Cape Vacation Guide
Cape Town Vacation Guide – Taking the train in Cape Town means beating the traffic, using a more environmentally friendly method of transport and it’s unbelievably affordable too! Using Cape Town to kick off an inland trip is an exciting way to see the country too.
Here are 10 train adventures we highly recommend you try.
The Karoo Desert Tour – The Forgotten Route
The true story of a forgotten route, following in the footsteps of early explorers into the wild undiscovered, REAL South Africa. It’s now a journey that you can experience…
Depart from Cape Town on a two day adventure into the Karoo with our 13 seater luxury air conditioned vehicle, visiting iconic landmarks, and Anglo-Boer battle regions. Experience true SA culture and share stories with local winemakers & musicians of the Karoo plains. Taste the local produce, drive through majestic mountains and sense the weird and wonderful of The Forgotten Route.
Scheduled departures on a Saturday, for other days of the week, please contact us directly in order for us to quote on a private tour.
Guests need to be in Cape Town at 08:00. The tour starts at 08:30.
Join us on a short stroll, where we will visit some of Cape Town’s iconic land marks of a by-gone era, following the story of early settlers. We then depart the mother city as lords and ladies, on the legendary route through to Rawsonville.
We visit the unique Kirabo wine farm, meeting the wine makers and indulging in the fruits of their labour. Think luscious reds, juicy biltong and red wine infused cupcakes. Here you will also enjoy lunch.
We head forth on an epic journey through the unique Klein Karoo.
The 2.5 hour journey is filled with stunning scenery whilst you follow in the footstep of early explorers into the undiscovered African plains of a by-gone era. Here you will also enjoy lunch.
Arrive in the desert-oasis town of Matjiesfontein! This majestic town is truly frozen in time. Here, we discover tales of legends and the famous Diamond explorers. We then take part in Matjiesfontein’s own bizarre ‘city’ bus tour. Fun, quirky… a real treat!
Traditional Karoo lamb braai (BBQ) under the stars followed by an odd night stroll of the weird and wonderful, along with guided stargazing! Sing the night away with the local muso’s around that old piano!
Your cottages are surrounded by history. Situated at the legendary Matjiesfontein hotel, that played a crucial role in the world famous Anglo-Boer war from 1899.
Oupa Batt se Winkel
After a hearty breakfast we head through the scenic and deserted Koo valley, stopping over at family owned Oupa Batt’s shop. Here the locals show us how they make their biltong (cured meat), which is followed by a traditional potjiekos lunch, serving locals since 1915. Be prepared to feast.
We then stop over at the amazing Montague Dried Fruit & Nuts HQ, famous for their produce of this area. Be prepared to make space in your suit case! The group also has the option to stop over at Route 62 Brewery for amazing hand crafted beers and gin. (this is at own costs and the group’s discretion)
Almost as to bid fare well to this majestic place & period, we fittingly drive underneath an old watch tower, from the world famous Anglo-Boer war era, and make our way lazily back to Cape Town to end your Forgotten Route, never to be forgotten.
The rate is R2175 per person sharing, quoted on maximum of 13 guests, this includes all the highlights and only excludes lunches and personal drinks. Where applicable single supplement of R400 applies.
Bigger groups would be quoted on enquiry!
The Southern Line
There is so much to see on the Southern Line that runs from Cape Town to Simonstown, offering brilliant views of the False Bay coast. There are over 20 stops on this line where you can get off and enjoy the sights and sounds the neighbourhoods of the south have to offer.
Here are a few of our favourite stops and what to do while you’re there:
Woodstock is one of the oldest and hippest ‘hoods of Cape Town. Known for its vibrant street art and diversity, it’s a place where you’ll find irresistible food as well as interesting art and design. It’s home to Cape Town’s most renowned fine-dining restaurant the Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts. If you’re in the mood for something more relaxed, look up the Caribbean-themed restaurant Jamaican Me Crazy for colourful cocktails, fusion food and an irie vibe. The hippest markets in Cape Town is the weekly Neighbourgoods Market housed in the Old Biscuit Mill and it’s a must if you’re looking for good food, craft beer or gifts.
