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South Africa

Exciting and enigmatic, few countries can match South Africa for sheer diversity. Where else could you sunbathe on a sweltering beach in the company of a colony of mischievous penguins? Observe the world's most magnificent wildlife at close range? Or visit a former diamond mine?

These, and many other extraordinary experiences, can be enjoyed on one of Great Rail Journeys' escorted rail tours of South Africa. Traveling in comfort and style aboard a luxury train, you can toast another South African sunset with champagne in the dining car, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow brings another unforgettable adventure.

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Visiting South Africa with Great Rail Journeys

As the UK's leading provider of specialist rail tours for more than thirty years, Great Rail Journeys has perfected the art of creating escorted rail tours in South Africa which combine the best and most memorable experiences with outstanding value for money.

The cost of your South Africa train vacation covers flights and all other transport arrangements including luxury train travel, an itinerary featuring excursions which showcase South Africa's greatest historical, cultural and natural highlights, quality overnight accommodation and selected evening meals.

Guests on our escorted rail tours in South Africa also benefit from the services of our experienced and friendly Tour Manager and local guides who will be happy to assist guests, answer questions and share their knowledge of the destinations we visit.

Overnight stays are in quality accommodations that we have hand-picked for their beneficial location and for the high standards of comfort, facilities and value they offer. Where possible we choose family-run hotels, enabling our guests to enjoy a more personal service and relax in an informal and hospitable atmosphere.

South Africa Traveler's Guide

The country at the foot of Africa where the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet has a history spanning more than two million years according to the wealth of pre-historic fossils found here. The world's oldest-known cave paintings suggest that man has been in South Africa for the last eighty-thousand years, and whilst the last two centuries proved to be particularly turbulent and challenging South Africa has changed for the better and is embracing a new era of cultural tolerance and optimism.

South Africa's major cities, including Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg are thoroughly modern and multicultural, offering visitors as much entertainment, nightlife, cultural activities and shopping as they desire. Most visitors are here for South Africa's natural wonders, however.

South Africa's landscapes, all of them sublimely beautiful, encompass mountain ranges, deserts, vast open savannah, rainforest and almost every other terrain in between. Guests on a Great Rail Journeys tour of South Africa will experience the best of this natural beauty both from traveling through it by train and by visiting spectacular locations such as the wine country of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, Kruger National Park and the Knysna Heads.

South Africa's Climate

Bad weather is rarely an issue in South Africa thanks to a largely subtropical climate which provides year round sunshine and warmth. From May to September - South Africa's winter - there is almost no rainfall. In summer, from October to April, rainfall is usually characterised by heavy downpours which helpfully cool down temperatures typically ranging between 32°C (90°F) and 38°C (100°F).

South African Cuisine

South African cuisine is a tantalising blend of indigenous African cookery and influences inherited from a diversity of historical colonists including Dutch, German, French, Italian, Greek, British and Asian immigrants. South Africans are as least as devoted to their braii (barbecues) as Australians.

Traveling By Train in South Africa

The carriages on our luxury tours of South Africa can claim to be fitted with the most spacious train suites in the world. Five star dining, polished wooden interiors and 24 hour room service make these some of the most luxurious train journeys in the world. On board the train your Tour Manager will take care of tipping but when dining out we recommend a tip of between 10% and 15% the value of a meal.

Get in touch with one of our South Africa Specialists

Helping you plan your vacation to South Africa


Dimitri Zgonis
James Starkie
Vaugnel Fletcher