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9 Best trains in Africa for exciting travel

Written by Denise Chido

If you are looking for a bespoke way to travel and enjoy Africa, jump onto one of the best trains in Africa. You may even realise that this is the best way to travel. Train travel will open Africa to you, and you get to see more views than when you fly into a destination. Several trains offer this unique way to travel

The Blue Train, South Africa

The Blue train is one of South Africa’s luxury trains. It is also one of the best trains in Africa. It has a great history dating back to 1923.

The two train sets, which alternate between Cape Town and Pretoria, each have two lounge cars, dining cars, and an observation car. Some of the all-en suite cabins have the unusual feature of wheels of a full-sized bath.

Trains going south stop in Kimberley to see the Big Hole and the Diamond Mine Museum. Trains going north stop in Matjiesfontein for sherry in the Lord Milner Hotel, built-in 1884 by a Scottish rail worker.

The Blue Train. Photo/Tourism Update

The Rovos Rail

The Rovos Rail offers the Pride of Africa trains. One of the best trains in Africa. You can travel through Southern Africa in style. It has a mixture of African safari and luxury. It comes with Edwardian-style suites. They have air conditioning and en-suite facilities. The dining cars are just as luxurious. They serve divine local cuisine, including game, and you will have the best of South African wines.

You also get a lounge and observation cars to enjoy the scenery, wildlife, and other sights. The most common route is between Cape Town and Pretoria, with three to 15-day itineraries going as far as Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and Swakopmund in Namibia. Most trains start and stop at Rovos Rail’s Capital Park station in Pretoria.

Shongololo Express

Visitors to Southern Africa can enjoy a unique excursion aboard the Shongololo Express. You can visit South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique on 12- to 15-day trips that include a range of off-train excursions.

The original wood-panelled carriages, which can accommodate 72 people in two kinds of spacious en-suite cabins with double or twin beds, take you back to a simpler, more elegant era encompassing the romanticism of African discovery. This is one of the best trains in Africa.

The Shongololo Express. Photo/African Wildlife Safaris

TGV Morocco

Even though the TGV Morocco is a high-speed train, it is still one of the best trains in Africa to travel with. You can plan a whole tourist journey with this train. Discover the charms, cultures, and history of Morocco. You can book guided tours to travel from Spain to Morocco.

There are tours of Fez, Rabat and Marrakech. They even offer excursions to the Atlas Mountains and the authentic Berber village. More powerful air conditioning and filters to prevent sand penetration of equipment have been added to TGV Duplex trains to adapt them to the climate. So you will be very comfortable.

Madaraka Express, Kenya

Another of the best trains in Africa is the Madaraka Express. It offers a route between Nairobi and Mombasa. The Country Train makes eight stops along the way.

The air-conditioned train features a buffet compartment with table dining space exclusively for first-class passengers, trolley service, and complimentary water. Large windows provide excellent views of the Kapiti Plains and Tsavo National Park so that travellers can spot wildlife.

Tazara Train

The Tazara line, runs from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. It started running in 1975 and had a sprucing up in 2016, making it more inviting to tourists.

It usually has two restaurant cars and a first-class lounge car in addition to first and second-class sleeping cars and second and third-class seating cars. To ensure exclusive occupancy, some couples pay for a four-berth cabin.

The journey will take the traveller through vast stretches of untouched forest, bushveld, and mountain ranges. The railway travels through a massive stretch of Tanzania’s Selous game reserve. Passengers may see bucks, giraffes, hippos, monkeys, and other wildlife from the train window.

Elephant Express

The journey for most travellers begins from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls. They can board a sleeper train that then travels from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park.

They enjoy a three-course dinner and a good night’s sleep as they head to Hwange. Guests then board the Elephant Express, an open-sided railcar intended for game viewing, for a two-hour journey to Ngamo and the Imvelo Safari Lodge. The Elephant Express will allow its guests to enjoy an excellent safari location.

Royal Livingstone Express

This five-coach dinner train travels from Bushtracks Siding near Livingstone to the Victoria Falls Bridge. It travels a short portion of what Rhodes believed would become the Cape to Cairo railway. The train uses carriages reconstructed by Rovos Rail and a steam locomotive.

It is one of the best trains in Africa. After that the train stops on the bridge for 20 minutes before continuing to Palm Grove, siding for the six-course dinner stop and returning to Bushtracks. The train has a lounge and an observation car and runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Transfers from hotels/lodges to the train are in the tour packages.

The Royal Livingstone Express. Photo/Travel Republic Africa

Cairo to Luxor to Aswan Train

The afternoon air-conditioned express and the overnight sleeper are the two options for getting to Luxor for its temple complex adjacent to Karnak. You appreciate the Nile valley and the river’s feluccas (traditional wooden sailing boats) and narrow fertility banks. The train journey can open up Egypt to you and its history. It is an experience you do not want to miss.

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Denise Chido

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