Make the journey part of the adventure with a luxury sleeper train experience on this 11-night itinerary. Cover Cape Town’s iconic sights before boarding the Blue Train for a voyage steeped in nostalgia, and end with a sophisticated safari in the lesser-visited Madikwe Game Reserve.
Suggested route & duration
11 nights from Cape Town
• Cape Town: 2 nights
• Franschhoek: 2 nights
• Blue Train: 2 nights
• Pretoria: 1 night
• Madikwe Game Reserve: 3 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this itinerary
• Sink back and savour the slower pace on a Blue Train journey from Cape Town to Pretoria
• Make time for wine tasting in Franschhoek and stay on an acclaimed wine estate
• End with a safari in Madikwe Game Reserve and have the chance to spot the Big Five
Suggested itinerary details
Day 1: Cape Town Arrive in Cape Town. Explore Africa’s most beautiful city and see Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island and the Cape Peninsula with a stop at Boulders Beach to see its resident penguins. Stay 3 nights at One & Only Cape Town.
Day 4: Franschhoek Drive to the Winelands. Go wine tasting, have a day out on the hop-on hop-off Franschhoek Wine Tram and have picnics in scenic spots around the valley. Stay 2 nights at Mont Rochelle.
Day 6: Blue Train Return to Cape Town to board the Blue Train. Glide along the countryside aboard this classic train, stop in Kimberley to see the 'Big Hole' diamond mine and indulge in afternoon teas, five-course meals and nightcaps as you take in the scenery. Stay 2 nights on the Blue Train.
Day 8: Pretoria Arrive in Pretoria. See grand government buildings and (if you’re visiting between September and November) find the city’s lilac jacaranda trees which are in full bloom. Stay at Castello di Monte, Pretoria.
Day 9: Madikwe Drive north-west to Madikwe Game Reserve (approx. 4½ hours from from Pretoria/Johannesburg). Explore the wild bushveld with twice-daily game drives in search of the Big Five and take in spectacular views from your luxury lodge. Stay 3 nights at Madikwe Safari Lodge.
This gorgeous boutique wine estate has panoramic valley views and warm service
This luxurious alternative to flying is an elegant escape between Cape Town and Pretoria
A day in Jo’burg
Visit Johannesburg for the day from Pretoria and visit the Apartheid Museum
Madikwe Safari Lodge
Choose from three boutique lodges with far-reaching views over Big Five territory
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this itinerary based on our own experiences and our customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
We’ve picked hotels that match the luxury of the vintage-style Blue Train. Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle delivers the wow factor and Madikwe Game Reserve ticks the grand finale box. Chat to us and tell us what you’re looking for and we can swap in what best suits you.
Your journey on the Blue Train is an experience in itself. There are plenty of things you can weave in to put your stamp on this itinerary, like seeing Africa’s biggest collection of contemporary art at Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA or take a picnic basket from Mont Rochelle’s Country Kitchen.
We’ve allowed for a leisurely pace with 3 nights in Cape Town followed by 2 nights to relax in the Winelands. A 3-night safari will give you plenty of chances to tick off wildlife in Madikwe. We can shorten or extend this itinerary – like with an extra night in the Winelands – to fit your timeframe.
Go all out and end this romantic ride on the rails with Victoria Falls. It’s a 4½ hour drive (or shorter light aircraft flight) from Madikwe to Johannesburg and a 2-hour flight to Victoria Falls, for a stay on the Zimbabwean side where water flows all year round. Or swap Madikwe for Kruger National Park for the classic South African safari.
Good to know
When to go
• Cape Town is great to visit year round with warm summers (January to February) and generally mild winters (June to August, when Cape Town gets its rain). The shoulder seasons are warm and less crowded
• Madikwe Game Reserve has warm weather year round and is great to visit at any time, although the dry season (July to September) can be better for wildlife sightings because of the sparse vegetation and the need for wildlife to come out for water. Pack layers as mornings and evenings can be cold on game drives