Clickity Clacking Along On The Tazara Train

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Tazara Train

Flag of Malawi  ,
Saturday, November 17, 2007

Our carriage on the train was quite comfortable, and as the first night set in, we made up our beds, read for awhile, braved the train toilet and tried to sleep. It should have been easy, but unfortunately the bar lounge was behind our carriage and a steady stream of drunken passengers, kept going up and down the narrow corridor, passing our door. At midnight we awoke to a loud knocking on our door and startled, went to open it, to find we had been locked in! It was probably a prank, but there has been precious little maintenance done on the train (Once our window did not lock in the up position and slammed down on our arms, just missing the camera) and the lock on our door was faulty most of the time. We eventually, with a lot of twisting and turning, managed to free the lock and ourselves. 

We did manage some good sleep though, and arose at 6.00am to spend the next day watching villages go by, reading and eating chicken and rice. It was unfortunate we had ordered chicken and rice the first night because, after a breakfast of omelete, the only food left for the rest of the trip was chicken and rice with "Mr Sorry, Sorry, Sorry" being very sorry he couldn't offer us anything else! It was extremely cheap to eat though, about $3A a meal.

Late afternoon we reached the border of Tanzania and Zambia. Money changers came on board and we were able to change our last Tanzania shillings to Zambian Kwacha. At the border the immigration officer came to our carriage, then said we needed visas and to follow him with our $US25 each. Neither of us were ready and suddenly the man grabbed our passports and disappeared. This all got a bit stressful, even though the train was stopped, we didn't know for how long. Both of us went looking separately, then Heather went a couple of carriages down to where a Dutch couple were and the girl said her boyfriend had gone with the immigration officer. Heather spotted the boyfriend coming back along the platform and called to the guard to NOT let the train go with out her, and ran to ask him where to go. He very kindly retraced his steps and took Heather to the immigration man, who was actually on the train, but about 12 carriages up. We never would have found him! Visas duly purchased and passports stamped, Heather just got back on the train in time. Whew! 

We settled down for another evening and night on the train, a little less eventful than the previous one.

Eventually after 44 hours (a very good time by all accounts)  we pulled into the Kapiri Mposhi station and our train journey was over.
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