My Experience with Tazara Railway
My Experience with Tazara Railway: “I had a very pleasant sojourn on the train. Scenery was striking and varied (Tanzanian highlands were best), restaurant car food was basic but filling and affordable (about £1 per meal – rice/mash with fish/chicken) , the bar never ran out of beer (£1 per bottle) and was a good place to meet locals and other travellers. One or two locals could get a bit boisterous when drunk but there’s always one of the train’s three army guards on hand there to stop rows.
The accommodation was functional and clean, bunks fairly comfortable. We had a great international mix of travellers in our three 1st class carriages and in the end pretty much everyone was on friendly terms. One bugbear though was the carriage attendants’ habit of continually locking the toilets for no apparent reason, I never figured that out. Travellers should make sure they have enough cash for the journey.
Once across the border in Zambia your shillings are useless – the restaurant and bar will only take kwacha and vice versa if travelling the other direction. A money changer will embark as you approach the border of Tunduma/Nakonde – he’ll take you for about 20% but, with both being closed currencies outside their country, you might as well grin and bear it. The main problem with the Mukuba is reliability. We were delayed by two derailments – one in the Tanzanian Highlands and one in the bush in Zambia that turned a two day journey into four days.
The train and rolling stock appears in good repair but I doubt the Chinese-built track is maintained. We also got held up by a bush fire, not that Tazara can be blamed for that. Taking this journey if you’re on a tight schedule for onward travel is not a good idea, but if like me you’re just bumming around Africa in no hurry then £40 for a journey of over 1800km is incredible value by any measure, and the delays allow more opportunity to experience a situation most very rarely find themselves in.”
My Experience with Tazara Railway:
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