The Blue Train: in love with Matjiesfontein

Lee & Maddy recently travelled on The Blue Train. Here are  Lee’s thoughts:

“It was an early start that morning and I was very excited as this was to be my first real train journey.  On arrival at Cape Town Station we headed for the Blue Train check-in lounge.  We were met just outside the lounge by some of the friendly Blue Train staff who helped us with our luggage and then took us through.   Having some time to spare we relaxed in the lounge with coffee and breakfast snacks.  Boarding procedure was easy as each car has a dedicated coach attendant and they escort you right to your compartment.  All that was left to do was to sit back and enjoy the ride…

Madelyn and I were in the deluxe compartments.  These are the smallest compartment type but still very comfortable.  The compartments are temperature controlled with an en-suite bathroom. The large window made for great viewing and if you didn’t feel like watching the world pass by, you could just lower the blind which, as with the viewing monitor, worked with a remote.

Later we headed off to the dining car for a lovely lunch. The dining car was beautiful – five star elegance is the best way I can describe it and the food; well-presented and delicious.  I was already looking forward to dinner.

After lunch we went to the viewing car where we enjoyed a glass of wine, sat back and just took in the views.  The viewing car is very spacious with large windows giving you an almost 360° view.  There’s a waiter on hand to cater to your every whim.

Our first stop was at Matjiesfontein – a tiny country ‘dorp’ which used to be an important staging post on the long route north.  This had to be the highlight of the trip with the shortest tour in Africa.  The tour guide was fantastic and anyone would enjoy this 10 minute tour on an old London bus.  We were given the grand tour of the ‘town’ and its history, delivered with great humour.  Once the bus tour ended you could explore the Lord Milner Manor House and the Vintage Car Museum.  It was a pleasant surprise and the town is a real gem.  This stop is however only on the Cape Town to Pretoria journey.   Coming from Pretoria the train would stop at Kimberly.

After our stop in Matjiesfontein, Maddy and I headed for the Club Lounge.  This is the only car where smoking is allowed and is right at the front of the train.  The Club Car was very comfortable and stylish with tables, chairs, couches and a well-stocked bar.  The barmen are rather too helpful and so your glass is re-filled often.  This is the perfect place for some pre-dinner cocktails where you get to meet and chat with some of the other guests.

After cocktails we headed off to the dining car for a fabulous dinner.  The ambiance in the dining car was soft, elegant and warm.   While we were soaking up the atmosphere and discussing our day’s events our coach attendant was hard at work converting our room from a day room with a table and chairs to a bedroom with 2 very comfortable beds.

After a good night’s sleep we woke to a beautiful sunrise.  We called room service for some coffee and just enjoyed the moment.   It was at this point that we realised how privileged we were and that anyone who enjoys life’s journeys will enjoy the Blue Train.  A train journey is like other days on holiday. No long, slightly tiring days of sightseeing in the cities and no early morning wake-up calls for game drives.  A luxury train journey fits perfectly between the city and the bush; like a halfway stop where you can catch your breath before moving on to the next part of your South Africa adventure.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Kate Bergh is co-founder of Cedarberg African Travel, a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa.

She heads up the South African office, having lived in South Africa since 1993. Her home looks up to the Cedarberg Mountains, where she enjoys hiking and cycling, when she’s not out discovering new places to visit, with her three children in tow. Kate has travelled extensively throughout the region to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as most areas of South Africa. She also loves history, meeting people and a good thriller...


Have you liked us on Facebook yet?