The Blue Train: South Africa Luxury Train & Safaris

11-day Independent Tour


The Tour

Our exclusive 11-day Blue Train Luxury Safari is one of our favorite journeys. We paired the Blue Train with five-star hotels and luxury Belmond Botswana safari camps. Our journey includes unique experiences, from the Blue Train itself, to beautiful Cape Town, to unique stays in the Botswana bush.

But remember: book early; the camps are small and popular.

*Special Value: We extend valuable complimentary and exclusive amenities to our guests at every accommodation in this Blue Train Luxury Safari because we are members of the exclusive Bellini Club and members of Virtuoso. They include but are not limited to dining credits, spa credits and helicopter rides.

And special care is taken from the minute you are met at the airport by your hostess plane-side to the time he or she waves goodbye after seeing you to your international gate. Before you know it, you’ll be whisked to the Belmond Mount Nelson, our favorite hotel in Cape Town, where they coddle our guests with the finest of everything. Then, take the sophisticated Blue Train for arrival Johannesburg. We organize your stay at our favorite, the five-star Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa. After sightseeing in this world-class city, fly to Maun and on to the fabulous safari camps run by Belmond. Belmond Eagle Island Lodge and Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge are both newly renovated and fabulous. We love this itinerary — and we ought to know, because we designed it to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Take someone special to South Africa and Botswana. Let us know it’s a celebration, and we’ll do all we can to make it very special!

Click here for a short video that offers a glimpse into Botswana’s top safari lodges: Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, and Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, which are both highlights in our exclusive Blue Train Safari itinerary.

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“There was so much going on—meeting people in the rear lounge car with its immense windows, enjoying afternoon tea or exquisite meals and fine South African wines—we almost forgot to look out the window at the passing scene.”

— Owen Hardy, CEO & Founder, Track 25®

“I would go back to Savute, Eagle Island or Khwai River Camp in a heartbeat. I will never forget it. Belmond does a fabulous job in Botswana and South Africa. Belmond camps with Blue Train is a dynamite combination.”

— Eleanor Hardy, President, Society of IRT

The Itinerary

Day 1: Cape Town
Your VIP journey starts as soon as you arrive at Cape Town airport when your personal VIP assistant meets you right at the airplane, and escorts you to pick up your bags and to your private car and driver to the five-star Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. Complimentary upgrade to Junior Suite at time of booking subject to availability.  Exclusive Virtuoso amenities. 

Day 2: Cape Point
Enjoy your private, full-day Cape Point tour, which includes one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. Savor lunch in the lovely café followed by a visit to the world famous Kirstenbosch Gardens. These gardens are over 100 years old and boast over 6,000 species of flora. Return to your hotel in the early evening.

Day 3: Cape Winelands
Take a private Winelands Tour, including a visit to the Muratie Wine Estate. Here you will enjoy a private wine tasting and cellar tour including a traditional South African lunch hosted by the owner. This is one of the oldest traditional wine estates in Stellenbosch. Then, travel to Franschhoek to enjoy the atmosphere of this 17th century town and another wine tasting.

Day 4: The Blue Train
Transfer to the Blue Train lounge for afternoon departure. Settle in to your private suite as the Blue Train departs from Cape Town Station. Later, afternoon tea will be served in the lounge car, followed by pre-dinner drinks.

Dinner is an elegant occasion with numerous courses and carefully paired wines, which are included. Men are requested to wear jacket/tie and ladies evening wear. Overnight in your private compartment.

Day 5: The Blue Train; Kimberley
Breakfast is served in the dining car or in your cabin. Later, lunch is served in the dining car.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., arrive in Kimberley, where you will disembark for a tour of the KImberley Mine Museum and ‘Big Hole.’ (weather and time permitting).

Return to the station around 5:30 p.m., where you will be greeted with a glass of sherry (the special Blue Train glass is yours to keep).

After freshening up, enjoy aperitifs before another elegant dinner is served.

Day 6: The Blue Train; Pretoria Arrival
Enjoy your last breakfast on board before the train arrives in Pretoria mid-morning. Your guide will meet you at the station and will take you on a half-day Johannesburg tour, with a stop at the outstanding Apartheid Museum, which we feel is a must-see in South Africa. Check in to the Saxon Boutique Hotel, an exclusive private retreat set on ten acres of landscaped gardens and one of our favorite Virtuoso hotels in South Africa. The striking infinity pool, the sophisticated Dining Library, and the exclusive Cigar Lounge each offer their own type of relaxation.  We will make a reservation for you in their fine-dining restaurant, not to be missed.

