Train travel 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 scenery flashing by and the wheels rumbling along the tracks as the background soundtrack to spectacular scenery.
And while many of today’s trains have amazing accommodations right on board that make for the ultimate mashup of travel and luxe lodgings, what if travelers could actually stay in a refurbished train car—and, better yet, one that was miraculously suspended and stationary atop a fantastic bridge?
Believe it or not, this innovative idea has come to imaginative and daring fruition with the South African destination Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge. Located in Kruger National Park, the amazing train/hotel is positioned perfectly atop the Selati Bridge—offering guests incredible panoramic views of the Sabie River and the surrounding area.
About Kruger Shalati
Celebrating the illustrious past of one of the most beautiful spots in South Africa, the Kruger Shalati is not only a luxe accommodation, but it’s also a historic homage to the very train that first brought visitors to the park a hundred years ago—when the only way you could visit the iconic park was by taking the train; part of a nine-day rail journey that stopped on the bridge as part of its route to allow passengers to disembark and explore. The Train on the Bridge is meant as “a contemporary interpretation” of the train’s illustrious past; a project meant to celebrate the park’s history while also “pay[ing] homage to [past] guests…while welcoming new explorers from near and far,” according to the hotel's website. The trifecta of a lush, iconic location; five-star accommodations; and the sheer novelty of staying in a refurbished train car suspended over a river, will surely place the Kruger Shalati firmly on the list of some of the world’s most unique hotels.
- Address: Kamp Kruger National Park, PO Box 360 Skukuza 1350
- Contact: +27 (0) 13 591 6000
- Amenities: Immersive, glass-walled train rooms featuring the best in local art, crafting, and African design; unparalleled panoramic views; in-room spa treatments; and an amazing deck with a swimming pool high above the river (visitors may even spot a crocodile or hippo in the park below!)
- Rates: Rates start at approximately $463 and up/night and include meals, drinks, two game drives daily, road transfers between the Skukuza Airport and lodge. Guests must also pay a one-time fee to enter Kruger National Park
Things To Do In Kruger National Park
Though guests may be tempted to spend the duration of their trip inside the stellar suspended train, the park below is one of South Africa’s top destinations in and of itself and offers a host of activities amid the vast African landscape.
- Head out on safari and explore the expansive park with a guided tour in an open-air 4x4; be sure to have your camera at the ready to capture Africa’s big five: elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo
- Take a tour of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center, home to many rare and endangered animals like cheetahs and rhinos. Standard two-hour tours are available daily starting at about $30/person
- See the lovely Kruger National Park and the nearby Klein Drakensberg Mountains from above with a hot air balloon ride Flights are from Otter’s Den near Hoedspruit and start at about $283/person (includes breakfast afterward at Otter’s Den)
- Take advantage of the myriad of exciting outdoor adventures like hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, mountain biking, and even whale watching
- Explore the Albasini and Maorini ruins, where the indigenous Ba-Phalalborwa people once traded with Portuguese colonists
- Head to Kruger’s southern border and visit the Hippo Pool, a popular hippo hangout (visitors have also been known to spot a crocodile or two here, too!)
- Check out the Kruger Tablets, known as a great spot to scope out some of the park’s big cats—lions especially enjoy sunning themselves on the site’s many rock formations
- See the geographical gem of the Red Rocks; slabs of distinctive sandstone slabs rising up 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. Situated 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 entryway to freedom,” The Train on the Bridge offers visitors a unique way to experience Kruger National Park in all its stunning beauty. Take advantage of the luxe amenities, including the swimming pool with its unforgettable views and the immersive, glass-walled rooms; stay in and have a spa day, or head out on safari and dine under the stars on this unforgettable trip of a lifetime in gorgeous South Africa.