Everything from DialAFlight went well - my only complaint which is out of your hands was the disorganisation of Virgin staff in Joburg.
I received excellent service as I always do when using DialAFlight and I have recommended you to several friends and relatives
Very impressed with Turkish airline as recommended by you. Everything worked perfectly both ways
Our return flight connection at Heathrow for Manchester was very tight, and we would possibly have missed the flight if it hadn't been delayed because of the time taken to get through security checks. Otherwise very happy with service provided
Another awesome trip organised by Stacey at DialAFlight. She really is an expert as what she does!
Always excellent service
Thanks for your help and organisation, everything was great
Declan McClean was extremely helpful finding the best flights for us
Took all the stress away. Brilliant
Love booking through you. Always getting excellent service.
Fantastic service. Saf is just so helpful and I feel confident in his delivery. Would not go anywhere else
I really appreciate the very quick response to any questions - even when abroad. A very professional and reassuring service.
Amazing service! Have used you many times and will continue to do so!
Advised that Kenya Airways business class from Nairobi to Cape Town (7 hour flight) would have a flat bed. A little disappointing however as this was mainly day time it didn't matter too much.
Excellent service. Will ONLY book with DialAFlight in future.
Thanks to Sebastian and team who always tirelessly dealt with my difficulties in a polite and efficient manner. I will never consider using anyone but DialAFlight.
Very good. Kylie was very helpful. Thank you for excellent service
There were minor issues with Virgin on the return flight and they are aware of my concerns. There were no issues with the DialAFlight arrangements
The best company I have dealt with to organise my flights.
Everything went perfectly. Flights and car hire all worked well. Can’t praise the staff enough for the excellent service they give every time.
Everything so easy with Claire helping us all the way
Libby was fabulous - she catered to all our needs and knew the answers to all our questions
Always an immediate response. Very impressive.
Saf amazing as always and went the extra mile to ensure we had car hire delivered and picked up from our hotel in SA!
Larry was amazing and I am looking forward to booking the next trip.
Another excellent trip organised by Kieran at DialAFlight. Great customer service, great insight and always competing on price. He just takes the hard work out of booking a trip,
My experience re this trip justifies the reason why I have dealt with your company over many years.
All went smoothly and lived up to my hopes. Thank you Tyler.
To ride the Blue Train between Pretoria and Cape Town is to travel along part of Britain's imperial history; a journey that is at once luxurious, breathtakingly beautiful and thought-provoking.
The railway heading north from the Cape was part of Cecil Rhodes's grand colonial vision: the 19th-century mining magnate, today the focus of intense political controversy, imagined a trans-port network from one end of Africa to the other to enable British trade and political dominion. It didn't happen but this remarkable train is part of his legacy.
After a night in Fairlawns in Johannesburg, a chic boutique hotel and spa set inside a former country estate, my companion and I head to Pretoria station and enter an older, genteel world, with a nostalgic colonial twist.
We board the bright blue train, with some 80 other passengers, and enter a world of wood-panelled comfort, with brass fittings, crisp linen and low golden lighting. The Blue Train is the Orient Express of Africa.
Once offering an overnight journey to the Cape, the Blue Train is now a deliberately slower experience, taking two nights for the 997-mile trip.
Our charming butler, Angela, has brought a bottle of South African spark-ling wine. The compartments are roomy, about 8m2, each with an Italian marble bathroom.
The train feels venerable and experi-enced, adding to the feeling one is riding a bit of history. I couldn't be happier.
A cocooned quiet pervades the cabin, just a faint rumble of the tracks audible through the wide picture window - double-glazed for tranquillity.
It's time to dress for dinner; dress code is 'elegant' for ladies and jacket and tie for gentlemen. I've opted for the linen suit with leather waistcoat, as worn by Robert Redford in Out of Africa.
The dining car is a vision in starched white tablecloths and heavy cutlery. Our waiter, Collen, has a deep sonorous delivery and virtually sings the menu. The food is delicious - seared scallops, cured salmon, duck breast, South African cheeses. The list of South African wines is positively tidal.
Collen is explaining that he once met the Queen. For a glorious moment I think he may be referring to Queen Victoria.
We totter back down the corridor, the sway only partly induced by the train's movement. You can sense the vastness outside; not a single light is visible, save a flutter of stars.
In the 1920s, steam locomotives plied the line between Cape Town and Johannesburg. After the war, the Blue Train service was launched, named after the blue steel trains introduced a few years earlier.
Rhodes died in 1902, but countless colonists still took this route north for the diamond and gold fields. Rhodes even had his own private carriage; his body was transported along this very line, stopping at every station for mourners to pay their respects.
In the morning, a blinding African sun slices through the blinds, which lift to reveal the plains stretching into the distance. We eat eggs benedict and fresh fruit and watch herds of tiny antelope flickering through the scrub.
Watching Africa glide past at a stately 30mph is mesmerising.
At mid-morning we pull into Kimberley, where diamonds were discovered on the farm belonging to the De Beer brothers in 1871, prompting the greatest diamond rush the world has seen. Here, until 1914, some 50,000 miners using picks and shovels extracted 6,000lb of diamonds.
We are driven to The Big Hole museum - exactly what the name indicates, a pit 460m wide and 240m deep, the largest hand-dug hole in the world, a testament to human ingenuity and man's hunger for gems. Now it's a ghostly place.
At Kimberley station, the station-master hands out South African sherry in tiny glasses engraved with the Blue Train logo.
The train sets off into the Great Karoo desert, the vast plateau the size of Germany whose name comes from a Khoi tribal word meaning 'land of great thirst'.
I sit in the observation car at the rear, watching the vast bushveld drift by, an undulating tableau of rock, semi-desert and sparse scrub. High tea is served in the lounge car, with cake and scones; another extravaganza is staged in the dining car in the evening, to the accompaniment of Collen's echoing baritone.
We awake descending towards the Cape, with vineyards stretching away under high granite outcrops, as our journey on this historical artefact rolls to a close. And our holiday is rounded off in wine country, with a few days in Majeka House, a delightful boutique hotel just outside Stellenbosch.
First published in The Times - May 2019
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