Days 7-8: Okavango Delta
Transfer to the airport for short flight to Maun, then by light aircraft to the Belmond Eagle Island Lodge in Okavango Delta. The camp has 12 beautifully appointed luxury tents. Your program includes safaris by helicopter, boat and foot with wonderful guides. All meals, drinks, game-viewing activities–even laundry!– are included. This program includes two nights at Eagle Island. (Let us know if you want to stay longer. We met a family who stayed five nights.)

Days 9-10: Chobe National Park
Transfer by light aircraft to the heart of the Chobe National Park, known as the elephant capital of the world. It’s also a fantastic place for spotting leopards, lion, wild dog, cheetah, hyena, zebra and beautiful birds. The Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge perches right on the Savute Channel, a spectacular base for exploring. Savute is a fusion of old world safari and modern-day luxury. It, too, has only 12 luxury tents. Spend two nights in this all-inclusive camp; all transfers, drinks, meals, laundry, game activities are included.

Day 11: Johannesburg
Morning transfer by light aircraft to Maun where you are again met at the airport and connected with regional flight to Johannesburg. Check-in for your international flight home or extend your stay.

2020 Dates:

Cape Town-Johannesburg
January 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27
February 3, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26
March 2, 9, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30
April 1, 6, 13, 20, 27
May 4, 11, 18, 25
June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
July 6, 13, 20, 27
August 17, 24, 31
September 7, 14, 21, 23, 28
October 5, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
November 2, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30
December 7, 14, 16

Johannesburg-Cape Town
January 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 29
February 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26
March 4, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27
April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
May 6, 13, 20, 27
June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22
August 12, 19, 26
September 2, 9, 16, 18, 23, 30
October 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28
November 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25
December 2, 9, 11

The Prices

2020 pricing
Low Season From $12,812 30% Deposit
Shoulder Season
From $14,876
30% Deposit
High Season
From $17,416
30% Deposit

Please note: prices are per person, double occupancy. Prices are estimated. Contact us for single pricing.

Final payment is due 90 days before departure.

Low Season: January 1-March 31; November 15-December 23

Shoulder Season: April 1-June 30; October 1-November 14; December 24-31

High Season: July 1-September 30


Our Process / How to Book Your Trip:

This journey is especially time- and labor-intensive for our travel professionals.

Because of the time involved, we charge a $250 “plan to go” fee per person (or $500 for solo travelers) after we have had a brief courtesy phone conference with you, during which we will answer any preliminary questions you have and collect the necessary information to begin planning your trip. Please provide us with a wide range of availability in travel dates.

If your dates are not available, you will be refunded the “plan to go” fee.

If you take this trip, you will be refunded the “plan to go” fee after you return, minus any professional fees required for changes/additions to this itinerary.

Our “plan to go” fee ensures we are able to maintain an extremely high standard of service for all of our valued travelers!


Click here for owners Owen and Eleanor Hardys’ blog about their Blue Train adventure.

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The Highlights

  • New in 2019: two nights on the iconic Blue Train in a deluxe suite, including all meals and drinks (previous years included only night on board)
  • Four nights in five-star hotels (Cape Town’s Mount Nelson and the Saxon in Johannesburg)
  • Full-day Cape Point Tour, including lunch at Harbour House Restaurant in Kalk Bay
  • Private full-day Winelands tour and private lunch with the owners at Muratie wine estate
  • Two nights in five-star Eagle Island Camp in Okavango Delta including safaris by helicopter, boat and on foot. VIP airport assistance in Cape Town and Johannesburg
  • Two nights in five-star Savute Elephant Camp in Chobe National Park – elephant capital of the world
  • Valuable Bellini Club/Virtuoso amenities at all properties in this package.
  • VIP airport services – you will be met plane-side and whisked through customs & immigration to your waiting private car.
New friends share a festive moment in the Blue Train dining car. IRT photo by Owen Hardy
New friends share a festive moment in the Blue Train dining car. IRT photo by Owen Hardy
IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy shares a laugh with Blue Train chef. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy
IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy shares a laugh with Blue Train chef. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy
Lions are among the myriad animals that can be seen at Savute Elephant Camp. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy
Lions are among the myriad animals that can be seen at Savute Elephant Camp. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy
IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy boards the Blue Train in Pretoria, South Africa. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy
IRT Society President Eleanor Hardy boards the Blue Train in Pretoria, South Africa. IRT Photo by Owen Hardy