I wouldn't book my accommodation only at one place because finding accommodation during the tournament could be a headache! At this point, I think I'm willing to take a chance and bet the Dutch are going to place 1st in their group and plan accordingly. I'm having trouble finding accomodation in Durban I'm sorry because I know this is not a helpful reply but I am amazed how many people have taken up TSTs because there are so many unknowns and makes like very difficult. If you are traveling in a group - it is fine - but on your own - no!
Rather take the bus or fly. Very safe and reliable. Its just a bit more time consuming, but from capetown to durban u need to plan 2 days with a car as well. I would'nt take the train from CT to Johburg on my own. Rather fly or take the bus. Be carefull which busservice you use though. Enjoy the country it is beautifull. Beatrix, whats your advice on the shosholoza train from joburg to PE. I plan to take it. As a female travelling alone in South Africa, I would be very cautious! There are not safe areas to go to, and modes of transport!
You would be a "sitting duck" for all criminals out there! Be more careful, and go to wheretostay. It is a beautiful country, but be alert as well! It will be dangerous for you - as I and all the above South Africans clearly put it. If you are in a group - A large group - yes. But not a lone traveller. GreenMushroom, are you still having trouble with accommodation in Durban?
I represent a Durban based travel agency and we are more than willing to assist if you need help. Flights Holiday Rentals Restaurants Things to do. Skip to main content. In they introduced a Jo'burg-Durban train and in they added a Jo'burg to Port Elizabeth train.
Sadly both of these were discontinued in See advice on using Johannesburg Park Station. The Premier Classe train is a hotels on rails. The sleeping-cars aren't air-conditioned, a big advantage for photographers as the windows open. There's a deluxe Premier Classe restaurant car serving course meals and a Premier Classe lounge car with armchairs, sofas and a bar.
This amateur video gives a good idea of what to expect on board the Premier Classe train and in terms of scenery, and you may also find this account helps convince you to try out this excellent train service! Premier Classe train timetable Cape Town. You can check fares at www. Booking for Premier Classe opens 12 months ahead. You can request a Premier Classe booking online at www. There is more information at the Premier Classe website, if it's working, at www.
However, reports suggest you'll get more responsive booking from ticketing agency www. Boarding the Premier Classe train. Originally purple like this, the Premier Classe train is now pale blue. Premier Classe departure lounge. The same lounge is used for the Blue Train. See sample dinner menu. There's a toilet and shower just along the corridor.
Larger photo day. Larger photo night. The Premier Classe bar-lounge car Photo courtesy of Angus Wheeler Shanty towns on the outskirts of Cape Town, a reminder of South Africa's less well-off You can sample some of their produce on board the train! More scenery from the Premier Classe train Hex River Pass The Great Karoo desert Night falls over South Africa, the train races on Sunrise next morning Premier Classe traveller's reports Inside, our double berth compartment was immaculate and the newly installed air conditioning welcome although I would have welcomed higher temperatures overnight in the extremely cold winter highveld conditions.
Staff were uniformly cheerful and helpful, which more than made up for the occasional lack of sophistication. The dining car was a real surprise, with a fine luncheon, a splendid dinner and a gargantuan breakfast included in the ticket price. Drinks are extra, but the wines - in particular - are sold with minimal mark ups. The only real criticism of the entire journey was the appalling traffic control in the Johannesburg area which over a distance of only 90 odd kms, turned what had been a uniformly on-schedule journey of some kms into an almost 90 minute late arrival, especially considering it was a Sunday morning.
Why aren't you flying? Are you sure? I'll admit, it was with a certain trepidation that I approached Johannesburg station. The area around train stations in any country can sometimes be dodgy think Kings Cross in times past but Johannesburg does come with a reputation. Lugging my two suitcases from my friends car, I was obviously a tourist, and indeed we were approached by a beggar.
My friend told him to go away, politely, and he did. That was the extent of any 'hassle' experienced. The station itself reminded me of a shopping centre, but with a handful of shops - quite modern and tidy. I walked down the escalator which was out of order and found the Premier Classe lounge and 'check-in'. My two suitcases were labelled and I was invited to sit down for a hot or cold drink and a snack while waiting for boarding. The lounge was more like a waiting room, but away from the main station so much more private.
