PICS: The new luxury train hotel on Kruger's Selati Bridge will make your jaw drop

2019-05-03 05:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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From old and run down to chic and luxurious - the new Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge offering from Thebe Tourism looks like the ultimate bush experience. 

Unveiled at Africa's Travel Indaba in Durban, the fixed train hotel will be built on top of the Selati Bridge in Kruger National Park above the Sabie River, where the first visitors to the park once made their stopover before its roads were built. 

SEE: Choo choo! New train-themed accommodation to be built on Selati Bridge in Kruger

train accommodation on selati bridge over sabie ri

(Photo: Thebe Tourism)

That 1920s glam is reimagined by Thebe after they won the tender put out by South African National Parks (SANParks) to repurpose the old bridge while retaining its heritage.

Launching in December this year, the Afro-chic hotel will have 24 en-suite rooms able to sleep 48 guests, with another seven rooms in adjacent Kruger Shalati Bridge House accommodating 14 beds on land next to the bridge.

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.

READ: Growing Kruger connectivity the newest rung in SA’s route development, as 66% of Africa’s underserved markets open for business

train accommodation on selati bridge over sabie ri

(Photo: Thebe Tourism)

The old block-house next to the bridge will be used as the base for an Insta-worthy pool deck designed with an overhanging pool above the river with unique viewpoints over the wildlife roaming below.

train accommodation on selati bridge over sabie ri

(Photo: Thebe Tourism)

Environmental impact

The Kruger Shalati team is working very closely with SANParks to ensure minimal disruption to the park, says Judiet Barnes, concession general manager of the boutique hotel.

“We have put into place all the necessary measures needed to ensure the impact on the environment is minimal and that the fauna and flora are not disturbed.” 

One of these measures include the train coaches, which are being restored in Johannesburg and will only be moved to the Selati Bridge once completed, further minimising the impact on its surroundings.

CHECK OUT: How to spend a day in Phalaborwa

train accommodation on selati bridge over sabie ri

(Photo: Thebe Tourism)

Thebe Tourism also announced that it has made an acquisition of Chiefs Tented Camps, which will enable them to have a pop-up hotel offering, the first of which will be in Kruger National Park on a river bank during the month of July. 

Africa's Travel and Tourism Indaba is taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban from 2 - 4 May. As Africa's leading trade show, it sees some 7 000 delegates attending from 80 different countries. 

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