South African Steam Safari

Thursday 28th May to Tuesday 9th June 2020
12 - Days

Prices from: £3295

Discover the verdant landscapes and rich history of the Western Cape Province of South Africa on this steam tour.

Departure Date: 28-May-2020
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  • Enjoy comfortable accommodation in 3 or 4-star hotels in 4 separate locations, with luxury coach transfers between trains, hotels and airports.
  • On the railway parts of the tour, you’ll travel by private steam train consisting of refurbished coaches, including dining car, bar car and observation car.
  • Start on a high with guided tours of Cape Town, the Cape Peninsular and Cape Point and Simon’s Town, with an optional visit to a penguin colony.
  • Steam on your private train behind a Class 19D 4-8-2 locomotive through the Cape Town suburbs and over Sir Lowry’s Pass.
  • Discover the scenic Southern Cape wheatlands on a railway trip to Bredasdorp, the Southern-most railway station in Africa.
  • You’ll experience a mainline run behind the famed Class 26 ‘Red Devil’ to Worcester, in the heart of the Cape wine-making region.
  • Visit a luxury game farm with opportunities to see some of the fabled ‘Big Five’.
  • Savour a trip up the spectacular Michell’s Pass en route to the beautiful fruit-growing towns of Ceres and Prince Alfred Hamlet.
  • You will have the services of an experienced South African railway photographer who will organise photographic run pasts throughout the tour.

Thursday 28th May
Flight from Heathrow to Cape Town
You fly from Heathrow on an overnight flight to Cape Town.

Friday 29th May
Arrive in Cape Town; Afternoon tour
You arrive at Cape Town International Airport and transfer by private coach to the Commodore Hotel at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where you’ll be based for the next 3 nights. After time to freshen up and enjoy a quick snack lunch you leave for a scheduled afternoon tour of Cape Town, a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, located on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain. In the evening you have free time to explore the city’s famous Victoria & Alfred Waterfront with its numerous restaurants and eateries. Situated in South Africa’s oldest working harbour, the 300-acre site attracts more than 23 million visitors a year. With Table Mountain as a dramatic backdrop it’s a vibrant and relaxed place with extensive views of the ocean and city bowl. It boasts 450 retail outlets yet is also still a working harbour and fishing boats bring in fresh fish, while larger container ships are towed in by tugboats. (L)

Saturday 30th May
Cape Town tour; Cape Peninsular
After breakfast at your hotel, you spend the day touring around the Cape Peninsular enjoying the majestic landscape, including an introduction to the unique flora of the Western Cape at the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the great botanic gardens of the world. In 1913 a botanist called Harold Pearson set about transforming some land into a botanic garden devoted to the country’s indigenous flora. It now contains over 7000 southern African plant species! You return back to your hotel in the evening. (B)

Sunday 31st May
Cape Town to Simon’s Town; or Peninsular tour
Following breakfast, you have two options for today’s activities:

• The first is a run to Simon’s Town by chartered steam-hauled photo-goods train with Class 24 2-8-4 locomotive No. 3655, leaving Cape Town to arrive in Simon’s Town before midday. One of South Africa’s oldest towns and Naval base, you can explore on foot or by taxi, taking lunch at one of the many eateries. The Simon’s Town Museum, SA Naval Museum and Warrior Toy Museum have collections worth visiting.Or you can delve into the heart of the Muslim community’s heritage by visiting the Heritage Museum in King George’s Way.

• The second option for the day is to travel by luxury coach down the scenic western side of the Cape Peninsular via Clifton and Camps Bay, with the 12 Apostles rising above the chilly blue Atlantic Ocean below, before climbing over Chapman’s Peak which offers amazing photo opportunities, and heading to Cape Point, visiting the famous penguin colony on Boulders Beach south of Simon’s Town on the return leg. You then join the rest of your group in Simon’s Town and return to Cape Town by charter steam train. From Simon’s Town, keen photographers can stay on the coach and enjoy a number of staged runpasts as you ‘leapfrog’ the train. All passengers then transfer to the train at Fish Hoek for the run back to Cape Town Station in the late afternoon. You transfer to your hotel before an evening out in Cape Town and dinner at a local eatery of your choice. (B)

Monday 1st June
Table Bay Harbour – Houwhoek
After a hotel breakfast you have a free morning to spend at leisure before transferring from your hotel to join the main steam charter. You’ll be hauled by a Class 19D 4-8-2 (which can be considered as the South African equivalent of the famous LMS ‘Black Five’), either Nos. 3321 or 3322, on a private train consisting of Ceres Rail passenger coaches including dining car, bar car and observation car. You’ll be served a light lunch on the train as you pass through the Cape Town suburbs, before travelling over the spectacular Sir Lowry’s Pass as it crosses the Hottentots-Holland mountain range between Somerset West and the Elgin valley. You arrive in Houwhoek in the early evening and check in to Houwhoek Inn for dinner and overnight accommodation. The Houwhoek Inn is one of the oldest registered hotels in South Africa, first opening its doors in 1779. (B L D)

