Africa is one continent I have yet to explore – imposing mountains, vast plains and of course the big 4 in their natural habitat – it all just seems so wild and mysterious.
Maybe its my penchant for colonial elegance ( think White Mischief), but I do believe that one of the best ways to see this magnificent continent is through the famous and ultra-luxe Blue Train of South Africa.
The transport of choice of kings and heads of state, the Blue Train is really akin to being a 5-star hotel on wheels. Instead of a rickety hard carriage seat, picture yourself in a gorgeous suite furnished with a spacious bed complete with fine cotton linens and a goose down duvet. The sweltering African heat outside is a non-issue with individually-controlled air conditioning, as well as under-floor heating in both the bathroom and bedroom for when things do get chilly.
And the bathrooms! For a train (and perhaps even a hotel on land), the bathrooms here are incredibly indulgent (bordering on the ostentatious) with gold-fitted baths and marble vanities.
When away from your private sanctuary, you can unwind (what else would be there to do?) in the chic lounge car reminiscent of a smart gentleman’s club, and play bridge or read a book from the train’s library with a frothy cappucino.
Dining naturally, is also an experience in itself. There’s a strict dress code for dinner (jacket and tie for the gents, evening dress for the ladies), and quite rightly so. You wouldn’t want a heathen in ripped jeans and flip-flops to ruin the ambience while you tuck into your gourmet meal, would you?
To top it all off, you’ll have a personal butler and a little boutique stocked with elegant African mementos to take back home. Main routes stretch from Pretoria to Cape Town and vice-versa, or from Pretoria to Durban. Other routes include stops at game reserves, and special chartered journeys are also easily managed for those who want to really splash out in style.