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Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Sandstone narrow gauge Garratt South Africa Tanago railfan tours photo charter

Südafrika:
Stars of Sandstone

3. - 12. April 2019

Südafrika: Stars of Sandstone

The legendary Sandstone farm in South Africa, not far from the Malutiberge in the Freestate, has been an attraction for railway enthusiasts from all over the world for years.

Experience exclusive steam locomotive action on the farm with at least 13 different locomotives under steam. The following series are to be used: NG4, NG6, NG10, NG15, NGG11, NGG13, NGG16, in addition various "smaller" tender locomotives of German, French, Belgian, and British origin. In addition to the purely railway activities, you will also experience historical agricultural equipment, military vehicles, airplanes, steam engines and much more!

We offer you the participation in 3 different options.

If you want to see more "Africa": a special train with the 12AR series runs in Cape Gauge, and we offer you an extension in Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park.

Join us !

Railfan Tours Icon
No. of participants -
Duration 6 - 9 days
Meals breakfast
Price from 1.390 €
Open for bookings Open for bookings.
Book this tour now

Your itinerary

We offer you three options to participate in the special trains on the farm: from 3 - 8 April 2019, from 8 - 12 April 2019, and for the entire event from 3 - 12 April 2019, as well as access to the professional photo group for the respective photo sessions before the official programme, where special trains for photographers run between 6 am and 9 am so that you can experience the photo trains in perfect African morning light. Participants of the photo group also have priority when reserving a seat in the photo bus.

3 April 2019, Wednesday
Bus transfer from O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg to Sandstone Farm or your hotel.
The trip takes about 5-6 hours and includes dinner at your hotel.
Departure from Europe is in the evening the day before. Flights are not part of the program, we are happy to help you book the best flight connection!

4 April 2019, Thursday
Two Lawley tender locomotives (NG6) with 8 journeys each to Grootdrai Loop, one steam-covered passenger train to Vailima station, followed by a special train with two Garratts of the NGG16 series to Vailima Loop" and the ascent back to Loop and Hoekfontein. A photo bus allows you to take pictures in the best positions on the road.

5 April 2019, Friday
Today the reconstructed NG10 is ceremonially opened to traffic. Together with an NGG11 and an NG4 tank locomotive it will travel between Hoekfontein, Grootdrai, and Mooihoek.
Along the airfield of the farm you have the possibility to immortalize airplanes, historical cars, and the steam trains on one picture.
The two Garratts to the Vailima Loop with ascent back to the Loop and Hoekfontein will also run again. A photo bus allows you to take pictures in the best positions on the road.

Tonight a special train travels to a particularly low-light position on the farm, where you have the opportunity to admire the clear African starry sky. Should it be necessary for the weather to make this special train run on another day, you will be informed in good time.

6 April 2019, Saturday
The NG10, various Peckett locomotives, and the NGG11 are responsible for today's traction. Of course, the two big Garratts are also on the usual afternoon course.

7 April 2019, Sunday
Military trains determine the image of the farm today, also beside the rails Wilf Mole, the owner of the Sandstone Farm, will drive up everything that is drivable in his military collection: tanks, troop transporters, guns. Of course, the two big Garratts are also on the usual afternoon course.

8 April 2019, Monday
As every day, the "´s Railway" will be in full action today. Seb´s Railway is a new line on the farm's premises, which is specially designed for small tender locomotives that cannot run on the main line due to low water reserves and low power. On the "main line", steam locomotives from Barclay and Fowler, the NG15, and the two usual NGG16-Garratts run with the afternoon train over the Vailima Loop.

If you finish the program today, drive back from your hotel to Johannesburg airport around 9am, where you arrive around 3pm.
If you enter the program today, you will be picked up from O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg around 12 noon and take the bus to the farm or your hotel.
Once you have booked the entire event, enjoy a full day on the farm today.

9 April 2019, Tuesday
Two Lawley tender locomotives (NG6) with 8 trips each to the Grootdrai Loop, one steam-covered passenger train to Vailima station (NGG11), followed by the two Garratts to the Vailima Loop and the ascent back to the Loop and Hoekfontein. A photo bus allows you to take pictures in the best positions on the road.
Tonight a special train travels to a particularly low-light position on the farm, where you have the opportunity to admire the clear African starry sky. Should it be necessary for the weather to make this special train run on another day, you will be informed in good time.

