Information published on 26 September 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 310.

Africa Express: follow the team which left Morocco at the end of April for a 10-month tour of Africa!

  • Africa Express
  • Stage 1 / Paris – Rabat
  • Stage 2 / Rabat – Marrakech – Ouarzazate
  • Stage 3 / Mauritania and the Desert Train
  • Stage 4 / Senegal
  • Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso (stage 5)
  • Benin (stage 6)
  • Gabon (stage 7)
  • Stage 8 led the team from Pointe-Noire to Kinshasa
  • Stage 9 from Livingston to Windhoek in Namibia
  • Stage 10 from Windhoek to Cape Town in South Africa

Since late August, the Africa Express team has had the opportunity to travel on three African trains: they share their travelling experiences with us…

The team has so far travelled on the Shosholoza Meyl, the railway connecting Cape Town to Johannesburg in South Africa, as well as the Rovos Rail, which connects Durban to Pretoria, and the Gautrain in Pretoria.

Each of these trains offered a unique experience.

  • Between 30 and 31 August: Cape Town > Johannesburg, a journey of over 24 hours on the Shosholoza Meyl, an attractive purple, yellow and teal train.
    The Africa Express team had a compartment for two which converted into sleeping berths at night. There was even a dining car where they had their evening meal. The landscapes they encountered along the journey looked stunning against the sunset sky. The team reached Johannesburg around 3pm the following day and hurried to buy their tickets for the evening train to Durban. Between 31 August and 1 September: still on the Shosholoza Meyl but this time going to Durban. The Africa Express team spent the second consecutive night in a two-person compartment. The train passed through the hills before arriving in Durban. It arrived three hours late but the journey was most pleasant.
  • The most memorable experience was travelling on the Rovos Rail train, which the team members took between 17 and 19 September. Fortunately, they were able to purchase tickets at the last minute to make the journey from Durban to Pretoria.
    Rovos Rail is a family business established just over 20 years ago by Mr Rohan Vos (hence the name of the train, Rovos). Claire and Jérémy were allocated an 11m2 compartment for two and made use of dining facilities offering tasty dishes and fine South African wines – not forgetting the open-air deck in the rear lounge car for admiring the views. The service was of course exceptional with every detail thought of – even plastic sunglasses for looking out the window in comfort!
    The Africa Express team members mention this in their blog:
    http://africaexpress.org/article-159.html
    There were two major reasons why the team decided to use the train as their main means of transport: the fact that Claire’s father had been a train driver of course, and secondly this journey seemed inevitable from the moment they saw the train at Victoria Falls station two years ago. They had gone full circle, as it were!
  • Finally, Claire and Jérémy took the Gautrain to Pretoria, which was built specially for the 2010 World Cup! The train was designed more for shorter journeys but was very comfortable and modern.

Read about Claire and Jérémy’s adventures at
http://africaexpress.org/blog.html

UIC wishes the team a successful continuation of the next stage of their project.