A major part of my planning for my next trip involves researching what mode of transport I can take. As you can see from the title, a car isn’t on the list. That’s because I drive enough with my job, but most importantly, I have learnt from my previous trips, through travelling on public transport, I have met some people which had led to some lovely enduring friendships with people from across the world. And let’s face it, driving a car wouldn’t achieve that, ever.
I’m currently travelling independently around South Africa. I’ve cons
Looking back from Fishhoek
ulted several specialist guide books/websites for advice on transport options. Most advocate driving. Seat61 (have a read why the site is called Sea61,it’s a great story!) is a website that I have used on many occasions for train
On the way to Stellenbosch by train!
travel ideas. The accuracy of the information he provides is great. Very specific, even down to routes.
To date, I’ve taken three train journeys. I thought I would share my experiences through questions I’ve been asked and have put some suggestions what I would do and actually I did.
1. Did you feel intimidated at all?
Short answer, no. Actually, it didn’t even occur to me. I was approached by two people for money to buy food. Sadly that has happened in many bus and train stations across the world, UK and Cardiff included.
2.What carriage do you choose to sit in?
I tend to hang back and watch if a family gets on. If they do, I try to sit near them.
Train advertising Cape Town Style!
There is obviously no guarantee that they are going to the same destination as you. What I also would do would be to look for a carriage which was all women or predominately women.
If the family gets off early than your final destination, you might want to consider getting off at the same time and moving to another carriage where there is another family or large groups of women.
What i actually did was I got on a carriage with a mother and son as there was no families travelling.
3. What about your Travel Documents etc?
I always carry three credit/debit cards. One visa, one MasterCard and a passport cashcard which I load currency on ( I have a dollar, euro and sterling. I load which ever is the more appropriate for the country I am travelling). I always carry them in my bra when I’m travelling, this has nothing to do with South Africa. Now a days with everything electronic, you have very little paper work. So my passport and phone is placed in my safety wallet which I carry inside my clothes.
So in terms of risk, if my bag was stolen, I feel for me I have the most important items on me! So I would just let the bag go and not fight it. That’s what insurance is for. I can still carry on with my travels.
4. Did you pack differently?
I don’t advertise the fact that I have a camera. I carry my camera in a hold-all not a camera bag. I have camera armour around my camera and also wrap my camera in a pashmina which I always carry with me anyway.
5. What would I do differently next time?
My train journey was lovely. The only disaster was that I hadn’t realised there was two train stations in Stellenbosch, and of course I got off at the wrong one! That can happen anywhere! I asked a really helpful law student working fo Ask Afrika, and she walked me in the right direction. Things like this happen all the time on my travels.
The Images in this blog were taken from the trains which I wouldn’t have had if I had driven. I’m a good girl, I don’t drive and take pictures at the same time!
pps and look at the fabulous place a short walking distance away from the train station I’m staying at! The Apple Tree Guest House. Just amazing. And nothing is too much trouble for Noeline and her staff.