The train manager introduced himself and announced that boarding would start at 2. A short walk down to the platform and there was our train. I was invited to join everyone in the dining car at 2. The showers and loo were at the end of the corridor, and they were spotless.
The toilet always smelt fresh, and there was fantastic water pressure in the shower. After some sparkling wine, and an introduction to the onboard staff, we had coffee and cake. I met some of my fellow travellers and enjoyed a drink as the train lazily snaked through the suburbs of Johannesburg.
Our host then asked if we were happy to dine in our groups, which was fine. My fellow traveller was a young man who worked in a goldmine, loved travelling, and hadn't told his parents he was onboard because they would complain he was wasting money At 7pm I found my table, and my new friend, and sat down for dinner. We had a table for four, made up for two, so very spacious. Kingklip is delicious!
As a rule, I don't go for fish, but I was on holiday and my goodness I am glad I tried it! The other courses were very tasty too - served with a smile! I took some pictures but to be honest they didn't come out very well and that wasn't because my dining partner wouldn't share the bottle of wine I ordered.
Or anything. I then went to the bar where I discovered that payment for drinks was made at the end of the trip - very civilised, and drinks were cheap. I had to do a double take at the prices, as well as watch my drinking! I went back to my sleeper to discover that it had been made up for turn down.
Next morning, having arranged an early wake up call the night before, I watched the scenery go by. This part of South Africa, the Karoo Desert was cold and rather bleak, however the sunshine took the edge of both at this time of the morning. Soon, it was breakfast time, and a fully cooked breakfast was offered - as well as pastries, cereals, yogurts, the lot!
The scenery improved as we got closer to Cape Town, as vineyards and orchards came into view. Lunch was a four course affair, and as usual, the tables were set up with fresh flowers and crisp linen. Before long, Table Mountain came into view, and we were approaching journeys end. Some of my fellow passengers commented that they had been on Rovos Rail and The Blue Train, but preferred the informal atmosphere on the Premier Classe service.
I would definitely do it again, and I think incorporate it into my next trip to South Africa. And the cost? I think its the best value travel I have ever experienced. Although it's in a different class and price range to the Blue Train, it offers a truly amazing, comfortable, relaxing trip.
Why on earth have I been driving or flying to Cape Town for all these years? And boarding is a breeze too — the platform the train was on was somewhat removed from the rest. The onboard staff were truly outstanding, nothing was too much trouble.
We had books and magazines to read en route but only looked at them when we were tucked up comfortably in crisp white sheets and duvets for the night. There was no time to read, we were too busy gazing at the scenery, without having to worry about bad drivers, huge trucks or anything at all to do with road travel — sheer bliss!! We were asked whether we would like tea or coffee delivered to our compartment in the morning. We chose tea for a 6. A hearty breakfast at 7.
A hot shower in an exceptionally clean bathroom then back to the compartment for more sightseeing. Some snow on the mountain peaks completed the perfect picture!! A three course lunch, again delightfully prepared and presented, some more excellent South African wine before arriving in Cape Town at 4. I was almost sorry to have arrived.
Train travel in South Africa is horribly under-utilised and if I can persuade anyone to give it a try perhaps we could have more trains operating, more people off the roads, and more people discovering the joy of rail travel. I have just returned from there a few days ago, having taken this train in both directions.
What a treat! The train is modern and well designed. On our trip there were 4 Harley Davidsons in one of these trucks, while the burly middle-aged bikers and their molls enjoyed the comfort of the Premier Classe to Cape Town before going back by road.
The staff were all brilliant, very keen to be of service and clearly with great pride in their job. At stations, some of them would get out and clean the train windows! There was a hot shower in each coach, which meant that one arrived the other end fresh and clean, as well as rested and fed and watered. What a contrast to the flight back from Jo'burg to London: squashed into a cramped seat, nowhere to go and nothing to see, plastic food, limited drink, no chance of rest, no shower.
Totally uncivilised: 12 hours of torture! I suspect this is part of the odd feeling in that country, where large segments of the population live in fear and also assume anything "public" will be bad. The train itself is comfortable and pleasant, albeit a triumph of style over substance. They have attractively printed menus and solicitous dining-car service, but the food is so-so, although still great for a knockabout traveller.
