• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

South Africa’s Blue Train just became slower – But in a Good Way

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Vicki Tester

 

In 2019 South Africa’s Blue train relaunched its classic train journey between Pretoria and Cape Town (in either direction) now making this a two-night experience. This will allow guests to relax more and soak up the scenery. The Blue Train has always been considered the epitome of luxury, hospitality and leisure.

The train now departs at 4pm and arrives at its destination at 10:30 two days later. The cabins compare well with the finest hotels, with en suite bathroom or shower (depending on level of cabin you choose) and the attention of your personal butler. The Observation Cat at the end of the train has windows on 3 sides allowing you to make the most of the passing scenery.

There is also a 2 ½ hour ‘off train’ excursion to the Kimberley Open Mine Museum and visit to the Big Hole.

This journey would make a great addition to any trip to South Africa and a wonderful way to see part of this amazing country. If you would like to find out more then please contact us.

 

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Rovos Rail is 30 Years old

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

For all lovers of iconic train journeys, a trip aboard one of Rovos Rails trains to different parts of Southern Africa is a must. As at the end this month the company will have been operating for 30 years and is offering eight trips around Southern Africa; varying in length from 48 hours to 15 days. At any given time, the Company will be offering 5 out of the 8 journeys will be running. In addition, they have taken over, and overhauled, Shongololo Express to add to their portfolio.

 

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

The trains are exceptional to look at, comfortable to travel in and offer a service that is second to none. You are well looked after the moment you arrive at the station of departure – bags whipped away to be unpacked in your cabin/suite while you have a welcome drink and introduction to a Rovos Rail trip. They stop at many of Southern Africa’s outstanding sites and offer you a tour around – be it the Big Hole at Kimberley or a National Park in the countries visited.

It is a perfect way to celebrate an occasion or to see a country from a different perspective. Please contact us for further details.

 

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Train trips in Alaska

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

If you have been watching Michael Portillo travelling on the trains in Alaska recently, you will have gathered how diverse and wonderful a State (country almost) it is. It truly is a destination in its own right and adding a cruise up the Inner Passage ensures a holiday full of contrast.

This destination should be on anyone’s bucket list and if it is near the top just give us a call to get the plan started contact us

Picture courtesy of All Alaska Tours

Sydney to the Hunter Valley Wine Region by Rail

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Vicki Tester

 

If you are planning a holiday to Australia and fancy visiting the Hunter Valley but are not keen on self drive, then why not include a rail trip in your itinerary?

You can travel to the Hunter Valley, which takes about three hours by express train, from Sydney Central Station. Along the way you will only experience seven stops. The modern trains are very comfortable and feature an on board café and toilets. Large windows offer views of the stunning scenery throughout your journey.

The package would include:

  • Return train tickets from Sydney’s Central Railway Station to Singleton Station
  • Meet and Greet transfers to and from Singleton Railway Station via private Mercedes
  • Two nights’ accommodation in a choice of guestrooms and cottages at the Hunter Valley Resort.
  • Onsite Vineyard Tour followed by a private tasting with a Cellarmaster
  • Hunter Wine Theatre experience showing the onsite winery in action followed by wine tasting
  • Accommodation, breakfast, and wine activities are included in the package.

Picture courtesy of Hunter Valley Resort

Hunter Valley Resort is a superb country inn or lodge with 35 rooms and cottages surrounded by 70 acres of countryside and 50 year old shiraz vineyards.

Whilst there see the Hunter Wine Theatre Experience, explore and enjoy the facilities in the resort, visit the Brewery, souvenir shops, go bike riding, visit local wineries and a cheese factory, try a segway, horse riding, enjoy a relaxing massage in the Hunter Valley Heaven Massage Centre, take a carriage ride, play tennis, or go swimming – there really is something for everyone!

 

Picture courtesy of Hunter Valley Resort

Picture courtesy of Hunter Valley Resort

Picture courtesy of Hunter Valley Resort

Picture courtesy of Hunter Valley Resort

Picture courtesy of Hunter Valley Resort

New African Rail Route announced by Rovos Rail

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail, one of our favourite carriers for that ”extraordinary” way to see Africa, have just announced a new 15 day trip that takes in Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. It has taken patient diplomatic negotiations to arrange permissions along the whole route and it has taken over 2 years.

