Few people think of a train when it comes to luxury accommodation, but in South Africa this train on a bridge is the perfect place to stay.
Traveling by train is one of the most exciting ways to see the world – traveling in comfort, taking in the views and venturing into uncharted territory with the scrolling landscape and the wheels rumbling along the tracks as your background soundtrack of a spectacular landscape.
And while many of today’s trains have incredible onboard accommodations that are the ultimate blend of travel and luxury accommodations, what if travelers could actually stay in a refurbished train carriage? – and, even better, one that was miraculously suspended and stationary atop a fantastical bridge?
Believe it or not, this groundbreaking idea came to fruition in a bold and imaginative way with the South African destination Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge. Located in the Kruger National Park, the amazing train/hotel is perfectly positioned atop the Selati Bridge, giving guests incredible panoramic views of the Sabie River and surrounding areas.
About Kruger Shalati
Celebrating the illustrious past of one of South Africa’s most beautiful places, the Kruger Shalati is not only luxury accommodation, but also a historic tribute to the train that brought visitors to the park there. a hundred years ago, when the only way you could visit the iconic park was by train; part of a nine-day train journey that stopped at the bridge as part of its route to allow passengers to disembark and explore. The train on the bridge wants to be “a contemporary interpretation” of the illustrious past of the train; a project intended to celebrate the history of the park while “paying[ing] tribute to [past] guests… while welcoming new explorers from here and abroad,” according to the hotel’s website. The winning trifecta of a lush and iconic place; five-star accommodation; and the sheer novelty of staying in a refurbished wagon suspended over a river will surely put the Kruger Shalati on the list of the most unique hotels in the world.
- Address: Kamp Kruger National Park, PO Box 360 Skukuza 1350
- Contact: +27 (0) 13 591 6000
- Approvals: Immersive glass-walled train rooms showcasing the best of local art, crafts and African design; incomparable panoramic views; in-room spa treatments; and a stunning terrace with a pool above the river (visitors may even spot a crocodile or hippopotamus in the park below!)
- Rates: Rates start at around $463+/night and include meals, beverages, two game drives per day, road transfers between Skukuza airport and the lodge. Guests must also pay a one-time fee to enter Kruger National Park
Things to do in Kruger National Park
Although guests may be tempted to spend the duration of their journey inside the stellar suspended train, the park below is one of South Africa’s top destinations in itself and offers a host of activities at the middle of the vast African landscape.
- Go on safari and explore the vast park with a guided tour in an open-air 4×4; make sure you have your camera handy to capture Africa’s big five: elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and buffaloes
- Go around the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centerhome to many rare and endangered animals like cheetahs and rhinos. Standard two-hour tours are available daily from around $30/person
- Admire the charming Kruger National Park and nearby Klein Drakensberg mountains from above with a hot air balloon flight Flights depart from Otter’s Den near Hoedspruit and start at around $283/person (includes breakfast afterwards in Otter’s Den)
- Enjoy the myriad of exciting outdoor adventures such as hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, mountain biking and even whale watching
- Explore it Albasini and Maorini ruins, where the indigenous Ba-Phalalborwa people once traded with Portuguese settlers
- Head to the southern border of Kruger and visit the hippo poola popular hangout for hippos (visitors have also been known to spot a crocodile or two here too!)
- Check Kruger tabletsknown as a great place to spot some of the park’s big cats – the lions are particularly fond of sunning themselves on the site’s many rock formations
- See the geographical jewel of the red rocks; distinctive slabs of sandstone slabs rising from the surrounding savannah – they are also home to must-see wildlife like giraffes and elephants
The beautiful Kruger Shalati is one of the newest and most exciting reasons to visit South Africa. Located in the iconic Kruger National Park, Kruger Shalati also has the distinction of being located inside a luxuriously refurbished train perched atop the Selati Bridge. Distinctive, innovative and ‘an express gateway to freedom’, the Bridge Train offers visitors a unique way to experience Kruger National Park in all its breathtaking beauty. Enjoy luxury amenities, including the pool with its unforgettable views and immersive glass-walled rooms; stay indoors and spend a day at the spa, or go on safari and dine under the stars on this unforgettable trip of a lifetime to beautiful South Africa.
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