The Thebe Tourism Group has launched a completely unique, luxury Kruger National Park experience with a train hotel suspended on the iconic and historic Selati bridge over the majestic Sabi River. Guests will experience the power of nature at its finest in complete luxury, with an unsurpassed opportunity to observe wildlife such as crocodiles, hippo, buffalo and elephants below them through floor to ceiling glass windows. View our safaris here
Experience the Kruger National Park Like Never Before
The Thebe Tourism Group has launched a completely unique, luxury Kruger National Park experience with a train hotel suspended on the iconic and historic Selati bridge over the majestic Sabi River. Guests will experience the power of nature at its finest in complete luxury, with an unsurpassed opportunity to observe wildlife such as crocodiles, hippo, buffalo and elephants below them through floor to ceiling glass windows.
The Kruger National Park is a unique and exciting safari destination that is well-known all over the world for it’s unsurpassed Big 5 and game viewing. It is a jewel of African heritage offering an experience of the unspoilt majesty of nature.
The Kruger Shalati Train on the Bridge adds yet another element of magic to a visit to the Kruger Park, with a romantic journey into the rich African history of the park.
History of the Kruger National park
The park opened in the early 1920’s, but the only way to visit the park was by rail. The first warden of the park was Lt James Steven-Hamilton, who originally welcomed guests into the park to a glorious feast, eaten under the stars and accompanied by storytelling. The guests would then retire back to the train, parked on the Selati Bridge, to sleep for the evening before continuing their train journey.
The bridge was named for Chief Warrior Selati, who ruled over the Tebula Tribe of the area.
Incorporating History and African Heritage
The luxury Afro-chic boutique train hotel experience is being designed to recreate this charming and romantic African wildlife experience with the Shelati Train Hotel, set to welcome its first guests in December 2019. The Selati Bridge runs adjacent to the world-famous Skukuza Camp, the largest camp and the headquarters of the Kruger Park.
The train has been lovingly restored and upgraded, and will remain permanently on the bridge, on the original tracks above the waters of the Sabi River.
Space, Light and Luxury
In order to create the most exquisite safari experience in the world, the bridge has an external walkway attached to it, so the rooms are extended to be more spacious and luxurious than you would ordinarily expect from train accommodation, with only two rooms per carriage. The floor to ceiling windows mean that the surroundings and wild inhabitants are always on display.
It truly needs to be seen to understand the beauty and tranquillity this accommodation affords. It is as if you are a part of nature – the water, the animals, the trees and the awe-inspiring sunsets and sunrises will be burned into your memory forever.
To add to this completely unique experience, the original block house next to the tracks has been converted into an exquisite pool deck where guests can experience the Big 5 below them while suspended in the air at sunset. This exquisite deck is the perfect vantage point to sit and soak in the beauty, whether it’s in a deck chair or in the pool with a cocktail.
The exclusive Shelati Kruger hotel has 24 beautiful en-suite rooms to accommodate 48 guests on the train, and a further 7 rooms for 14 guests in the Kruger Shelati Bridge House.
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In addition to the ‘bucket-list’ of a visceral experience, the history of the train and the heritage behind it adds a cultural and historical element to the wildlife experience. The hotel décor is created in an exquisite African design that incorporates local art and crafting skills.
Conservation and Eco-Responsibility
The Thebe Tourism Group, a subsidiary of the Thebe Investment Corporation, are working with SANPARKS to ensure that the construction and building of the hotel causes as little disruption to the Kruger National Park as possible. The train coaches are being assembled in Johannesburg and transported to the park when completed to minimise building work in the park.
SANPARKS Managing Executive for Tourism Development and Marketing, Hapiloe Sello says “we are particularly excited about its uniqueness which will be a major attraction for domestic and international tourists alike. As with all tourist product developments within the National Parks, the developers have followed the key Responsible Tourism principles and are touching the earth lightly by adhering to the National Environmental Management guidelines and policies on which their Environmental Authorisation was granted to proceed with the development.”
The Kruger Station
When James Steven-Hamilton welcomed guests into the park all those years ago, he entertained and dined guests in a makeshift boma. The Kruger Station will be built on this exact spot and offer Kruger Shelati guests a stunning lifestyle precinct. The station will offer retail and dining experiences, as well as a 360-degree immersive theatrical storytelling facility that will charm and delight guests by bringing the history of the train and the park to life in an unforgettable educational experience.
The 3638 Artisanal Eatery will be situated here, offering guests unparalleled gastronomic experience. It is so named after the original number of the train.
The adjacent Skukuza camp will provide an exquisite culinary experience for the Shelati Kruger guests. Skukuza was the given Tsonga name for James Hamilton-Smith.
Skukuza has a host of convenient amenities for guests, such as an ATM, internet café, shop, restaurant, fuel station and library. There is also a magnificent 9 hole, Par 72 golf course and access to many different riverside walks, game drives and wilderness hikes.
While the Kruger Shelati train hotel guests can experience being suspended in the wilderness as if they were the only people in the world, when they need modern conveniences, they are right there.
Kruger Park Biodiversity
The vast Kruger National park covers nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled African vistas and a great diversity of plants and animals. The park boasts a combination of savannah, thornveld and woodland eco zones.
The park is home to:
- 336 tree species
- 147 mammals
- 507 bird species
- 114 reptile species
- 49 fish species
- 507 bird species
- 34 amphibian species
The climate is sub-tropical with a rainy and a dry season. The hot, rainy season runs from October to March and transforms the park into a lush, green oasis of beauty. However, the foliage makes it harder to see animals.
The dry Winter season runs from April to September and is extremely pleasant, with cool evenings and bright, sunny days. The sparser vegetation makes it easier to spot animals, and the restricted water supply means that animals seek out water holes with regularity, creating amazing opportunities for park guests.
With the Kruger Shelati being directly above the Sabi river, the opportunity to observe the animals from your room or the beautiful pool deck is incredible.
What are the ‘Big 5’?
The term was coined by hunters to group together the 5 most difficult African animals to hunt on foot. They are the lion, the leopard. The rhinoceros, the elephant and the Cape buffalo. While your opportunity to spot all 5 is very high when staying at The Kruger Shelati, they are not the only stars of the show.
From your vantage point around 40 metres above the Sabi River you will most likely also see:
- Spotted hyena
- Wild dog
- Greater Kudu
- Sable Antelope
- Southern Reedback
If you want the next trip you take to be an unforgettable sensory delight and an exploration of the unspoilt majesty of the African bush, then you can book now for the luxury safari experience of lifetime at Kruger Shelati – The Train on the Bridge.