The 4-bed sleepers have been converted to accommodate just a couple, and they put your name on the door. We were fine, although we saw two different people being taken off by police. At the far end, in Cape Town, the station is pleasant and quiet, although for us this meant there were no taxis to hail. Cape Town to Pretoria on one of the world's most luxurious trains It's the most famous train in South Africa, and one of the most famous trains in the world. However, The Blue Train is definitely the most luxurious way to travel between these two cities, and if you do choose to splurge, you will not be disappointed!
From onwards, the Blue Train switches to a novel night-day-night schedule, a slower schedule but one less susceptible to delays and with additional off-train excursions. The northbound journey includes a one-hour stop at the 19th century health resort of Matjiesfontein in the heart of the Karoo.
The Southbound trip includes a stop at Kimberley for a tour of the Kimberley 'big hole' mining museum. The train no longer serves Johannesburg in either direction, as few tourists want to go there because of its security problems. The Blue Train rolling stock is also used to run irregular rail cruises on a couple of other scenic routes within South Africa.
Cape Town to Pretoria or vice versa. Low season. You can buy tickets online at www. Or you can arrange a package which includes the Blue Train with hotels, transfers, flights through train specialist Railbookers. In the UK call , www. In the USA call free , www. Canada call free , www. Australia call toll-free , www. New Zealand call toll-free or see website. What's it like on board the Blue Train?
Luxury compartments cost a bit more and are almost identical, but have a full size bath yes, really and a video. The train has a dining car and two lounge cars one smoking, one non-smoking and both of the two trainsets have an observation car at the rear, allowing you to look back along the line one of the was damaged and taken out of service several years ago, but is restored for the season.
Meals and drinks and even Montecristo Havana cigars! For pictures of the scenery between Cape Town and Pretoria, see the scenery shots from the Cape Town to Johannesburg journey by Shosholoza Meyl train here and by Premier Classe train here , as the Blue Train follows the same route as far as Jo'burg. One of the two bar-lounge cars on the Blue Train. Even Montecristo cigars are included in the fare! Meals in the elegant restaurant car are included in the fare, complete with a choice of South African wines The Blue Train stopped at Matjiesfontein , with two electric locomotives specially kept in the famous blue colour Yes, it really is a full-size bath in deluxe suites only!
The Blue Train is one of the few trains in the world to feature a real en suite bath, not just a shower A deluxe twin-bed suite on the Blue Train , showing one bed folded out, the second bed remaining folded away to reveal the seat Watch the video: A journey on the Blue Train A bit of history A fast train called the Union Express northbound and the Union Limited southbound was introduced in , to link the Union Castle steamers arriving at Cape Town from Southampton with the gold fields of Jo'burg and the Transvaal capital at Pretoria.
The original wooden coaches were replaced in with steel coaches built in Birmingham and painted a smart blue. Before long, the train became known colloquially as 'that blue train', and its name was changed officially to 'The Blue Train' in Two new sets of coaches were built for the Blue Train in , and both of these were beautifully refurbished in You travel in these same trainsets today.
The Blue Train is still run by the South African Railways Spoornet , but it is now a separate business unit, due for privatisation Phase 1 of the modern standard-gauge metro service called 'Gautrain' is now operational between the Jo'burg suburb of Sandton and Jo'burg's OR Tambo international airport.
Using brand-new standard-gauge electric trains, it has all the necessary CCTV and security equipment to be a safe and comfortable means of transport for locals and tourists alike. Trains run every 30 minutes at weekends, every 20 minutes weekday off-peak, and every 12 minutes in the weekday morning and evening peaks. See www.
Phase 2 is now open, with safe modern Gautrain service linking Johannesburg Park Station in downtown Johannesburg the station used by Shosholoza Meyl and Premier Classe long-distance trains with the suburb of Sandton and the administrative capital Pretoria. Gautrain is the best way to travel between Jo'burg and Pretoria, and the safest way to access Jo'burg Park station to connect with your Premier Classe or Shosholoza Meyl long-distance train. Trains run run every 30 minutes at weekends, every 20 minutes weekday off-peak, and every 12 minutes in the weekday morning and evening peaks.
