After months of shutdown to block travel restrictions, the South African Blue Train has once again resumed operations in time for the holiday season.
The Blue Train is the country’s oldest luxury rail trip, running eight times a month between Pretoria and Cape Town.
The origins of the train can be traced back to the Union Limited and Union Express trains which began in 1923. The tour follows a 1,600 km line to Cape Town and lasts 27 hours.
En route to Cape Town, there is a stopover and excursion in Kimberley, and on the northbound journey, there is a stop in Matjiesfontein for an excursion off the train.
As part of its special reopening, the train service is offering tickets 12 715 R per person sharing bookings between November 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. More detailed booking plans are available here.
“Upon confirming reservations, customers will submit their dietary requirements and complete a pre-screening questionnaire that includes a declaration of symptoms of Covid-19.
“If customers meet all the conditions, confirmation will be made. If customers do not meet the pre-selection conditions, the reservation will be postponed to a later date. “
The crew will render their services with a face mask and latex gloves and each staff member will receive their own hand sanitizer. All suites will be stocked with additional soap as part of the amenities.
The air conditioning system will be cleaned and disinfected at each departure, to ensure good ventilation at all times.
There will be a doctor on board the Blue Train and an isolation car with two suites made available for quarantine purposes.
Constant cleaning with spraying of all upholstery and disinfection of the surface of all furniture, doors, handles, toilets, garbage cans and toothbrush beakers will be carried out. All cleaning detergents will comply with the guidelines of the World Health Organization and South African Tourism.
You can read more about the Covid-19 protocols here.
Rovos Rail has also resumed travel after the lockdown prevented domestic travel.
The train service said it was offering residents of South Africa and neighboring countries a special reduced fare of 50% aboard a two-night trip to Cape Town in January.
The trips include:
- Pretoria – Cape Town: January 20, 2021
- Cape Town to Pretoria: January 23, 2021
The special rates per person sharing are as follows;
- Luxury suite: 18 250 R
- Royal Suite: 24 450 R
You can find out more about the booking procedures and the packages available on the Rovos Rail here.
Rovos Rail was founded in 1986 when Rohan Vos received the first letter of authorization to operate a train on the national rail network.
In 1987, the first BIANCA loco 2702 was rebuilt with the first seven wagons that were to leave for the first trip on April 29, 1989.
Rovos Rail follows a similar route to the Blue Train, winding a 1,600 kilometer meander through the Highveld, the Grand Karoo, through the mountain ranges and vineyards of Cape Town, ending the mother city.
Highlights of the north and south routes once again include a visit to the historic village of Matjiesfontein and another stop in Kimberley.
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