Please read the following thoroughly as it answers normally asked questions by prospective clients/passengers in advance.
Why travel on JB Train Tours holiday train tours?
It is Comfortable, Affordable, Safe, Fun-filled & Nostalgic
- You don’t get lost – we do the routing and driving
- You won’t be affected by petrol price increases – our tour price remains as advertised
- Tour guides/leaders travel with you
- You relive the nostalgia of travelling by train
- It is safe and secure
- You return from holiday with no post-holiday stress or tiredness
- We do the planning, booking and organising – you just travel along
- Because travelling by train is ‘lekker’!
When last did you listen to the ‘click-clack’ sound of the train’s wheels on the iron track?
When last did you taste the sumptuous ‘Railway’ meals?
When was the last time you’ve slept on a train…or experienced the peace of the Karoo while watching the sunset and the kilometres rolling by?
JB Train Tours relives these experiences on different train tours to various destinations in Southern Africa. Some of these trips are exclusive to our passengers on tour.
We host budget, upmarket and luxury train tours.
For more information on the upmarket and luxury train tours or contact our offices.
The pace of our train tours is slow and convenient, thus all ages would be able to enjoy it. We don’t rush from Point A to Point B, but we still visit all the places worthwhile seeing. You will discover interesting places you’ve never heard of before!
Lately train holidays have become one of the most affordable and comfortable ways of travelling. We organise it and you sit back, relax and enjoy. No more holiday planning, looking for the best accommodation, driving long distances, getting lost, petrol & toll gate increases, eating poor food, worrying about safety and all these nibbling issues. We’ll add value to your life in a pleasant, relaxing and safe way.
Southern Africa still has so much to offer and we want to show it to you. See our country from a different point of view. We go where cars normally don’t and can’t go.
JB Train Tours used to offer chartered train tours, for quite a number of years, from Gauteng (Pretoria and Johannesburg) to various destinations across Southern Africa.
On June 1st, 2006, Transnet announced that no more Charter trains would run from 1 January 2007. Hence, we had to look for and find alternative means of taking our passengers to their holiday destinations. We have succeeded in doing so by organising some new tours and maintained some of our long-standing tours. The main difference now is that once we have arrived at our destination, we sleep off the train & we travel on the scheduled Shosholoza Meyl trains.
Our Company now utilises Shosholoza Meyl’s (the government’s train & service provider) Tourist Class trains. I.e.: The Trans Karoo, Trans Orange, Trans Natal & Algoa, as well as the upmarket Premier Classe train, the luxurious Shongololo Express train (belonging to Rovos Rail) as well as the legendary, famous & ultra-luxurious Blue Train.
The majority of the rolling stock (Shosholoza Meyl’s carriages, wagons, coaches, locomotives, etc.) are fairly old and in need of an upgrade and proper maintenance – including hygiene.
We invite you to travel with us and would like to welcome you on board. You would most likely feel like a stranger when you board the train but when you get off you will be part of the “bigger train family”.
This page gives you general information about the train, the tours, as well as all the arrangements made. Each tour has got its’ unique atmosphere, qualities, highlights, fun and experiences. There is a detailed Tour Information Document for each train tour available.