Photos courtesy of Jeroen van Marle. Although long-distance Shosholoza Meyl trains and Gautrain are perfectly safe, 'Metro Rail' suburban trains around Johannesburg, Soweto and Pretoria are different matter. Unless you are particularly foolhardy or adventurous, they are probably best avoided completely. Metro Rail suburban trains around Cape Town are less of a problem and as long as you take care, leave your valuables at your hotel and don't travel after dark, they can be a good way to get from central Cape Town to the seaside town of Simon's Town a scenic run along the coast , or to the wine regions at Stellenbosch or even Paarl - I've taken the metro train to Stellenbosch myself, then hired a bike to cycle round the wineries.
But always check current local travel advice as the situation can change and there have been incidents, even if that may not be the norm. On the other hand, there is a new initiative for tourists using the Cape Town to Simon's Town train service to tour the coast.
Two classes are available, 1st 'Metro Plus' and 3rd. Metro Plus means longitudinal cloth seats on newer trains, grey plastic seats on the older ones, 3rd class means plastic bench seats. Outside the rush hours, trains are not crowded and there's a train from Cape Town to Simon's Town or Stellenbosch every hour or two, taking about an hour. Make sure you sit in a carriage with other travellers. Metro trains at Cape Town Arriving at Stellenbosch Metro trains on the Cape Town to Simon's Town route.
Photos courtesy of Adam Edwards Back to top. Several companies run all-inclusive tours around Southern Africa using special deluxe cruise trains. Rovos Rail www. The train consists of beautifully restored South African coaches with all the usual tourist facilities - lounge, restaurant, private sleeping compartments and showers.
Meals are included in the tour price. For times, dates of running and prices see www. Shongololo Express www. The trains don't go everywhere in South Africa, and there are times when you might need to take a bus. There are several long-distance bus operators. Useful internet addresses are:. TransLux, www. Greyhound, www. Call InterCape, www. I strongly recommend buying a good guidebook - and I think the Lonely Planets and Rough Guides are easily the best out there for the independent traveller.
You won't regret buying one! Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in. Click the images to buy online at Amazon. Pretoria is a better place to stay than Johannesburg itself. You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.
It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together. I never book hotels non-refundably. I have also come to trust their review scores - you won't be disappointed with anything over 8.
Though if there's not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place at www. Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices. Make the airport experience a little more bearable with a VIP lounge pass, it's not as expensive as you think! Always take out travel insurance It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.
An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself. Here are some suggested insurers. Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links. In the UK, reliable insurers include Columbus Direct. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www. You can use Confused. Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.
The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards. Download the app for iPhone or Android. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose. You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction. I have a Curve Blue card myself - I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I'm recommending it here because it's great.
Get a VPN for safe browsing. When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure. And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply - for example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none to European visitors, so if you're not located in Europe you can avoid this fee by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN.
Days of running:. Louis Trichardt Makhado. Messina Musina. This train has economy class seats, tourist class sleepers, restaurant car. This route was discontinued in but was reinstated from March It went twice-weekly in August Type of train: Economy seats. It is not clear how permanent or temporary this is. Discontinued Days of running:.
Discontinued Type of train: -. Type of train: -. Sundays Thursdays Days of running:. Tuesdays Fridays Type of train: Economy seats. Fridays Days of running:. Type of train: Economy seats only. New service started 5 June Back to home page. The Man in Seat Home About Contact Guestbook.
Train travel in Britain Scotland by sleeper Cornwall by sleeper Safe, comfortable South African trains. Africa map Train operator in South Africa: Shosholoza Meyl trains: www. Comments: Distance Km In sleepers it's cheap, safe, comfortable, a great experience. A more luxurious journey, but still affordable. World class luxury experience, if you can afford it Comments: Distance Km In sleepers it's cheap, safe, comfortable, civilised.
Comments: In sleepers it's cheap, safe, comfortable, civilised. Shosholoza Meyl Economy c lass train with economy seats. Perfectly safe for a daytime journey. Safe enough, but no sleepers. Courtesy of Miika Nicholson. The reservation list Courtesy of Jeroen van Marle.
The next day, after crossing the arid Karoo and traversing the Hex River Pass, the train reaches the Cape wine region, where vineyards nestle under vast mountains. Approaching Cape Town itself, you'll pass shanty towns, then Table Mountain itself will come into view. Fares Cape Town to Pretoria or vice versa. If you can't afford the Blue Train Photos courtesy of Adam Edwards. Cruise trains. Buses in South Africa.