10 April 2019, Wednesday
The NG4, NG10, and NGG11 are responsible for today's traction. Of course, the two large Garratts of the NGG16 series also run on the usual afternoon course.

11 April 2019, Thursday
The big show ends today with a "Grand Finale": on the railway side the NG4, NG10, and NG15 will be active, additionally of course the Seb´s Railway and the NGG16-Garratts.
Also the military trains drive again today, beside the rails Wilf Mole, the owner of the Sandstone Farm, will drive up everything that is drivable in his military collection: tanks, troop transporters, guns.

12 April 2019, Friday
If you finish the program today, drive back from your hotel to Johannesburg airport around 9am, where you arrive around 3pm.
If you extend in Victoria Falls and Chobe, also go to Johannesburg and stay there for 1 night.
You can read the detailed program here as PDF.
If you still want to experience Cape Gauge steam, your bus will take you to the special train early in the morning.
You can read the Cape Trail program here as a PDF.

The professional photo group
The photo group for the morning photo sessions on the farm includes the mornings from April 4 - 7, 2019 (4 acres) and April 9 - 11, 2019 (3 acres). Both groups are limited to a maximum of 50 photographers, breakfast on the farm is included. Participation in the photo group can only be booked together with one of the 3 packages: 3 - 8 April 2019, 8 - 12 April 2019, or 3 - 12 April 2019). Participation only in the photo group is not possible.

Please indicate in the booking form if and which photo group you would like to participate. Please also indicate which accommodation you would like to book.

rates


April 3 - 8, 2019
For overnight stay at Fouriesburg Country Inn (p.p.)
1.810 Euro in half a double room
524 Euro single room supplement

For overnight stays in private lodges in Ficksburg and surroundings (p.P.):
1.490 Euro in half a double room
272 Euro single room supplement

This package includes the following services:
Bus transfer from O.R. Tambo Airport Johannesburg to accommodation etc;
5 nights with breakfast
Daily group transfers between accommodation and Sandstone Farm;
Entrance to Sandstone Farm on 4 days;
Dinner on April 3, 2019;

April 8 - 12, 2019
For overnight stay at Fouriesburg Country Inn (p.p.)
1.560 Euro in half a double room
460 Euro single room supplement

For overnight stays in private lodges in Ficksburg and surroundings (p.P.):
1.390 Euro in half a double room
240 Euro single room supplement

This package includes the following services:
Bus transfer from O.R. Tambo Airport Johannesburg to accommodation etc;
4 nights with breakfast
Daily group transfers between accommodation and Sandstone Farm;
Entrance to Sandstone Farm on 3 days;
Dinner on April 8, 2019;

April 3 - 12, 2019
For overnight stay at Fouriesburg Country Inn (p.p.)
2.930 Euro in half a double room
940 Euro single room supplement

For overnight stays in private lodges in Ficksburg and surroundings (p.P.):

2.480 Euro in half a double room
490 Euro single room supplement

This package includes the following services:
Bus transfer from O.R. Tambo Airport Johannesburg to accommodation etc;
9 nights with breakfast
Daily group transfers between accommodation and Sandstone Farm;
Entrance to Sandstone Farm on 8 days;

The following services are not included in all packages:
Individual arrival and departure in Johannesburg (we will be happy to help you book your flight);
Lunch and most dinners;
Personal expenses (telephone, cleaning, mini-bar);
Tips.

The photo group
Accommodation at Fouriesburg Country Inn
321 Euro 4 - 7 April 2019 (4 acres)
241 Euro 9 - 11 April 2019 (3 acres)

At accommodation in Ficksburg
396 Euro 4 - 7 April 2019 (4 acres)
297 Euro 9 - 11 April 2019 (3 acres)

General comments on prices and services
Please indicate in the booking form if and which photo group you would like to participate. Please also indicate which accommodation you would like to book.

lodgings
The Fouiesburg Country Inn is a comfortable country hotel with all the amenities of a 3-star tourist class hotel. It is about 30 minutes drive from the farm.
The lodges and Bed&Breakfast houses in Ficksburg and the surrounding area also offer typical African hospitality in safe, privately run houses.
The average transfer time to the farm is 20 minutes.

meals
Breakfast is included in the price, usually in the accommodation. Only the participants of the early morning photo session receive their breakfast on the Sandstone farm.
Lunch is not included, there are several lunch options on the farm.
Dinner is also not included in most cases, there is the option of booking dinner at the Sandstone Farm, which costs $27 per dinner per person.

