The Santos Express Train Lodge is a genuine train situated on the Santos Beach in Mossel Bay with all cabins facing the sea. With the ocean so close, you can’t really beat its unbelievable position and exquisite views. An invigorating sea breeze keeps everything cool even on really hot days.
The Santos Express Train Lodge opened its doors on 1 December 1994. Nine decommissioned coaches were procured from South African Railways and fitted with the necessary plumbing and electricity. These coaches were similar in style to the Transkaroo first class, which operated on South African lines during the seventies. One coach was a communal kitchen and a bed cost only R25 per person per night, but guests had to supply their own bedding.
Originally it provided only accommodation, but due to its uniqueness and location, it proved very popular, especially with foreign visitors and it was decided that a restaurant was needed to complete the experience. The accommodation was upgraded and a bar and restaurant were added.
In August 2007 a fire destroyed the train restaurant and offices. A new restaurant area was built, but all the memorabilia and authentic train fittings were lost in the fire. We are looking to recreate this due to popular demand and in an effort to provide the full experience of staying and dining in an authentic Transnet train. The Outeniqua Choo Tjoe used to run between Mosselbaai and George, but has ceased service much to the dismay of the general public, as well as foreign visitors. It proved to be a major attraction whilst it was running and we still get many enquiries. Nowhere on the Garden Route can one now experience a train ride or any train related experience apart from the Transport Museum in George and our Train Lodge.
A need for more luxury coaches was identified and two vintage wooden coaches called the Royal Suites were acquired. These were built in 1919 and 1921 respectively, then transported by boat from England to South Africa where they served a luxury rail company until they were decommissioned and made their last journey by rail to join our fleet in December 2013.