The Royal Livingstone Express Train Journey Zambia Overview
The Royal Livingstone Express is a unique dining experience combining the luxury of the Royal Livingstone hotel in Zambia with the charm of rail travel. The train is an all-inclusive luxury rail experience rooted in the nostalgia of a bygone era. Passengers travel leisurely as the sun sets watching the peaceful and scenic surroundings.
Experience the elegance of yesteryear from the comfort of your carriage while enjoying one of the most scenic railway journeys in Southern Africa. Experience flora and fauna with panoramic views from the observation carriage of the Royal Livingstone Express. Fulfil a romantic dream and escape on a late afternoon train journey amidst the untamed natural Zambia bushveld on the legendary Royal Livingstone Express train.
This is a journey into a timeless world of grace, elegance and romance, where the natural splendour will stir your imagination, and the luxurious comfort soothes your soul. This unique luxury rail journey in Zambia provides passengers with an unforgettable experience. The train offers fine wining and dining as you travel through the picturesque Zambezi Valley in Pullman style coaches which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
The Royal Livingstone Express consists of 5 air-conditioned carriages, two dining cars, a club/kitchen car, lounge car, and an observation car and is pulled by either a 10th class No. 156 or a 12th class No. 204 locomotive. One of the dining cars, The Wembley, was built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company and went on display in London at the British Empire Exhibition in 1923. It was shipped to the Union of South Africa and entered service on 19th May 1925 and hence acquired the name - The Wembley.
There are two dining cars with a seating capacity of 93 passengers and a fully equipped kitchen car to produce a 6-course gourmet dining experience. From departure, the train moves directly onto the old Mulobezi Line, which has also been restored. It was once the largest privately owned railway network in the world and was set up by the Zambezi Sawmills in 1916.
The dining experience:
The ambience of the dining carriage offers more than warm elegance. The sash windows allow for panoramic views of the passing parade, while the incandescent lighting adds intimate warmth from individual lamps on each table gently illuminating the beautifully detailed wooden interiors. The silver cutlery, crystal glassware and damask linen provide the ideal backdrop to the exquisite cuisine created by the Royal Livingstone Hotel chefs.
The sunset dinner itinerary:
The journey begins when you're collected from the Royal Livingstone Hotel at 17h00 and transferred to the old Mulobezi Line Offices, where guests board the immaculate vintage first class Lounge carriage.
The journey commences through Dambwa suburb towards the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, running parallel to the Zambezi River. Guests have the opportunity to catch glimpses of white rhino, buffalo, elephant and other wildlife. From there, the train crosses out of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park over the Sinde River and comes to pause some 17 kilometres from Livingstone. By this time darkness would have descended on the Zambezi Valley, and guests will be invited to dinner by the train manager in the dining cars. The train will then slowly push back to the Sinde 'run around' to afford the locomotive driver a good view of any obstacles in his path for the return journey in darkness, including of course elephants! The tour finishes back at the old Mulobezi Siding at approximately 21h30.
The journey information:
- This unique dining experience is offered three times a week
- The tour includes the 6-course dinner, wine, beer and soft drinks
- The luxurious train leaves the station at 17h45 and dinner is served at 19h00
- Guests will be returned to the Royal Livingstone Hotel at 22h00
5:00 pm - Guests will be picked up from the Royal Livingstone in luxury Bushtracks vehicles and given a short road transfer to the Bushtracks siding, formerly the Old Mulobezi Railway Offices, otherwise known as ‘Kilometre 0’ of the Mulobezi Line. A safety brief will be given by the Bushtracks guide en-route to the station. Tickets (including an indemnity on the reverse) will be issued to all guests. On arrival, the train will be stationed at the siding with the locomotive ‘in steam’ for photo opportunities. Guests will board the train through the Lounge Car where drinks and snacks will be offered.
5:30/5:45 pm - The train will depart and move directly onto the Mulobezi Line, travelling through a high-density suburb of Livingstone called Dambwa and onto the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park while the sun begins to set. (Please note children are fascinated by the train. However, they should be discouraged under all circumstances from approaching too near the train as it is a moving vehicle and can be dangerous).
Mosi-oa-Tunya Game Park - The train will pause at the entrance to the game park. There is the possibility to view some of the game in the park that includes: elephant, white rhino, buffalo as well as giraffe, zebra, hartebeest, bushbuck, impala, warthogs, baboons and monkeys.
Locomotive ‘Run Around’ and Dinner is served – Having traversed the National Park, the train exits from the Western Gate boundary and crossed the Sinde River, a tributary of the Zambezi. The locomotive then detaches itself from the front of the train and ‘runs around’ to the back of the train using the Sinde Siding and re-attaches itself onto the Observation Car, giving guests wonderful views of the locomotive in action. Depending on the time, the train manager will announce dinner and lead guests through to the dining carriages, where a five-course meal, lovingly prepared and served by Sun International’s Royal Livingstone team, awaits.
9:00/9:30 pm - The train will draw into the Bushtracks Siding. A Bushtracks guide will be waiting to transfer guests back to the hotel.
Pick Up Times for the Royal Livingstone Express
Summer: September to March:
- 5:00 pm Pick up from the hotels
- 5:45 pm Train departs Bushtracks siding
- 9:45 pm Return to the hotels
Winter: April to August:
- 5:00 pm Pick up from the hotels
- 5:15/5:30 pm Train departs Bushtracks siding
- 9:30 pm Return to the hotels
- Departure Dates: Wednesdays, Saturdays