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The World’s Greatest Railway Adventures: The TAZARA Railway

If you’ve been following Griff Rhys Jones’ series on TV you’ll probably realise that Africa is full of exciting and adventurous railway journeys. Read on to find out more about the TAZARA Railway, in Tanzania, a railway like no other.

One of the greatest railway adventures in Africa, the TAZARA Railway links the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. This amazing single track railway is 1,860km long and has been running since 1975.

The railway boasts a fascinating history. Funded by China, the line was built to help Zambia’s economy, which previously had been reliant upon Zimbabwe and South Africa. The line allowed Zambia to send their goods to Dar es Salaam for shipment worldwide. The line created a sense of spirit between the two countries, and the railway received the name the ‘Great Uhuru Railway’, Uhuru is the Swahili word for freedom.

Two passenger trains per week travel the entire TAZARA line in each direction. The trains travel slower than a typical bus but it’s a safer method of transport. In recent years, the trains have become a great attraction for travellers, who wish to experience the atmosphere of a typical African train.

One of the highlights of the TAZARA rail journey is travelling through the Selous Game Reserve, the biggest in Africa. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Selous Game Reserve possesses a large and diverse amount of wildlife and an undisturbed nature. As the train passes through, you will see all that the reserve has to offer. Elephants, hippopotami, zebras and buffalo can all be found within the reserve, in larger numbers than any other park in the country making it perfect for animal lovers.

The atmosphere on the train is unique, bustling with people, the carriages are always busy with someone to talk to, and villagers and sellers will greet you from the window, selling fruits and souvenirs. From the moment you step on the platform to the moment you depart the train, you and your family will be filled with memories that they will never forget.