Cape Town, The Blue Train & Kruger National Park BKJ21
|Resort:||Cape Town, The Blue Train & Kruger National Park BKJ21|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
Discover the highlights of South Africa on a 2-night rail journey aboard the luxurious Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria. Ascend Table Mountain, sample local wines in Stellenbosch, and enjoy fantastic game drives during a wonderful 3-night stay at Kruger National Park.
Days 1-2 – London and Cape Town
We fly from London Heathrow to Cape Town, arriving on Day 2. From here, we transfer to our hotel, taking in some of Cape Town’s main sights on an orientation tour en route, before your evening is free to explore.
Day 3 – The Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Bay
Today we embark on a full-day excursion to Cape Point on the Cape of Good Hope, at the south-western tip of Africa. Here, we take the Flying Dutchman funicular railway to the lighthouse which sits at the top of the promontory, where we admire views across the Atlantic Ocean and the stunning Cape Peninsula coastline. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel along False Bay via Simon’s Town naval base to Boulders Beach, home to Africa’s only indigenous penguin.
Day 4 – Stellenbosch Vineyards
This morning, we make the cable car ascent of Table Mountain to enjoy panoramic views over the city (weather permitting). We continue by coach around 2 of South Africa’s finest wine-producing areas: the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch Valleys. Here, we enjoy a delicious ‘Boerebraai’ lunch, an authentic social event that sees loved ones gather together to grill meat on an outdoor barbecue.
Day 5 – At leisure in Cape Town
Today you are free to explore Cape Town further, home to gorgeous natural landmarks, incredible displays of street art, and brightly-painted buildings along the waterfront. Perhaps visit Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site which, after Alcatraz, is possibly the best-known prison island in the world. Having served over the centuries as a penal settlement, leper colony and lunatic asylum, its notoriety has, more recently, centred around the fact that President Nelson Mandela and many of his colleagues were imprisoned here during the final years of the apartheid regime. The island now houses a fascinating museum detailing the struggle for democracy in South Africa.
Days 6-7 – The Blue Train and Kimberley
Today you have some free time to explore Cape Town before transferring to the station to begin our iconic journey on The Blue Train. A butler will escort you to your cabin and provide an orientation tour of the train as we begin our journey to Pretoria. The service on board The Blue Train is impeccable, as we enjoy all meals and drinks while on board, including afternoon tea, aperitifs and, after our lavish formal dinner of local cuisine accompanied by wine from the Cape Winelands, a selection of post-dinner drinks.
On Day 7 we arrive in Kimberley, the capital of South Africa’s Northern Cape which enjoyed a prosperous past thanks to the discovery of diamonds in the area. Here we visit ‘The Big Hole’ mine museum. The hill where diamonds were first found quickly disappeared under the pressure of over-mining, with the resulting space became known as the ‘Big Hole’. Incredibly, the hole is 1,519 feet wide, with the mine underneath reaching a depth of 3,599 feet. Nowadays the mine is no longer in use, but there is a fascinating museum detailing the history of the site, which includes some preserved or restored period buildings from the early years of the rush. We re-board the train for dinner before continuing on our journey.
Days 8-10 – Kruger
After breakfast on board, we arrive in Pretoria. From here we transfer to our hotel, the 4-Star Protea Hotel Kruger Gate. Set on the banks of the Sabie River, just 330 feet from the entrance to Kruger National Park, our luxury lodge-style hotel, the perfect base for safaris into the magnificent game park. On both Day 9 and Day 10, we enjoy full-day game drives to track the iconic wildlife of Kruger National Park. A local, skilled ranger drives each Jeep, finding us the best locations to see the different species’ that live here, and pointing out animals whose camouflage makes them almost impossible to spot. We start by tracking the big cats, still out from their night spent hunting. The park is also home to the ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), all of which we hope to see. There are also many other species to be seen, large and small, as well as fascinating plants and colourful birds.
The hotel provides us with a pre-prepared lunch ahead of each day’s game drive, and we return to our hotel at mid-afternoon on both days. The rest of the day is then free for you to spend at leisure. You could relax in the spa or by the swimming pool, or take advantage of the nature reserve by the hotel and enjoy some extra game viewing at your leisure. A fascinating variety of bird life can be spotted, and bush walks can be organised by the hotel (payable locally).
Days 11-12 – Kruger and London
This morning is at leisure in and around Kruger National Park until we transfer to Johannesburg airport for our flight back to London Heathrow. We arrive in the UK on Day 12.