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Traveling by train in Tanzania

Far from fast travel and mass tourism, traveling by train in Tanzania is an ode to slow travel, an authentic way of discovering the country.

Credit : Photo from katsuma tanaka from Unsplash

There are several railway lines crossing the country from east to west and from north to south. The Tanzanian Railway Corporation (TRC) runs the lines starting in Dar Es Salaam and going to Tanga, Arusha, Dodoma, Tabora, Mwanza, Kigoma and Mpanda. The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) runs trains from Dar Es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.

Credit : From Wikipedia

Can I go on safari by train ?

Although the actual game drive inside the park is done in a 4x4 safari vehicle, you can reach the Nyerere National Park with the TAZARA train from Dar es Salaam for less than 10 USD (see fares). The Nyerere National Park is part of a vast conservation area, larger than Switzerland or Danemark, which remains to day wild and pristine. With beautiful animal sighting all year round and a large variety of ecosystems, the Nyerere National Park is the ideal safari destination for the traveler in seek of adventure and authenticity.

The Central line offers the possibility to reach Kigoma on the shores or the Lake Tanganyika (the longest freshwater lake in the world) and reach the world-famous Gombe National park, renown for its chimpanzee population which has been studied continuously since 1960.

TIMETABLE : The train leaves Dar es Salaam (TAZARA STATION) twice a week, on Tuesday at 13:50 and Friday at 15:50. In this direction, the train usually runs on time and reaches Kisaki (see hotels in Kisaki ) after a 4 hours journey. It is possible to continue the journey to Zambia on the next Tuesday 17h50 and Friday 19h50. The train from Kisaki back to Dar es Salaam runs every Sunday and Thursday. In this direction, the train usually accumulates all its delays from a 3-days trip and is often a few hours late. However, that is not an issue, your hotel in Kisaki will usually be aware of the train timetable on the travel day so you can relax there waiting for your train.

Travel Experience

The train in Tanzania is comfortable and runs in 3 different classes which correspond to different fares. Trains associated with long journey usually have sleeper compartments. The sleeper compartments usually have between 2 and 6 beds and a small sink to refresh yourself. Trains also have a restaurant compartments with freshly cooked food.

Traveling by train in Tanzania is above all about discovering a local mode of transport where you are almost guaranteed not to meet other foreign travelers! The train has remained very authentic and people extremely friendly.

How to book a train ticket in Tanzania ?

Ticket for the Tanzania-Zambia line can be booked by phone (see this website )

Tickets for the TRC lines (among which the Central Line) can be booked here with the exception of the Arusha - Dar Es Salaam train which should be booked here.

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