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Travel by rail in South Africa 

One of the best ways to discover the beautiful landscape of South Africa is by train. The rail network in South Africa connects the major cities through rolling, fertile plains, vineyards, fruit orchards and the wild safaris.


Though the suburban trains is deem as unsafe and sometimes dangerous, the mainline trains in South Africa offers a civilised and safe way to travel between cities.

If you want to travel in luxury, South Africa is famous for the Blue Train. It is a luxurious train service which runs from Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban a few times a week. On board the Blue Train, you can relax on the beautifully restored coaches, sipping expensive wine, enjoying top class cuisine as you take in the ever changing breathtaking landscape. It is said that travelling on the Blue Train in South Africa is a world class experience in itself.

Another luxury train, Shongololo (Zulu for millipede) with its 5 star standards of service, crosses the South African horizon from one exotic destination to another on a 16 day rail journey. The Shongololo Express operates 3 classic 16-day tours and they are The Dune Express from Cape Town through Namibia and back; The Good Hope Tour from Johannesburg to Cape Town and back; and the long ride north to the legendary Victoria Falls to see The Smoke That Thunders.

Explore some of the finest coastline in the world as you travel from Cape Town to Johannesburg with Transnet’s Premier Classe train. This luxury train can accommodate 126 guest and the sleeping coaches very well equipped with bedding, gowns and toiletries. Premier Classe operates return journey. And if you book early, you might even be able to take your car on board with you.

If you want a less luxurious but a more authentic South African rail travel, the Spoornet’s Shosholoza Meyl passenger train is the next best choice. The train runs between all major cities and you have a choice of purchasing an economy class ticket with a reclining seat or an upgraded ticket of either a 2 bed coupe or 4 bed compartment.

For Steam train enthusiast, the rail experience get even better with the noise, smoke as it chug through some of the region’s most dramatic scenery. The Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, The Apple Express in Western and Eastern Cape, the Banana Express in KwaZulu-Natal and the Oosterlyn in Mpumalanga will complete any steam train enthusiast’s dream.

In preparation for 2010 FIFA World Cup and to ease congestion in Johannesburg, an underground rail system is slowly making its mark in the city. The Gautrain, an 80-kilometre mass rapid transit railway system under construction in Gauteng Province, South Africa, will link Johannesburg, Pretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport when completed.



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