For a novel Cape Town experience, relive the glory days of steam train travel in beautifully refurbished coaches with the Ceres Rail Company, by following in the tracks of the earliest line built by Messrs Heatlie, Warren and Bromley during 1912.
Powered by original 19D and 19B locomotives named Jessica and Bailey – or the unique South African built Class 26, called the Red Devil, the train makes its way through some of the Western Cape’s most picturesque regions on excursions of one day’s duration, or more.
Day-Trips Around Cape Town
The train departs every Saturday at 7h30 from Duncan Street, outside the Royal Yacht Club in Cape Town. It is advisable to arrive 30 minutes before the train departs.
While on board, you will be transported along the glorious scenic route via Wellington, Nuwekloof Pass, Wolseley and Mitchell’s Pass to Ceres Golf Club. Here the locomotive pauses from 12 to 13h30, before travelling back to its point of departure. You should be back in Cape Town at around 18h30.
A delicious buffet lunch may be pre-booked with the Ceres Golf Club, and usually consists of a starter, main meat dishes as well as a selection of salads, suitable accompaniments and dessert. Alternatively you can just relax with a drink from the bar while you admire your lovely surroundings.
The Ceres Golf Club has been around for just as long as the railway line and is a picturesque 9-hole course surrounded by craggy hills on the outskirts of this fruit-producing town.
If you have booked one way only you can forego lunch and make your way onward to Ceres and beyond from here.
On board delights
On board, the Selati Dining car mimics the grand old days of travelling by train, circa 1935, when the “Union Limited” ruled the rails in South Africa. This luxurious mode of transport was the way to travel from Durban to Cape Town, with hot and cold water, electrical lighting, fully qualified chefs and one personal attendant per car.
Today, this beautifully restored carriage sells a range of delicious refreshments including beer, cider, wine, bubbly, cold drinks and water. True to the era which it mimics, the train has no card facilities on board, so please remember to bring cash.
Likewise, luxurious lounge cars provide for plush relaxation with views over the passing scenery from large windows. Seating is not reserved so make sure you arrive in good time to secure a window seat! As in most public spaces and transport in South Africa, no smoking is allowed on board and pets are not invited.
You will be amazed at the different perspectives as you sweep high above Mitchell’s Pass Road. Glorious views abound over the Valley with its spectacular rock formations. There are also opportunities to spot many species of birds, and even a chance of snow in winter.
In addition to the Ceres Trip, the Ceres Rail company will be adding a new 4-day route to its service during March 2017, which travels from Ceres via Heidelberg to Mossel Bay and back again.
For a wonderful chance to spend some quality time with family and friends and enjoy a unique way to explore the Cape Town countryside, book your seat with the Ceres Rail Company while planning your trip to the Mother City in 2017.