Johannesburg to Capetown: Blue Train vs flying

Aug 22nd, 2004, 11:53 AM
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Johannesburg to Capetown: Blue Train vs flying

I'd love some advice on whether or not it is worth it (in time as well as money) to take 28 hours and travel Pretoria to Capetown on the Blue Train (has a stop in Kimberley) OR just fly to Capetown and spend the extra time there. The Blue Train is pricy - sounds wonderful but is it worth it?
madre is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 01:11 PM
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It's a difficult question to answer without being able to put it into context, e.g., how much time you'll have in the Kruger Park area and how much time you'll have to see Cape Town / winelands / Hermanus.

You need a minimum of 3 full days (excluding travel time) to get a sense of Cape Town and its immediate environs.

If you have a 4th day, spend it on a day trip to the winelands (Stellenbosch / Franschhoek area).

If you have a 4th and 5th day, spend them on an overnight trip to the winelands.

If you have a 6th day, consider a day trip to Hermanus.

If you have a 7th day, spend it on seeing some of the Cape Town stuff that you won't have been able to see during your first 3 days.

If you will have spent less than 6 days in the Kruger Park area, if you will have done justice to Cape Town and its surroundings, and if you still have some time left over, consider increasing your Kruger Park area stay to 6 days (split between 2 different places in KP).

If you have between 3 and 5 additional days to spend over and above Kruger Park and Cape Town, consider adding the Garden Route (Mossel Bay, George, Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay up to the Tsitsikama Forest and Storms River Bridge).

(If you have time to include the Garden Route, fly from the Kruger Park area to George, do the Garden Route, and THEN go to Cape Town. This is a tip I learned from Selwyn who posts here.)

If you have enough time for all of that, and you still have time left over, then take the Blue Train. The BT is really nice, but not worth detracting time from Kruger Park, Cape Town and Garden Route.

Just one person's opinion, of course.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Hi Madre,

I think that Judy's advice about how to split your days is excellent in that all her options that she has shown are very good suggestions. My opinion is take heed of all she says.

I have travelled on the Blue Train on two occasions in the past and truly enjoyed both experiences.

The Blue Train is quite an incredible adventure. It is a silent (rubberized wheels) ride through SA taking 24 hours from Cape Town to Pretoria (NOT Johannesburg. The CT > Pretoria ride is one of a couple of routes that the train travels with this route being the most popular one. One always meets every interesting people in the Blue Train lounge carriage however they wont be locals and will only be visitors to SA because of the cost factor. The food is fabulous and the winelist amazing. You see the wonderful countryside passing by you through double glazed windows however at night you see very little in that most areas are not lit up and all is dark outside. The service on the train is amazing to say the very least.

The Blue Train is not only an expensive ride; it is a RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE ride. #39;( If you have money to burn then it is a must do event; if not steer clear.

Is it worth the money? In my opinion it is an amazing experince that is worth the money however with the same amount of money one can attain so much more other experiences that I would argue that no matter what its worth there are many other ways to enjoy oneself in SA that would be so much cheaper.

Would I do the ride again? Hand me a free ticket and I will grab the opportunity however if I had to pay for the ride the answer would be a definitive no.

To see more about prices, routes and all else with regard to the Blue Train go to

Hope this helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Rubberized wheels? I thought it was a standard gauge steel track. I'll have to research this.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 09:36 PM
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No Fly zone,

I agree that the rubberized wheels concept does sound funny however when we travelled on the train we were amazed at how silent it was and the train manager on board told us this fact when we asked him how come the train was a noiselss one. Thus I am assuming that this is correct.

If you find out differently it would be great if you could let us know.


Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Thanks so much to all. I am horrified to say that I only have 9 days in all, to split between Kruger and Capetown. I think we will do the Blue Train anyway, just for the experience. The more I read, the more I think I will have to make another trip!
madre is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 06:08 AM
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My husband and I took Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Cape Town after staying at Mala Mala for a few days last September, and then went to Hermanus, the Garden Route, the Winelands, and Cape Town. We absolutely loved Rovos Rail (and got married in Matjiesfontein while we were on the train!). As Selwyn has said, the Blue Train, or Rovos, is incredibly expensive, but it was wonderful, as was our entire stay in South Africa.
KT_Tomlinson is offline  
Jun 12th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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From the Blue Train site, the best I can figure is that the fare from Cape Town to Pretoria one way is somewhere in the ballpark of US$3000/suite.

Of course it varies with type of suite and season, but does US$3000 sound close?
Jed is offline  
Jun 12th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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Yes that unfortunately does sound correct.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jun 12th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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I am still trying to get my bearings on this topic, and would like to know if the Rovos Rail and Blue train run on the same tracks.
Jed is offline  
Jun 12th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Three GRAND!?!?!?!! That is truly a ridiculously expensive ride. I'm glad we did it many years ago, when it was about $250. It was elegant, delightful, fun, but NO WAY could it be worth $3000, even if everything about it has been upgraded a zillion percent.

(Just my personal opinion.)
Celia is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Pardon me - I'd like to briefly hijack this thread as there are South Africans giving advice here. My "friend" and I have been talking about a trip to southern Africa to go on a safari and to also spend some time in South Africa, probably Cape Town and its environs. We do have what might or might not be a sticky issue. We are a mixed-race couple (I'm white, he's black). Should we be prepared to expect some problems because of this, and is there any advice you might have? As far as public displays of affection, hand-holding is about as racy as we get. I appreciate any good advice about this. Thank you.
Poohgirl is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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I will answer your question but in future dont hijack a thread rather open a new one.

Oh my what a question you ask! You will be so so so so welcome in South Africa that by the time you leave our great country you will feel embarrassed that even thought of asking the question that you have. Interracial marriages do take place however I do not believe enough of these events happens in SA at this stage of our new democratic being. I think that this is because we are still growing up in our country and starting to realise that there is nothing wrong with interracial relationships. Those who have not come to terms with this as yet do NOT attack, they become reclusive of it and mumble their feelings. You as an interarracial couple wont even realise this or let me say I hope that you wont recognise it. Most important though is that it is more a case of if there is someone who reacts to you then he/she will be in more trouble rather than you who are in an interracial relationship itself because believe me the whole of SA will come to your aid.

Come visit us an you might even decide to stay in our great land as an interracial couple.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Thanks much for your reply, Selwyn. That is wonderful to hear.
Sorry about the hijacking - I took a chance when I saw the post had a fairly old origination date. Next time I will open a new post, I promise. Best wishes.
Poohgirl is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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From my experience, Cape Town should not be a problem at all. My brother and his wife are a mixed race couple living in Cape Town, and rarely have problems. There are areas of South Africa with a less tolerant attitude, but I have every hope that things will change eventually.
willit is offline  

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