Bus Transfers
All transfers included in the program run according to a fixed timetable, which will be published on the farm. No waiting for passengers. If you miss the bus, you have to arrange your transfer on your own, there is no refund of fares.

This trip will be charged in foreign currencies. Since the exchange rate of foreign currencies to the Euro (our accounting currency) has become very unpredictable and we do not wish to charge fictitious currency reserves to the travel price, the published price represents the exchange rate as of June 1, 2018. We therefore expressly reserve the right to deviate prices due to international currency fluctuations and any unforeseen deviations in performance on the part of our partners.

If you are travelling alone, you can also book a "half" double room. We will try to assign you another "half-double room booking". However, if, contrary to expectations, this is not possible, we will charge you the single room supplement.

The land program of this trip is organized and carried out by Geoff´s Trains. The group language is English. From 10 booked Tanago participants a German-speaking Tanago representative accompanies the group. Please book by 31 December 2018 at the latest!

comments

We are looking forward to a new visit to the Sandstone Farm!

We have teamed up with two other partners for this trip in order to achieve the necessary minimum number of participants for such a large number of special trains, so the special trains on the farm do not run exclusively for Tanago. The morning photo group offers the best opportunities for classic Tanago photography. During the day the farm is open to all registered visitors and there are many activities at the same time. This also includes actions that have nothing to do with the railways, but are part of the "around" on the farm: ox cart demonstrations, military operations, steam engines, historical motor vehicles or airplanes. Not every visitor is a hardened railway fan or photographer and filmer, and therefore perhaps does not know the basic rules of railway photography by heart.

The quality of hotels, roads and other infrastructure in many places cannot be compared with Western Europe. Please do not expect luxury. Our accommodation in the Ficksburg and Fouriesburg area offers simple rooms with shower/WC. Please note that in many South African hotels there is no heating in our sense. If it gets too cold, you can help yourself with even more blankets or an electric fan heater.

Although the maintenance standards of the vehicles and railway systems on the Sandstone farm are very good and professional, we cannot guarantee the availability of a particular vehicle, series or track. In the event of unavailability, we will make every effort to provide you with the best possible travel experience. We exclude any further claims for pro rata reimbursement or compensation.

The currency of South Africa, the "Rand", can be exchanged for Johannesburg at very favourable rates. However, it does not mean that daily life in South Africa is also cheap. Although everyday prices are below German levels, they are not cheap.

South Africa is a beautiful tourist destination and, as so often, some negative reports of crime and corruption have distorted the overall picture. Especially in the big cities there are problems with public and individual security. We spend our time in the quiet province of Freestate, where the situation is much more relaxed and peaceful. Those who generally adhere to the general rules for world travellers (leaving valuables at home as far as possible, not walking alone through dark alleys, not splurging with wealth) will be able to enjoy a perfect time.

Please also read our comments on the subject of "travel health insurance abroad". On our trip to China in February 2013, one participant fell ill. Without insurance he would have stayed in the Chinese hospital in Fuxin - and would not have been able to fly home. Four days before the start of our 2016 India tour, one participant had to cancel due to illness - the cancellation fee was 75%! Don't save at the wrong end, that's what travel health insurance is for.

Temperatures & Technology
It is late autumn in the southern hemisphere and we expect day temperatures around 20°C, at night the thermometer can go back into the single-digit plus degree range, but brief sub-zero temperatures can also occur. The air is extremely clear, we travel to the country during the dry season, so we expect little or no precipitation. Normally the days are sunny with low wind, but we have also had to experience weather conditions with continuous cloud cover. Be sure to bring a hat against wind and sun! Use stable shoes (we will be out and about all day long) and also get dressed for "outdoors". Please leave jackets or trousers in bright colours in the wardrobe at home.

entry requirements
A free tourist visa is issued at the airport for entry into South Africa. Please make sure to have at least 2, and if possible, opposite free pages in your passport, which must still be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your trip. This information applies only to German nationals. Please check the different regulations for your home country!

See you soon on the Sandstone farm!