Taking A Train From Jozi To Table Mountain


Thinking of taking a trip to Cape Town but can’t afford to fork out around R2000 for a flight? We have a solution for you. For a third of the price you can get a return ticket on the train. It’s a lot cooler than you think. Read on.

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It’s been said that the best way to travel is by rail. From the Trans-Serbian Express to the Palace On Wheels in India, taking the train is an experience and a half. But before you shoot down the South African rail system, we’ve come to show you that it’s not nearly as bad as it’s been portrayed to be.

Transnet (previously Spoornet) became famous for its luxury rail lines, most notably the Blue Train which runs from Cape Town to Johannesburg. The Blue Line – as it’s known – has been compared to some of the best luxury trains in the world, and the 1,600 kilometres trip has become a popular tourist attraction. But, of course, the cost is much less steeper than its two hour trip counterpart.

This is where the Shosholoza Meyl rail service comes into the picture. Shosholoza Meyl is so named after the long distance train that used to bring the mail and migrant workers home from the city, and which became referred to as The Meyl, a localisation of the word ‘mail’.

This rail service promises an A class experience for less than the price of an airfare. It may take the greater part of a day to get to Cape Town, but it’s all about the experience. You get to see the country in a completely different way. The bunk beds are comfortable, the compartments are clean and all you have to do is bring the trimmings to make the trip unforgettable. When we take the train we pack sandwiches and snacks, some ice cold drinks and, of course, we buy a bucket of Chicken Licken before we board the train. It’s these little things that turns the trip into an unforgettable and relaxing experience.

The train stops at a handful of stations, some of which are situated in small towns that you’ve never even heard of. The thrill of seeing Table Mountain upon arrival is on par with getting a Playstation for Christmas. Booking is easy and can be done on Shosholoza Meyl’s website. You can even take your car with you if you’re so inclined. There are two classes to choose from: Passenger Class for those travelling a shorter distance and Tourist Class for those travelling all the way to the Mother City. In Tourist Class, passengers have a choice of either a coupe that accommodates two people, or a compartment that can take up to four people. During the day the compartment/coupe are suites and at night they are converted into bedrooms, complete with hot and cold running water.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets today and enjoy the ride.

By Shawn Greyling

Have you taken the train to Cape Town before? Let us know what you thought of the trip in the comments section below. Planning a rail trip? Then share this article with friends and family on social media.

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14 thoughts on “Taking A Train From Jozi To Table Mountain

  1. Myself and two friends took the train from JHB to CT in 2011 and the most daunting part was hanging around in Park Station…the train was awesome! we had a compartment…I don’t remember having access to water inour compartment though as bathrooms are shared facilities at the end of the carriage….you need tme though as it relies on Transnet and our trip was 29 hours in the end with many delays in the Karroo, especially one over an hour just so that the Blue train could pass…so go with spare time…but fantastic FUN experience… premiere classe to Durban even better if short on time…

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  2. I took a train trip From Johannesburg to Cape Town with my Family , we were 9 in Total , it was an amazing awesome ride , From the time we got to the train station in JHB, we were greeted by a beautiful smile from An Old man who carried our bags up to the Train , to the Welcome SMS we received welcoming us on board , introducing us to our train manager Rhoda Nkosi , who later came in greeted us and introduced her self , to the maintenance team who made sure that the train was well kept trough out , we had a wonderful Journey on the 27/Dec/2017 TO 28/Dec/2017 that’s when we arrived. Thank You Shosholoza Mail

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  3. Took the train to CT and back in December 2015. Was a good experience, except for the fact that there is always delays. Ensure that you carry enough food/drinks/money for the journey and that you are not in a hurry to get to the destination. Other then that it was a pleasant trip.

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  4. this article is written by a marketing person… not someone who travels on the train. The train is ALWAYS delayed! Normally over 5 hours. No or very little information is given.

    Compartments are generally not that clean.

    There is no wifi. Thee is no charging stations for phones. They don’t let you use the ones in the dining cart.

    The staff sit around chatting to each other all the time.

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    1. Heya Nigel

      I can assure you that this was not written by a marketing person. As an avid traveller In SA, I’ve cut my teeth on the railway system at a young and have always had an amazing experience. I am sorry to learn that yours have not been on par. It takes one bad experience to ruin something like this.

  5. For the last 4 years I am trying to do this trip in December. When I call they tell me bookings open on the 1st of August. When I call on the 1st August, they tell you they are fully booked!

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    1. Heya Mariana

      Yeah, I’ve had the same problem with my travels. The problem is that these trips are super popular so as soon as bookings open, we miss it… Apparently bookings need to be (or can be made) three months in advance. I hope you get sorted. Have you checked out their online booking forms? It saves a lot of hassle by booking online.

  6. We have travelled on both the Shosoloza Meyl and the Premier Classe trains. For the journey south schedule your trip on a Tuesday and north trip on the Thursday. the newer set of trains are used. The meals served in the dinning car is devine. Prepared by ex Premier Classe chefs. They are busy re -training the staff . We make use of Yvette Lawton for our bookings and will gladly assist with her number. Yup time delays are bad, but we always allow extra time for arriving late at our desination

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  7. Well…we went on a different trip to East London with them. The train derailed after leavin one of the stations. Late as someone has said already. What was the worst about this is that they put everybody on Putco busses back home!!! Really?? I paid to have the sleeping experience wanted to be off the SA roads feeling safe. Not putting my and my children’s life in danger in a uncomfortable Putco bus squeezing and sitting next to others breathing in my neck. Not a nice end at all!

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  8. Imagine if this country had a GOOD railway system. Imagine a trip from Durban to Cape Town. Imagine all the employment opportunities!! Imagine……

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