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SOUTH AFRICA


through Victoria West and De Aar. Following a sumptuous breakfast, the train grinds to a halt in Kimberley where we take our wÀÃÌ >n` onlÞ iÝVÕÀÃion ov Ìhi ÌÀi« Ìo Ãii Ìhi Open Mine Museum, known as The Big Hole. More than 150 years ago, thousands headed


here to dig for diamonds, creating the largest h>n`-`Õ} iÝV>Û>Ìion in Ìhi ÜoÀl`] ÜiÌh > `i«Ìh of more than 200 metres. It was in Kimberley that world-renowned diamond brand De Beers was established.


Our guide, Frank, takes us down a pretend mine shaft lift into a series of tunnels where we learn more about diamond mining, before getting up close to some of the shiny precious gems in the site’s vault. >Vk on Ìhi ÌÀ>in] Üi ëoÌ y>min}oà >Ì Ìhi Kamfers Dam – one of only four breeding areas in Africa – soon after departing from Kimberley. /hi wn>l li} ov Ìhi joÕÀniÞ Ã>Ü Õà «>ÃÃ


through the Vaal River at Warrenton and the mining towns of Klerksdorp, Henley-on-Klip and Gauteng (the latter of which translates to mean ‘place of gold’), on to Johannesburg before «Õllin} inÌo oÕÀ wn>l `iÃÌin>Ìion] *ÀiÌoÀi>° Travelling on The Blue Train is like travelling


in a different world; while on board you’re in a bubble; a bubble of epic food and fantastic service where your every whim is catered to. Stepping off the train and onto the platform


ov *ÀiÌoÀi> À>ilÜ>Þ ÃÌ>Ìion] ½m ÃÕ``inlÞ voÀVi` back into the real world. I may have spent only 48 hours on board, but in that short period of time I was able to see so much of this stunning country, all in such elegant surrounds. There’s no doubt in my mind that The Blue Train really is a window to the soul of


South Africa. BOOK IT: Prices for the three-day all-inclusive safari by rail start from £2,050 per person sharing a De Luxe Suite


or £2,550 per person in the Luxury Suites. BLUETRAIN.CO.ZA


ITINERARIES


The Blue Train offers two main itineraries. The staple itinerary is from Pretoria to Cape Town (and vice versa) – a 31-hour journey stopping in the home of the diamond rush in Kimberley.


The second option is from Pretoria to Kruger National Park,


a route only offered at selective times of the year. Previously, this was a one-night itinerary, but from 2020 it will be offered as a round-trip three-day safari route. Guests will be able to combine a safari with two nights on board. The train departs Pretoria railway station at 11am and arrives at Kruger National Park at 5am the next morning for C HWNN FC[ IWKFGF UCHCTK KPENWFKPI UWPTKUG CPF UWPUGV DKI ƂXG game drives (below), a traditional boma dinner under the stars and dancing.


It departs at 10pm to head back to Pretoria, arriving


around noon. There are currently two departures on June 18 and July 30.


aspiretravelclub.co.uk


NOVEMBER 2019 ASPIRE 53


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