As time meandered from the 19th Century towards the dawn of the new era, a dream was born. A dream of harnessing steam technology to link Africa’s vast south to north, around the awe-inspiring mountain ranges that dot the continent, through the apparently arid desert landscapes, over untamed savannah grasslands teeming with wildlife. From the Cape all the way to Cairo… all of this on parallel lines of tempered steel.

It is from this dream that The Blue Train was born. Cairo was never to be, but the dreamers persevered and The Blue Train now traverses South Africa and its breath-taking scenery in a manner that befits the mystique that has grown around it.

Kings and presidents have indulged on this magnificent, moving five-star “hotel-on-wheels”. From love-struck honeymooners, to adulated celebrities. And even ordinary folk who fantasize about a life of spectacular luxury, a life that has seemed tantalizingly out of reach. Until now…

Welcome aboard The Blue Train. Your unforgettable experience is about to begin…


For the Empire-builders of old, the uncharted African interior was the landscape of a dream in the making. A dream that would etch its course in parallel lines that snaked their way northward from the Atlantic shoreline, conquering the distance from Cape Town to Cairo. The dream was not to be, as the Great African Railway reached only as far as a bridge across the gorge of the Zambezi River, overlooking the thundering smoke of the Victoria Falls.  

But in the fading years of the 19th Century, the discovery of gold and diamonds drew thousands to the edge of the continent, and those lines of tempered steel began to bear the burden of industry, commerce, and society on the move. Soon, as the moneyed classes made their presence felt, the network added leisure travel to its list of duties, and in the slipstream of leisure came luxury. The Union Limited and Union Express, ferrying passengers between the mailships of Cape Town harbour and the goldfields of the Witwatersrand, were the standard-bearers of steam-powered opulence
in the easy-living heyday of the 1920s, boasting everything from card tables to ceiling fans, to hot and cold water on tap. 

A coat of royal blue and cream would later give the trains their distinctive livery, and it was from this line, in these shades, that The Blue Train – a “Palace on Wheels” – would ride the rails to legend. Withdrawn from service during the dark days of World War II, extensively refurbished and modernised in the Seventies and Nineties.  

In 1997 a new Blue Train was introduced and its traditional route between Cape Town and Pretoria was extended northwards to the Victoria Falls. In the following year a second identical train came into service, allowing The Blue Train to add to its destinations Hoedspruit on the western edge of the Kruger National Park, and Port Elizabeth at the eastern end of South Africa’s Garden Route. 

The Blue Train has defined a new era of luxury travel, making the switch from steam to electric and diesel, linking veld to sea, tradition to progress, with a sense of style, grace, and mesmerising power that has never come close to being matched.. 



The route between Pretoria and Cape Town is a 54-hour journey of 1 600 kilometres (994 miles), through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent.


The Blue Train also travels to South Africa’s Limpopo Province, which is home to the Kruger National Park, one of the world’s finest game parks, and home to Africa’s Big Five. These one-way 19-hour journeys take place on selected months of the year, and offer guests an opportunity of some fantastic new “rail safari” combination packages with the many private safari lodges found in the Greater Kruger and Sabi Sands areas.


As The Blue Train’s tracks roll inevitably into the distance, so life’s course brings with it joys that must be celebrated. Graduations, engagements, weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries and milestone birthdays. All of these deserve a memorable venue, a special ambience, a reminder that you’re going places.

The Blue Train can be chartered for such occasions. Just for you, it can meander along its standard routes, or on custom-made trips and cross-border excursions that last from a few hours to several nights. It’s your sojourn, it’s your train. It’s our pleasure.

When not booked for use during a trip, the Conference Car is converted into an Observation Car that reflects and complements the amenities offered in the Lounge cars.

For those with more stern agendas, The Blue Train has the facilities to service business-oriented journeys. Our fully-equipped Conference Car can comfortably seat 22 delegates boardroom-style or accommodate smaller work areas combined with Observation Car amenities.

Whether you’re rallying your sales force, rewarding outstanding performance, wooing potential clients or hosting your year-end function, stay on line. Keep on track. Navigate your way through the ever-shifting landscape of doing business in the 21st Century. Meet your challenges and celebrate your successes on the move by stepping onboard a world where business is pleasure…


I went on the Blue Train as part of a corporate event and it was fantastic. The staff were amazingly attentive and the lunch we had was phenomenal. With a light feta and melon starter, followed by a truffle and cauliflower soup and salmon for main. After lunch we relaxed in the end panoramic carriage which was beautiful then enjoyed the bar.

The rooms are fantastic. I feel they are far superior to a cabin on a cruise, certainly the bathrooms are far bigger with a lovely bath.

I’d highly recommend

Caroline L

Blue Train Pretoria to Cape Town

This was an experience to tick off our bucket list.
We got picked up at The Sheraton Hotel and chauffeur driven to the blue train lounge.
We took a medium suitcase on board and the other 4 large ones went into the luggage carriage which can not be accessed, so make sure you have everything you need in the one suitcase.
Obviously not much room in your carriage, reason you only need small suitcase.
The check in was quick and smooth, however there was a delay in our departure, which caused us to arrive late at Kimberly, so our tour to the diamond mine and museum was cancelled, very disappointing, it seems to be a regular occurrence, so the blue needs to get there act together.
The food and drinks on board was ample, you certainly won’t starve.
Formal dinner was great, enjoyed dressing up, however I’m glad i didn’t a formal dress, i wore black trousers and sparkly top which was dress enough, most ladies where the same (casual smart.) The men did wear suit and ties, my husband wore his leather jacket and didn’t feel out of place.
Destination was a quick experience, suitcases came all together by the blue train staff.
We was not on a tour and had to organize our own transfer which i pre arranged on line with Rikki’s taxi, i would certainly recommend this transport, they are a distinctive vehicle, reliable, trusting and keep in touch re arrival.
All in all grat experience.


Adelaide, Australia

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