South Africa’s Stars of Sandstone Steam and Heritage Festival will take place in the Eastern Free State from April 4-14.

Hosted at the Sandstone Estates against the backdrop of Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains, the annual festival attracts visitors from across the globe to experience its traditional Afrikaner oxen teams – 36 oxen pulling a Voortrekker wagon or harvesting; vintage steam-driven trains in working order; and agricultural machinery.

Some of the activities that tourists will be able to participate in include:

  • The Mountain Wanderer: On this 129-year-old train, 14 passenger coaches and two Garratt locomotives take visitors on a 30km track around the estate, starting and ending at Hoekfontein Station. The journey lasts between 90 minutes and two hours.
  • The Lesotho Meander: a 30-minute trip to Grootdraai, which is on a hill above the border between Lesotho and SA.
  • The Stargazer is an evening journey that departs from Grootdraai, by steam train, at 20h00 on selected evenings, and takes passengers to the Caledon River on the Lesotho border, to observe the night sky under guidance of an astronomer.
  • And for the children, Seb’s Railway offers a 2.5km train ride.

Visitors will also see a collection of vintage agricultural equipment that has been restored and utilised on the Heritage Collection estate, along with the military cavalcade and vintage aircraft. They will also be able to enjoy a journey on The Blue Train, which boards in Pretoria on April 3.