Santos Express Train Lodge – Yes, A Real Train Stay

Review, South Africa

We backpacked through Africa and self drove from Johannesburg to Cape Town on the Garden Route, the most beautiful self drive routes in the world. There was lots of adventure and exploration including couchsurfing at Cape Town but what thrilled us the most was our stay at the Santos Express Train Lodge. Yes, a real train parked on the beach in Mossel Bay!

Santos Express Train Lodge Mossel Bay South Africa on the Garden Route

Santos Express Train Lodge

Known simply as ‘The Train’ by locals, a real train parked on real tracks at the Blue Flag Santos Beach, Mossel Bay is an attraction in its own right. And to be able to stay inside this unique lodge just 30 metres from the sea on the Indian Ocean side of Cape Town, was the most romantic experience of my life – imagine living on a train on the beach and waking up to the sweet sound of the waves and a vermillion sky.

Sunrise at Mossel Bay Beach
Sunrise from the window of from our compartment in Santos Express Train Lodge

With double, single and budget compartments, Santos beach accommodation has spectacular sea views and hot, clean showers, great seafood, traditional meals, seafood, regular braai (African for BBQ), cosy bar and a warm atmosphere.

Santos Express Train Lodge also offers a unique stay in a double compartment or single coupe similar to the Trans Karoo.

Santos Express Train Lodge Location

I’m going to give Santos Express Train Lodge a 10/10 for its location. Not only is Santos Express located right on the beach, it is just 5-10 min walk from the Dias Museum Complex, Mossel Bay Harbour and Town Centre. From here, you can explore Mossel Bay on foot, if you wish to.

Check Rating: Santos Express Train Lodge Tripadvisor

Santos Express Restaurant { Fork and Train Restaurant }

The Fork and Train Restaurant and pub has a splendid view over the bay and distant mountain ranges, and is a popular venue for all ages not just for tourists but for the local crowd as well. There are different events and activities planned each day like Karaoke and Bingo night. Out stay at the Santos Express Train Lodge happened to coincide with a Bingo night and man, did we have fun ! I had never played Bingo before in my life and the closest I’ve gotten to it was a ‘Housie’ or ‘Tambola’ in the army circles. The friendly local crowd at the Santos Express Restaurant urged us to play Bingo and explained the rules of the simple and fun game and we ended up playing three rounds of it along with the delicious butter garlic snails (I tried Snails for the first time, here) and my favourite local drink – the Savanna cider.

The Santos Express restaurant menu is fun and affordable without compromising on quality. They specialise in seafood and traditional meals but the Santos Express menu also offers burgers, ribs, pizzas, steaks and pub lunches. Try a seafood platter to dig into the local flavour of this beach town or get adventurous like us and try something new – a portion of butter garlic snails, in my case. Other interesting dishes to eat here are traditional Babotie, Seafood Potjie, Oysters and Hake & Calamari. They also serve alcohol.

Santos Express Contact Details

Phone: 083 900 7797 (Local) I +27 83 900 7797 (International)

Fax: 086 515 7779 (Local) I +27 86 515 7779 (International)


Recommended Reads:

How to Tip in South Africa { South Africa Tipping Guide }

Cape Town City Guide

South Africa Backpacking { Tips + Tricks }

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