These long months of lockdown might have had you looking back at your daily commute through rose-tinted glasses. But we’re pretty sure that, once we’re doing it again, travelling on a packed train at rush hour will soon lose its appeal. And you know what won’t? This incredible train hotel in a South African national park.
Permanently parked on a bridge in Kruger National Park, this super-fancy train lodge evokes all the glamour of train travel, and then some.
Made out of old train carriages high on Selati Bridge above the Sabie River, the luxe hotel, called Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge, boasts 31 rooms. Of those, 24 will be in glass-walled carriages and seven are ‘bridge house’ rooms that will be built next to the tracks.
Hotel guests will be free to wander along a new walkway across the bridge to admire incredible views of the national park, which is a major destination for safaris. There will even be a swimming pool, hanging over the river below, from which you might be able to spot some local wildlife.
The hotel is designed to pay homage to ‘the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago, according to the hotel. ‘The train celebrates where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s,’ it says, adding that ‘the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati will be positioned.’
The first set of train carriage rooms are already in place on Selati Bridge, but, thanks to local lockdown and current travel restrictions, construction on the hotel has been delayed.
It expects to be open by the end of 2020, which it hopes will coincide with the country lifting its current travel ban. The hotel is already taking provisional bookings despite South Africa remaining closed to international travellers.
When it does open, visitors will be able to snooze as soundly as these Kruger National Park lions did earlier in the year – in beds that look a lot more comfortable.
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