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When it comes to travelling Africa, we don’t typically think of the train as a reliable transportation method. With that being said, there’s something pretty majestic about sitting on an old-fashioned train with a glass of wine, taking in the African landscape and watching the world go by. Perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative way to travel and here at The Seven Best, we think this might just be the way to go. So, without further ado, here are some of the best African train journeys to do in 2022:

1. Tangier to Casablanca, Morocco, Al Boraq

unsplash morocco casablanca landscape

Courtesy of Unsplash

Known as the first bullet train of Africa, the Moroccan Al Boraq train is a real bucket list item. Travelling between the coastal city, Tangier and business hub of Casablanca, Al Boraq covers this typical five-hour journey in just 90 minutes. First-class cabins are all designed with modern finishes in place, along with air-conditioned cabins and plenty of legroom, making for a thoroughly enjoyable – and easy – train ride through the everchanging landscapes of  Morocco; and one of the best African train journeys to experience.

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2. Metlaoui to Seldja Gorge, Tunisia, Red Lizard Train

red lizard train gorge Best African Train Journeys

Courtesy of Mosaic North Africa/Red Lizard Train

If you’re visiting Tunisia, it’s a great idea to make a trip on the Red Lizard Train a must-do. Departing from Metlaoi three times a week, this train takes you on one of the best African train journeys through breathtaking scenery and dusty, mountainous valleys, instilling some nostalgia due to its feature in the movie: “Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade.” The Red Lizard has been tastefully restored, reminiscent of antique French decor to offer its guests a truly memorable adventure through the red rocks of the Seldja Gorge; a national Tunisian treasure.

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3. Nairobi to Mombasa, Kenya, Jambo Kenya Deluxe

jambo kenya train interior

Courtesy of Jambo Kenya Deluxe

When most travellers recall the route from Nairobi to Mombasa, cramped buses or noisy planes filled with eager travellers to reach their destination quickly come to mind. You’ll be delighted to know there’s a third – and unique – option; the Jambo Kenya Deluxe! Taking its passengers from Kenya’s capital on a relaxed overnight train journey to the coast, this train is a far more favourable option if time is on your side. The added bonus? Spend your time on one of the best African train journeys spotting zebras, giraffes and ostriches across the Savanna; whilst delighting in some luxury cuisine and top-quality wines.

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4. Livingstone to Victoria Falls Bridge, Zambia, Royal Livingstone Express

girl looking out of a train

Courtesy of Bush Tracks Africa/Royal Livingstone Express

Take a trip back in time to when steam trains were at their finest with an unforgettable experience on board the Royal Livingstone Express. This nostalgic train has been restored to the best quality, with five carriages of high-quality leather and brass finishes, ready to satisfy any traveller. Get on board in Livingstone, watch the sunset on the Zambezi River Valley as you pass through the ever-changing Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park whilst sipping on a glass of local wine. Here you’ll reach the Victoria Falls Bridge, where you’ll dine in style under the stars. Enjoy your dinner on one of the best African train journeys whilst listening to (and witnessing) one of the most mesmerizing waterfalls in the world; Victoria Falls.

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Check out The Seven Best Reasons To Visit South Africa here

5. Pretoria to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Rovos Rail

rovos rail train to zimbabwe Best African Train Journeys

Courtesy of Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail is possibly the most well-known luxury train franchise in Africa, and for good reason. With trains visiting Southern African countries on a regular basis, along with a 15-day itinerary to Tanzania, Rovos Rail are experts at providing a memorable train experience. The four-day trip from South Africa’s capital, Pretoria to the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls is the perfect introduction to luxury train travel, with quintessentially restored coaches, along with a one-of-a-kind dining area. A ticket on any of their trips includes accommodation, meals and beverages – even alcohol! Although, the views are by far the best part of one of the best African train journeys around.

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6. South Africa to Namibia, Southern Africa, Shongololo Express

double room on the shongololo express

Courtesy of Shongololo Express

If you’re looking for a more opulent train experience, the Shongololo Express through Southern Africa is the train for you. Ranging from 12 to 15-day itineraries, the Shongololo Express offers travel across South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (Swaziland) and Zimbabwe. With a total of 72 guests allowed on board, the train offers guests Emerald or Gold en-suite cabins, with just a slight difference in what each option offers. The African Trilogy trip from South Africa starts in the capital, Pretoria, travels through the plains of eSwatini (a former province of South Africa-come-independent-country) and ends in the whale-spotters dream of Walvis Bay, Namibia.

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7. Cape Town to Pretoria, South Africa, Blue Train

blue train south africa

Courtesy of The Times UK

Last but certainly not least on the best African train journeys to experience is the iconic Blue Train; South Africa’s luxury train experience. Dating back to 1923, the Blue Train has received frequent facelifts to keep with the times – and its luxurious indigo status. Travelling between Cape Town and Pretoria, this elite train includes two lounge carriages, a dining and observation carriage, with some of the better en-suite cabins complete with a full-sized bath… To soak up the scenery with, of course! Dubbed as a five-star hotel on wheels, the Blue Train is kitted out with some of South Africa’s top chefs serving you award-winning cuisine as you observe the wild African landscape pass you by from your gold-rimmed window.

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There we have it! The best African train journeys the continent has to offer. Let us know your favourite train experience in the comments – we’d love to hear about it!

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The Seven Best is an online guide featuring curated lists of must-sees, must-dos and more as you plan your journey around South Africa.

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