Khloe and Kayla Theron from Pinetown had a blast on the train. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

I have always been in love with trains. There is something about the scenic views in the countryside coupled with the excitement by other passengers that entices me to travel on them. I have been once earlier this year, although I have vowed to travel on them more when visiting international destinations. Here are my tips on how to survive your first train ride:

Arrive early

Always arrive at least 30 minutes earlier. The last thing you want is to lose your train ride. Arriving early also allow you to choose the best seats. I like the business areas as there is enough space and less noise.

Take a window seat

The only way to enjoy your first train ride is by taking the window seat. The views outside are often phenomenal, while at other times it can be life changing.  During my train ride from Durban to Shongweni, I got a glimpse of how homeless people live. Many of them occupy places near the train stations or under the bridges near the railway tracks. These experiences can change your perception and make you appreciate life.

Bring some snacks

Stock up on some goodies before you get on the train.  Those long rides can leave you feeling peckish and food on standby can satisfy the cravings.  


Give social media the back seat when on a train. Use the time to reflect, recollect and gather your thoughts. Often by being engaged in social media, it restricts us the opportunity to meet new people and interact with our loved ones.

Enjoy the ride

Do not sweat the small stuff. On my trip I spent more time criticizing the sound of the train and how untidy it was than actually enjoy what benefits it had on offer. Once I did, I had a fantastic ride back home that opened me to new experiences. I enjoyed  waving at the young children at rural settlements along the way.  

[email protected]