Hotel in a Real Train

An old train parked on Santos beach in the harbor town of Mossel Bay in the Southern Cape of South Africa has been converted into a pretty little hotel. Called the “The Santos Express Train Lodge” or simply “Train”, the lodge sits on a pair of abandoned rails roughly 30 meters from the sea. There are seven coaches, of which four are identical with sleeper compartments, sharing two toilets and a shower. The fifth coach is converted into a 16 bed dormitory with a self catering kitchen. The last two coaches, the “Royal Ladies”, are two vintage coaches dating from the early 1920`s, each containing two very spacious suites. In addition, there is a restaurant that serves a good range of traditional South African dishes, such as bobotie (a dish of spicy ground meat with savory custard topping) and waterblommetjiebredie (water-flower stew).

Santos Express Train Lodge is not a luxurious stay. Each sleeper coach is separated into single, double and budget accommodation units and lodgers share toilets with others boarders, but the toilets and shower are clean. The rooms are tiny except for the Caboose, which has its own bathroom and a private deck. There are also no lockers on the compartments, so if you have any valuables, you could deposit them at the front desk for safe storage.