A couple of years back I travelled from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to Dar es Salaam on a passenger train while on the foot steps of Dr David Livingstone. The train was a wonderful experience without any luxurious amenities.
Last week I embarked on a journey that showed me true luxury on the wheels of steel. The journey that started off by boarding a flight to Johannesburg’s O.R Tambo, then a speed train, GauTrain to Pretoria to catch the luxurious Blue Train. The briefing by the train manager at Sheraton Hotel did not prepare me for what I was about to experience. A short drive on a shuttle to Metro Station is myself, 30 lucky DSTV subscribers who had won the trip together with three fellow Batswana travellers are guided through the station to find well dressed personal butlers for all the passengers. Im excited as we board the train. The inside walls of the train are made of shiny oak, the carpert is velvety and very thick, it is like you walking on mash mellows. The golden door knobs make you feel like a king opening a door into his palace.
My butler opens the door to my cabin for me and I find the cabin amazing with lounge seats that can make way for a bed, a telephone line to call my butler should I need anything, a safe deposit box to put away the little money I have. But even with the little money in my pockets I already feel like a million dollar money maker due to this luxury. In no time I have explored the cabin and I am guided to the club car to enjoy a selection of the finest whiskies, champagnes and cognac. It is at this point that I do not find space for beer.
The train is in motion and moving slowly at 55km/ hr. My fellow travellers from Botswana join me together with interesting characters that are on a lucky ticket. We all get mellowed by the train and free drinks. Everyone feels big as we light up Cuban cigars while the wheels of steel take us to Durban for another experience, Durban July. An early morning after a night of partying in the club car, I make my way to the restaurant for breakfast. It is here that I feel what Paul Thereoux must have felt on his railway bazaar expedition. English breakfast in a hotel restaurant moving on steel wheels.
This very morning is made up of a scenic experience. We pass waterfalls, huge hills and a couple of towns. May I say, the train attracts attention as it passes through towns. I remarked to one lady that, “We are turning heads yet we are not topless”. I am amazed by the luxury on the train and I wonder if Africa is really a third world continent with all this. Just one other way to experience a different mode of travel and holiday through South Africa, while being treated like a king. I must say, I would love to do this again or suggest it for the hopeless romantic to spoil their loved ones.