General Information – Questions and Answers:
|Who may travel along?:||Any person who loves a train trip and holiday, who wants to travel safely, loves tasty food, doesn’t want to drive long distances anymore or get lost and wants to explore new destinations. A Train Holiday is a joyful and fun filled experience. Book NOW to reserve your place on a tour.|
|Dates:||Each tour has its own unique date. Please see the Year Programme and Tour Information Documents.|
|Times:||The various tours depart at different times. Please see the relevant tour information|
|Running Times & Routes:||PRASA, Shosholoza Meyl and Transnet schedule the running times of the trains. JB Train Tours cannot be held liable for any delays due to trains or buses not running to schedule. Off-train excursions cannot be guaranteed and will only be undertaken if time and circumstances permit. Departure and arrival times are approximate and cannot be guaranteed. Trains often run late. Sometimes very late. We reserve the right to alter our routing at any time between departure and arrival points without giving notice if the situation warrants it. We do not arrange alternative transport if a train or buses run late.|
|Accommodation:||You sleep on the train whilst travelling – unless otherwise advertised in the relevant Information Document. It is provided in a 4-bed Compartment or 2-bed Coupe. You determine how many passengers per compartment, according to the price structure per person. We accommodate our budget tour passengers in upmarket hotels & lodges, as well as in hostels, guest houses and B&B’s.|
|Compartment:||A Compartment (cabin) consists of 4 bunker beds (two top & two bottom beds)(sorry, no double beds available), a basin, storage space for your luggage, a convertible table, hanging and packing space for clothes. There is normally a step ladder per carriage available.|
|Coupe:||A Coupe exists of 2 bunker beds (the one bed above the other). The rest is the same as for a compartment. There is normally a step ladder per carriage available.|
|Bedding:||Shosholoza Meyl provides sufficient bedding (2 blankets, 2 sheets, & 1 pillow per person) on the train. See the relevant tour’s Info Doc. The colour, complexion and quality of material of bedding vary from train to train. Some are colourful whilst others would be a dull grey or blue! Please bring your own towel & an extra blanket in winter. It can get VERY cold on a train.|
|Hygiene and cleanliness:||The hygiene, cleaning and maintenance on the train, as well as the outside of the train, is the responsibility of Shosholoza Meyl. The tour operator and its staff are NOT allowed to clean the train before or during a trip! We endeavour during our regular meetings with Shosholoza Meyl to continuously emphasize that all trains MUST be cleaned & maintained. When any passenger is not satisfied with the condition of any train it should be reported to the Train Manager on the train for immediate action & reporting purposes.|
|Meals:||Meals are included as per the relevant tour’s Information Document and is a set menu. Enjoy a glass of wine with your meal in the air-conditioned dining car or lounge. We receive many favourable compliments for the meals served on our tours.|
|Location of major train stations:||
You are welcome to contact us for directions.
Passenger trains from Johannesburg running ‘South’ (to Cape Town or PE) or ‘East’ (to Durban) do not depart from Pretoria anymore as from 1st July 2006.
|Note:||PTA to JHB on Gautrain = 35 minutes and = +-R80 pp|
|Parking at Johannesburg station:||Covered parking at the station at +-R45 per night per vehicle. The entrance is corner of Leyds & Loveday Streets, close to the Rotunda building. GPS: S 26° 11.755’ E 28° 02.404’ (This is not included in your tour package). Open air parking and drop off at Rissik Street parking at station. GPS: 26° 11.785’ E 28° 02.462’|
|Note:||As from July 2006, the trains do NOT depart from Pretoria anymore. We recommend you make use of the Gautrain (As from August 2011) running from Hatfield in Pretoria, via PTA main station, Centurion, Midrand, Marlboro, Sandton, Rosebank as well as from ORTIA (JHB Airport) and Rhodesfield (Kempton Park) to Jo’burg’s Park station (from where our train tours depart). (This is not included in your tour package).|
|Parking at Durban station:||Open air parking at the station at no charge. Entry to the Station & Platform is off Masabalala Yengwa Ave (previously NMR Road) into Jelf Taylor Street, up the ramp, turn left at the top and right after 50 meters. Main entrance (glass doors) is in front of you. GPS: S 29° 50.748’ E 31° 01.388’ (This is not included in your tour package).|
|Parking at Cape Town station:||Limited covered parking is available at the Fountains Hotel in Adderley Street at +-R50 per car per day. The hotel is right opposite CPT’s station. (This is not included in your tour package).|
|Transport to the station:||JB Train Tours does not organise transport for individuals to the station but we can help you to arrange it. Please contact us.|
|Tour price:||Please see the relevant tour’s information.|
|Tour price increases:||The tour price will remain as advertised for a whole year, unless one or more of the service providers increases their price substantially more than the national CPI. In such a case the tour price could increase without notice to the public. I.e.: Shosholoza Meyl increased their train ticket prices by 30% effective 1st April 2012. We had to make adjustments on our tour package prices.|
