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train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

bristol
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train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Hi,

I was just wondering if anyone had made this trip recently? i just wondered what the prices were like, how the trip had gone, levels of comfort etc.

I had heard someone say a long time ago it wasn't that much more expensive to get a 4 birth rather than a 2 birth, and obviously gave you more room! Is this still true?

Also wondered what areas the train passes through? How much of the country will I get to see in daylight hours?! Very much looking forward to it, but a little nervous of how I'll cope with 25 hours+ in one space!

Thanks all!

Cape Town
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1. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Hi,

There have been reviews on this train, called Shosholoza Meyl, on TA. Suggest you enter SM in to the search column above.

bristol
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2. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Thanks for that advice. I had looked around before posting and most reviews are over a year old, hence asking for some up to date advice. :-)

Cape Town
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3. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Hi BristolLynny,

The reason why there are not recent reviews is that most South Africans who read Tripadvisor do not travel by train i.e. Shosholoza Meyl as the rolling stock is old, the trains break down and they often run very late. Also, there is quite a "mix" of passengers.

There has been criticism as to the availability of food/refreshments and cleanliness. The cost of budget airfares between Johannesburg and Cape Town is quite reasonable, especially when there are promotional sales.

I myself have travelled Premier Classe and Rovos and these trains are truly luxurious but very pricey.

The journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town is lovely - much of the time the train passes through semi-desert areas but the landscape changes at the Hex River Valley and the last five hours the scenery is spectacular

Unless you are set on travelling on an old train, I would recommend that you fly and spend the extra time at your destination.

bristol
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4. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Thanks so much for that...will take into consideration. Can't wait to visit, however I get there!

London
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5. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Consider driving.

It's a long journey but an easy drive and a wonderful experience.

You'll see quite a lot of SA and, unlike the train, you can stop and explore as and when a place attracts your interest.

Driving through the Karoo is fascinating.

Don''t listen to anyone who says there's nothing to see.

It can be done in a day but that defeats the purpose - you won't have time to stop and explore. Best planned with one night stop en route.

Cape Town
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6. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

One overnight is a minimum of 8 hours non-stop driving each day. Add necessary stops and not much time left to "stop and explore"!

It is about exactly the same distance as Bristol to Milan - although there's no Channel Tunnel to go through!

Edited: 11 March 2011, 22:38
bristol
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7. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Thanks guys,

i think we're doing the train as while we are not in a great rush, we are still time limited. The planes are a bit more expensive, and to drive would take too long. Train it is for us! Your comments have been great.

London
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8. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

Van_de_Caab

Fair point re timing - I'd forgotten that we started the drive from Knysna. (About 760 miles to Jo'burg via Bloemfontein.)

However, although Cape Town - Jo'burg may be about the same distance as Bristol - Milan, the conditions are very different. No traffic congestion in the Karoo. :)

My main thrust was that although the drive understandably doesn't hold much attraction to SA residents, it's a wonderful experience for visitors - assuming they have the time to spare.

Edited: 12 March 2011, 00:49
9. Re: train from Johannesburg - Cape Town (Tourist class)

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