Other Shosholoza Meyl routes
Still, minibus taxis are, by far, the most used form of public transportation in South Africa. Some even say that taking a minibus taxi is safer than taking the train in South African cities. Taxi stands are the easiest places to get a taxi in a South African city; these are generally found next to major transportation hubs, hotels, central business districts, and shopping malls. Reputable taxi companies generally use sedans with meters in them. South Africa has a wide selection of ride-hailing apps available, allowing users to hail either a taxi or another professional driver.
Some of the most widely used ride-hailing apps in South Africa include the following:. South Africa is a large country with fairly lengthy intercity travel times by road or rail. For example, traveling from Cape Town to Johannesburg takes 18 hours by bus, 30 hours by train, or just two hours by air. As a result, domestic air travel remains a reliable transportation option for getting around South Africa.
Considering the uneven development of transit-related infrastructure in South Africa , the availability of disability-accessible public transportation varies across the country. A number of public bus companies in South Africa offer disability-accessible transport, sometimes bolstered by government funding. These include the following:. Trains and train stations in South Africa are generally accessible to those with limited mobility, although this is not uniformly the case.
Gautrain is a leader in transport accessibility in South Africa: all train stations are fully accessible and at least half of their bus fleet is, too. Many private companies offer accessible transportation as alternatives to the regular public offerings. Some municipalities in South Africa have started rolling out low-emission or emission-free buses, including Cape Town , Limpopo , and Tshwane.
However, obstacles remain when it comes to implementing a more environmentally-friendly transportation network; South African cities are plagued by poor urban planning and street design , with an insufficient amount of charging stations. Even still, public transportation is widely used in South Africa. Despite apocalyptic claims that a South African train journey is akin to begging to be robbed at gunpoint, millions of people experience a completely uneventful commute by train every single day.
Research suggests that even if train stations or bus stops are designed with public safety in mind, surrounding sidewalks or pathways in South African cities often lack proper lighting or paving and make female commuters feel less safe as a result. Minibus taxis have safety concerns of their own. While robberies are less likely, pickpocketing is not uncommon. Government regulation of minibus taxis remains limited ; as a result, there is little control over poor driving as well as vehicle maintenance, so accidents are commonplace.
Contacting a public transportation provider with a concern or complaint is, to put it mildly, difficult. Many of the government-owned public transportation services in South Africa have outdated websites that are often offline. However, GoMetro maintains a list of contact details for rail services in South Africa , which you can use in case of a complaint. For bus-related complaints, contact the bus company or municipality directly for further assistance.
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NOTE: These settings will only apply to the browser and device you are currently using. Search for:. Transportation in South Africa: trains, buses, and taxis. Last update on January 18, Written by Adam Nowek. Making a public transportation complaint in South Africa Useful resources Public transportation in South Africa For many locals, driving in South Africa is the only realistic option for the daily commute. Public transportation apps in South Africa Unfortunately, official websites and apps for many of the public transportation options in South Africa are limited, outdated, or even nonexistent.
There are a few of the alternative options for planning your next trip or daily commute, including the following: Traveling on any of the Metrorail networks? Forget the official website which never updates as well as their social media accounts which post about every single train departure : GoMetro has comprehensive Living in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, or Pretoria?
GauRider is a simple, Gauteng-focussed app for looking up departure times, planning itineraries, as well as tracking the credit on your Gautrain Card. GauRider is available for iOS. Moving Gauteng also provides route information, departure boards, and itinerary planners for a variety of public transportation services throughout Gauteng, including A Re Yeng, Gautrain, Harambee, Metrobus, Metrorail, Rea Vaya, and Tshwane Bus Services.
Taking the bus in Cape Town? Trains in South Africa South Africa is home to 23, kilometers of railway tracks that carry million passengers per year, the largest and busiest network in Africa. Train tickets and costs in South Africa Fares for train journeys are set by the operator.
Bus companies in Durban use a unified fare card known as Muvo ; Muvo also provides information on bus fares and timetables. A taxi in Cape Town South Africa has a wide selection of ride-hailing apps available, allowing users to hail either a taxi or another professional driver. Some of the most widely used ride-hailing apps in South Africa include the following: Bolt: services available in dozens of South African cities.
Patrons have an option between Royal, Deluxe and Pullman suites. The Royal suite has its own private lounge area and full bathroom with Victorian bath and separate shower, while a deluxe suite accommodates two passengers in either twin or double beds and has a lounge area and en-suite bathroom with shower. Finally, the Pullman suites are equipped with a comfortable sofa-seat during the day, with a conversion to double or twin beds for the evening, and also has an en-suite bathroom with shower.
