AUGUST 26 - 31, 2017

JOHANNESBURG  · Blue Train  ·  Pretoria  · cape town · Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

FROM $3498

Dwarfed by the mammoth African continent, South Africa is actually a large country, almost twice the size of France.  The Blue Train and Grootbos Private Nature Reserve can be booked as add-ons to the Zoom Southern Africa package, offering travelers the opportunity to delve deeper into South African history, beauty, and charm while enjoying Zoom first class services.

The Blue Train pre-trip tour, a two-day cruise from Pretoria to Cape Town is a perfect introduction to South Africa. While the train rambles through the African country-side, enjoy gourmet meals, extravagant accommodation, and sweeping views.  Stops at famous landmarks, including Kimberley Station, help illustrate South Africa’s incredible story from the 1800’s onwards.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve reveals more of South Africa, in an entirely different context. Marvel in the country’s bountiful wildlife from bird watching to whale watching.  Whether you indulge in adventurous shark cage diving or prefer to laze in the sun at one of the stunning beaches, the spectacularly luxurious Grootbos experience leaves nothing for want.

*Note: Travelers may choose to do one or both of the Southern Africa pre-trip tours.

Package Highlights:

Blue Train Add-on:

• Twenty-four hours in fabulous Johannesburg

• Two days aboard the luxurious Blue Train

• Optional excursions to the Apartheid Museum and Soweto

• Optional shopping tour in bustling Johannesburg

• Peer over the edge of the Big Hole in Kimberley where thousands of pounds of diamonds were mined

• Five-star, three-course formal dinner in the Blue Train's elegant dining car with the mellow tones of the Soweto String Quartet in the background

• High tea, after dinner drinks, or a Cuban cigar in the opulent lounge cars as you enjoy a charming view of the countryside breezing by

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Add-on:

• All-inclusive gourmet meals at Grootbos

• Incredible whale watching experience by land, sea, or air

Optional activities including:

 • Guided nature walks learning about the amazing world of fynbos

• 4x4 Flower safaris with over 765 flower species, 6 of which were discovered at Grootbos, and over 2500 hectares of pristine wilderness

• Transportation to and from the beach, provided with a picnic lunch and all the beach accessories you need to enjoy your day in the sun.

• Guided coastal tours

• Guided cave tours, taking in the beauty of limestone cliffs crumbling onto white sand beaches battered by the surging waves and salty sea breeze.

• Guided bird watching tours through Grootbos and the surrounding area, a hotspot for rare and endemic birds feeding and breeding in the diverse habitats

Space is limited. Call us today to book this tour:  773.772.9666.


Day 1 ~ Johannesburg

Welcome to Johannesburg!

Upon arrival at Johannesburg airport, the above guests will be met by a limo and transferred to the Saxon Hotel.

Afternoon at leisure. Optional shopping excursion.

Evening at leisure.

Accommodations:        The Saxon Hotel

Day 2 ~ Johannesburg
Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning at Leisure to enjoy the hotel facilities

Afternoon: Optional Apartheid Museum and Soweto excursions.

The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid.
An architectural consortium, comprising several leading architectural firms, conceptualized the design of the building on a seven-hectare stand. The museum is a superb example of design, space and landscape offering the international community a unique South African experience.

The exhibits have been assembled and organised by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers. They include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artifacts illustrating the events and human stories that are part of the epic saga, known as apartheid.

Infused with the history of the struggle against apartheid and abuzz with the energy of the city of gold, Soweto is a must-see for tourists who are looking for more than sun, sea and the big five.  With heritage sites, restaurants, shebeens and budget accommodation options aplenty, Soweto is well worth visiting, whether on a day tour or for a longer period to experience the real Soweto – a place of friendship, vibrancy and contrasts.

Evening transfer to the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria.

Evening at leisure.

Accommodations:      The Sheraton Pretoria Hotel
Meals:                           Breakfast

Day 3 ~ Blue Train
Full Buffet Breakfast in the Magnolia Restaurant.

Transfer to Blue Train. Check-in and suite orientation.
Your De Luxe Suite will forever alter your definition of what style and class entail. From your elegant and relaxing lounge during the day, it transforms into a subtly-lit bedroom of indulgence during the night, bedecked with goose-down and 100 per cent percale-cotton bedding, from your individually-controlled air-conditioning system, under-floor heating, opulent marble and gold-fitted bathroom, its scented bath salts and plush monogrammed towels, to the electronic entertainment options on offer.  And then, of course, all this accompanied by the ever-changing vistas of the countryside…

Brunch and afternoon tea are served as you admire South Africa's landscape rolling by.

We arrive at the Open Mine Museum for a tour of the mine. Guests are also taken onto an enclosed ramp on the edge of the Kimberly hole.

The Old Town brings the New Rush era to life, where the hopeful, the desperate and the determined flocked to the town of Kimberley to seek their fortunes.  You’ll discover period buildings that have been preserved or restored to their original glory; these include a church built in Europe and shipped to Kimberley, Barney Barnato’s boxing academy, the digger’s sleeping quarters and the De Beers railway coach, used by Cecil John Rhodes to commute between Cape Town and Kimberley. 

The Blue Train departs Kimberley Station for the journey Southbound to Cape Town. 

After this exciting tour, guests are free to refresh themselves and enjoy pre-dinner drinks served at any one of the Blue Train lounges.