The inaugural trip sets off on July 16, 2019 from Dar es Salaam (a city familiar to Rovos Rail as it has been running its 15-day Cape to Dar trip since 1993), and includes a game visit in the Selous Reserve, a fly-in two-night safari in the South Luangwa National Park (Zambia) and a city tour of Lubumbashi (DRC). Thereafter, it joins the Benguela line for short walking tours detailing Angola’s recent history with journey’s end in Lobito. The voyage is available in reverse departing from Lobito (Angola) on August 2, 2019.

Rates, which start at US$12 820 per person sharing, vary according to suite type and are fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, all alcoholic and other beverages, room service, laundry, an on-board historian and doctor as well as excursions and the fly-in two-night safari (accommodation, meals, bottled water and a limited wine selection). Not included are pre- or post-tour accommodation, flights and transfers.

A wonderful way to see parts of Africa that are often difficult to access or combine. Give us a call to be one of the first to experience this amazing train journey – it will fill fast and places are limited.

If you would like to find out more and incorporate this in your own bespoke tailor made trip then please contact us for further details on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

 

Travel in Style across Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Travelling across Peru in style has become easier with the launch of the Andean Explorer Train. This is seriously comfortable train travel with your own cabin and off train excursions to some of Peru’s most iconic sites. The journey has the following itinerary:

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Day 1

Board the train in the ancient city of Arequipa, settle in to your cabin and acclimatise to the unforgettable style of the train as you start the journey towards Puno. Join your fellow travellers in the bar car before sitting down to a refined Andean dinner in the dinner car. All the while the scenery changes as you settle in to luxury train travel

Day 2

The sun will be rising over Lake Titicaca as you awake and then head for breakfast before a day of exploration. Time to explore the world’s highest navigable lake, firstly in a traditional boat out to Uros, a man made island constructed of interwoven reeds. The people that live on the island also construct their homes, ships and tools from the same reeds.

From here you will head to Taquile Island with its stunning terraced agricultural strips. The inhabitants here live by the same social code that has been in place for the past centuries. Their hand woven fabrics are regarded as the best in Peru. Enjoy lunch on the Collata Beach followed by a performance of local dancers and a chance to watch artisans at work.

Return to the train for a delicious tea and relax as the train heads towards to Cusco.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Day 3

Breakfast this morning is accompanied by stunning views as the train heads sets off from Marangani. You will have an off train excursion to Raqch’I archaeological site of a once important Inca settlement.

 

All too soon you will be arriving At Cusco, the former Inca capital. Time to bid farewell to the train crew and the start of your next Peruvian adventure.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Kenya Railways – Nairobi to Mombasa or Vice Versa

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Vicki Tester

 

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, launched the revitalised/ new Standard Gauged Railway between Nairobi and Mombasa last week. This has cut the travelling time to just over 4 hours for the trip and with prices set at US$9-00 for economy class and US$30 for First Class this has become a real alternative to flying or buses.

There are plans to include a Business class carriage as well but these have yet to be delivered from China.

 

Kenya Lion

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

This gives travellers another option for travel between thee two popular cities but you could also use the train for access to Tsavo East and West National Parks and the Taita Hills with the train stopping at Voi and Mtito Andei. Providing the service is maintained this is another way to see this beautiful country without the experience of some of the rough roads.

For expert advice on your tailor made holiday to Kenya call us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Zimbabwe and Rovos Rail

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis. Very often we are asked for ideas for a special occasion, a significant birthday or a holiday that is different and memorable. It always has us throwing ideas around the office and arguing the merits of locations and experiences around the world. However there are always one or two front runners and Rovos Rail is one of those.

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Rovos Rail

Very often we are asked for ideas for a special occasion, a significant birthday or a holiday that is different and memorable. It always has us throwing ideas around the office and arguing the merits of locations and experiences around the world. However there are always one or two front runners and Rovos Rail is one of those.

Day 1: Victoria Falls

Day 2: Hwange National Park

Day 5: Victoria Falls

Day 6: Rovos Rail

Day 9: Pretoria

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Description

 

Synonymous with style, elegance and destinations that cannot fail to catch the imagination, Rovos takes you to all the key places in Southern Africa and further afield. The moment that they meet you on the platform (or in Pretoria in their very own station) you can relax in the knowledge that everything has been meticulously planned. You can lock your wallet in the safe in your suite as everything is covered, including the interesting and exciting off train excursions. The food, wine and service are of the highest quality – all you have to do is enjoy it. You need to experience a journey with Rovos to know why they claim to be the most luxurious train in the world and their repeat clients will be willing to back their claim. Nor are their prices ridiculous and with the strengthening Pound they are becoming more and more a “must do” holiday.

