Slow Train Through Africa with Griff Rhys Jones

South Africa

Series 1 - Episode 5 South Africa



In what may be a first for TV railway documentaries, Griff Rhys Jones takes a hot bath while on a train. Beat that, Michael Portillo.

Our host is on a luxury service through South Africa on the last leg of his continental tour. I’d be lying if I said it was the liveliest episode of the series. Previously, Griff has managed to find intriguing diversions on every step of his trip but here, there isn’t quite the same spring in his step or the sparkle in his encounters with strangers on a train.

No matter, we still get new angles on South Africa, notably a look at the custom of “swenking” in Jeppe, which involves a Sunday-morning fashion parade of men in very sharp suits.


On the final leg of his journey, the comedian crosses 1,000 miles of South Africa, reaching the most southerly passenger railway station on the continent. Heading to Johannesburg, he reveals how the city has benefited from the scale of gold-mining in the area. Later on, he takes to the skies in a light aircraft for a bird's-eye view of one of South Africa's largest ostrich farms, and catches one of the world's most luxurious trains for a seven-hour ride to Cape Town, before reaching the coastal settlement of Simon's Town.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Griff Rhys Jones
Executive Producer Ross Harper
Series Producer Graeme Hart