Muizies is a one of a kind neighbourhood you and the family will enjoy all year round. If the weather is right a surfing lesson is highly recommended, along with a coffee at the beachfront Knead and a quick bite at Yoffi Falafel. A beer at the Striped Horse in York Road is highly recommended and if you feel like really getting to know the area try their Audio Tour.
Download the VoiceMap App – Muizenberg like a Local for a tour round the streets of Muizenberg with a knowledgeable and lovable local.
Right next to the train station you’ll find one of the restaurants in Cape Town with the best view – The Brass Bell. Fresh seafood and a splendid drinks selection is the order of the day as you enjoy watching the ebb and flow of the waves and trains. A walk down the main road offers many shopping opportunities and a visit to Kalk Bay wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Kalky’s for their legendary fish, Olympia Cafe for their pastries and Truth Coffee and Cape to Cuba for their cocktails.
The last stop on the line is the naval town of Simon’s Town. There’s also a captivating audio tour to try here as you walk the streets and explore the restaurants, cafe’s, antique shops and town square. A kayak or boat trip around the coast is a great way to go sightseeing from a completely different angle. The Salty Sea Dog on Wharf St is famous for its fish and chips.
Tips for Taking the Train:
- Don’t travel alone, travel in a group and don’t travel in carriages with few people. There is safety in numbers.
- Stash it, don’t flash it. Rather keep valuables hidden, pickpockets are crafty.
- Don’t take the train after dark. Peak times can get very busy, but rather travel when there are more people.
- Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
- If you have any questions, ask one an official at the station.
- Plan ahead and have a backup plan in case of train delays. Follow @CapeTownTrains on Twitter for updates.
Take a Trip Northbound to Pretoria
If you’d like to spend two days or more on a luxury train trip with your own cabin, brunch served in the dining cart and post-dinner drinks, Cognacs and Cuban cigars before retiring to bed, then a trip on the Blue Train or on Rovos Rail might be just the thing.
The Blue Train
Established in the 1920’s and later used in the second World War, the Blue Train received a makeover in the 70s and again in the 90s to become the luxurious modern train it is today. Expect a South African themed fine-dining experience in their dining cart that still calls for semi-formal wear. The train departs from Cape Town at 8h00 and after a morning on the train, you’ll stop in the Karoo at Matjiesfontein for a 45-minute tour of the town.
Back on the train, you’ll be treated to high tea at 3:30pm and dinner between 6pm and 8pm. The next day you’ll arrive in Pretoria at 3pm, after a full breakfast and three-course lunch with a view.
This 3-day trip also includes a stop at Matjiesfontein as well as a tour of Kimberley and its Diamond Mine Museum and the Big Hole. With its exquisite layout and wood finishes, this train will definitely make you feel like a movie star. All meals and drinks are included and you’ll also have 24-hour room service. The train departs from Cape Town at 11am and arrives in Pretoria two days later at midday. They also offer a train ride to Victoria Falls, a Durban Safari, a Namibian safari, golf tours and a 15-day train journey to Dar es Salaam.
Explore the Ceres Valley with the Ceres Rail Company
Prepare for a good dose of nostalgia, as this old steam train will take you back 100 years to a simpler time. Ceres, one of the biggest fruit producing areas in the Western Cape, is a magnificent area to visit and the train travels through Wellington, Nuwekloof Pass, Wolseley, Michell’s Pass and stops for lunch at the Ceres Golf Estate.
The train also caters to special events so be sure to check out the calendar on their website or give them a call to find out when the next trip is.
Take a Day Trip to Stellenbosch
The Atlantic Rail steam train to Stellenbosch is perfect for railway enthusiast and fun family day trips. Board the train in Cape Town at the Train Lodge and marvel out the window at the leafy northern parts of Cape Town all the way to the beautiful Stellenbosch. The vintage coaches date as far back as the 1920’s and on board, you’ll find a lounge car with a cash bar. Options include a final destination of wine farms Spier or Vredenheim or the train station in Stellenbosch.
The “Stellies” station is conveniently located in town so you can walk up Dorp Street and get a takeaway coffee and pastry at Melissa’s. Lunch at Schoon de Companje is highly recommended and their museums are super informative. There are many hidden art galleries, book shops and restaurants to explore and if you’re a wine fan, their wine route is world renowned!