For our honeymoon in South Africa one of the days we were most looking forward to was adventure on board the luxurious Blue Train. We had spent a week in Cape Town and the South Africa Winelands before hopping on board headed for Pretoria station. A 30 hour or so ride across the South African Country side. While most people probably do not even consider a luxury train for their honeymoon adventure, the idea of stepping back into time, being pampered like royalty, sipping the best of South African Wine, and seeing a South Africa through the back of a cable car just seemed like such an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
Riding the blue train, we were both like giddy little kids. Our goal: to eat and drink everything, visit every lounge, bar, cable car and stop along the way. So here is how we spent 30 or so hours aboard the Blue Train.
7:30 am - We arrived bright and early in the morning to the train station, grabbed our fancy blue tickets and sipped on espresso till they called our names. It was clear at 30 something we were certainly the youngest couple about to board the Blue Train and that did not bother us at all. Everything about the Blue Train experience screams honeymoon and we were even more excited sitting in the station lounge then ever before.
8:30am - We were taken to our suites which was quite comfortable. There are 2 suite types; 2 twin size beds or 1 full size bed. We had the 2 twins which start as two comfy chairs that fold out into a bed. All suites have a large viewing window with a work station, an en suite shower and restroom, closet and overhead storage for suitcases. We had a couple hours before brunch so we got settled in, did a little work, and enjoyed the view. Service on board the Blue Train is top notch. In the first hour on board we were greeted by our room butler, and the train manager. Our room butler gave us a quick tour of the room, ran through the itinerary with us, offered to help us unpack and get settled in. She also made note of our dietary restrictions and confirmed our dining times. She also brought us a glass of champagne to enjoy while we waited for brunch. At 10:30am it was time to head to the dining car.
10:30am - It was time for brunch and we were greeted by our server that would be assisting us for all meals while on board. He confirmed our dietary restrictions, asked us if we would like to start with a glass of champagne and handed us our menus. For brunch we sipped lots of delicious champagne. the brunch is a 3 course menu to choose from and being pescetarians we both ordered the stuffed calamari appetizer, the local kingklip, and ice cream for dessert.We took our time with brunch, and enjoyed the view.
11:30am - We headed to the back of the train which has the absolute best views. Floor to ceiling windows so you can view everything passing by. We ordered some cocktails and had a cheese plate and fruit. Many guests played cards and other games throughout the day. We tried to squeeze a bit of work in but it was a challange because we did not want to miss anything.
1:00pm - We headed back to our cabin to take a nap before our stop in Matjiesfontein for our excursion.
2:00pm - We arrived at a stop in an old mining town of Matjiesfontein for a sherry tasting in a beautiful old bar. You feel like you have stepped back into an old colonial era with all the old buildings, lamp posts and dirt roads. The sherry tasting was complete with engraved shot glass souvenirs. After our tasting we had a quick tour of the town.
2:30pm -We headed out to the dining cart for high tea. We ate more cakes and desserts than we ever would have, sipped on english breakfast, and had more cheese. While high tea is staple in South Africa, there is something about experiencing high tea on board the blue train that is unlike any other high tea. The cable car, the views, the surrounding passengers and the attention to detail, certainly make it a once in a lifetime experience.
4:15pm - After high tea we decided to have a glass of wine in the bar before getting ready for dinner.
6:30pm - We made our way to the dining car for dinner. Again, we were served champagne upon arrival and chose our dinner selections again. Everyone was all dressed up which really added to the fun of it all. We had the celery root soup and the local trout for dinner and had a local pinotage for dinner. The chef even sent over a special vegetarian entree for us to try since she knew we were pescetarian. Everything was delicious.
8:00pm - We headed to the middle car lounge where cuban cigars and cognac were being served. Luke enjoyed a cuban cigar while I had to try the sherry and we made conversation with some other passengers onboard and we all shared our adventures that we all had so far while in South Africa. It certainly was a gluttonous day of eating and drinking and watching the beautiful scenery pass us by.
10:00pm- After a long and enjoyable day we decided to head back to our car and make it an early night. Our bed was already made up for us, water bottles on the nightstand and chocolates on the pillow. We managed to fall fast asleep.
7:00am- It was time to wake up but certainly hard to get out of bed. We opened our blinds and layed in bed and just watched the wildflowers pass us by.
8:00am- We made our way out to the dining cart where breakfast was served on a first come, first serve basis. We enjoyed a starter of fruit, muesli and yogurt and then a vegetable, eggwhite scramble. We took our time and soaked in the final hours before arriving to pretoria station.
9:30am- With just a few hours left on board, we headed to the back car and played a little cards and relaxed. It was the perfect way to end our time on board the Blue Train.
12:00pm- We made our way back to our car to pack and get ready for arrival to Pretoria. Our Butler came by to grab our luggage and say goodbye.
12:50pm- We arrived at Pretoria station and the departure was organized and seamless. The Blue Train team assisted all the guests off the train and escorted everyone outside the station for pick up. The Blue Train even goes one step further and makes calls prior to arrival to all hotels and tour providers of all the guests on board to let them know the estimated time of arrival so that everyone is there on time. They even wait at the station with the passengers until every last guest has been picked up.
The service on board the Blue Train is exceptional, the food is great, the views are unbelievable and the experience is not to be forgotten. If you are considering a unique alternative experience for your honeymoon or romantic getaway a luxury train, especially the Blue Train is worth every penny.
For more on our adventure on board the Blue Train check out Why the Luxury Blue Train should be on your Bucket List.