The smell of fresh grass, bursts of warm spring air fanning your face at the window, and visions of endless green scenery, framed by mountains.
On the 1 October 2016 at 6:30am, my friend and I made our way to the Royal Cape Yacht Club at the Table Bay harbour, to begin our Steam train ride adventure, en-route Ceres.
We boarded the Ceres Steam Train ( of the Ceres Rail Company) at 7am, after being mesmorised at the majestic size and design of the pulsing red colour and the 20th century architecture .The train pays its dues to South Africa’s heritage, being built in the 20th century and completed in 1912. Passengers are given a taste of a 100-year history, coupled with a modern twist.
We were in awe of the interior set-up of the train, as we entered. Being used to the set up of Metro Rail trains ( two and three-seater couches facing each other, usually worn with graffiti on the walls), traveling to work everyday, I was deeply impressed.
In each carriage, there were luxurious couches and chairs, perfect for dozing or relaxing for the duration of the trip. There were big windows along either side of the carriages, with the option to slide it up, to look at the scenery during the journey.
Finally settling on a comfortable two-seater couch, close to a large window with a perfect view, we sat down excitedly and after a short while we heard the familiar ‘ choo choo’ sound that we only ever heard in movies, followed by the ‘chug-chug’ sound. The realisation that we were in an actual steam train finally hit us and we were off.
We probably shouldn’t have for safety reasons, but we couldn’t resist taking turns sticking our heads out the window after watching the views . There really is nothing like the smell of acres of trees and fynbos, images of grazing animals and a cool breeze fanning your face.
Although the magic of being aboard an actual steam train doesn’t become tiresome, if you become restless, there is a quaint little area on the train, which is used as a mini coffee shop. Although pricey, there were tasty muffins and coffee on sale for breakfast. There is an open bar for the duration of the trip though and passengers are able to hydrate according to their preference, throughout the trip, at no extra cost.
Some of the picturesque areas the train passed were the Paarl Wineland areas, Wolseley, Mitchell’s Pass and Wellington. There aren’t any stops besides Wellington, where the train is filled with water. The hues of green and yellows that flashed past the windows as the train steamed passed farms, reminded me of a flawless painting.
Finally, after many, many breathtaking views and photo opportunities, we arrived at the Ceres Golf Course where lunch was to be served. Long tables were set up inside a small hall and outside, where you could choose either option to enjoy your lunch at. Be sure to notify the staff ahead of time about any eating preferences ( vegetarian, halaal etc.)
The Golf course was endless open green land, trees and relaxation. Passengers enjoyed a leisurely lunch in Ceres for two hours, before boarding the train again. The ride home was just as relaxing and many passengers dozed off to the soft whistling of the train and soft warm breeze that flowed through the carriages.
The Ceres Rail Company put a trip together that is great for a group of friends, an interesting date, family time or a mini getaway.Although it sounds like a simple trip in a train, it’s nothing but. It truly was an adventure and something to add to your bucket list. Just imagine the views during winter, with the mountains capped in snow.
For more information:
The Ceres Steam Train runs every second weekend and the costs per one way trip are as follows:
· Adults 13y+ – R400pp
· Children 2y-12y – R250pp
· Infants 0-2y – free of charge since they will be on laps
The dates for the remainder of 2016 are below:
Fridays: 14 Oct | 28 Oct | 11 Nov | 25 Nov | 9 Dec | 30 Dec |
Ceres to Cape Town departing 10:30am
Saturdays: | 1 Oct | 15 Oct | 29 Oct | 12 Nov | 26 Nov | 10 Dec | 31 Dec |
Cape Town to Ceres departing 07:30am
Lunch at Ceres Golf Estate (additional cost: R150pp adults / R50pp children)
Ceres to Cape Town departing 14:00pm
Sundays: 16 Oct | 30 Oct | 13 Nov | 27 Nov | 11 Dec | 1 Jan ‘17|
Cape Town to Ceres departing 09:30am
To book your tickets – book and pay online here: http://www.ceresrail.co.za/book/