The world's most scenic train journeys: Africa
Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously said, "it's not the destination, it's the journey". What better example of this than a scenic train ride? We've picked out some of our favourite journeys from around the globe that we think should be on any rail lover's bucket-list.
Rovos Rail, Cape Town to Dar es Salaam
Rovos Rail offers a much more luxurious experience which has a similar feel to the Orient-Express, with vintage wood-panelled coaches, fine china and glassware, and a formal dress code in the evenings. This epic 15-day journey from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam is a great way to pack in a lot of sights from the southern part of the continent. You'll travel from South Africa to Tanzania through Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, with excursions along the way — including a trip to Victoria Falls, a walking tour of Pretoria, and overnight stays in game reserves.
Jambo Kenya Deluxe, Kenya
Step back into the 1950s aboard this 15-hour journey from Nairobi to Mombasa. Although this is a more basic experience, you'll still get a 3-course dinner and a cooked breakfast. You'll also have the chance to spot zebra, giraffes, elephants, and ostriches from your cabin as you pass through Tsavo National Park.
The AI Boraq High Speed Train, Morocco
Officially Africa's fastest train, the Al Boraq High Speed Train opened in 2018, and whisks you from Tangier to Casablanca in two hours and 10 minutes (previously the trip took four hours and 45 minutes). Business Insider called the experience "delightful, with cheap first-class tickets, plush comfortable seats, air-conditioned cabins, plenty of legroom, and an interior design that evoked rail's golden age". It's not just efficient, though — during the journey, you can take in views of the Atlantic on one side and rolling green hills and forests on the other.
Watania Sleeper Train, Egypt
There's something about sleeper trains that evoke a romantic sense of adventure, especially on the less luxurious services, and The Watania Sleeper Train is a perfect example. The overnight journey running alongside the Nile down from Cairo to Aswan doesn't include white-gloved service or plush furnishings, but gets you from A to B with everything you need. In the morning, you can look out the window of your private room and take in the rolling countryside, the suburbs around Luxor, and of course, the Nile.