Day 1: Victoria Falls

Arrive in Victoria Falls – on the Zimbabwe side, and stay overnight here. Take time to over the falls.

One night Victoria Falls

Day 2: Hwange National Park

Travel by road into Hwange National Park. This Park has some 40,000 elephant and all of the other Big 5 to seek out as well as wild dog and sable antelope. The bird life is spectacular, particularly as the rainy season arrives, with migrants arriving and the birds producing their courting plumage.

Three nights Hwange National Park

Day 5: Victoria Falls

Head back to Victoria Falls, still with the chance of game viewing as you go. Make your way to the entrance to the Victoria Falls and the 15 odd points to see one of Natures Seven Wonders. The amount of water coming over the Falls, and how wet you get, does depend upon the time of year. If you want to see the Falls in full flood, then you need to be here in April and May.

One night Victoria Falls

Day 6: Rovos Rail

You have most of the day to explore Victoria Falls or take part in one of the many activities around here before making your way to the railway station to board the Rovos Rail Train that leaves in the afternoon. You will be handing yourself over to an expert team that deliver nothing but first class service. From the moment you arrive and your bags are whisked away to your cabin and a glass of sparkling wine is placed in your hand instead, you know that you will be able to relax and enjoy “The Most Luxurious Train in the World”. Watch the world pass by either in your cabin or in the comfort of the lounge and observation cars.

Three nights Rovos Rail

Day 9: Pretoria

An early start to the day as you head in to Pretoria and Rovos Rail’s very own station. The last couple of miles will be with a steam engine taking you in to your final destination. From here, head to Johannesburg for the onward or homeward journey.

Photographs Copyright of Peter Ellis

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Belmond Andean Explorer – Peru

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Vicki Tester

 

Belmond have announced the arrival of an incredible new train journey in Peru – launching in May 2017 the Andean Explorer could be a fantastic addition to your holiday in the region.

 A carefully curated selection of four journeys will include ‘Peruvian Highlands’, a two night, three day journey departing from Cusco to Puno, where guests will be able to visit the remote villages and floating islands on Lake Titicaca, and then onwards to Arequipa, including a chance to stop and explore Colca Canyon, the realm of the condor. A shorter option, fully inclusive of all meals, an open bar and scheduled excursions, will be the ‘Spirit of the Andes’ journey, crossing the Altiplano between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca.  

Picture copyright to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture copyright to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture credited to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

Inside the train you will be met by personal luxury cabins where you can relax along your journey, a lounge car for you to relax with friends and family, two dining rooms serving locally sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes and an observation car with an open deck so you can make the most of the ever changing landscape.

 

 

 

 If you would like to find out more or add this glorious train journey to your own bespoke, tailor made itinerary then please contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Picture copyright Belmont - Inge Moore

Picture copyright to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

Ride the Train across Canada

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Just imagine! Three nights and four days crossing Canada’s vast expanses while train staff look after you in style.  A delicious meal with the northern lakes rolling by; or a  360-degree view of the golden prairies and then an aperitif at the foot of the Rockies. These are just some of the pleasures that await you on board the Canadian, VIA Rail’s great transcontinental train.

You wake up and open the curtains to be greeted by the majestic Rocky Mountains slowly emerging from a veil of clouds. You prepare quickly for breakfast, spurred on by the gentle rocking of the train and the promise of freshly brewed coffee.

After leisurely savouring your breakfast omelette, you collect your book and head to the Skyline car. There, you can sip your drink, read, socialize… and scan the panoramic view for a glimpse of elk moving across the valley.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

The Toronto-Vancouver train, which takes four days to travel between one of Canada’s largest cities and the Pacific Coast, lets you see the breadth of the country like never before.

Take in boreal forests reflecting on the surface of the Great Lakes; Prairie sunsets painting vast skies in shades of fire and Mountain peaks towering above as the train winds through the Rockies.

Choose the relaxing ambience and attentive service of budget travel in Economy class, or upgrade to the pleasures of a cosy bed, a gourmet table and exclusive access to stylish lounges in Sleeper Touring class.

Add on time to explore at either end of your bespoke tailor made journey and you will have a holiday that will give you a good flavour of Canada.

To get started on your bespoke tailor made Canada holiday please call us on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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