|Discount:||Group bookings are welcome. Discount is applicable for group bookings of 20 and more passengers on certain tours.|
|Free Pass Holders:||As from 22nd May 2009, ex & retired Spoornet & Transnet employees may NOT use their Free Pass vouchers on JB Train Tours anymore. There was a tax directive from SARS on it.|
|Booking Form:||Please complete the Booking Forms in full, (your e-mail address and cell phone number are both very helpful) and reserve your place on an unforgettable train tour. Remember to post, fax or email your bank deposit slip with the Booking Form.|
|Note:||NO telephonic bookings are done NOR are places ‘provisionally kept’ for anybody. Only written & fully completed Reservation Forms are accepted.|
|NB!||Write your Initials, Surname and tour number at Ref./Verw. on the Bank deposit slip before you deposit the money. Both the Booking Form and Bank Deposit Slip must be e-mailed, faxed or posted together to us.|
|Deposit:||A Non-refundable deposit is payable when you make a booking. The balance must be paid by the latest six weeks before the tour departs. See the relevant Information Document per tour to see the applicable amount.|
|Note!||Your booking will be cancelled automatically without further communication if your balance is not paid on time. Normally latest six weeks before departure date.|
|Our Banking details:||See at the bottom of the Booking Form. Payments can be made by EFT into our bank account. Credit card facilities are available via Snapscan. See details on the tour’s Info Doc.|
|Confirmation:||Your tour booking will be confirmed in writing by us once your money deposited reflects in our bank account. If you have not received it within a week, please enquire with us.|
|Cancellation of tour:||If the tour should be cancelled for whatever reason by JB Train Tours, prior to departure of the tour, your tour fees paid will be refunded. You are allowed to cancel, in writing, up to six weeks before the tour departs. (See ‘Deposit’ above). Thereafter you are responsible for the full outstanding amount. Remember, the deposit is not refundable.|
|Insurance:||As a rule we highly recommend our passengers to arrange comprehensive travel insurance once booked for a tour to cover all possible losses, injuries, cancellations, change in mode of transport, etc.*|
|Travel Insurance:||The Automobile Association (AA), through Regent Insurance, renders a ‘Local Cover’ Insurance packet at a very affordable rate. I.e.: +-R100 pp for a 7-day tour. Phone them at Tel: 0861 900 801 OR contact AIG at Tel: 0860 100 491|
|On the train:||An air conditioned dining car with sit-down meals and/or a lounge OR tuck shop, showers, two toilets per carriage, some electrical points for cell phones, fresh drinking water in the passage. Ice is very limited on the train. Please bring your own.|
|Classes of trains:||Shosholoza Meyl does not refer anymore to ‘1st or 2nd or 3rd class’ of passenger train. It is either Tourist Class or Economy Class. A Tourist Class train could have 4-bed or 6-bed compartments, whilst an Economy Class train could have 6-bed compartments (with lesser quality material) and seating carriages. Click here to see pictures of the train. In some cases a Tourist Class train and an Economy Class train could be joined as one with the dining car and kitchen separating the two ‘Classes’.
The interior decoration of Tourist Class trains differ from one another.
The Premier Classe train (Class with an extra ‘e’) is much more luxurious. Cabins are not en-suite.
Click here to see pictures of the train.
The upmarket Desert Express train is only used whilst on tour in Namibia. All cabins are en-suite.
Click here to see pictures of the train.
The ultra-luxurious Blue Train is in a class of its own!! It has received many international accolades, prizes and distinctions over many years. All cabins are en-suite.
Click here to see pictures of the train.
|Smoking on the train:||Not allowed|
|Medical:||Please take your own medication and Medical Aid Card. Any first aid or medical treatment provided by the Company at its expense to any Traveller, shall be discretionary and on a compassionate basis. Under no circumstances shall the provision of such treatment be tantamount to an admission of liability by the Company for any injury or illness sustained by the Traveller.|
|Boarding & Disembarking:||You may board at certain stations en route. Please indicate accordingly on the Reservation Form. The tour price remains unchanged when boarding en route.|
|Transport at destination:||Bus transport is provided where applicable as per the relevant Info Doc. In some cases we make use of public transport. I.e.: At the KKNK.|
|Bus Transport:||When we make use of bus transport (I.e. Excursions and on day trips), we make use of reliable and credible bus companies with good safety records and proper support systems.|
|Tour Guides:||We make use of qualified tour guides. They all add value to your train tour experience. Tours are conducted in both English and Afrikaans.|
|N.B.||Should the Company appoint a tour guide in respect of any tour, then the Traveller/Client/Passenger shall be obliged to comply with all reasonable instructions of such tour guide.|
|Travel along:||Every tour is a good experience and with a train it’s even better. It’s not a tour for moaners, whiners or people complaining about simple matters, but for those people who love to mingle, who want to make new friends, who want to travel comfortably and who enjoy life.|