Tuesday 2nd June
Houwhoek – Bredasdorp
Today after breakfast you leave Houwhoek on your special Class 19D 4-8-2 hauled train and travel over the spectacular Houwhoek Pass and up Langhoogte bank to Caledon, where you stop for water and fuel. You then proceed into the vast Southern Cape wheatlands, travelling on the Overberg branch line via Krige, Skildskloof, Klipdale, eventually arriving at Bredasdorp, the Southern-most railway station in Africa. Named after Michiel van Breda, the first mayor of Cape Town, Bredasdorp was established with the building of a Dutch Reformed Church in 1838. Mayor van Breda was also the founder of South Africa’s merino sheep industry which is to this day forms a large part of the farming community. On arrival you transfer by coach to the luxury Arniston Hotel after visiting Cape Agulhas on the Southern-most tip of Africa, only 3800 km from the Antarctic coastline. Dinner will be taken at your hotel this evening. (B L D)

Wednesday 3rd June
Bredasdorp – Houwhoek
This morning you have an early transfer by luxury coach from Arniston to pick up your special train. You retrace your steps to Houwhoek, experiencing the heavy climb up Houwhoek Pass, 340 metres above sea level, in the afternoon. Houwhoek Pass was built shortly after Sir Lowry’s Pass was completed in 1833. The distance between the two passes is approximately 25km and covers some beautiful mountainous terrain. The middle section was known as Coles Pass – so named after the very same Sir Lowry Cole. The name Houw Hoek translates into ‘Hold Corner’ and is derived from the need to hold back or slow down the ox-wagons whilst negotiating the steep descent down the pass. A light lunch will be served on the train during the day. You then return to Houwhoek Inn for a dinner and an overnight stay. (B L D)

Thursday 4th June
Houwhoek – Bellville Yards; Bellville Yards - Worcester
You depart this morning towards Cape Town, again enjoying the steep return climb over Sir Lowry’s Pass, to Belville Yards, the second-biggest station in the Cape Town Metrorail railway network. At Bellville Yards, some 20 km outside Cape Town you swap your 19D and reverse direction for a mainline run to Worcester behind the famous Class 26 4-8-4 No. 3450 ‘Red Devil’. You enjoy a light lunch on the train and arrive in late afternoon. Worcester, 120 km North-East of Cape Town, is a town with an impressive cultural heritage. It’s surrounded by majestic mountains and verdant valleys and is located in the biggest wine-producing district in the country. You then transfer to the Cumberland Hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Friday 5th June
Train stands over at Worcester – Visit to Game Farm and Wine Farm
This morning you travel by coach to visit the Aquila Private Game Reserve, with the intention to see some of the fabled ‘Big Five’, the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. A light snack lunch at a local restaurant then readies you for an afternoon of wine tasting at a wine farm. The Breede River Valley produces a sizeable percentage of South Africa’s wine output and the Worcester-Robertson area is famed for the production of quality wines. Considerable hectarages of Sauvignon blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon have recently been planted. You return to your hotel in the afternoon for a rest before an evening visit is scheduled to the ‘Kleinplasie’ farming museum. See how tabocca was dried and rolled, discover how waterpower was used, see how ‘wit-blits’ (white lightning), a clear spirit was distilled and bread was baked in an outside oven. Experience a donkey cart ride or catch a train ride to the new exhibition hall. Dinner is back at your hotel this evening. (B L D)

Saturday 6th June
Worcester – Ashton – Worcester
Today is devoted to a run behind the ‘Red Devil’ train, travelling from Worcester to Ashton amongst the mountainous scenery and agricultural landscape, before returning back to Worcester. One of the world’s most iconic steam locomotives, South African Railways Class 26 4-8-4 No. 3450 ‘Red Devil’ was restored in 2018 after 14 years out of service. Its four-month long restoration to working order was funded by Ceres Rail. The restoration included boiler and ashpan repairs and the replacement of boiler lagging and other fixtures. You’ll be served a light lunch on the train. Dinner and overnight accommodation will once again be back at the Cumberland Hotel. (B L D)

Sunday 7th June
Worcester – Wolseley – Prince Alfred Hamlet – Wolseley – Cape Town
You depart this morning, once again, hauled by the No. 3450 ‘Red Devil’, travelling as far as Wolseley. Those not wanting an early start may follow later by coach to join the train at Wolseley. You then join a photo-goods train hauled by Class 19B 4-8-2 No. 1412 to Prince Alfred Hamlet, returning to Wolseley in the afternoon. The train climbs the super-spectacular Michell’s Pass to arrive in the beautiful fruit-growing town of Ceres. You travel to the end of the line at Prince Alfred Hamlet returning via the same route. You then transfer to your main train for a final ‘Red Devil’ run to Cape Town. A late lunch will be served on the train. On arrival in Cape Town, late afternoon, you transfer to the Commodore hotel, where dinner will be served. (B L D)

Monday 8th June
Final day in Cape Town
Today is a final day to relax, unwind and spend some time in Cape Town. Further tours can be arranged, or you can spend time on your own activities. In the afternoon a luxury coach transfer takes you to Cape Town International Airport for departure flight back to the UK. (B)

Tuesday 9th June
Arrive London
Early morning return to London Heathrow.



  • Tour price £3795
  • Single supplement £350
  • Ground only (Cape Town – Cape Town) £3295

All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.

Price Includes

  • Return flights London to Cape Town
  • 10 night’s hotel accommodation in 3 and 4-star hotels including breakfasts
  • 8 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Luxury coach transfers between the train, hotels and airports as indicated
  • All privately chartered steam trains and rail travel as detailed in the itinerary
  • All visits as detailed in the itinerary
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner


Map feature coming soon!