Heritage festivals are an attraction for people of all ages. When such festivals include traditional Afrikaner oxen teams, vintage steam-driven transportation in pristine working order and agricultural machinery, many people travel across the globe to attend such festivals.South Africa’s Stars of Sandstone Steam and Heritage Festival at Sandstone Estates in the Eastern Free State of South Africa, is not only one of the most impressive events of its kind in the world, it offers further unique aspects of authentic farming and transport of yesteryear, such as three teams of Afrikaner oxen.
When united to form an impressive 36-oxen span, pulling a Voortrekker wagon or harvesting, it becomes awe-inspiring, add the backdrop of the majestic Maluti Mountains of Lesotho bordering the Estate, and you will have to travel far to find a location this spectacular, where homage is paid to steam, history and this magnificent land.
Stars of Sandstone, which will take place from 4 to 14 April 2019, will once again offer scenic steam train rides on the 26km narrow-gauge rail track on the farming estate.
Some of the journeys to wow visitors this year will include:
- The Mountain Wanderer offers scenic journeys at Sandstone. It traverses the full 30 km of track around the estate. Utilising up to 14 passenger coaches and two Garratt locomotives, which are former South African Railways steam locomotives, this train starts and finally ends at Hoekfontein Station. This station dates back to the 1890s and the journey takes between 90 minutes and two hours.
- The Lesotho Meander is a short trip of about 30 minutes to Grootdraai, which is on a hill above the Lesotho border with South Africa.
- The Stargazer is a magical evening journey departing from Grootdraai at 20h00 on selected evenings. Grootdraai is a short distance from the Lesotho Border, which is the Caledon River in the valley below. Passengers disembark at this point and observe the dazzling night sky. An astronomer provides an informative talk.
- Seb’s Railway for children offers 2,48 km of fun for youngsters – and the young at heart…
Visitors to Stars of Sandstone, of which many are professional photographers and steam enthusiasts from all corners of the world, get to share in the wonder of vintage agricultural equipment restored and utilised on the Heritage Collection estate. Then, there is the always spectacular military cavalcade…
A further attraction to Stars of Sandstone is the display of vintage aircraft, always popular with would-be and professional aviators.
Guests wishing to be pampered at Stars of Sandstone 2019 will be the charter journey on the world-renowned Blue Train. Board the iconic train in Pretoria on 3 April. There is limited space available to arrive and stay on the train in style for three days, therefore early bookings are essential.
Located in the scenic Eastern Free State of South Africa, this fertile landscape is home to ever-expanding cattle herds and the harvesting of cosmos, soya, wheat, maize and the like continues throughout the year.
The nearby towns of Ficksburg, Fouriesburg and Clarens offer many choices of hospitality: https://www.safarinow.com/destinations/eastern-free-state/hub.aspx
Regular open day steam events:
Sandstone Estates offer open day steam events throughout the year – see more at www.sandstone-estates.com
Instagram: @sandstoneinaction – Twitter: @SandstoneHerit – Facebook: Stars of Sandstone – LinkedIn @Tilly Smith Dix
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