TAZARA RAIL ADVENTURE
Taking the TAZARA (Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority) train is not only a unique mode of transportation, but an experience in and of itself. Operational since 1976, this old, slow and not very prompt train gives the rider the sense they’ve stepped back in time and is riding a train from the colonial era. Equipped with dining carriages and sleeping compartments, this route stops at several stations between Dar es Salaam and Zambia. Take it part of the way, or all the way to Zambia, but make sure you give yourself plenty of buffer time in case the train is delayed (anywhere from hours to days!).
Where: Trains are scheduled to run between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri-Mposhi, Zambia twice weekly. Schedules are notoriously unpredictable as is duration of the trip.
Group Size: Any size. Sleeping compartments contain four bunks, so consider getting a group together that can book out a full compartment.
Budget: A full length journey from Dar to New Kapiri-Mposhi on the ordinary train costs 86,500 TZS (about $40 USD).
Duration: The full journey is meant to take 3 days, but can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days longer due to delays.
A one of a kind journey through the heart of Tanzania to Zambia. Running through the ranges of the southern highlands and the Selous Game Reserve, passengers can spot game out the window as long as it passes through during daylight.
Food and drinks can be purchased on the train at the dining car.
You have to be very flexible with your timing. Do not expect to be back by a specific date, because we’ve heard of delays up to several days.
Be prepared for a long journey, so make sure to bring your book, sketchpad, or friend-making banter.
What to bring and helpful advice: Book a first or second-class ticket (four bunks in first class, 6 bunks in second class). There are other ways to get from point A to point B, so taking the TAZARA is all about the journey—and part of that is your spot on the train. If you are part of a group or you want some privacy, consider booking out a whole sleeping car. Tickets must be booked in-person and in advance at the TAZARA Railway Station. You can purchase a ticket to any of the stops, or you can go all the way to Zambia. Necessary travel documents will be required at border crossings (passport, visa if required, yellow fever certificate). Express and ordinary trains are available. Stations, timetables and fares can be found here: https://tazarasite.com/fare-charts-and-train-timetables