Cape Town, The Blue Train & Kruger National Park BKJ20
|Resort:||Cape Town, The Blue Train & Kruger National Park BKJ20|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
|Destination:||Africa, South Africa|
Discover the highlights of South Africa with a rail journey on the luxurious Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town. Ascend Table Mountain, sample local wines in Stellenbosch and enjoy fantastic game drives during a wonderful three-night stay at a hotel at the gate of Kruger National Park.
Days 1-2 – London to Kruger
We depart London Heathrow on an overnight flight to Johannesburg, arriving on Day 2. From here we transfer to our hotel, the 4-Star Protea Hotel Kruger Gate, where we enjoy our first dinner together. Set on the banks of the Sabie River, just 100 meters from the entrance to Kruger National Park, the 4-Star Protea Hotel Kruger Gate is a luxury lodge-style hotel, the perfect base for safaris into the magnificent game park.
Days 3-4 – Exploring Kruger
On both Day 3and Day 4 we enjoy full-day game drives to track the iconic wildlife of Kruger National Park. A local, skilled ranger drives each jeep as we head out into the game park, finding us the best locations to see the animals 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 home to the ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), all of which we hope to see during our two days of game drives. There are also many other species to be seen, large and small, as well as fascinating plants and colourful birds. The hotel will provide us with a lunchbox ahead of each day’s game drive. We return to the hotel at Kruger Gate 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 birdlife can be spotted, and bush walks can be organised by the hotel.
Days 5 – The Blue Train
This morning we travel to Pretoria railway station to begin our journey on the iconic Blue Train. A Blue Train butler will escort you to your cabin and provide an orientation of the train before inviting you for brunch as we begin our journey to Cape Town.
The service on board The Blue Train is impeccable, as we enjoy meals and drinks 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. The Blue Train climbs through the famous winelands to reach the Karoo plateau, before entering the first of the Boland Mountain passes and passing through the southern reaches of Swartland.
Days 6 – Kimberley
This morning we arrive in Kimberley, the capital of South Africa’s Northern Cape, which has enjoyed a prosperous past thanks to the discovery of diamonds in the area. Here we have the chance to visit ‘The Big Hole’ mine museum.
The hill in the area where the diamonds were first found quickly disappeared under the pressure of being mined by thousands of people, 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. After re-boarding the train for lunch we make our way down to Cape Town.
Day 7 – The Blue Train to Cape Town
We enjoy breakfast on board the train as we travel towards Cape Town. On arrival, we enjoy an orientation tour of Cape Town taking in the main sights, as we transfer to the 5-Star Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel for four nights, superbly located overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After time to freshen up, we head out again to make the cable car ascent of Table Mountain to enjoy panoramic views of the city. Your evening is free to spend at leisure – perhaps take a walk around the wonderful waterfront set against a backdrop of sea and mountain views.
Day 8 – Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Bay
Today we travel to Cape Point on the Cape of Good Hope, at the south-western tip of Africa. At Cape Point we take the Flying Dutchman funicular railway up to a vantage point, where we can admire the awe-inspiring views. After lunch together, we travel along False Bay via Simon’s Town naval base to the wonderful Penguin colony at Boulders Beach, home to Africa’s only indigenous penguin, before making our way back to Cape Town.
Day 9 – Stellenbosch Vineyards
Today we travel by coach around two of South Africa’s finest wine producing areas: the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch valleys. Here, we enjoy a delicious ‘Boerebraai’ lunch, a unique South African social event, where family and friends gather together to create a memorable dining experience.
Day 10 – Cape Town
Today you are free to explore Cape Town further. Among the gorgeous natural landmarks, incredible displays of street art, and the brightly-painted buildings along the waterfront, the city boasts an array of sights that make it fascinating to discover.
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 11-12 – Return to London
Today you have more time to explore Cape Town before we transfer to the airport this evening for your flight back to London, arriving on the morning ofDay 12.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.