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The Great Train Journey - Dar es Salaam to Selous

The heat is beaming in through the minibus windows, almost blinding me with the intensity of the sun, though not as bright as the variety of colours that can be seen on the streets and roads of Dar es Salaam. Arriving at the train station, I Jumped out of the minibus and was suddenly in the middle of a crowd of people with babies, luggage and food all strapped to their backs! I went over to first class where I hoped there would be more room and somewhere to go to the loo? Having settled down to wait about four hours for the train to the Selous game park, I began to really look at the African people and see that despite the intense heat the community still had time to work together and play games, eat food and catch up with the gossip. The train arrived and suddenly I was inside a carriage. My excitement grew; this was it, the beginning of my journey. I could hardly wait to see the different landscapes that Tanzania will have to show over the next eight hours and hey, I wasn’t disappointed. Some of the views from the train window were barren and showed land with no lush greenery and homes that consisted of shacks. But this didn’t detract from the wild but beautiful spirit that seems to come out of the roots of the African soil. Other sights showed colours of vibrant oranges and reds, especially when the sun started to set. The friendliness of the children was clear to see as the train passed them, with their arms waving madly and them running along the side of the train tracks for as long as they could. The excitement on their faces when I threw sweets to them out of the window was great to witness, though almost sad that might be the only food they will eat in a while. I decided to get some snacks for everyone in my carriage and off I went looking for the food cart. With my phrase book to hand, I tried to order some meat Pakoras in Swahili and instead ended up ordering sweet cakes, never mind they tasted good! Africa changes abruptly as one moment the sun and the heat are beaming down the next minute pitch black is all you can see. Although, the stars seem to shine brighter here, this is how the Maasai tribes find there way around at night. We are told by our guide Hessiani to get ready to throw our haversacks out of the window when the train stops! Will I see my stuff again, I have my really good travel socks in that bag that are guaranteed to stay fresh and if I don’t see them once more I don’t know what I will do? Out we jump in the middle of nowhere it seems, with only the lights on the jeeps that are waiting for our group, to guide us. I feel exhilarated as well as slightly nervous and see that one member of our party can’t seem to get off the train and is rescued by one of the men. Onto the jeeps we get hearing only the strange sounds of the African wildness, a cry here and there; whilst our bodies are being bumped up and down as the journey begins to the game park. Out of nowhere appear some of the Maasai people that don’t have any problem finding their way around in the dark. Aha, at last we arrive at our destination and now the adventure really begins.

(average rating, based on 7 reviews)
Trip type: 
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 

Zanzibar & Selous (2013)

Africa, Tanzania | 14 days
Trip code: 
Zanzibar beach hotel
Real off the beaten track adventures in Tanzania including superb game viewing and Zanzibar relaxation.

Departs in:

  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D