As the sky darkens over the landscape, you adorn yourself in your finest silks and satins, diamonds and pearls, tuxedos and ties, as you prepare to relish a banquet glowing with the camaraderie of new friends or dine entwined in the subtle intimacy of a table for two – or even if you opt to dine in the privacy of your own suite – you become aware that every taste you’re about to experience is a memory in the making, a tantalizing highlight on a menu of magical moments.

Accommodations:        Blue Train
Meals:                             Breakfast, Brunch, High Tea, Formal Dinner


Day 4 ~ Blue Train

Breakfast is served this morning as you embark on the final leg of your Blue Train journey. The route between Pretoria and Cape Town is a 27-hour journey of 1 600 kilometres (994 miles), through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent.

In the event that you are able to whisk yourself away from your luxurious cocoon of comfort, The Blue Train offers two convivial spaces in which to build friendships over a beverage of choice.  The beautifully designed Lounge Car, conveniently situated in the middle of the train, is an ideal venue to enjoy the charming view of the countryside, with its windows perfectly framing the ever-changing panoramas and interrupted only by rare works from some of Southern Africa’s finest artists – or an occasional gentle reminder from the barman that your glass needs topping up.

A gourmet, three course lunch is served before arriving in Cape Town this afternoon.

Continue to Groobos Itinerary OR
Check-in at the Taj Hotel Afternoon at leisure and continue on to main Southern Africa itinerary as the remainder of the group arrives in Cape Town.

Accommodations:       Taj Hotel, Cape Town
Meals:                            Breakfast and Lunch

~ End of Services ~ 

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Itinerary

Day 1 ~ Arrive in Cape Town

Upon arrival, transfer to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Check-in to Grootbos. Nestled between mountain and sea, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a five-star eco-paradise showcasing the incredible Flora and Marine life of the Southern Tip of Africa. Home of the "Marine Big-5" - whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins; and with unparalleled floral diversity, Grootbos offers you a one-of-a-kind luxury African experience.

On arrival you will be presented with a list of included and optional activities that may be scheduled around tomorrow’s whale watching tour and on the day of departure, such as:
• Guided nature walks
• 4x4 Flower safaris
• Beach picnics and walks
• Guided coastal tours
• Guided cave tours
• Guided bird watching tours
• Social responsibility tours

This evening a private dinner for our group is served in the Wine Cellar.

Accommodations:       Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Meals:                            Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 2 ~ Grootbos
Full Breakfast served in the Red Indigo Restaurant. 

Choose from land-based, boat-based, and airborne whale-watching experiences.  Grootbos is ideally positioned and equipped to offer our guests arguably the best whale watching tours in the world. Every year from June to December hundreds of Southern Right Whales choose Walker Bay as their home for the mating season. 

Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Accommodations:          Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Forest Lodge Suite
Meals:                               Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 ~ Grootbos to Cape Town
Full Breakfast served in the Red Indigo Restaurant.

Morning at leisure to take advantage of various activities.

Lunch in the Red Indigo Restaurant

After lunch  private transfer to the Taj Hotel, Cape Town.

Check-in at the Taj Hotel Afternoon at leisure and continue on to main Southern Africa itinerary as the remainder of the group arrives in Cape Town.

Accommodations:       Taj Hotel, Cape Town
Meals:                            Breakfast and Lunch

~ End of Services ~ 

Gay Friendly, Luxury Accommodations

The Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg

The Saxon is the most exclusive private retreat. The entrance exudes an air of quiet majesty with its sweeping feature staircase and spectacular chandelier. The central point of the Saxon is the impressive infinity pool. The pool terrace is the ideal relaxation area for spending leisure time, taking in the superb sunset views and admiring the well stocked Koi pond. Luke Dale Roberts X the Saxon, the Saxon’s restaurant on the first floor, offers superb views of the evening skyline and takes guests on a unique experiential dining journey.  At the Saxon Hotel, you are assured of the ultimate refinement that leaves nothing to be desired.

Sheraton Pretoria Hotel, Pretoria

 The Sheraton Pretoria Hotel offers luxurious, modern rooms and suites, all designed to guarantee maximum comfort and hospitality from the moment you arrive. The hotel includes a Health Club with gym and saunas, an outdoor swimming pool and massage rooms.  From the hotel's Union Terrace you have a splendid view over Pretoria's famous Union Buildings, official seat of South Africa's government.

The Blue Train

As time meandered from the 19th Century towards the dawn of the new era, a dream was born. A dream of harnessing steam technology to link Africa’s vast south to north, around the awe-inspiring mountain ranges that dot the continent, through the apparently arid desert landscapes, over untamed savannah grasslands teeming with wildlife. From the Cape all the way to Cairo... all of this on parallel lines of tempered steel.  It is from this dream that The Blue Train was born. Cairo was never to be, but the dreamers persevered and The Blue Train now traverses South Africa and its breath-taking scenery in a manner that befits the mystique that has grown around it.

Kings and presidents have indulged on this magnificent, moving five-star “hotel-on-wheels”. From love-struck honeymooners, to adulated celebrities. And even ordinary folk who romanticise about a life of spectacular luxury, a life that has seemed tantalisingly out of reach. Until now... 

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Nestled in an ancient Milkwood forest surrounded by rolling hills of fynbos and majestic mountains, the accommodation and lodges at Grootbos offer a complete immersion into the pristine natural surroundings within the gentle embrace of comfort and luxury.

Each of the freestanding suites are stylishly furnished with luxurious canopy beds, spacious en suite bathrooms, separate lounges with cosy fireplaces and private wooden decks with spectacular panoramic views. On a clear day, it’s possible to see all the way to Cape Point! Orientated towards the setting sun, every evening offers another grand spectacle of light and colour.