And although Cairo was never meant to be, the Blue Train is still an experience that cannot be missed. Stepping onboard the Blue Train, you have the option of either booking a De Luxe suite or a Luxury suite. The elegant De Luxe suite lounges during the day and transforms into a bedroom at night with all the luxuries you might expect at a five star hotel. The Luxury suite adds an extra meter to your cabin space and includes a luxurious bath tub and a private digital interactive entertainment system.
The Ceres Railway track was completed in , at the turn of the 20th Century. Originally, the line was built using second hand material. Today, the Ceres Railway Company proudly preserves the South African Rail Heritage, which involves restoring and refurbishing old locomotives and coaches.
Currently, they have three trains: a Class 19D locomotive called Jessica , a Class 19B locomotive called Bailey and the very famous Red Devil which is a one-of-a-kind South African built Class During the last week in November, also known as cherry time in the Bokkeveld, you can take the train from Cape Town to the Cherry Festival happening in Ceres. Read more about this new market experience, here. I remember it clearly, as it was also the day that famous South African author, Andre Brink, passed away and I reflected on this true South African experience with nostalgia.
And although the Metro Rail is not known to be reliable, and is often times unsafe, it is definitely something to experience at least once. Free State-girl, living in Stellenbosch. Love to explore small towns, read in Afrikaans and everything pop-culture. My favourite yoga move is 'The Pigeon' and one day I'd like to own my own vintage cinema.
Hennie Heymans, Contents Welcome to Vol 1 No 1 Revised SAR Fire brigade on Rails Our railways are celebrating their first years of railways in South Africa. This Railway Gazette pays tribute to what the Railways in South Africa has achieved; we also take the opportunity to pay tribute to all the old antecedent railway companies and the rail pioneers in Southern Africa.
The Railways has been in the forefront to build up the country and to act as national carriers to the people of Southern Africa. Clifford-Jones Below are some pictures dated July of the first electric locomotives being landed in South Africa at Durban:. An interesting period of my service occurred during the electrification of the Natal railway from Glencoe to Maritzburg2. Headquarters of this original undertaking was at Colenso.
Prior to the electrification Colenso was a village with a couple of Indian stores, a hotel of the ancient type with store attached, a Police Station with two European members, and a Railway Station. A couple of tumble down houses with equally tumble down residents complete the picture. In a few days Colenso blossomed out into a roaring community somewhat similar to a construction camp when the3 [Concluded on page ] Canadian Pacific Railway was taken across the continent of Canada.
Men began to arrive from all parts of the world. Contracts were held by firms whose headquarters were in England, America or on the continent of Europe. Others blew in from South America. Many arrived from Europe. Hundreds of men were employed in a variety of jobs and thousands of native labourers accompanied them.
Colenso developed into a canvas town. Barbells, tailors, butchers, fish shops, restaurants opened in canvas houses. Wood and iron huts shot up in a night. Every stiff in South Africa flocked in. On the afternoon of the first pay day, outside the only hotel in the main street, a public fight started. It was a free for all. Anyone could join. I watched, helpless to stop it. One Policeman was with me. I did the only thing possible. Closed the pub and let them get on with it. A limb or two were broken.
An eye or two gouged out. They fought themselves to a standstill, and the majority crawled away on to the open spaces to lick their wounds and sleep it off. The old Natal Liquor Law did not operate on private land. With so much money kicking about, the usual crowd of parasites, European and native, gathered for the harvest.
Every month-end after that first pay day, I had as many as sixty police on duty in Colenso. Detachments of C. Police cases increased from a dozen to hundreds a month and a special court sat regularly. A second hotel was run up and filled immediately.
A native beer canteen licence was recommended by me. It was better to have all the native crooks where we could find them when we wanted them, and the shebeens diminished in consequence. The Railway authorities relieved me of all responsibility in respect of their property and compounds, and this eased me of that part of the job. They also accepted my advice to bring all their money at month-ends by train under strong Police escort, and for three years we supplied two men in uniform every month to travel with the pay train.
