There is a certain romanticism behind the train journey that makes it an exceedingly attractive way to travel and explore. For me, it’s the simple comfort of having a private suite, allowing me to spend time chatting and laughing with my loved ones, that makes it most worthwhile. Not having to worry about the logistics of travel, moreover, puts rail travel in a unique spot. It places the emphasis on the admiration of stunning landscapes, allowing the train to be more than just transport, but the journey itself. |
These are my top four rail journeys in Africa that will allow you to appreciate the beautiful landscapes of Africa in the most comfortable way.
1. Blue Train
• From Cape Town to Pretoria - This Iconic And Aptly Named Train (It Is Actually Blue) Ensures You Travel In Style
One of the most extravagant and luxurious rail journeys available, the Blue Train pulls no punches trying to ensure you have the most accommodating experience. The suites are elegantly furnished reminiscent of 1950’s art-deco décor. The interior is constructed of solid amber birch which is intricately detailed, giving the cabin a very cosy feel. Every fixture and window are also adorned with a matt gold finish, and this elegance is carried into the bathrooms which have floors of marble. As if that isn’t enough, each suite has a dedicated butler to help you with any creature comforts such as drinks, fresh towels, and food. I would say it’s a home away from home, but I don’t happen to live in a mansion!
Fittingly described by some as an “automotive five-star hotel”, this rail journey covers the 1600 kilometres which separate Cape Town and Pretoria. Expect to see majestic mountain landscapes, vineyards, and crumbling ancient settlements on your journey.
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2. Desert Express
• From Windhoek To Swakopmund - Travel Through Highlands, Great Plains, And the Savannah
This weekend-long expedition places a high emphasis on the beautiful landscapes as it covers the journey at a leisurely pace. The smooth marble-like dunes which stand thirty meters tall and stretch as far as the eye can see are captivating. Taking the chance to stand on top of them when the Desert Express stops is another feeling altogether! It allows you to see how the desert has been formed and shaped by centuries of wind. It’s simply awe-inspiring, and even somewhat frightening when the scale of the desert is put into perspective.
The suites feature modern comforts to make the journey as comfortable as possible, such as air conditioning, a fully stocked bar, three-meal courses, and perhaps most interestingly, wide set windows which practically take up a whole wall. This makes sightseeing all-the-more special, especially the beaming sunrises and hazy sunsets which are unforgettable.
Travel insurance: Africa - InsureMore offers no excess when using European Health Insurance card 3. Pride of Africa
• From Cape Town To Pretoria - This Luxury Train Has a Packed Intermarry And a Social Atmosphere
One of the most exciting things about this rail journey is the social atmosphere that they curate, which tries to get everyone in the 19th-century aristocrat spirit, and with good success! Passengers are asked to come to dinner in black tie, and electronics are not to be used outside of the cabins. This is all down to the impeccable service of the staff, which starts with a rousing and witty speech, setting the tone for the journey. The fact that this service is family run really makes the experience shine through its originality.
The itinerary is packed and you’ll experience the best of South Africa such as desert Karoo, the City of Kimberly, and Matjesfontein which was a Victorian village. One the most spectacular sights is the famous of Kamfers dam, home to flamingoes. You can see hundreds of these exotic and peculiar birds perching above the water line in their nesting grounds.
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4. Marrakesh Express
• From Marrakesh To Volubilis - Experience Ancient Cities, Snake Charmers, To Bustling Markets, And Great Mosques
This epic journey takes you across North Africa, allowing you to see how the Northern side of the continent has evolved in this meticulously planned trip. Nestled in the Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is booming with activity and busy markets, allowing you to immerse yourself in the culture. The market square, Jemaa el-Fnaa is one of the chief highlights and is always popular with visitors. Here you can find what I would describe as a microcosm for Moroccan culture as this electric square is full of merchants, dancers and entertainers.
On the way to Meknes and Volubilis, you’ll see legendary settlements that have been immortalised by history and fiction alike, such as Casablanca, Fez, and Tangiers, which makes for the most complete Northern African experience.
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Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family, annual, cruise travel and winter sports insurance. If you need travel insurance, Africa and any other business or leisure travel destination is covered by InsureMore’s excellent policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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