A moving meeting, a high-speed event or an interactive incentive travel trip. Next time you’re looking for the perfect staff reward, a journey on one of South Africa’s luxury trains should be top of your list.
Since its inception in 1946, the world-renowned Blue Train has been associated with the best in luxury hospitality and tourism. This legacy remained and was once again accentuated after the train was reconstructed in 1972, and again after a total refurbishment in 1998. The Blue Train has gathered an impressive list of accolades: it was voted the world’s leading luxury train for four consecutive years as well as Africa’s leading luxury train for four years.
Now, this icon is branching out into business travel by offering tailor-made corporate charters. How about a golf or safari charter stopping at golf courses and game lodges situated along a rail route? You can’t say no to that.
As long as the option you choose involves rail networks compatible with The Blue Train’s technology, then it can be arranged. Full catering and bar facilities are available on board. Other popular tailor-made charters include stops at major South African events such as the Vodacom Durban July, the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City and the J&B Met in Cape Town. If you’re looking for something a little more office related, the Conference Car, which is found on one of the two train sets, can accommodate up to 22 delegates and is fully equipped with audiovisual and technical equipment for a high-level business meeting or small conference.
The train boasts private en-suite bathrooms and air cushion suspension system, ensuring a remarkably smooth ride, a driver’s eye-view camera, an advanced independent braking system, an interactive entertainment system in each suite and Wi-Fi.
THE ROVOS RAIL
The brainchild of Rohan Vos, Rovos Rail transports passengers in high Edwardian style on various routes throughout Southern Africa. Its meticulously restored coaches, outfitted with 1920s- and 1930s-style furnishings and mahogany panelling, evoke the colonial glamour and elegance of pre-war rail travel.
“I wanted to combine the romance of train travel with accommodation, cuisine and service of the highest standard,” says Vos. “Travelling on Rovos Rail is like being in a time warp. We’ve tried to recreate the ambience of an English country club of the early 20th century but with attention to modern comforts.”
Guests can choose from a series of journeys lasting from 24 hours to a fortnight linking some of Africa’s greatest destinations:
- A 55-hour 1 600 km journey between Pretoria and Cape Town, with off-train excursions in Kimberley and Matjiesfontein.
- A 55-hour 1 600 km journey between Pretoria and Victoria Falls.
- A 55-hour Safari between Pretoria and Durban, with game drives in the Nambiti Conservancy and Spioenkop Nature Reserve, and an excursion to Ardmore Ceramics near Pietermaritzburg.
- An epic journey into the heart of Africa takes place at various times when Rovos Rail departs on a 14-day (6 100 km) Edwardian Safari from Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam, via Kimberley, Pretoria, Mafikeng, Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Lusaka and through Tanzania to Dar Es Salaam. The journey is enhanced by various off-train excursions.
- An annual 3 400 km journey to Swakopmund in Namibia takes place in May. The train takes nine days to reach Swakopmund with an off-train excursion in Kimberley, a visit to the Fish River Canyon, a tour of Windhoek, an overnight stay at a game lodge in Etosha National Park with two game drives and an overnight visit to Sossusvlei.
- There is also the annual nine-day African Collage and Golf journey between Pretoria and Cape Town in May/June. This is one of the most scenic trips and the train travels via Malelane, Hluhluwe, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Oudtshoorn, George and Cape Town with various off-train excursions.
- A nine-day Golf Safari in April, August and December takes guests to a selection of the finest golf courses in South Africa, combining scenic beauty with renowned game and cultural attractions. This is a round trip departing from Pretoria with an equally interesting itinerary for non-golfers and travels via Phalaborwa, Durban, Ladysmith, Sun City and back to Pretoria.
THE SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS
Shongololo Express began operations in 1995 and the company has continued to provide an extra-special touring experience for visitors to Southern and Eastern Africa. The great adventure train traverses seven countries, namely South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia. Although there’s a different destination each day, guests are able to relax and enjoy an easy paced journey through South and East Africa. From the moment you climb on board all your comforts are taken care of. Just unpack and enjoy – what a pleasure!
For team building activities or for the more adventurous traveller, there are tour add-ons such as hot air ballooning, elephant riding, scuba diving and shark cage diving available at different destinations.
THE VICTORIA FALLS STEAM TRAIN COMPANY
Embark on a timeless journey aboard the No 512 Steam Train and experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World while sipping bubbly on the Victoria Falls Bridge – it beats a day in the office for sure.
The train offers a variety of memorable trips across the historical bridge and into the neighbouring Zambezi National Park, all beginning from its base in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Marvel at the most spectacular sunset in Africa while indulging in gourmet food and chilled refreshments. The train stops halfway across the bridge on every run, giving guests an opportunity to wander along the impressive landmark or relax in one of the luxurious lounging cars.
The Victoria Falls Bridge itself is an opportune place for hosting an assortment of corporate events. Be it an informal year-end celebration, team building experience or a launch, the train will cater to your specific needs.
From small groups to an excess of 250 people, it’s the perfect setting for both grand, luxurious events and quieter, more sophisticated soirees.