When Goosen4 escaped from Fordsburg we were on the look-out for him. A Colenso storekeeper rang me up one day and said a European was going from store to store, taking what he wanted and when asked for payment would threateningly put his hand to his back pocket as if he intended to pull out a gun.
The town, according to my informant, was being more or less held up by this individual. Thoroughly windy he was. I asked him why he hadn't reported the matter to the local Police. They thought the matter was too serious for them. I had to go to a meeting with Railway Officials that afternoon at Colenso and, as I had Goosen in mind, I didn't want the local Police to get into any difficulty or flush the bird. Goosen had an unpleasant habit of shooting members of the Force.
I sent two C. It might be necessary to hang on to him in one of the bars and lead him on a bit, until a favourable opportunity offered. They found him in a bar and got into conversation with him. When I came from the meeting, I saw the two C. They were on perfectly friendly terms and having a. The C. Spotting me, one of my men came out and quickly reported that, by the visible tattoo marks, it was Goosen. I told them to work the man outside on some pretext and move along the road into a lonely part.
We didn't want any fuss, and they had no justification to arrest him on any other matter than suspicion that he was Goosen. I had no arms with me but slipped over to the Police Station and got a Webley pistol. The three came out of the pub arguing.
They moved along the road a bit. Then the suspect got in front of them and entered a coloured man's shoe repairing shop. The suspect's back was to the door of the shop. It was obvious; however, that by his conduct on being searched, and the way he held his arms that he had been inside before. We took him to the Station, stripped him and checked up on his tattoo marks. He was covered in tattooing and many of the designs agreed with the description of Goosen's. Finger prints were taken and despatched and in the meantime he was held on a minor charge, pending notification.
He turned out not to be Goosen, but had nevertheless a pretty list of "previous," and picking him up as we did doubtless prevented a serious crime of some sort or other. When liberated he made for the Coast as fast as he could go.
No more Colenso for him. His bluff had been called. I remember a whole heap more than what I have committed to paper, but much of what I. One engine driver lived at Van Reenen and he was well known to my Oupa Heymans — the Engine Driver had the sole source of water in the hamlet of Van Reenen and he sold water to the inhabitants.
Every day he brought up a few nicely dressed sand stone blocks from the foot of the pass, on the footplate to build with. Bloemfontein shunt One lazy hot Sunday afternoon we were in Bloemfontein. We were sleeping in the train and we received a subsistence allowance for food. However we could not buy food as there were no catering facilities on the train or any nearby shops.
Fortunately for me we could watch the many trains shunting in Bloemfontein. Soon I was friendly with the driver and visited him on the footplate. Bad photos are better than no photos — however today we have the good memories and some bad photos of that memorable day:. The original was obtained during c. There was no information available about this coach in the museum.
Coach built by Brown and Marshall, Birmingham, A photo thereof with a request for further information appeared in the SA Rail and Harbours. No information was offered. Stepping onboard the Blue Train, you have the option of either booking a De Luxe suite or a Luxury suite. The elegant De Luxe suite lounges during the day and transforms into a bedroom at night with all the luxuries you might expect at a five star hotel.
The Luxury suite adds an extra meter to your cabin space and includes a luxurious bath tub and a private digital interactive entertainment system. The Ceres Railway track was completed in , at the turn of the 20th Century. Originally, the line was built using second hand material. Today, the Ceres Railway Company proudly preserves the South African Rail Heritage, which involves restoring and refurbishing old locomotives and coaches.
Currently, they have three trains: a Class 19D locomotive called Jessica , a Class 19B locomotive called Bailey and the very famous Red Devil which is a one-of-a-kind South African built Class During the last week in November, also known as cherry time in the Bokkeveld, you can take the train from Cape Town to the Cherry Festival happening in Ceres.
Read more about this new market experience, here. I remember it clearly, as it was also the day that famous South African author, Andre Brink, passed away and I reflected on this true South African experience with nostalgia. And although the Metro Rail is not known to be reliable, and is often times unsafe, it is definitely something to experience at least once.
Free State-girl, living in Stellenbosch. Love to explore small towns, read in Afrikaans and everything pop-culture. My favourite yoga move is 'The Pigeon' and one day I'd like to own my own vintage cinema. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Go that extra Meyl The famous and colourful Shosholoza Meyl is your best bet when it comes to travelling long distances at a reasonable price. View this post on Instagram. Our take on the Spice Route Destination January 20,
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