travel journalafricasouth africakruger national park Kruger Shalati: the afrocentric luxury train to be stationed atop the historical Selati bridge Positioned inside the Kruger National Park where the historical railway line ends at Skukuza rest camp, Kruger Shalati will be permanently located on top of the iconic Selati bridge, giving visitors unparalleled views of the park and the Sabie River. Share

Kruger Shalati is a new tourism and hospitality product being developed by Thebe Tourism Group which will see luxury accommodation housed inside a restored and reimagined train. Having become a leading destination for travellers the world over, South Africa is well positioned to tap into the global luxury tourist market. With this in mind, Thebe Tourism Group has embarked on an exciting initiative which will see the opening of a new upmarket offering completely unique in the world.

Located in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, the Kruger Shalati Train on a Bridge is a unique luxury accommodation experience set to open in the Park in late 2020. Paying tribute to an important part of history, when visitors to the Kruger National Park (KPN) once arrived by train, the Thebe Tourism Group is currently constructing the luxurious Kruger Shalati – Train on a Bridge project, to offer an unforgettable accommodation experience to travellers.

Kruger Shalati: the afrocentric luxury train to be stationed atop the historical Selati bridge
Photo: Courtesy of Kruger Shalati

The project incorporates the iconic and still original old Selati railway bridge at Skukuza Camp, where the KNP’s first warden, James Steven-Hamilton, welcomed visitors nearly 100 years ago. At night, these same guests would retreat into the train to sleep, before it moved on to its next destination the following day.

Looking to recreate the magic of these early visitor encounters, the project will see the restoration and upgrading of a train that will permanently rest on the original tracks running across the bridge, high above the waters of the Sabie River. The train, in its stationary position with an external walkway attached to the bridge structure, allows the Kruger Shalati rooms to be much larger than the expected traditional train compartment-style room – complete with floor-to-ceiling windows welcoming the unsurpassed views from atop the Sabie River into the room. To further enhance this unique product offering, the old block-house next to the bridge will be used as the base for an innovative pool deck designed with an overhanging pool meters above the river flowing below with unique viewpoints over the Big 5 roaming below.

Kruger Shalati: the afrocentric luxury train to be stationed atop the historical Selati bridge
Photo: Courtesy of Kruger Shalati

Immersing guests in the comfort of an Afro-chic boutique hotel experience, the train itself will offer 24 en-suite rooms able to sleep 48 guests, with another 7 rooms in adjacent Kruger Shalati Bridge House accommodating 14 beds on land next to the bridge. All rooms will offer guests a high-star rating luxury experience, and will be accompanied by fine dining and other leisure experiences on site.

“This is our opportunity to revitalise and recapture an important part of Kruger’s history, while at the same time increasing both the range and quality of product on offer in the park. The product design is largely the differentiator in this project – not only have we not seen anything alike in our country, but neither is there anything similar in the world, as a result an important ‘must experience’ destination will entice visitors locally and from across the globe to experience a very important part of our Park’s history” says Judiet Barnes, Concession General Manager of Kruger Shalati.

Kruger Shalati: the afrocentric luxury train to be stationed atop the historical Selati bridge
Kruger Shalati: the afrocentric luxury train to be stationed atop the historical Selati bridge
Photo: Courtesy of Kruger Shalati

“With Kruger Shalati, we want to create a tourism destination and a hospitality product so unique that people want to travel from around the world just to stay here for a holiday, and for domestic travellers to really be proud to have something that exists nowhere else in the world,” said Jerry Mabena, CEO of Thebe Tourism Group. “Through this development, we are truly reimagining Africa with pioneering innovations and ingenuity.”

The product consist of:

  • 24 rooms offering 48 beds in train rooms, stationed on the Selati Bridge, spanning the Sabie river from bank to bank
  • 1 lounge carriage with bar and deck and pool for relaxing lounging space with game viewing opportunities from the vista atop the river
  • 7 land-based rooms in Bridge House, right next to the train, overlooking the river and the train on the bridge. 1 of these rooms can be set up as family suites with dedicated children areas and 1 honeymoon suite
  • Bridge house dining and lounge areas including decked seating an pool overlooking the Sabie river

Find out more at: www.krugershalati.com

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