Dar es Salaam to Livingstone
- Malachy Harty.
The train from Dar Es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi near Lusaka, Zambia, was delayed by 20 hours, but once we were aboard, we were seduced into the relaxed life of long distance train travel. There was no use asking when we would arrive. This one should take about 48 hours.
Before night fell, the train entered the vast Seleous Game Reserve, where we were treated to the enchanting sight of many giraffes, elephants and gazelle. Despite pointing out these beautiful animals to a group of Hong Kong card players, they were just as disinterested in the passing wildlife as the grazing wildlife were unperturbed by the passing train.
Unlike Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Kampala and Dar, Lusaka lacked the shiny glass towers. Instead, slightly outdated, concrete blocks fringed the wide main thoroughfare. Well-dressed young men followed us on the streets with perfume or clothes, desperate for some money in this time of hardship and food shortages in Zambia. As usual, we were able to fly in the face of local problems… we shared the tastiest, most succulent T-bone steak in the world. We only stayed a single night, anxious to push on to Livingstone and to hit Cape Town for Christmas.
The comfortable bus to Livingstone sped through thinly wooded, unspectacular, flat landscape. It was possibly the least impressive trip of the entire journey. But we arrived early thanks to light traffic and wonderful roads. However, as the roads improved we became more removed from the life around us. As we searched in vain for cheap, local restaurants in Livingstone, it became very clear that the days of mingling with the locals were over. We were funnelled into relatively expensive backpacker hostels and restaurants.