Luxury Train Travel with Premier Classe
Affordable and Luxury seem like opposite ends of the spectrum. But why choose one or the other when you can have both on this epic train journey.
Greeted at the Premier Classe lounge in Park Station Johannesburg, I was warmly welcomed as I awaited our departure.
Complimentary tea, coffee, muffins, sandwiches, snacks and biltong were served in the lounge before our departure.
As a virgin train traveller, I really had no idea what to expect. As I boarded visions of “Out of Africa” drifted through my head.
Step into a bygone era, of steam dreams, scenic vistas and affordable luxury.
I arrived at my luxe single cabin, delighted to find my heavy luggage had been placed inside already. There was even a desk for me to write at, best of all was the view from my room.
Bubbles and biltong
After a short safety debriefing and introduction of staff in the lounge car by Train Manager Sidney Nodikana we were off.
Feeling ever so flash with my glass of bubbly firmly in hand and nibbles of biltong in the other, I made small talk with my newly acquainted British companions.
Lunch is served
Starters – Mushroom Terrine with fresh peppers
Mains – Crumbed chicken cordon bleu with boiled potatoes, carrots and peas
Dessert – Cheesecake with raspberry compote and cream
There was even a wine list where one could choose from a variety of good South African wines. We opted for a lovely white wine to accompany our lunch.
I had grand plans to work at my little desk inside my cabin, but after lunch, I just wanted to sit still and watch the world go by.
Time for Tea
No sooner had I put my feet up and then it was time for afternoon tea in the lounge car. I can see why they call this the “Good Food” train, they never stop feeding you!
After my moist chocolate cake and tea, I tried once more to focus in my cabin. But instead, I found myself cosied up on sleeper couch staring dreamingly out to the vast changing landscape.
As we chugged past Leeugamka a warm fuzzy feeling rose in my chest, even though I’ve never been there. It reminded me fondly of the old ’80s TV series Transkaroo . Technically we were travelling the very same route as the old Transkaroo Express.
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We stopped a few times in smaller towns in the Karoo and other passengers climbed aboard.
Now whilst the Karoo may be the dryest part of South Africa, it is also undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking parts too.
From the bustling city to the barren dry simplicity of the countryside, I was surprised at how much beauty there was to be found in the parched landscapes.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand. And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand. And Eternity in an hour.” – William Blake
Food glorious food what more could you ask for? My dinner companions even dressed up for the occasion.
South African fare was the order of the day:
Starters – Kingklip goujons
Mains – Steak with gravy, creamed cauliflower, string beans and butternut
Dessert – Decadent rich chocolate mousse served with ice cream
After dinner Cheese platter and coffee
As I only had one night on this luxury train, I was determined to make the most it with my new found compatriots.
After Dinner Drinks
We scurried to the bar car with our left-over wine from dinner. i had packed some Tangled Tree for the occasion, which was a firm favourite. We ate, we drank and we were being a very merry bunch indeed.
Some cheerful banter, no Brexit in this car, it was the United Colours of Bennetton: UK Edition. One couple from North England, the fun retiree gal pals from Sussex and another reserved British couple from who knows where. All sitting around the table excitedly discussing the scenery and sharing photographs they had snapped earlier that day from the train. In that moment I felt proudly South African, yet humbled to be seeing my country through the eyes of these visitors.
After retiring to my room, i found this warm, opulent bathrobe. The ones you find in five-star hotels, with my bed neatly turned down and some comfy slippers. Slipping into these, I felt every bit the train princess. Spoilt the whole day and even as I lay my head down to sleep, I was enveloped in the plush goodness fit for royalty.
I set my alarm for 5am not wanting to miss the spectacular sunrise over the Karoo. I was going to snap this for sure.
I propped my pillow right up to my window and watched as the heavens transformed from a dark and broody black to navy with hints of orange poking through.
Sadly the train stopped at Prince Albert for the remainder of Mother Nature’s spectacular show, to which I had a front row ticket.
As the orange burst into hues of fiery pinks and the sun greeted the Karoo, alas I could not take one pic. I put my phone down for a few moments and just savoured the moment.
Before filling our tummies once more, I hopped into a piping hot shower on board. Oh yes! There was hot water and flushing toilets.
Being the early bird I was ready a few minutes past 6am, having my first cup of coffee.
Chatted to a lovely vegetarian German Engineer who happily told me of his South African travel plans whilst we munched on a traditional South African breakfast of sausage, eggs, toast and grilled tomato.
I could not believe that this epic journey of mine, my maiden voyage, was coming to an end.
Lucky for me, the Train Manager announced towards the end of breakfast that there would be a two-hour delay in arrival time. Secretly i was happy to spend a few more hours on this luxury train.
Home Sweet Home
When we passed through the Western Cape town of Worcester, luscious green vineyards rolling past, little village kids waving madly at us with a sad realisation I knew my incredible luxury train journey was coming to an end.
The train arrives at Cape Town station and we are ushered into another luxurious Premier Classe lounge. The porter brings my bags and with a happy heart I wave goodbye to my new friends with warm wishes of welcome to my loving Mother City.
As I sit in the Premier lounge, I wonder was this all a dream that ended too soon?
If you, like me, are in no hurry to get to your end destination and enjoy being spoilt along the way but find other high-end trains just beyond your budget, I would definitely recommend Premier Classe Train.
For more information regarding rates, timetables and destinations do check out their website: http://southafricanrailways.co.za/premier_classe.html
You can also find them on Social Media:
This was my maiden voyage on the Premier Classe Train, and trust me it did not disappoint.
Following the route of the infamous Transkaroo, Premier Classe Train runs from Johannesburg to Cape Town every Thursday.
I would like to thank Premier Classe Train for extending the invitation to experience this incredible journey!
*Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post