|Alcohol on the train:||Passengers are allowed to bring their own alcohol onto the train but may only consume it in their compartments. It may not be taken to the dining car or any other public areas. Beer, cold drinks, wine and hard liquor are for sale on the train at the tuck shop in the dining car. No ice is for sale. Please bring your own.|
|Not allowed on the train:||Firearms, pets, Hi-Fi’s, radios, TV, long faces, drugs, fighters, house troubles, whiners and ‘moaners’.|
|To take with:||Each person has his/her own needs, but we do recommend you take with you a towel, extra blanket in winter, pocket money, magazines, sweets, shower sandals, camera, a big smile and friendliness.|
|Luggage:||You are allowed to take one reasonable size suitcase per person plus one handluggage item. Weight NOT to exceed 20kg. Each passenger must be able to handle, carry or pull his/her own luggage. (See note about porters).|
|Porters:||The availability of porters at stations is VERY limited. Many stations do NOT render such a service anymore. If a porter is used (at the station or at hotels), it is custom to tip R5 per item being carried or transported. This is for the account of the passenger.|
|Note:||The porter carrying your luggage from your car into the station is NOT allowed onto the platform. A different porter will take over the duties. You then have to tip both porters.|
|Tips/gratuities on tour:||It is custom to tip if you are satisfied with services rendered. This could be done individually (I.e.: When served by a waiter) or at the end of a tour (I.e.: Tour guide or bus driver). Tips are NOT included in any tour’s price.|
|Passports:||You do need your passport when you travel abroad (Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, etc.). If you are not a South African citizen, please find out if you need a visa and get one in time.|
|Cell phones:||Cell phones can be used on the train and reception is available on most routes. When you travel abroad you’ll need ‘International Roaming’. There is unfortunately not 3-point plugs available on all the trains.|
|Wi-Fi:||Not available on the train.|
|TV:||Not available on the train.|
|Closing date:||As soon as the tour is fully booked. We recommend you book NOW|
|Security:||There is security staff working on the train.|
|Safety:||JB Train Tours and PRASA will do their utmost to offer you a safe train tour. Travelling by holiday train is after all currently one of the safest ways to travel in South Africa.|
|Pregnant Passengers:||“Shosholoza Meyl takes no responsibility for pregnant female passengers whilst travelling on Shosholoza Meyl trains. Women more than 6 months pregnant, may not travel on a Shosholoza Meyl train, unless in possession of a doctor’s certificate declaring her fit to do so. Where a pregnant female passenger does travel on a Shosholoza Meyl train this will be at her own risk.” (Sho Meyl Sales and Reservation Policy, Version 2.1, 30 November 2006). JB Train Tours subscribe to the above.|
|Unruly passengers:||The Company and Shosholoza Meyl reserve the right to terminate the tour of any Traveller who wrongfully or unlawfully fails to adhere to the reasonable instructions of an appointed tour guide or train official and / or causes any wrongful disruption, disturbance or nuisance to any other traveller, tour group or service provider or cause any damage to property or person. See notes of Tour guides above.|
Why are all the Information Documents mainly in English? Why not in Afrikaans as well?
The business environment where we do our business in caters for everyone in South Africa (11 official languages) as well as for passengers from abroad (many more languages to serve). It is practically NOT possible for us to write and maintain all documents in all languages. Hence, we have decided many years ago to use English as our business language, but when phoning our offices we can assist you in Afrikaans if preferred so.
BONA FIDES – JB TRAIN TOURS (Since 1975)
Due to the recent number of mal practices & unethical actions committed by certain so-called Train Tour Operators in South Africa, we are more than willing to share with you the contact details of some of our regular and big service providers. You are welcome to contact any or all of them regarding our company’s bona fides, existence and services rendered over the years.
- Shosholoza Meyl Cape Town Accountant Tel: 021 449 2731
- The Fountains Hotel Reservations Tel: 021 443 1100
- Pro Tours Buses Accounts Tel: 012 664 9000
- Contact our offices at JB Train Tours at Tel: 011 913 2442
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 086 687 7344 or 011 913 0552
- Post: PO Box 17406, Sunward Park 1470
We have scheduled and hosted a variety of train and other tours during the past year of which the majority was fully booked. We’ve added a few new train and bus tours for the coming year, but unfortunately we had to cancel some very popular train tours due to the fact that Shosholoza Meyl has stopped running certain trains. I.e.: The Trans Orange Tourist Class train between Cape Town and Durban via Bloemfontein and back. This has affected MANY of our very popular train tours negatively.
Don’t change/cancel your holiday – change your way of going on holiday! Travel with JB Train Tours. It is Comfortable, Affordable, Safe, Fun & Nostalgic.
Our tours are not ‘Home-from-Home’. It is different.
“When you travel, remember that a foreign country/city is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman