderful insight into South Africa’s love affair with diamonds. After discovering the origins of De Beers and learning about diamond mining, you’ll return to the Blue Train and continue your journey to Cape Town. 

After you arrive in Cape Town, you can explore this fascinating coastal city. Whether you visit the African penguins on Boulders Beach, take in the poignant history of the prison that incarcerated Nelson Mandela on Robben Island or stand at the summit of Table Mountain, Cape Town serves up a wonderful plate of experiences. 

Combining a visit to Pretoria with a beautiful train journey to Cape Town and Kimberley promises to be a truly unforgettable holiday.

 

Duration
7 days
Best time to go
January to April
Start your journey
Leopard in South Africa

Trip highlights

  • Explore the sights of Pretoria and discover South Africa’s elegant capital city
  • Aboard the Blue Train, enjoy a glass of Champagne in your sumptuous cabin, while you take in the phenomenal natural beauty of the changing vistas
  • Learn about South Africa’s diamond mines at Kimberley’s Big Hole and the Open Mine Museum
  • Take a cable car to the summit of Table Mountain and enjoy breath-taking panoramic views across Cape Town
Pretoria Union Buildings
The Palace of Justice-Pretoria

Visiting the capital city, Pretoria, is one of the best ways to discover South Africa’s  fascinating history. It’s a city that combines elegant architecture and significant historical sites with beautiful botanical gardens and streets lined with jacarandas trees. 

Pretoria was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, who was the leader of the Voortrekkers. These Dutch-speaking settlers migrated east in the Great Trek. Travelling by wagons pulled by oxen, they left the Cape Colony and settled in Pretoria, establishing independence from the British colonial rule. A top attraction in Pretoria, is its majestic Voortrekker Monument, which commemorates the bravery and courage of the Voortrekkers. Standing at 40m, this colossal monument is surrounded by 64 ox-wagons made out of decorative granite. 

Another noteworthy visit takes you to the highest point in Pretoria to see The Union Buildings. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913, this semicircular building is the offices of South Africa’s President and the administrative offices. The building overlooks beautifully manicured gardens with several statues of South Africa’s important leaders take centre stage. The bronze sculpture of Nelson Mandela is particularly powerful, as it stands in front of the government buildings, with both Mandela’s hands stretched out.  

To further your journey of discovery, be sure to make a stop at Pretoria’s Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History before leaving this fascinating city. 

For your time in Pretoria, we recommend staying at the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel, which has stunning views of the Union Buildings from its terrace.

a view of a canyon with Big Hole in the background

All aboard the luxurious Blue Train. Departing from Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria, you will journey to Cape Town, stopping to take in South Africa’s gloriously breath-taking landscape and important sites. 

The first stop on your journey is to Kimberley, where you can disembark to visit the Big Hole and the Diamond Mine Museum. 

The discovery of an 83.5 carat diamond on a small farm in Kimberley in 1871 led to the diamond rush, or as it was known the ‘New Rush’. Within a month of its discovery, more than 800 miners had arrived and cut into the hillock with the hope to get rich quick from diamonds. It eventually became the site of the world-renowned Kimberley Mine and the place where one of the world’s leading diamond company, De Beers, was established.

As the mining for diamonds continued, the hill eventually disappeared and became known as the Big Hole. It’s considered the deepest hand-dug hole in the world. Now filled with water, it is an astonishing sight representing man’s pursuit of diamonds and great wealth.  

Back on board the Blue Train, you will enjoy indulgent fine dining by the gourmet chefs. 

Using the freshest local ingredients, it’s a real treat for your taste buds. Not to mention, the five-star opulence of your cabins. What could be better than taking in the stunning vistas from the comfort of your own luxurious cabin? The journey into Cape Town passes iconic sites such as the Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head.

We recommend staying at The Table Bay Hotel, which combines five-star luxury with a stunning waterside location. The hotel offers fantastic views of Table Mountain.

an empty park bench sitting on top of a lush green field

South Africa’s port city of Cape Town is a melting pot of culture, tantalising cuisine and stunning landscape. It’s home to South Africa’s most iconic landmark, Table Mountain. You can take a cable car to the top and enjoy the spellbounding views from its summit. Table Mountain National Park is also home to the Cape of Good Hope, a dramatic cliff headland that juts out into the ocean. Another must-visit is Robben Island, which is situated just off the Cape Town Bloubergstrand coast. From a psychiatric hospital and military defense post to a prison, Robben Island has a fascinating history. It is probably most well-known for it being the island where Nelson Mandela served his prison sentence. You can even visit the prison cell where the Noble Peace Prize winner and former South African president, Mandela, was held.

No holiday to Cape Town is complete without visiting Boulders Beach, the only place in the world where you can enjoy close encounters with African Penguins. The beautiful Boulders Beach has boardwalks that wind through the dunes and vegetation and gives stunning views of the African Penguins that reside on the beach. A final stop on your holiday in Cape Town should be to Simon’s Town. This historical town serves up fascinating museums, picturesque streets lined with cafes and shops and delicious fresh seafood. However you spend your time in Cape Town, it promises to dazzle you with its phenomenal natural beauty, fascinating history and delicious food.